Âtmavedî Part I - Chapter 2
The Process of Manifestation
It is important to recognize the experience of the process of manifestation in which a thought becomes a physical object. Recognizing this experience begins to remove all doubt that everything in the universe is nothing but the manifestation of consciousness. On the basis of this experience, we can learn to manage consciousness. If we can learn to manage consciousness, we can become Masters of Natural Law and live life in Brahman Consciousness as a peer of the Creator. Eventually we may even have the opportunity to become Brahma and create our own universe. All this stems from the recognition of the experience of the process of manifestation, so here is a roadmap to that recognition.
First, let us establish a conceptual framework that begins with a description of the full range of conscious experience that is available to the human nervous system. Consciousness is the experience of awareness, and a state of consciousness is the degree of awareness. Consciousness is essentially a binary state that has alternating periods of Null or Void consciousness and various degrees of Awake consciousness. The frequency of these alternating on/off states determines the experience or state of consciousness. When the frequency is infinite, consciousness is pure and unmanifest. Any lesser frequency is a manifested state of consciousness.
Seven states of consciousness:
There are seven states of consciousness that can be experienced by a human being. In the next few pages we will establish a definition of each of these states of consciousness to form a basis for our discussion of the process of manifestation.
1. Deep sleep state of consciousness:
In this state of consciousness, most people experience that there is no awareness. Perhaps you have experienced deep sleep in which you “slept like a log” with absolutely no memory of the night. It is a state in which we can only remember by the fact that we remember falling asleep, and then we awoke. During deep sleep the body is in a state of rest in which all voluntary muscles are completely relaxed. The brain drops into a state of inactivity as well, as measured by the EEG exhibiting the very low frequency delta waves in the range of less than 4 cycles per second. EEG, or Electroencephalogram, is a graphic record of the electric activity of the brain.
2. Dreaming state of consciousness:
Here the awareness is of one's own thoughts in a surrealistic state with distorted, pseudo-sensory perceptions that resemble waking state awareness, and most people do not have any actual awareness of the physical surroundings by way of the four physical senses: sight, taste, smell, and hearing. In dreaming, one does have awareness through the non-physical sense of "feeling" which is often mistaken for a non-existent physical sense called "touch". In dreaming we believe that we experience a virtual reality that exists only in our mind, however for most people the experience during the dream is very real and physical-like.
This one experience alone should convince us that if we can have a dream that is so real, why could it not be possible that what we appreciate as real when we are awake is not simply just another level of “dreaming?” We believe that while in dream state, if someone were to observe our physical body, we would be found to be moving very little and not in any sense performing the physical acts that seem so real in our dream.
There is a posture of the body that is conducive to the experience of dreaming and deep sleep – lying down. If we lie down and do nothing, we will often fall asleep. There is more on how posture is associated with states of consciousness in the section on Transcendental Consciousness.
3. Waking state of consciousness:
In waking state the awareness is of one's own thoughts as thoughts, and there is awareness of the physical surroundings by way of the four physical senses and the one non-physical sense of feeling. We typically realize that we are awake because we find that we can interact with the environment and it reacts in both expected and unexpected ways. We feel that we are engaged in activity of the physical body, and that if someone were to observe our body, it would be found to be moving about and performing physical acts that almost exactly match our internal perception of what it is doing. This confirmation from the environment helps us to recognize that we are in waking state. However, in a dream this sort of environmental confirmation appears to be there as well. So it is not possible to define waking state simply in terms of perceived environmental confirmation. For example, at this moment you may believe that you are in waking state and reading this book. However, you could be simply dreaming this, and would not know the “reality” until after the dream ends. This uncertainty leads us to ask, “what if there is another state of consciousness in which waking state is a dream to it?” Such a state of consciousness would be transcendental to waking state, just as waking state is transcendental to dream state.
4. Transcendental state of consciousness:
Transcendental Consciousness is a state of consciousness that is not deep sleep, not dreaming, and not waking. Transcendental Consciousness is initially described in terms of what it is not, because this is the experience. It is literally awareness of nothingness or void that is commonly experienced between the states of waking and deep sleep. It can also be experienced between deep sleep and dreaming, and dreaming and waking, as illustrated in the drawing below.
Transcendental Consciousness is the gap in consciousness that we experience between waking and deep sleep. We remember that we did nothing in particular to go to sleep, other than to stop being active. Sometimes we stopped being active by choice and sometimes, in spite of trying to remain active, we found it impossible to stay awake and suddenly dropped off to sleep.
