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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Soul Science God Philosophy > Science and Spiritual Quest > Section 2 Machine, Mind and Consciousness > UNFOLDMENT OF COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS > 1. Introduction

1. Introduction


Consciousness is a multi-significant term. At a very mundane level, it signifies the awakened state of a human being's intelligence. It suggests that the being or the person is awake and is aware of objects and processes of the surroundings as well as those within himself. Consciousness is called 'chitta' or 'chaitanya' in Sanskrit. M. Monier Williams defines 'chitta' as thinking, reflecting, memory intelligence, reason... and 'chaitanya' as consciousness, intelligence, sensation, soul, spirit, universal soul or spirit. Both of these words have the Sanskrit root 'Chit', meaning to fix the mind upon, to attend, to observe, to intend, to understand, to comprehend or to know.Science tells us that there are at least four levels of waking consciousness based on four types of brain waves - alpha, beta, theta and delta. Alpha waves predominate during meditation. Carl Jung postulated that in the delta brainwave pattern we connect with the collective unconscious shared by all humans. A feeling of unity or oneness is experienced in delta. There is some scientific evidence that continued meditation decreases the anxiety provoking beta waves and increases the other three. Continued meditation transforms the collective (cosmic) consciousness as well - especially the spiritual Samashti Chetana, which can also be seen as unfolding at least four distinct stages (see below). However, it is not very easy to design a Samashti Chetana experiment.A preliminary experiment of spiritual Samashti Chetana has been carried out by the Global Consciousness Project (GCP) of Princeton University, USA, demonstrating the collective consciousness can change the order of random events locally and elsewhere [1]. The GCP has been collecting data from a global network of random event generators since August, 1998 through 65 international sites. The scientific question of the project is whether there are deviations from randomness correlated with major events that engage the attention of large numbers of people. Such correlations are interpreted as reflecting the presence and activity of consciousness in the world.Such experiments are very difficult to design and interpret. So far, the results of the project have been criticized on two main accounts: first, how the data are selected and interpreted has been questioned, and second, there is no objective criteria for determining whether an event is significant—events have been selected arbitrarily.Indeed, there is very little known from experimental evidence of collective consciousness in the spiritual realm. Perhaps, the scientific questions and the methodology need to evolve further. In this paper, we will make an attempt to examine the stages of collective, macrocosmic consciousness, as experienced by the seekers in advanced Indian traditions [2].