QUESTIONS ABOUT SOUL AND REBIRTH
NEED FOR A FRESH LOOK AND RE-DEFINITION
The concepts of Soul and Re-birth have been connected with human life and psyche ever since the Vedic civilization (20,000 BC). Practically every religion and every civilization on the earth, irrespective of geographical location, nationality, levels of educational, scientific and technological developments have believed in existence of soul and concept of rebirth. However, tremendous developments in science (particularly physics and biology) and increase in level of instrumental detection and resolution limits since the beginning of the 20 th century, have not only changed human life but have revolutionized our thoughts, concepts, perceptions and views about the whole gamete of energy, matter, space, time, consciousness and nature of reality in the universe. All these developments, call for an entirely new approach to looking at all our traditional concepts and their interpretations, purely on the basis of science and scientific logic, developed since the beginning of the 20 th century.
It has been argued that the activities of a conscious organism, generally attributed to the ‘Soul’ are nothing but the result of the electric charges and flow of electrically charged atomic ions and ionic currents across bio-molecules and cellular membranes through millions of ion channels established within developing and developed bodies of both uni- and multi-cellular, multi-organ living entities. Similarly, it has been logically argued that there is no possibility of any individual taking a re-birth after death. The whole concept of re-birth is linked to the memory of an individual previously born and lived in the past and perpetuated in the minds of individuals or in social memory through historical records. In the absence of such memory or record, the concept of re-birth of an individual from a historical past loses all its meaning, relevance and significance. Developments in modern physics, suggest no such possibility for a re-birth of an individual after death from the past. However, it provides ample scope, opportunities and provision for the culmination of conditions, irrespective of time frames, locations, parentage, religious beliefs, nationalities, colour of skin and sex for an individual, to be born with characteristics, properties and traits of head, heart and valour, similar or near exactly similar in resemblance to one who had been born earlier in the historical past. And memories about whom have been preserved in social memory and documented records.
In this context, it has been argued, that stories about Shri Krishna and Gautam Buddha remembering all of their past births and re-births cannot be factually true. These stories about Shri Krishna and Buddha remembering their births and re-births have descended to us from third person accounts. And there is likely possibility of a distortion or mis-interpretation percolating down for centuries without rethinking, introspection, reasoning or questioning. Therefore, these stories merely appear to be the metaphoric personal examples cited on behalf of Shri Krishna and Gautam Buddha for explaining the factual reality and law of perpetual creation, temporary subsistence and destruction of all material (both inanimate and animate inclusive) going on in the universe and nothing more. It has therefore been pleaded that, when developments in science and technology are driving the twenty first century, scientists must come forward to explain and re-interpret our traditional concepts, purely on the basis of modern science, developed particularly after the beginning of 20 th century, without any fear and free from personal, social, religious biases and dogmatic belief.
It is now known that the entire universe constitutes nothing but an inter-play of matter and energies of various kinds governed only by four kinds of natural forces namely; weak and strong interactions, electromagnetic and gravitation. And all material in the universe is made of Atoms and structures built from them. All Atoms in the universe are available in only 117 different kinds and that too in very limited proportions and quantities. These ‘Atoms’ themselves are ‘Conscious entities’ simply because of the fact that, they all have retained their individual nature, properties and characteristics besides their personal identities as to ‘Who they are’, ever since they were first created in the nuclear furnaces of stars during the ‘Big-Bang’ explosion, that occurred fifteen billion years ago. The author believes that modern developments in the fields of Molecular biology, Epigenetic, Biocentrism, Chemical Kinetics, Morphogenetic Fields, Stellar Chemistry, String Theory and Standard Model for atomic structure can be used in a multi-disciplinary way to explain our traditional concepts on modern scientific logic. We cannot afford to leave our twenty first century generation to remain scientifically unaware, ignorant and continue to remain as victims of out-dated religious dogmatic belief, ignorance and blind faith and continue to oppose new science. The author is hopeful that the readers would sincerely introspect and appreciate his frustration and dilemma in comprehending and understanding the traditional concepts as are being described in innumerable books in a traditional way.