However, Transcendental Consciousness is much more that simply the gap between two states of consciousness. It is the state of consciousness in which one can be the witness of all other states of consciousness – beyond all common states of consciousness.
It is difficult to convey the experience of Transcendental Consciousness in common words and expressions because it is an experience that is beyond words. Our language, especially the English language, is a waking state derived structure. Because Transcendental Consciousness is beyond waking state, the terms and language of waking state cannot effectively be used to convey an accurate meaning of it.
As mentioned in the section on dreaming, if we lie down, that posture is conducive to sleep and dreaming states of consciousness. We all know that sitting up straight is conducive to wakefulness. There is a specific posture that is conducive to Transcendental Consciousness known as the padmâsana (lotus posture). The padmâsana (illustrated below) is the classic physical expression of the S’rî Chakra; – lotus or padma is an allegorical reference to the S’rî Chakra;, which is discussed at length starting with Chapter Three.
To assume the padmâsana, follow these steps:
1. In a sitting position, stretch your legs straight out before you.
2. Bend your right leg at the knee and bring it toward you so that you can take hold of your right foot with both hands.
3. Place your right foot on top of your left thigh. The right foot should be brought toward you as far as is possible so that eventually the right foot is touching the groin. In order to now complete the posture successfully, the right knee will have to rest on the floor.
4. Bend your left leg at the knee and bring it toward you so that you can take hold of your left foot with both hands.
5. Place your left foot on top of your right thigh. The left foot should be brought in as far as possible so that eventually the left heel will also touch the groin. Both knees should eventually rest on the floor.
6. The reverse position, in which the left foot is brought up first, then the right foot is also acceptable.
7. Rest the hands palm up on the knees and touch the index finger to the thumb.
Sitting in the padmâsana will quickly give rise to Transcendental Consciousness, if that is your intention and a specific mental technique for that purpose is practiced. When experienced directly, Transcendental Consciousness can be experienced in two ways, deep inside the mind or outside and above the mind, depending on the specific mental technique employed.
If you can sit in padmâsana and would like to experience Transcendental Consciousness, here is a mental technique that you may practice which will give rise to the experience:
While seated in padmâsana, close the eyes and look up with closed eyes to a spot that is above the head approximately six inches.
Within a few seconds you should feel a shift in consciousness and experience Transcendental Consciousness for a few seconds.
You may find it difficult to maintain this experience for more that a few seconds before thoughts arise in your mind. This is normal when the S’rî Chakra; is not fully activated. In subsequent chapters we will go into detail about the activation of the S’rî Chakra;. However, the point to consider now is that Transcendental Consciousness is not confined to just the transition periods between waking and sleep states of consciousness. In fact, Transcendental Consciousness is available at any time with the proper application of a physical posture and mental technique.
However, Transcendental Consciousness is closer to all of us than this – it can be experienced as the super-conscious state that exists between two thoughts. Even if you have trouble sitting in padmâsana, you can still experience Transcendental Consciousness very easily. Close your eyes and experience thoughts as they arise in your mind. The gap between two thoughts, in which there exists no thought in your mind, is Transcendental Consciousness. In this gap between thoughts, you are aware of awareness itself as a witness to the functioning of your own mind.
The witness value of Transcendental Consciousness is very significant because this is the experience of the rishî aspect of the self-referral knowledge loop of rishî, devatâ, and chhandas. Now the somewhat abstract notion of rishî, devatâ, and chhandas has gained a more concrete value based on your personal experience.
5. Cosmic Consciousness:
A dual state of consciousness that is experienced as constant, 24-hour awareness of Transcendental Consciousness along with the deep sleep, dreaming, and waking states of consciousness is Cosmic Consciousness. In Cosmic Consciousness there is never a moment in which the awareness of Transcendental Consciousness is not found. Cosmic Consciousness is cultivated through dedicated practice of a mental technique for experiencing Transcendental Consciousness.
Though the constant experience of Transcendental Consciousness, the awareness de-embeds from the states of waking, sleep and dreaming, and becomes centered in a super-conscious state that witnesses these three states of consciousness. When this happens, the experience during waking, sleep and dreaming states of consciousness will be experienced in a completely different way – from the perspective of the rishî.
