The Quest for Happiness – Collecting the material or recollecting the spiritual?

by Chaitanya Charan dasOctober 10, 2015

Talk at Oregon State University
Lecture Podcast:

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The Quest for Happiness – Collecting the material or recollecting the spiritual

Lecture transcript-
I will be speaking on the topic of “The Quest for Happiness – Collecting the material or recollecting the spiritual”
I will start with couple of anecdotes. Two of the brightest brains of the last century, Einstein and Heisenberg, and they had a very illuminating conversation. SO Heisenberg mentioned this to Einstein, Einstein agreed. He said that our modern western civilisation is like a huge ship. It has all the facilities in it. Very comfortable, it is a pleasure cruise. But it doesn’t have a compass and it doesn’t know where it is going. SO as long as we are in the ship, enjoying its comforts, its fine. But if you look for something more, what the direction is, what the destination is, and then we don’t get any clear answers. Another statistic is of the World Health Organisation, the WHO states that something like 1 million people, commit suicide every year. Suicide is a very tragic social health problem. And it has many causes. This statistic, this figure of 1 million, is more than the total number of people, who are killed in murders, violent crimes, wars, terrorist attacks, all such crimes, violent deaths combined together. It means more than the number of people, who are being killed by others are the number of people who are killing themselves. SO why is this? Of course suicide is a complex problem. People can have different impetuses that may push them to suicide. But there is one usual underlying denominator. One feels utterly frustrated in life. One feels utterly that the problems in life far far outweigh whatever promises life may have. Then one feels that life itself is not worth living.
Now taking a slightly different view, it is curious that the evolutionary theory says that we are all machines driven for survival. We are here for survival and all beings compete for survival, we have survival of the fittest. At the same time, we see humans are practically the only specie that commit suicide. A dog may also get depressed. At least that’s what in our vision we see and then we take a dog to a dog psychologist, but animals don’t really commit suicide. Sometimes, because of a herd mentality, one sheep may go off a cliff, and a hundred other sheep may follow. But that is they are not consciously wanting to end their lives. It’s just that they don’t understand what they are doing. So with the conscious intention of ending one’s life, no other species act like that. Sometimes even in the animal world, if a calf is taken away from a cow, the mother cow may age prematurely and die, but that is also not a conscious intention to terminate one’s life.
SO why is it that we humans who are considered to be the pinnacle of evolution, who are the most intelligent specie on the planet, why is it that we are destroying our own lives and destroying them in such an alarming quantity. There is one terrorist attack, we are so concerned and we have dozens, scores of security measures, and that’s alright. But if there is such a threat for life, that we take so much cognizance of it, and try to prevent it, but the far greater threat to life is the human mindset which wants to end one’s own life.
Now going further, I have given the comparison of humans and animals, there are many researchers who have compared this. And one of them is Theo Wilson. And he found something interesting, about how different species, contribute to the ecology of the planet, so if any specie becomes extinct, usually there is some effect on the ecology, some adverse effect. The magnitude of that adverse effect will depend on what is the position of that particular specie in the ecological web and how much is their number. But there is one specie which if it became extinct, there would be no problem for the ecology. In fact all ecological problems will be solved if that specie became extinct. Which specie is that? The humans. It is quite unflattering to think that not only are we, not a contributor, but our only contribution is a harmful contribution. Now global warming is somewhat debated issue, but climate change is more or less accepted. And there are ecological factors contributing to climate change. A major part of it is the human footprint of the ecology. SO now again if we look back at the same point that we humans, are arguably among the most intelligent specie on the planet, then why is it. If there is a very intelligent student in the class, we would expect that student to make the most constructive contribution. Answer the questions, steer the class’ discussions in the positive way, if the student is the most intelligent why would the teacher want the student to be expelled from the class. No, not at all. But then we humans are the most intelligent specie on the planet and yet it seems that our expulsion from the planet, our extinction would do a whole lot of good to the planet. So what is wrong? What are we missing out? We started by talking that Einstein-Heisenberg discussing that there is no sense of purpose. See the whole scientific quest, see most of you are science students. And you know that science percolates our entire education system over us. SO the whole scientific quest is based on a search for need. Sometimes some people think that there is a conflict between science and religion. Yes in some aspects of science, in some aspects of religion, there may be some conflict. But fundamentally, science and spirituality, offer explanations at different levels.