** Professor and Head (Retired), Division of Agricultural Physics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi
Ever since the beginning of the most ancient Vedic civilization and Vedic philosophy that flourished in India almost 20,000 years BC (1-3), the concept of ‘Soul’ has remained attached to the human life, psyche and thought. This concept has also been upheld by other religious philosophies and civilizations that have followed and flourished on earth irrespective of geographic locations, nationalities, scientific and technological developments, colour of inhabitants and levels of education. The singular oldest ‘Vedic concept of Soul’ must have, probably and logically, spread globally by word of mouth through frequent travelers, merchants and scholars who came to India from different lands and returned back to their natives or by those preachers from India who either voluntarily travelled on their own or were sent by the feudal Kings to different lands for the purpose of spreading the message of Vedas and Upanishads. Vedas are the oldest known philosophical texts in the world that form the tenets of the Sanatan Hindu Way of living (4). Later in history, Emperor Ashok, is reported to have deliberately sent teams of scholars and preachers to distant and neighboring lands to spread Buddhist philosophy and ideology. No wonder, places connected to Buddha are still found from Afghanistan in the West of India to China in North, to Myanmar (Burma) and Japan in the East and to the South-East in Sri-Lanka (Ceylon), Malaysia (Malaya), Thailand, Combodia and Indonesia. In view of the missing links and documentary record on visits and travels of each and every one of those who came to the Indian sub-continent, there is merit, logic and also reason to believe that the ‘concept of soul’ in varying forms, shades, definitions and ideas might have also independently originated, evolved or refined by civilizations in other places. Whatever may be the truth, the concept of ‘Soul’ has factually remained as one of the most profound enigmatic mysteries to human beings until today. No surprise, the ‘Soul’ and its integration with religions, mind and spirituality should have virtually driven ‘crazy’, millions of men and women from all parts of the world to search for it, discover it, feel or sense it, visualize, understand, realize, identify, explain and even describe it as a common thread that binds all conscious living creatures together on Earth and possibly in the universe. Today, all civilizations, religious groups, philosophies in the world accept and regard the ‘Soul’ as something that drives the entire animate kingdom from humans, animals, insects, fish and plants to the unicellular organisms. Although some evidence has been claimed about soul taking a rebirth and life after-death (5-9) there is no unanimity over the concept and belief on rebirth of ‘Souls’ and their transmigration between and across species of all life forms for various reasons. The ‘Soul’ as a common constituent of all living entities is considered and believed to be universal and indestructible. Surprisingly, where is then the question of its birth, death and rebirth? The conscious mobility of living entities supposedly done at the instance of the ‘Soul’ is in fact the attribute and handy work of electric charge and ionic currents (10) depending upon the nature and kind of atoms involved which themselves are conscious entities (11). The bodies of living creatures constitute nothing more than a lump of ordinary matter comprising of atoms of predominantly few specific kinds and ‘Mind’ appears to be an attribute arising out of the collective experience, feelings and electrical activity of thousands of kinds of bio-molecular proteins, synthesized within billions of individual cells of the body as a part of its coherent strategy for survival, in response to the continually changing environment (10, 12). Therefore, each and every cell of the body, according to Candace B. Pert (12) constitutes the ‘Mind’. Mind is regarded as the owner of experiences and feelings, the center or focus of thoughts. And according to David Hume (‘A Treatise of Human Nature’ ed. P H Nidditch; Oxford University Press, 1978; first published 1739, Book-I, Part-IV, Chapter 6)- “ the self is nothing but a collection of experiences: When I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble upon some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I can never catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but only perception”.