For example, the person in Cosmic Consciousness during sleep will witness the body sleeping. The experience is like watching someone else sleep. While witnessing yourself sleep, you will become aware that your mind is totally shut down – no thoughts at all. You will also experience your body as paralyzed, and you cannot move it without first “waking up.” You will appreciate yourself as completely different from your body, and may easily leave your body and view the room from a different viewpoint. You may hear yourself breathing deeply and hear clocks ticking or other noises in the room. You may feel the touch of your body against the bed. All senses are awake but the physical sense organs are asleep. The non-physical sense of touch (feeling) is probably the first sense you will become aware of, as you perceive your body as a sort of vibrating energy. With some practice, the physical sense of hearing can be easily invoked without waking up. The physical sense of sight requires the opening of the eyes, and that is more difficult to do without waking up.
During sleep, the person in Cosmic Consciousness may become aware of thoughts forming and witness the transition from sleep to dreaming. As the thoughts are witnessed they will take on some or all the qualities of the senses and become dreams. You will begin to witness a dream and will find that you can consciously interact with the people in your dream, just as you do now in waking state. These dream people will act in both expected and unexpected ways, and seemingly validate that your dream is real to them. This one experience of witnessing a dream will give you the basis for the realization that consciousness is the reality, and everything we experience is simply some modification of consciousness.
It is possible to experience lucid dreams at any time before Cosmic Consciousness. Many people experience lucid dreams that have never practiced any mental technique for experiencing Transcendental Consciousness. The distinction between simple lucid dreaming and Cosmic Consciousness is that Cosmic Consciousness is the 24-hour experience of Transcendental Consciousness. Cosmic Consciousness does not automatically “dawn” in most individuals – to acquire this state of consciousness requires the dedicated practice of mental and physical techniques to experience Transcendental Consciousness 24-hours a day. These techniques are also required to maintain Cosmic Consciousness until the seventh state of consciousness - Brahman Consciousness - is gained.
6. God Consciousness:
In God Consciousness there is awareness of the celestial (non-physical) realms of the universe. In this awareness, it is possible to conduct controlled direct two-way communication with individual members of the vast hosts of non-physical beings that populate our universe. This privilege of awareness and communication extends from the lowest etheric plane to highest celestial realms of our universe. God Consciousness should not be confused with psychic abilities that enable a person to perceive in a small segment of the subtle realms. Psychic ability can be cultivated by various practices, but the ability is strictly limited to the lower astral planes. On the other hand, God Consciousness cannot be cultivated by any practice or technique - it is a gift from the Creator of our Universe, Lord Brahma, and freely available to all who ask for it. In Chapter Six of this book is a detailed procedure that you may follow to ask for God Consciousness and begin immediately to experience two-way communication with God. The full expression of God Consciousness is a feature of the seventh and ultimate state of consciousness - Brahman Consciousness.
7. Unity or Brahman Consciousness:
This state of consciousness arises out of God Consciousness and appears to be two states of consciousness, but in fact it is a single state of consciousness that is like the two faces of a coin. On one face, Unity, the awareness is unity with the supreme level of silent, pure being consciousness known as S'îva. On the opposite face, Krishna, the awareness is unity with the Creator of our Universe, Lord Brahma. The width of this "coin" is infinitely thin so it is possible to experience either "face" at any moment. However, it is impossible to live in the physical world for very long (perhaps not more than a few moments) while experiencing Unity. Therefore we choose to live in Brahman Consciousness so we can be of service in the physical.
This seventh state of consciousness is the goal of the individual human life experience and the ultimate goal of the existence of every jîva. Both Unity and Brahman Consciousness are open to everyone. For those who do not wish to take on the responsibility of Brahman Consciousness, Unity is the choice. Everyone should request Unity Consciousness, and in Chapter Six a procedure is provided for you to do this.
Now that we have defined the seven states of consciousness, let us return to our topic on the process of manifestation. Recall that chhandas (knowledge of the object of attention) is created spontaneously by the intention of rishî (the witness or knower) being taken into the gap by devatâ (the process of knowing) – this is the self-referral knowledge loop of consciousness. Also recall that the chhandas produced by this process is not really a new and separate thing, but rather the same rishî that is changed by the process.
Where is the manifestation (chhandas) in this process? It must be contained within the consciousness of the rishî. Everything I create is contained within, my own individual bubble, or self -referral loop, of consciousness. Everything you create is contained within, your own individual bubble, or self-referral loop, of consciousness. The universe that Lord Brahma creates exists solely within the consciousness of Lord Brahma, and I exist as a self-referral knowledge loop within the consciousness of Brahma, and you exist as a self-referral knowledge loop within the consciousness of Brahma – bubbles of consciousness within a bubble of consciousness, all within the super-consciousness of S’îva/Krishna, as illustrated by the drawing at the end of Chapter One.