For example, I came for this program by a car. And someone was observing this car and he decided to find out, why did this car move? So we could say the car moved because its wheels were rotating, now why were the wheels rotating. Because there is a mechanism through the axle, goes to the fuel tank, and the piston is being pumped, that causes the wheels to move. Now what caused that to do? Because the fuel had got ignited. Why the fuel got ignited? There was a start button. The start button was pressed, because it was pressed, the car started moving. So now I have answered the question. Why did the car moved? Because the button was pressed. The button was in off position and it was made to on position. So it is a correct explanation. But is it a complete explanation? The same explanation applies, an additional dimension, if I am not looking only for a mechanistic factor, like I wanted to come for this program, I came into the car, the button was pressed on and the car started moving. So both explanations are true. The car moved because of mechanistic factors and the car moved because of a conscious agent. Both are true. So science offers us this explanation, for example Newton saw fruit falling. Millions of people before him had seen fruit falling and most of them picked up the fruit and ate it. Most of them didn’t think of anything more. Now he asked why did it fall. When he asked this question, why it fell, it was his intelligence, brilliance that he eventually in the answer to that came up with the law of gravity. At the same time along with his brilliance in finding the answer to the question, he also thought that his question itself had an assumption behind it. When he asked why did this fruit fall, it assumes that there is a reason why things fall. There is some order which has made this fruit fall and I will find out what that order is.
So all of science progresses based on this assumption of order. From the 16th, 17th century onwards till the 20th century, Newtonian physics’ scope spread more and more and classical physics practically subsumed all the branches of scientific knowledge. In fact in a famous quote towards the end of 19th century, Kelvin said that now we have almost completed our study of Physics and for future generation of physicists the biggest problem will be they will have no work to do. They will just have to fill in the details. There is some blackbody radiation which we have not understood, few things like this which we have not understood. But then those two small unexplained phenomena hey led to the development of relativity and then led to the development of quantum physics. No if we look from the point of view of Newtonian physics, Quantum Physics doesn’t make sense. So Newtonian Physics was found to be not applicable, it didn’t work at the level of fundamental particles. But at that where Newtonian Physics didn’t apply, science didn’t presume that things are disordered. Scientists presumed that there is an order, but there is a deeper level of order, which we had not yet figured out. And with this presumption when they went further, they found quantum physics, then it comes to the behaviour of fundamental particles. And conversely they studied specially the motion of cosmic bodies, scientists came out with relativity physics. So either way the point is science progresses by assuming that there is some order. And we by our study, by observation, by our experimentation, we can infer that order. So to understand why this is significant, suppose someone came and gave us some paper, something scribbled on it. And it makes absolutely no sense to us, so we would throw it away. That’s what a normal person would do. But if someone starts instead a research, what can this mean? Maybe it is in a language I don’t know, maybe it is in a script I don’t know. And then the person starts to decipher. I come from India, so in India there are remains of ancient Aryan civilisation, and there are scripts which have not yet been deciphered. But when we look at the remaining civilisation, there are cities, there are elaborate drainage arrangements, there are well planned roads, there are good houses, so when we see it all, and then in the artefacts of such a civilisation, there is a script, which doesn’t make sense. So archaeologists and other researchers, they understand that this cannot be arbitrarily by natural forces. This is man made. This is made by human beings, we are just not being able to figure out, what language this represents and what it means. So normally if someone sees a message, it seems like a scribble and the person makes efforts to find out what it means. It means in a tentative sense we are assuming that there might be some meaning to it. And that’s why we look for meaning.