A case of factual reality and redefining rebirth
Extraordinary human individuals are immortalized by society in public memory because of their morals, thoughts, literary contribution, work, ideals, actions, valour and compassion they stand for than for the size of their physical body, appearance and physique. Thousands of years after Shri Krishna mentioned about remembering his own, innumerable births and re-births in the Gita, it was Gautam Buddha who has been reported to have distinctly remembered all his past births and deaths which include 357 lives as a human beings, 66 as Gods and 123 as animals, indicating thereby a suggestive possibility of trans-migration from human to ‘godly angelic’ individuals to the animal life forms in between successive births. Surprisingly however, there is neither mention nor description of the sequential order of the births and rebirths of Gautam Buddha. In both these cases, it is impossible to believe that both Shri Krishna and Gautam Buddha should have factually remembered their individual identity all through the cycles of their births, deaths and rebirths. It seems more probable, reasonable, logical and scientifically consistent to believe that both Shri Krishna and Gautam Buddha, being knowledgeable about Vedic philosophy and Upanishads, were in fact, citing their own lives, deaths and re-births as metaphoric examples in explaining the cardinal principle of perpetually cyclic nature of material creation, existence and destruction going on in the universe. And this cycle is common to both the inanimate and animate matter and nothing more. It is perhaps our enamoured love, affection, appreciation and emotional attachment to the personalities, qualities and teachings of both Shri Krishna and Gautam Buddha individually, that have blinded us to overlook the factual scientific truth in their statements and mistakenly assume them to being endowed with super-natural powers. Both, Shri Krishna and Gautam Buddha were human beings like any other individual. Shri Krishna was bestowed and invoked with God-hood more than 2500 years after his death as per records mentioned by Dr. P. V. Vartak (13), and Gautam Buddha, during his own life time, had clearly emphasized that he was neither a GOD nor a messenger of a GOD. His enlightenment was not the result of a supernatural prowess, power, process or agency, but rather the result of close and minute attention he paid to the nature of the human mind which could be rediscovered by anyone for himself. Enlightenment is a process of being developed. It represents an emotional state of complete transformation from within and sprouts from the inner depth of a focused mind with full force of concentrated urge (14). And obviously, this type of complete transformation can only be possible by controlling the induced synthesis of the kind and nature of specific hormones, proteins and glandular secretions by controlling thoughts and concentrating Mind. It is well known that emotions and experiences are strongly influenced by physical effects, such as the chemical composition of the blood and hormonal imbalances. No wonder, why Vedas, Upanishads and the Gita, emphasize on controlling thoughts by way of practicing meditation (2, 3, 12, 14). It is now scientifically known for sure that our thoughts control the secretion of hormones and synthesis of proteins in the body, proteins control and modify metabolic, muscular and physiological behavior that ultimately leads to physical actions and their reactions (12). Our five senses, together, form a single integrated sensory system that is essentially designed to perceive a physical reality and man creates his own reality through action and thoughts (15). Therefore, enlightenment essentially means to learn to control thoughts, concentrate and focus mind to control secretion of hormones to control the synthesis, nature, kind and extent of specific proteins. The state of mental and body condition, experienced under the influence of such specifically induced and synthesized proteins by way of meditative practices, may possibly be the experienced blissful state, to what we call ‘the enlightenment’. Truly speaking the vocabulary for explaining the exact stage / state of what we call enlightenment has not yet been born (15). The other attributes induced and expressed by the human beings, as a consequence of the syntheses and secretion of specific hormones, enzymes, proteins or other metabolites within body, initiated or ignited by particular thoughts, food consumed, ailment, injury, inhalation or excitement etc. being, the expressions of kindness, love, affection, gratitude, sympathy, beauty, aesthetics, mood, art, music, anger, rage, hunger, sex and such other subtle emotions.
