Reply To: Einstein and Tagore: Belief in a divine in relationship to humans &.the world

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Dear Dr. Deepak Chopra,

Thank you so very much for taking the time to answer my question.

As you explained in the video on Facebook, transcribed here…
“Einstein says that there are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe. The world as a unity dependent on humanity and the world as a reality independent of the human factor. Tagore renounced this either/or perception. Tagore responds by saying that when our universe is in harmony with man, the eternal, with human the eternal, we know it is truth, we feel its beauty. That is beautiful. When we are in harmony with that which is eternal, we know it as truth, we feel it as beauty. Einstein responds by saying that this is purely human conception of the universe. And Tagore says, there can be no other conception. Tagore also says this world is a human world, and the world apart from us does not exist. It is a relative world depending for its reality upon our consciousness. Here is the key, it is a relative world depending for its reality upon our consciousness. Einstein then says, truth then or beauty is not independent of us. Tagore says, no. Einstein then responds by saying if there were no human beings anymore… the famous statue in the Vatican…would no longer be beautiful. Tagore says, no, it would not. Einstein says, I agree with regards to conception of this beauty, but not with regard to truth. Tagore responds, why not? Truth is realized through us, through man, through humans. Einstein says, I cannot prove that my conception is right, but that is my religion. Very interesting choice of words…that is my religion…Basically, what Einstein is saying in the first chapter of the book, “You are the Universe: Discovering your cosmic self and why it matters,” reality, at least scientific reality is independent of our consciousness. The world exists whether it is being observed or not. He is okay. He is okay in saying that beauty is a human value, but ultimate truth of reality is independent of human values. Here is the thrust of this argument…Einstein, despite all his brilliance, was what today we might call a naive realist. A naive realist believes that the object exists regardless of anyone experiencing it. Your experience or a statue in a room exists independent of it. There are now many versions of naive realism…indirect realism…representative realism…common sense realism…but all of them are saying that the physical world is independent of our experience. The most obvious objection to that is how do you know…You can only talk about things that you can experience. If you cannot experience anything, then how can you describe it, how can you quantify it, how can you talk about it, without an observation…how can you theorize about it…so theories and observations and experiments are all designed first in that part of you that we call consciousness or reality. In real world, without an observer experiencing it, is one form or another of philosophers…what they call realism…The opposite of that is something that in Western philosophy is called idealism. Idealism goes back to Bishop Barkley and many other people, who said actually that the universe is a mind phenomenon…that we experience the universe in our mind, that the physical reality is an interpretation…Idealists from Bishop Barkley onwards have said, the universe exists in the mind alone…in the interpretation of sense perceptions. We have sense perceptions…like sound, touch, sound, taste, and smell…then our mind creates the idea of our physical world out of that. That is called idealism. In philosophy, there are two camps…idealism and realism…and so on…Tagore was neither an idealist, nor was he a realist in the philosophical sense. Tagore came from a worldview that is grounded deeply in the experiential knowledge of Yoga, in the experiential knowledge of knowing consciousness as a fundamental reality. This is called non-dualism and this also goes to great traditions like Vedanta…these traditions all say that the only way you can experience reality is by going to the source of experience. What is the source of experience? The source of experience is what we can call awareness or consciousness. If you read the yogic literature going back to the teachings of the great seer, Patanjali, he says, yoga is the progressive decrease in the excitations of mind until you get to the source of the mind. These are the different forms of Yoga: Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Gyana Yoga, and also Karma Yoga. Practicing yoga allows excitations of consciousness in the thought and sense perceptions and feelings to settle down to that source. That is consciousness. Consciousness is the source of experience. You experience as a result of the excitations of consciousness which are sense perceptions. Sound is a modified form of consciousness, as taste, smell, texture, color, form, etc…we can call these qualia…There is a lot of literature on qualia…Qualia is a quality of consciousness…a modified form of consciousness…that we can experience as a sense perception…and then if the sense perception is pleasant, we can say that is good…if it is unpleasant, we say that it is pain or suffering…now interpretations start…and then thought comes in…it says there is