When an individual observes or otherwise come to know any object, the knowledge that individual has concerning the object exists within his or her consciousness. This knowledge is static and independent of the object. When you or I create something physical, like this book, it is placed in the bubble of consciousness of Brahma for all within that bubble of consciousness (me, you and everyone else in this universe) to observe.
This is how consciousness works. I have my own universe within which I have placed knowledge about you and the “things” that I know. I see you and the other “things” from my own unique perspective that is colored by all the “things” that I know. You see me from your unique perspective that is colored by all the “things” that you know. If we know the same “thing” we think we have communicated because we have some common knowledge. However, the reality is my collection of knowledge and my perception of that collection of knowledge is completely different from yours and can never be the same. Your collection of knowledge and your viewpoint is uniquely yours and can never be the same as another’s.
Consciousness is called “self-referral” because within each individual’s bubble of awareness, each individual ultimately refers only to their own consciousness in all of their processes of knowing. If a person is established in Brahman Consciousness, then the self-referral process yields Truth for this universe and everyone in it. If a person is not established in Brahman Consciousness, most if not all, of the person’s knowledge is individual and local. This means that the self-referral process yields truth that may only apply to that individual.
Now we know where the object of knowledge exists, the question is how does it arise from the process of knowing – exactly what is the process of manifestation (knowing)? By the choice of words we have provided the answer – the manifestation of some “thing” is, simply knowing the “thing.” This is rather circuitous logic, so let’s be much more specific.
Every “thing” in the universe is made of the eight prâkritîs, or fundamental elements, ultimately assembled following archetypes or patterns that exist in consciousness. These archetypes in consciousness are called knowledge constructs. Knowledge of these archetypes in consciousness is our quest. Direct knowledge of the archetypes that exist in Pure Consciousness is not possible because they are unmanifest. On the scale of the individual jîva and its individual bubble of consciousness, the knowledge constructs in its mind are also unknowable because they are unmanifest to it – held in the sub-conscious mind. However, by knowing the structure of the process that leads in to the gap, where the unmanifest archetypes exist, and by knowing the structure of the process that leads out of the gap, we will know everything that is knowable about the process of manifestation.
There are eight fundamental elements out of which everything is constructed. Consider a color computer monitor. It has only three fundamental color elements (red, green, and blue) yet out of these three elements the monitor is able, through a process of combinations of these three elements, to produce a nearly infinite array of unique pictures. The same principle is at work in the creation of objects in the universe out of the eight elements. Since we have eight elements to work with, instead of only three, we have many, many more possibilities for the objects we can construct.
The drawing on the next page illustrates the process of manifestation, which begins with the intention of the rishî. As devatâ processes the intention in to the gap, its component elements become primary and distinct at the most refined level of awareness, and become discernable as the eight prâkritîs. At the point when the elements become discernable, the intention has reached the window in consciousness that opens in to the gap and the next step for devatâ is to pass the intention in to the gap.
It is very important to mention at this point that the s’aktî value of devatâ is the power behind the intention. If the intention has significant power behind it, the manifestation will be proportionately more “real.” For example, an intention of s’aktî value 1 will return a manifestation of brilliance 1, and an intention of s’aktî value of 1000 will return a manifestation of brilliance 1000. It is a simple equation that determines if the manifestation will be solid, real, and physical, at one end of the spectrum, or ephemeral, faint, and perhaps only an image in the mind, at the other end. The power of s’aktî also determines the how fast the manifestation will occur – lower s’aktî results in a longer time before the manifestation will occur and higher s’aktî produces a quicker manifestation.
Also, the object of the intention must actually exist as an archetype in Pure Consciousness for it to manifest fully and completely as a “live” object. For example, if someone imagines a beast that is a combination of several animals, man, and perhaps a few machines, and that becomes his intention, the manifestation will never arise in full form because the archetype simply does not exist in Pure Consciousness! The best that can be hoped for is perhaps a movie showing the beast or a plastic model. No doubt, anything that can be conceived in the mind can be manifested, but not necessarily in a functional form.
At the heart of the gap at the level of Pure Consciousness is S’îva, serving all beings that can access Pure Consciousness (those in Brahman Consciousness) with the ability to create objects based on the universal archetypes. Likewise, at the heart of the gap at the level of individual consciousness is jîva, providing the individual with limited creativity that draws upon the resources of its individual storehouse of knowledge.