Religious philosophies are based on third-person accounts
It is a historical fact that stories about the life, work and philosophy of both Shri Krishna and Gautam Buddha and also in respect of Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammad and Lord Mahavir were written, compiled or interpreted by their followers long after they were gone. Neither of them had told nor even written their own biographies. Information about all of them has descended down to us from the records written by third persons, either contemporary or otherwise. The ‘Mahabharata’ itself has seen three editions before coming into the present form from originally containing 8,800 verses written by Ved Vyasa to 24,000 verses in the version edited by Rishi Vaishampayan and finally to 100,000 verses in the version compiled and edited by Rishi Sauti, sequentially within a span of about one thousand years from Ved Vyas (‘The Three Editions of the Mahabharata’ by N.R. Waradpande, Free download from Website: www.nrwaradpande.in). Therefore, there appears to be something fundamentally wrong or quite possibly a distortion in communication and in understanding the messages of both, Shri Krishna and Gautam Buddha about the factual reality or mystery of remembering their own births and rebirths.
Innumerable instances have, again been documented, at least in case of the well known enlightened Saints, Prophets, Rishis and Spiritually pious people, wherein they temporarily appeared in physical forms, simultaneously at different locations to help or guide their disciple or relation in difficulty. If such appearances are factually true, then why these should not be considered as the cases of simultaneous rebirths of the same individual, because he or she is carrying all his personal traits and qualities with himself / herself to be justified as a rebirth? Forget for the time being, the mode of such appearances or how this is possibly done and explainable on the basis of quantum physics. In comparison to this argument it is clear, why identical twins or identically looking ‘father-son’ or ‘mother–daughter’ combinations cannot be considered as rebirths or simultaneous rebirths because such individuals are entirely different in their personal characteristics, except in physical looks. ‘Rebirth’ in that event, needs to be re-defined and need not be considered to be restricted to being born only after death in previous life in a sequential order, irrespective of the irregular time gap between successive deaths and rebirths. Without consideration of the concept of ‘free will’, all natural processes are bound to be regularly cyclic and periodic. Incidentally, all stories about rebirths, therefore, appear to have possibly survived and prevailed for thousands of years under the dogmatic influence of religious thoughts and continued belief in the existence of something unknown and called the ‘Soul’ or ‘Super-intelligence’, at the back of our mind and grooming since childhood. No wonder, almost all scientific books, published until the end of the 19 th century, invoked the element of GOD and his divine hand in one way or the other. Even the most revolutionary scientist of all times, Sir Isaac Newton was not free from the dogmatic bondage with religious yoke. Tremendous developments in science and technology starting from the beginning of the 20 th century, have completely revolutionized our perceptions and concepts about the nature, forms, manifestations and interactions of energies, universe, material creation and reality. Subjects such as; Soul, Mind, Consciousness, Mind-Matter interactions, Telepathy, Tele-transportation, Clairvoyance, spirituality etc. which have dominated human life and psyche for thousands of years are no longer considered to be un-scientific and exclusive domains of religion, religious preachers and philosophies. They need to be integrated with physical sciences as part and parcel of the continual inter play of universal energy-matter continuum and laws that govern their interactions. Soul, consciousness, mind, psyche and such entities, in whatever form and kind of energy they might be manifesting, cannot be different but must form a part and parcel of our universal creation. No wonder these subjects today are being profusely funded by government and private funding agencies for putting them on rational modern scientific logic and foundation. Acharya Rajneesh (Osho) was perhaps right when he said– “Religions that do not evolve themselves in line with modern science and technology, will have no option but to die”. It is therefore imperative on the part of global scientific community to look dispassionately to these subjects and to the traditionally inherited concepts for thousands of years from purely scientific point of view and justifiably interpret them more as problems of multi- and inter-disciplinary continuum of modern scientific knowledge, developed only after the beginning of the 20 th Century. If the Religious leaders do not volunteer and take initiative to integrate religion with modern science, the scientific community must take such initiative in explaining the illusive religious /metaphysical concepts on scientific theories. It cannot be denied that science also has something to say about religious matters. Topics such as the nature of time and space, the origin and nature of matter and life, or causality, free-will and determinism etc. the very conceptual framework in which the religious questions have been posed can be altered by scientific advances. Some of the theological issues of centuries past have been rendered meaningless by modern cosmology and science. Even Albert Einstein admitted that- “We believe that science serves humanity best when it is all free of influence by any dogma and reserves the right to question all assumptions, including their own” and “It is more difficult to break a prejudice than an atom”.
