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6. Explanation of Consciousness from the Vedanta
In the book "The Road to Reality,"  Sir Roger Penrose tales about three worlds and three deep mysteries connecting these worlds, as shovn in Figure 1. The three worlds he refers to are the physical and the mental woilds, which we are aware of, and the Platonic world. By the Platonic world, hi refers to the existence of an objective external standard not dependent upon sur individual opinions or our particular culture. He thinks that die connection between these worlds is a mystery.Particularly intriguing is the connection between the Platonic anl the physical worlds. The Platonic world seems to have an existence beyond )ur individual minds. The mathematical laws, like theorems of geometry, reside n the Platonic world. These laws, or truths, exist irrespective of whether some nathematician has yet discovered them or not, and irrespective of whether they have been rigorously proved or not. More interestingly, the Platonic world also contains the notions of morality, beauty and truth.
Penrose says that there is powerful (but incomplete) evidence that the entire physical world is governed according to mathematical laws. The movements of planets, the flow of rivers, the falling of a stone, the sailing of a boat, the flying of airplanes, and all the phenomena we see around us are strictly governed by mathematical laws of physics. These laws can be expressed as precise equations.Furthermore, only a small part of the Platonic world is manifest in the physical world. For example, a vast number of mathematical laws remain undiscovered. Mathematicians continue to find and publish new theorems in prestigious journals each year. Still there are many theorems believed to be true but not proved so far. A famous example is the problem of "P NP?" in computer science. The proofs of these theorems exist in the Platonic world, but are not completely revealed to us. Gradually, as mathematicians do more research, some aspects begin to start revealing. Like recently, in 2003, Prof. Manindra Agarwal of IIT Kanpur, with his students, was able to prove "PRIMES is in P," a question that had remained unanswered for decades, or even centuries!
According to Dr. T. D. Singh , Penrose's notion of the Platonic world is similar to the ...the Spiritual world spiritual worldview of the ancient Vedantic fs tne energetic source tradition of India. The second aphorism of 0f the physicai wodd the Vedanta sutra is "Janmadyasya yatah." It | means that the spiritual world is the energetic source of the physical world.
Morality, beauty and truth are in the realms of spirituality according to the Vedanta and other traditional cultures of the world. The spiritual world is much vaster than the physical world, and the notions of morality, beauty and truth, and all other spiritual concepts, exist there in their purest and most sublime forms. All these qualities present in the material world are derivatives of the original qualities in the spiritual world.The interaction between the spiriton and the body, made of inanimate matter, is very mystical.Life is spiritual in nature. Living beings are made of gross matter (the body), subtle matter (the mind and intelligence), and the living particle (life itself). Dr. T. D. Singh gave this living particle the name spiriton. This is the fundamental particle of life. The Sanskrit word for it is atman.
Gross matter is inanimate and meaningless by itself. It becomes meaningful only by the presence of the life particle, spiriton or atman. The interaction between the spiriton and the body, made of inanimate matter, is very mystical. In the Vedanta, this notion of mystery is called acintya. It means, literally, 'that which cannot be thought of,' something very mysterious, inconceivable and beyond our ability to comprehend or think.Intelligence and consciousness also arise from the presence of the spiriton. These are the properties of life, just as heat and light are the properties of fire. We can identify life by the presence of intelligence and consciousness. The ontological relationship between intelligence and life is summarized in the following verse from the Katha Upanishad:
atmanam rathinam viddhi sariram ratham eva ca
buddhim tu sarathim viddhi manah pragraham eva ca
indriyani hayan ahur visayams tesu gocaran
atmendriya-mano-yuktam bhoktety ahur manisinah
"The individual is the passenger in the car of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So it is understood by great thinkers."
According to Vedanta, human activities are carried out by the will of the conscious life particle, which is then translated through the intelligence and mind to the human body. For further information on the study of life in Vedanta, we refer our readers to the Bhagavad-gita  and Srimad-bhagavatam .We feel that scientific research could benefit from this Vedantic model of intelligence. Current scientific process looks at intelligence and consciousness as an emergent property of matter. But this approach has not been able to make much headway so far. We propose to look at intelligence and consciousness as being derived properties of life itself. Life, on the other hand, is considered spiritual in nature, and cannot be manufactured by any complex combination of matter. Taking this approach for the study of consciousness, intelligence and thinking might prove beneficial and a more productive direction for future research.