So similarly science operates based on that assumption that there is some order to be found. And then the question comes up, where does the order come from? Science offers explanations and the explanation that science has come up with of many of the observable phenomena around us they are phenomenal and that’s why we have internet, we have telecommunications, and science offers explanations at the same time science offers explanations because the universe is explainable. So another question comes up, why is the universe explainable? So the explainability of the universe requires an explanation. Suppose I get a script which looks a scribble to me and I find there a very meaningful sentence, then if it was just a scribble, then how did the meaningful sentence come over there? Could it be not a scribble, To me it seems a scribble, because I don’t know the script. Similarly when we look at science and then we turn towards spirituality, science offers explanations at the material level, most of science operates on what is called as methodological naturalism, it means science looks as a matter of methodology, science looks for material explanations for material phenomena and it finds material explanations. At the same time whether there is something beyond the material, that science itself doesn’t offer any answers.

Because by definition, science limits to material explanations. So for example if someone goes fishing, and when you go for fishing, you have a net, which is having holes of say 10×10 mm. then any fish or any aquatic, that is smaller than the size of that net, that aquatic will slip out. We can keep that fishing net in a lake for hundred hours or hundred years, but anything smaller than the size of the hole of that fishing net that will slip out. So like that if we see science looks for material explanations for material phenomena. Science casts, we could say a net into the universe around us, to try to catch explanations. How does things work? Science tries to find that. But if there is anything non-material, then science is not able to catch it, it just slips out. Now is there something non-material? So one aspect is an explanation requires explainability. I’ll come back to this. But another aspect I’ll say, that science has made tremendous leaps in various fields, in researches in studying the brain, neuro-science and through the cognitive sciences.
So one of the pioneers in brain study is Dr. Wilder Penfield, Nobel Laureate in Brain Surgery. And he wanted to find out where exactly is consciousness situated? In the brain, which part of it correlates with consciousness? We know that some part of the brain correlates with the seeing apparatus. There is an optic area of the brain. So, consciousness, it has three aspects to it. One is perception, we observe the world and we perceive it. Then there is analysis. And there is response in terms of action. So Dr. Penfield did series of experiments which he documents in his book called “The Mystery of the Mind.” He had a subject and he told the subject to raise his hand, now for this particular function of raising the hand, there is a corresponding area of the brain. If we use the neural imagery, then we find that particular part of the brain gets activated. And then he asked the subject what happened? He said, I raised my hand. Ok put your hand down. Then that part of the brain got deactivated. And he again asked, what happened? He said I put my hand down. Now using external electrodes, when Dr. Penfield he activated that part of the brain. When that part of the brain was activated, the hand went up. He asked what happened? He said, my hand went up. Did you raise the hand, Benfield asked the subject. No, I didn’t. You raised my hand. Ok then he deactivated the electrode. Then the hand fell. What happened? He said my hand fell down. Did you put your hand down. No, I didn’t. You did. SO he did several experiments like this. So the question that comes is if we consider the brain and the hand to be like one collective mechanical unit. Where the brain is the activator and the hand is the mover. For example, if I had a computer and a printer connected to it. So I have a print button over here. When I press the print button, then the printer hand starts moving on the printer. So the brain area which is activated, is like the print button of the computer. That causes the hand to move up and down. In the second case, it was Dr. Penfield, who pressed the print button, who activated that part of the brain. Who activated it in the first case? In the first case, the subject, he was saying, I am raising and I am putting my hand down. In the second case, he said, I am not doing it, I am observing and you are doing it. So who is this I, who is the observer? So Dr. Penfield did lot of experiments like this and his conclusion of four decades of the study of the brain was that the source of consciousness is extra-cerebral. It is outside the brain. So no matter how much he did the experiments, not only he but many other researchers did the experiments. They have found that there is no particular area of the brain which is connected to all other areas of the brain which would integrate all the inputs and even if there was such an area of the brain which would integrate all the inputs who is it that is perceiving it. So there is definitely correlation. There are certain emotions we experience and there are certain areas of the brain which correlate with the emotions. But correlation is not causation. There is difference between the two. I will explain this later.