Our criteria for considering and accepting re-birth
The only justified measure / criteria so far, for our consideration for belief in accepting rebirth has been the accidental birth of an individual, born in an entirely different time scale and location, under entirely different combination of genetic, epigenetic, environmental, terrestrial and celestial configurations, conditions and circumstances, matching exactly or near-exactly in similarities and characteristics of personality, traits and quality of certain exalted thoughts, ideals, sagacity, behavior, action and leadership with any person, who had been born earlier in the historical past and memories about whom are perpetually ingrained in our social memory or in documentary records. In the absence of such a memory or documented history, the question of rebirth loses all significance and relevance. The physical body, appearance, characteristics, parentage, geographic location, nationality, religious faiths or year and time of birth, practically are given no consideration except exact or near exact correspondence of qualities of head, heart and thoughts in deciding a rebirth of an individual from the past. It is again a practical social truth that any individual born with corresponding characteristics of personalities and brilliance of Shri Krishna or Gautam Buddha even today, will cast his influence and spell over the society around him and reform it. The Uncertainty Principle, enunciated by Werner Heisenberg, states that no two events are exactly alike and statistical probability for such incidences to coincide may be one in billions. That leaves no scope for a possible rebirth of an individual from the past after his death but at the same time suggests considerable possibility for an individual to be born in future with characteristic traits of quality of head, heart and mind similar or nearly similar to anyone who had previously lived on the earth, because the entire universe contributes to what we are. Perhaps, the meaning of the well cited and very often repeated couplet from the Gita –“ Yada yada hee dharmasya, glaneerbhavati Bharat, Abhyuthanamdharmsya tadatmaanum srujamyaham; Paritranaya sadhunam, vinashaya cha dushkrutam, Dharmasansthapanarthay, Sambhavaamee yugey yugey” ( O Bharata, whenever there is decay of dharma (foundation required for the healthy progress of life), leading to chaos (rise of adharma), I embody Myself (to halt deterioration and put evolution on proper track). For the protection of the righteous and the destruction of the wicked, as well as for the strengthening of the foundation of dharma, I am born time and again. (Gita Chapter 4, Verses 7, 8, Ref 14, pp 112-113) essentially conveys this scientific message and nothing more (16).
The belief in rebirth is attempted to be justified by advancing an argument that the living ‘Soul’ of the creature carries memory of its actions, learning and characteristic attributes to its new birth after death. There is no unanimity over how exactly this is possible, and on the nature and structure of the ‘Soul’ for this to be true, on the nature of forces or energies that are involved in transfer of memory from Soul in one life to that in the other? This justification, instead of satisfactorily answering the problem has raised new questions on the exact location of memory in the body; how, where and what organ is involved; in what form they are recorded, stored and recalled; nature and form of the vehicle and mode of transferring memory during cycles of birth-death and rebirths. Here, even if we assume for the time being, that the Soul itself carries his memories from one life to the other as the vehicle of transfer, the ‘Garbha-Upanishad’, on the contrary clearly states that a fetus growing in the womb of its mother itself becomes Jeeva (conscious self) in the seventh month and becomes complete in every sense to be a person in the eighth month. Clearly, in the seventh month of growing stage of fetus, the developing ion channels in its body become fully operational to exchange ions and conduct ionic currents i.e. it is the stage at which the ionic electric currents begin flowing and consciousness (as electrical activity) appearing or analogically the soul entering the fetal body. The fully developed fetus as a person by the end of the eighth month is believed to forget all memories of its past lives, births, deaths and acts before birth (17). Here again, there is an unjustified assumption that the fetus had carried its memories from the past until then, when it, itself comes to the conscious state in the eighth month. The ‘Sarvasa Upanishad’ however mentions that a ‘subtle body (Linga Deha) is created as an attribute out of the mind and other subtle elements that reside in the knot of the heart and the consciousness within