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Friday, December 12, 2014

Reality and Illusion

The Ashtavakra Gita the great link between philosophy, metaphysics and physics. I hope you remember the story of Ashtavakra that we used to read in amar chitra katha as a great scholar cursed by his own father for questioning certain established philosophical and religious dogmas and also giving a very convining explanation.  I have always held this Gita as the most abstract metaphysical and philosophical text as well as the most advanced prompt for later day scientific research in physics.

Here is an excellent but brief explanation of just one of his sloka
Severing All Illusions
By: DHRUVA BHARGAVA on Oct 04, 2014
What we see separates us from Supreme reality, says DHRUVA BHARGAVA

When the formless, undivided, infinite oneness, Self, the pure ‘knowing’ gets embodied, it becomes finite — the perceived. With perception arises the appearance of reality and with that, our experiences.However, the appearance of reality is not reality itself but merely an appearance caused by our perception of it.The reality remains beyond our percept and knowing. The entire appearance of our perception is composed of diverse emergent qualities that are illusory; therefore, any appearance too,is illusory.This does not mean that existence is illusory; it means,we experience the appearance of reality only in terms of qualities produced within us by the act of perception and not by reality itself.

The Ashtavakra Gita (2.9) clearly states:“The mirage of universe appears in me/ As silver appears in mother-of-pearl/ As snake appears in a rope/ As water appears on a desert horizon.” However, the problem ensues when the illusory appearance is mistaken for reality itself.The emergent qualities of varied colours and sounds, temperature ranges, hardness, size and volume that compose the appearance of reality,are otherwise absent in reality.The consequential confusion of mistaking their appearance for reality itself is a delusion that misleads the perceiver into an illusory state from where his subsequent actions and attachments emanate.This confusion and delusion is the root cause of all misery and sufferings. The Ashtavakra Gita (2.16) elaborates,“ Looking at One and seeing many/ Is the cause of all misery.The only cure is to realise/ What is seen is not there./ I am One — aware, blissful, immaculate.” There are only two modes of perception — sensory and cognitive.

In sensory perception, inputs received through scanning of the physical environment by our senses are presented to our consciousness. These sensory inputs are polarized around a point of perception, such as heat-cold, light-darkness, hardsoft or rough-smooth.This point of perception lies on a wide range,relative to the perceiver, to which his physical body adapts.Thus,a human being as perceiver,may find 30-degree centigrade temperature tolerable, but an organism living in a deep sea region near an underwater volcano, where temperature ranges between 100-200 degrees,may find 30 degree centigrade intolerable. In cognitive perception, inputs received from mental concepts — that of imagination, thinking, and memories are presented to consciousness in a dualistic way, such as like-dislike and favourable-unfavourable.

In cognitive perception, the mind itself provides inputs for perception which are rebounded within.This rebounding of inputs has no limits as they are not grounded in the physical environment like sensory inputs. In the realm of cognitive perception, one can, therefore,limitlessly think,imagine, fantasise and conceptualise. Thus,cognitive percept can be infinitely reproduced and built over and over again as the uninterrupted source of inputs lies within.

This creates an entangling cognitive loop due to rebounding of inner inputs and percept. In fact, perception ‘dualises’ the otherwise Oneness-Self into Self and the other. Our self concept, the self as we see ourselves,is a ‘dualised’separate self and a product of cognitive perception. It always perceives itself as separate from the other. It’s built on our memories,imaginations,fantasies, thinking,and feelings,but appears real. All misery and suffering ensue when we own and accept this separate illusory self-concept as real. Once this illusory self is accepted and identified with, all its associated illusory suffering and misery that follow appear real too.

link to above article is here

and surprisingly today this appeared along with another latest development and discussion in the world of physics

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