But before that, another line of thinking. The topic is Quest for happiness. We all want to be happy. No one goes out of their way to become miserable, in fact even if people commit suicide, they do so because they feel dying will be a lesser pain than living. So that is also driven by the same urge for happiness or conversely minimising the opposite of happiness, that is distress. So we are all looking for happiness. Who is it that is looking for happiness? When we are happy, researchers may find out that a particular part of the brain is activated. Certain chemicals are secreted in the brain, and that’s how we feel happy. That’s ok. But that secretion of certain chemicals in the brain, that correlates with happiness. That doesn’t cause happiness. The difference between correlation and causation I can explain with another example at a more physical level. Normally, when we smile and laugh, that correlates with happiness. We are happy internally, and that happiness expresses itself as a bright smile on the face. Now does the converse hold true entirely? That if we smile and laugh, will we become happy? To some extent if a person has a long face, cheer up smile that can help to some extent. But happiness is not just the smile of the face. If happiness were just a smile of the face, all of us could get face twisting machines. If we just twist our face to a smile, would we all be happy? Or happiness were just laughter, sometimes some small children, if elders want to play with them, they tickle their bellies and the children laugh. Is that laughter happiness? We could say at one level, but if that were really happiness, and all of us want to be happy, all of us could get for ourselves perpetual tickling machines. There are physical correlations of happiness. The smile or laughter is something that correlates with happiness. But that is not the cause of happiness. Rather there is something deeper within us where we feel happy and that happiness expresses itself as the laugh or the smile. SO what applies at the facial level also applies at the neural level. So when we feel happy at that time there are, just as certain changes happen in the face when we feel happy similarly certain changes happen in the brain, but the experiencer of happiness is different. The experiencer of happiness as DR. Penfield says the source of consciousness is extra-cerebral. Similarly the seeker of happiness that is different from the brain and that, we are talking about Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti Yoga is taught in many ancient texts, one of them is the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita describes that the source of consciousness is non-material. It is called in the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit as atma or what we call in English as the soul. So when we talk about spiritual things essentially it means the things which are related with the soul level of existence. So the Bhagavad Gita explains that our present existence is two dimensional. We have a bodily side and we have a spiritual side. And both need to be taken care of. Success in one need doesn’t compensate for deficiency or failure in another need. For example somebody might be very successful in their careers. But if they don’t invest good enough time in their family, and their family life is a mess, they have some trauma in their family relationships, success in professional life, no matter how outstanding it is, that doesn’t compensate for the lacking in personal life. Both need to be taken care of . Similarly the Bhagavad Gita explains because our existence is bi-dimensional, we have a spiritual side and a material side, so both sides need to be taken care of. So success no matter how dazzling we may achieve in our material side, that will not compensate for lacking in the spiritual side. So going back to the starting, when I said that why people feel that life is so pointless, that they are going to the extent of committing suicide or we are contributing nothing to the ecology except harm. SO if we look from this framework what the Bhagavad Gita tells us we have two sides of existence, the material side and the spiritual side.
So when we don’t nourish our spiritual side, spiritual is eternal, spiritual is indestructible, spiritual is unchanging,
avināśi tu tad viddhi

yena sarvam idam tatam

vināśam avyayasyāsya

na kaścit kartum arhati (BG 2.17)
The Bhagavad Gita which is a book in Sanskrit says that the spiritual side, the soul, the atma is indestructible. SO if we don’t connect to our spiritual side, the we are always caught in material things. IF you first time go on a ship, sometimes some people experience sea-sickness, the ship is constantly moving, and the constant movement of the ship causes some people to feel dizzy, uneasy. So we are normally meant to live on land, solid ground. And when we are on a surface that is constantly shaking, that makes us uncomfortable, just because of that kind of restlessness of the ship. So similarly, all of us if we are caught only in material things, then we will be constantly restless. Why because the material things are constantly changing. See if we depend say on looks, where is my self-esteem, my sense of self-worth, it is coming from our looks. We may look good now, but few years down the line we may not look good. If my sense of self-worth comes from my bank balance, I have so much money, but there may be market crash, there may be recession and I may lose that. IF my sense of self-worth comes from the gadgets I have, I have a smartphone, and somebody else gets a smarter phone, then I think of getting phone better than that. SO materialism, causes