S’îva or jîva return to devatâ the manifest form as initially a knowledge construct composed of the eight prâkritîs. If awareness is at its most refined level on the threshold of Pure Consciousness, it is possible to detect this eight-fold knowledge construct as it arises from the gap. Devatâ continues processing out of the gap utilizing the s’aktî of the new chhandas value, which it inherited from the original intention.
We all engage in the process of manifestation throughout every minute of every day of our lives. The cycle is a very familiar one that starts with an idea – “I want some apple juice” – and ends with you drinking apple juice. If your s’aktî has a power of 1000, the apple juice may be delivered to you within a few seconds of your desire, perhaps by a friend who suddenly walks up with a cup of fresh apple juice and says “here, you have to taste this fantastic apple juice!” On the other hand, if your s’aktî has a power of 1, you may not receive your apple juice for several weeks and probably will have to drive to the store and pay for it too!
How to increase s’aktî? Tapas. When Lord Brahma was given the project to create a new universe for the jîvas, He asked how to do such a thing and was told by Narâyâna, tapas. Tapas means, “conserve your s’aktî by curbing your natural tendency to be constantly creating.” Save your s’aktî so that when you need something significant, you will have the s’aktî to pay for it. S’aktî is earned by acting in accord with Natural Law and wasted by acting against Natural Law – it is almost as simple as that. If you could act spontaneously and totally in accord with Natural Law at all times, you could have a s’aktî bank account in the millions in short order. To act totally in accord with Natural Law requires that you know intimately the full range of Natural Law – the Mind of Brahma the Creator - Brahman Consciousness.
S’aktî is stored in the S’rî Chakra;, so in order to accumulate significant s’aktî the S’rî Chakra; must be perfect and fully activated, which it is in Brahman Consciousness. S’aktî may be transferred from one being to another by attention and intention. The s’aktî is given by attention with the intention of the giver attached to it. For example, you may give to your friend $20 and say “you must use this $20 to buy yourself a new shirt.” S’aktî is a form of currency that can be given to another for a specific purpose. We see this happening all the time in life. The mother kisses the child and says, “I want you to be very careful today and come home safely!” She has given her child a s’aktî that will be used to safeguard her child all day. Another parent says to his child “You are an idiot, get out of here and don’t come back until you have some sense!” This parent has given his child a s’aktî that will cause his child to be less intelligent and provide obstacles for it to come home again.
S’aktî is obtained by getting the attention of one who has it. There are specific mental practices that will permit an individual to get the attention of more powerful subtle beings, and thereby increase the s’aktî of the practitioner. Everyone naturally has the attention of Krishna, so there is a constant inflow of s’aktî from Him to us. In Chapter Six we offer a procedure for establishing communication with the Âtman. This communication will cause an increase in the s’aktî of the individual, which will flow to him or her from the Âtman. Some may even experience this inflow of s’aktî as a “quickening” in the heart area.
S’aktî is accumulated by saving it, so for example a person who lives modestly, spends a large amount of time in meditation and introspection, and does not give in to the fulfillment of desires for material or spiritual gain, will accumulate s’aktî. When that person does want something, it will manifest quickly.
S’aktî is like electrical current and the nervous system is like the wiring. If the s’aktî is too strong it will literally burn and damage the nervous system. If the s’aktî is a little bit too strong, its influence will certainly be felt and probably will be uncomfortable for the body to experience. It is very common for One in Brahman Consciousness to give an individual enough s’aktî to enable an experience or ability in the person as a means of teaching. Sometimes a peek into the reality of Brahman Consciousness will be given to encourage the sincere individual.
In Brahman Consciousness, the individual has very great s’aktî and the nervous system to handle it. This is why the path to Brahman Consciousness is a path and not instantaneous “enlightenment.” It simply takes some years to cultivate the proper S’rî Chakra; structure and physiology to support the s’aktî of Brahman Consciousness.
When Narâyâna appointed the foremost jîva to the post of Brahma, this means He selected a jîva that was in Brahman Consciousness in a previous universe, and therefore had the perfected S’rî Chakra; that could contain nearly infinite s’aktî. After being appointed, Brahma asked Narâyâna how to create a universe and Narâyâna replied, tapas, which means, Narâyâna gave Brahma a huge influx of s’aktî sufficient to create an entire universe.
In the next chapter, we will offer much more detail about the S’rî Chakra;, what the perfected structure is, and how it comes into existence to support the activities of the jîva.