a material world, physical body, and there is mental body. Many of the traditions of yoga actually talk about these realms of experience…the physical world and the physical body…the mental world and the mental body…causal world which is consciousness and the causal body…what you really need to understand here is that if you are really understanding where Tagore is coming from…he is saying that the world is a species…Species specific experience…the world we describe as humans and what we play with as artists and musicians in a relationship is a human world…we live in the human world…human consciousness…we are a species of consciousness…that as human in a way conceives, constructs, and governs and operates through its own human biology. In that sense, the physical world that we experience actually corresponds to the human brain. They are complementarities. The human brain and the human universe go together. There are other species of consciousness, and they all have their own experiences which we cannot know, but they definitely move in the direction of life. A plant will move in the direction of light. Any animal will move in the direction of pleasure and move away from pain, move in the direction that allows it to survive, move away from the direction that threatens its survival. Who/what wants to survive? Life! Life is awareness…without awareness there is no experience, and what is life? It is a continuum of experiences. Here is where it goes even deeper. If you really understand non-dual reality, where Tagore comes from, then there is no mind, there is no body, and there is no universe. These are interpretations of modified forms of consciousness within consciousness. They are all interpretations of qualia. The “I” experience is a qualia experience. The “You” experience is a qualia experience. It is a modification of consciousness which is given a human construct that is called a body, statue, watch, bangle, hand, body, etc…. These are interpretations of intermittent streams of sense perceptions, which are modifications of consciousness itself. The interpretations are also in consciousness. There is only consciousness…or only the divine…And the divine is infinite…infinite being, infinite awareness, infinite consciousness…cosmic consciousness. You can use the word God as long as you understand that God is not something that you can observe as a form, because it is the formless that is actually giving rise to all form through its own self-interactions. It does so as it differentiates into modes of knowing and different kind of knowers, and objects known, all within itself. So cosmic consciousness or God or the infinite being is through its own self-interaction, differentiating into innumerable knowers, innumerable modes of knowing, and innumerable objects known, all within its own self. You and I what we call as a body, mind is a particular form of that which the infinite form or God has taken or the divine has taken. We are a little drop in the ocean of consciousness that is the divine or God. We are droplets in the ocean of consciousness. Everything we describe, doesn’t matter what we are describing, a watch, a bangle, an electron, a galaxy, a body, a rainbow, a statue…everything that we describe is a name we have given to a mode of human knowing and human experience in consciousness. Who we are is a human consciousness which is one branch of infinite consciousness and that consciousness being infinite expresses itself with infinite diversity. What exists apart from God? Nothing! There is only God. There is only the divine. There is only the infinite being. Infinite being is the best word we can use to describe the source of all that exists. Therefore, the infinite being is existence itself. The source of all that exists, the infinite being, is existence itself. Existence is synonymous with awareness and consciousness. You cannot know anything without being conscious or without having consciousness as the source. To know is to be aware through the act of observation or inquiry. All of that can only happen in consciousness. Whether we describe an electron or a human body or a galaxy or a book, these are names and constructs we have given to modes of knowing and experience in consciousness. We can only know experience. You can go only even beyond that and say we can only know our own knowing which is but one rivulet in the vast ocean of consciousness…all doubts are also in consciousness…Can anyone know anything without awareness? Knowing and knowledge are structured in consciousness. Therefore, reality is structured in consciousness. What we call everyday reality is structured in consciousness. Consciousness itself is that in which those constructs are born. To understand consciousness, you cannot do it through thought, because thought is an activity of consciousness. You have to transcend thought. You have to understand deep humility, deep reverence, that ultimate reality is inexplicable, in that it cannot be explained through thought…there is a domain of existence where all is one…all the experience we are having right now is in the formless being…Tagore says to take a little time to go back to the Self!”

That brings some clarity to my question. I appreciate you taking your time to answer my question. That makes sense.

Deepest regards,


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