us to wear our sense of self-worth to material things. And material things are constantly changing. Oscar Wilde said that, Nowadays people are very much caught in fashion, these kind of dresses are fashionable, these kind of shoes are fashionable. We will wear that. But then Oscar Wilde said that fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable, that we have to change it every six months. We suppose fashion is considered to be beautiful but when fashions change, the same things that made people’s eyes wide open, that same things become old-fashioned. People doesn’t care for them, it becomes ugly. We can’t tolerate it. SO when we wear our self-identity, self-worth to material things as happens in materialistic civilisation, in materialistic culture, then we become emotionally sea-sick. We always stay restless, as there is no security in our lives. So what bhakti-yoga does is , it gives us a method, by which we can balance our material and spiritual sides. SO the soul which is what we are according to the Bhagavad Gita is by nature happy, is by nature always joyful, Sanskrit is called sat-chit-ananda. Ananda means joy. So the soul is always joyful. But our innate joyfulness gets obscured when our attention is caught by external material things. So for example say we are eating food and we have got a feast and everybody has got a feast. But everybody has got different things. And somehow instead of looking at what we have got in our plate, we look at what others have got, and we feel that I have not got what she has got, and when we are looking at things we don’t have, then we miss out, there is a feast with us also, we have, we can eat it and enjoy. But if we are caught in seeing what everybody has and we don’t notice what we have then we subject ourselves to a scarcity mentality. And in that way we keep ourselves dissatisfied.
So the topic was “Quest for Happiness-Collecting the material or recollecting the spiritual.” So collecting the material means going out and getting things. Now certainly, when we live in our day to day lives, we do need material things. And we need to get them. We have jobs, careers, certainly we need material things. But seeking and acquiring material things is one thing, thinking that getting those things will make us happy, that is something else. If we think that if I get a new car, house or this job or this post or degree, these things will make me happy, this is something which will disappoint us. There may be some pleasure we may get by getting those things. Around twenty years ago, I was a student like all of you, so when I was in college, I was in India and for most Indians, the dream of their life is to come to America and I was no exception, I had some relatives in America who also wanted me to come here. Most of you know about GRE, when I was in college I gave GRE. My definition of happiness was collecting academic accolades. I wanted to be the number one in my class. For if I can just become the topper in my class, my college, my university then that will be the success of my life. And I was always a good student. Either I was joint first, second, third, among the top five. But I was never the first. So I felt that is what is missing in my life. If I just come first, then I will be happy, I will be successful. So then I gave GRE. Its in my third year in Engineering. So when I gave GRE, many Indians they are good at maths. They are good at analytical skills. But English is what the problem is. I used to like English. At that time, GRE was of 2400, so I got 2350. I was not only the first in my college, I was first in the history of my college. I was first in the whole state of Maharashtra. SO I was jubilant. Yes, all my dreams have come true. But then after some time I had started noticing that looking at my mark sheet, doesn’t make me happy. I need someone else to come and congratulate me. And then most of my friends did congratulate. But if anyone didn’t congratulate me I started thinking why did he or she not congratulating me. Don’t they know what I have achieved or are they envious of me? And then I started thinking that I have become more dependent on others for my happiness than what was I earlier. Earlier when I would meet others I would just talk with them. Now anytime I meet someone, I was thinking is this person going to congratulate me or not. I had become more dependent on them for happiness. And then a few months later some other student gave GRE, and he got 2360. The first thought that came in my mind was I will give GRE again and I will get 2370 this time. Then I started thinking that this is like chasing a mirage.
I read spiritual books before that also. And I started looking for something spiritual. And that was the time when I came across Bhagavad Gita and started practising bhakti-yoga. And I found that in connecting to the spiritual, there is a far greater fulfilment that is not available at least for me in anything else. SO then I obtained my Engineering and I worked in a software company for some time. I was studying the spiritual wisdom of the Gita and started sharing with others. And I could see many others around me, one of my friends was chronically depressed. And I found when he started practising meditation by understanding the message of the Bhagavad Gita, he started becoming more cheerful. His depression started going on. SO then when I felt that I could contribute much more to the society, by sharing spiritual knowledge rather than writing software programs. There were many others who could write software programs, but not many who were from a scientific background, scientific education and then had a spiritual orientation.
SO that’s what I started about eighteen years ago and that’s how I am here now. So I see science as one tall mountain of knowledge. And spiritual wisdom as also one tall mountain of knowledge. Unfortunately the modern human situation is that these two are split apart by a deep valley. SO we have dazzling amount of progress at the material level through science, but that’s in terms of controlling the outer world to some extent, I can press one button and I can talk with somebody in India. People hundred years ago couldn’t have even imagined this. So we have dazzling level of control over the outer world but in terms of our own inner emotions, we lack that control. So that’s why we have depressions, that’s why we have tragically people committing suicide because inner world is not controlled. SO the practise of yoga offers us control over the inner world. How does it offer that? Martin Luther King said that we live in age of guided missiles and misguided men. What is this misguiding? We have emotions within us and we look for happiness. And when we look for happiness in outer material things, because those things are temporary we are sooner or later disappointed. Because those things are not in our control always so when we wear our self-worth, self-identity to material things we subject ourselves to insecurity. So if we could connect to our own spiritual core, and experience peace, joy internally then our external contributions would actually be optimised. Why? Because we see a lot of our mental energy gets caught in stray thoughts.
I will conclude with this point. We often think that I have so many things to do, I am a student, I have a job, there are so many things that I have to do and even if the spiritual stuff makes sense, I don’t have time for it. Yes we are all busy and we are all hard-pressed to our time. But when we look at how our time goes, we often think of it, our schedule in terms of our activities.
Our schedule we think in terms of our activities. OK, here I have to go for this class, then I have to go for this experiment, then I have to go for doubt clearing, and we think that this is how my twenty four hours are going. Our time is taken not just by our activities, it is also taken by our thoughts. That means if say I am coming to class and at that time somebody snubs me. So I get irritated, I am thinking how dare this person snub me, then I go in the class. Physically I am there for one hour in the class. But my mind is somewhere else. But my mind is caught in somewhere else, thinking how to take revenge. And we get so consumed by that, we didn’t allocate any time in our schedule for that. And we may not even figure it out, but then one thought can consume one full hour. OR sometimes we worry about things. And none of us in our schedule we decide, ok 5 to 5:30 is worry time. But when we start worrying about things, it just catches our mind, our consciousness and it sucks our mental energy.
So our time is consumed not just by our activities, but also by our thoughts. So if we could get our thoughts, then we could make our thoughts more disciplined, then we would be able to better use whatever time we have. And that is what spirituality does. Spirituality gives us higher satisfaction internally, inner peace and inner satisfaction. And by that outer ups and downs don’t trouble us so much. Yes somebody may snub me, ok why do I care. It really doesn’t matter. The ultimate analysis is that the person snubbed me and who knows if that person even had any intention to snub me. He just didn’t even notice me, I thought that it was a snub.
And if we look at our worries also, most of the things we worry about, they never happen. We lose a lot of energy worrying about. SO if we had some internal satisfaction, the externals wouldn’t be able to consume so much of our mental energy, I will explain this with a concluding example. Suppose a person is a pauper, and has no money at all. And he has got one dollar. And then that dollar spills out of his pocket. So that person will get panicked, will become worried. But suppose that person is a billionaire. And then one dollar falls. Yes, he will not get so agitated by that. Because he has a billion dollars with him. HE can lose that one dollar, find it and use it. OR if somebody else finds it, then keep it. The point is if we have no inner happiness, then we are like that pauper, any small shakeup that happens in the outer world, that will shake us enormously. But if we are spiritually sheltered,
āpūryamānam acala-pratishtham
samudram āpah praviśanti yadvat
tadvat kāmā yam praviśanti sarve
sa śāntim āpnoti na kāma-kāmī ( BG 2.70)
In the Bhagavad Gita, 2nd chapter 70th verse, it is stated that if we are internally fulfilled, then we are like that billionaire. And whatever ups and downs happen in the material level, we may lose something, somebody may snub us, these are like losing one dollar, won’t matter to us.SO bhakti yoga is about connecting with that spiritual core which is there in our centre and when we do that then we are able to cope with ups and downs, without getting affected. And thus when our mental energy is not consumed by casual events that might happen, stray thoughts and stray desires, stray stimuli, when our mental energy Is not consumed that way, then we can focus and act more effectively. SO our ability to tap our ability is enhanced by our spirituality. We have certain abilities but if we are internally unstable, internally agitated then we will not be able to function.
But spirituality will bring a stability internally, then our ability to tap our ability will be enhanced by our spirituality. So the easiest way through which we can become spiritual is through Mantra Yoga. Bhakti Yoga has a part within it called mantra, so mantra is a special sound vibration which acts like an elevator for the consciousness. So we are at the material realm, but mantra takes our consciousness to the spiritual level. There are various mantras, we chant the Hare Krishna mantra. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. This mantra can be chanted through individual repetitive meditation, it can also be chanted as a musical meditation. Some of you who came earlier might have noticed a soothing background music going on, that was the theme of the same mantra. SO this musical mantra recitation or mantra singing that is also a form of meditation. And that meditation takes our consciousness to the spiritual level. And just by chanting the mantra, hearing the mantra being chanted, we will find that our consciousness will become calmer and clearer.
So I will summarise, I started by talking about how Heisenberg told Einstein that our civilisation is like a ship with no compass, which doesn’t know where we are going. And this sense of directionlessness is also seen in the fact that no other specie commit suicide. We humans commit suicide and more than the number of people being killed by others are those who are killing themselves. And further from scientific perspective, ecologically all species contribute to the ecology except the humans. SO why is that? The Bhagavad Gita explains that we have a spiritual and material side. And both need to be balanced, so now I discussed how we have a spiritual side from two perspectives, one is science looks for explanations, but what is the reason that explanations are present. So what is the explanation for the explainability of nature? And that explanation is in the ultimate spiritual intelligence that governs the universe. That underlies and shapes the universe. SO we talked about how science is like a fishing net which looks for material explanations, but beyond the material lies the spiritual. So the two are not contradictory they are complimentary. Just like what causes the car to move, it is because of the mechanism by which the wheels are moving, and what causes the car to move, it is the person who is driving the car who wants to go somewhere. Both these explanations are at different levels, they are not contradictory, they are complimentary. Another way I looked at it, was how spiritual is real from the point of view of consciousness. Where who is the person who says my hand is moving up or moving down that agent is not present anywhere in the brain, as Dr. Penfield said the source of consciousness is extra-cerebral. And that is the spiritual essence which is the soul. Then I explained how we have a spiritual side and a material side, and success at one level doesn’t make up for failure at the another level. Just like success in professional life doesn’t make up for failure in personal life. So we need to balance and we need to take care of both our spiritual and material side. And with respect to caring for spiritual side what does it mean? The spiritual is unchangeable, the spiritual is eternal and indestructible and to the extent we tune ourselves to the spiritual, the spiritual side gets nourished through exposure to the spiritual stimuli, through recollection of the spiritual. For recollection, I gave the example that if we have a feast but different people have different feasts, everybody is looking at what others have and not what we have. So materialism creates a scarcity mentality because we are constantly shown, you don’t have this, you don’t have that, but spirituality takes our focus inwards and helps us understand that we are ourselves joyful beings. Spirituality tunes us to our inner joyfulness. We become aware of the feast that we have the opportunity to eat and when we do this, how do we become spiritual, through mantra yoga. Mantra is sound vibration which is the elevator of our consciousness, which takes our consciousness to the spiritual realm. And when we become spiritual, people say I don’t have time for being spiritual but our time will not be consumed but saved by our spirituality. How? Because our time is consumed by stray thoughts and we have tremendous control over external things through science but spirituality will give us control on our inner emotions, inner thoughts. As Martin Luther King said we have guided missiles and misguided men and from that misguiding to the proper guiding, that can happen through spirituality, when we experience inner happiness by tuning to our spiritual side then we become like a billionaire and one dollar loss doesn’t affect us so much. So material ups and downs won’t cause so much agitation and anxiety and stress as much as they would have otherwise. So our ability to tap our ability will be enhanced by our spirituality. Thank you very much. Are there any questions or comments?
( Applause from the listeners)

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Chaitanya Charan das

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