this body is the ‘knower of the field’. What is this subtle element that resides in the knot of the heart? Has it got something to do with the power grid called the- ‘Anahata Chakra or the Heart Chakra’ which creates the field of coherence around the body? Obviously, answers to these questions are not easy, but in attempts to justify and support the devised line of thinking, theories on trans-migration of memory from one life to the other were also invented, developed and invoked. The theory of ‘Karma’ from the Vedic times to the theory of ‘Morpho-Genetic Fields’ and ‘Morphic-Resonance’ by Rupert Sheldrake (18, 19-22) in recent years are the most popular examples. Still however, both these theories representing bold attempts for explaining rebirth and mode of transfer of memory from one life to other, fundamentally pre-suppose the existence of Soul to be a factual reality of animate and inanimate material creation in nature. Perhaps, the memory of our dogmatic socio-religious thought, perpetuated in our personal, community and social life system for thousands of years, about the existence of some super-intelligence, at the back of our thinking is preventing us from taking an objective fresh look, purely from the scientific point of view.
Everything in the Universe is Made of Atoms
It is now known that, our physical existence is nothing more than an ordinary part of the cyclic creation of animate and inanimate matter in nature, under control of only four kinds of natural forces, namely the weak and strong interactions, electromagnetic and gravitation. Everything in the animate and inanimate material world is made of atoms and it is the kind, nature, proportions, conditions, environment and configuration of their combinations together that determine the physical form, chemical properties, characteristic traits and behavior of all kinds of the structures formed. During the 20 th Century, we have learned that living and lifeless matter do not differ in any fundamental way. There is no definite stage of complexity at which life appears, and there is no definite stage of evolution at which minds develop in living organisms. Therefore, consciousness and memory appear to be ingrained in the atoms and their structures themselves. The 117 different kinds of atoms available in whatever limited quantities, in nature today, were created at the time the ‘Big-Bang’ occurred. All these atoms have retained their identities (and of course the memory of who they are) ever since then. It is pertinent to ask, if our own memory is a culmination of the combined probability attribute of the individual memories of all atoms that constitute our body; or that of the ‘Soul’ if it factually exists; or more particularly that of the varying nature, kind and amount of thousands of proteins synthesized within our body system? Perhaps the last possibility, appears to be scientifically more realistic than others because proteins in living organisms, have a flexible structure, very little thermal disorder at room temperatures and despite not being liquids, they move freely and exhibit the properties of consciousness (11). And if this is so, then why an individual, ridden with Alzheimer’s disease should lose his memory and identity can possibly be explained on the basis of the nature, kind and amounts of new proteins synthesized in his body (12) after contracting the ailment. As, we know, we cannot predict when a man will die, but we can certainly predict how many men from each category of individual age groups will die in a year in a country, on the basis of modern quantum physical methods.
Need for a new thinking and explanation on our traditional concepts
Even in case we assume that some form of soul persists beyond death, it remains to be explained what particles of material or non-material stuff is that soul made off? What kind and nature of known or unknown forces hold it to the animate life forms and how does it interact with ordinary matter? Unfortunately, nobody from the advocates of the existence of souls, their trans-migration and life-after-death, has tried to sit down and do the hard work of explaining how the basic physics of atoms that constitute the entire universal animate and inanimate material creations, consisting of electrons, protons and neutrons beyond rules laid down by the ‘Standard Model of Particle Physics and Quantum Physics’ would have to be altered, used or interpreted in order for this to be true. Humanity has so far remained divided on this account for various reasons which have been effectively summarized by Moharir (10) in his comprehensive multidisciplinary review on the subject. Stories about rebirth of souls and their transmigration are enjoying credence and circulation in all languages, communities, societies and nationalities irrespective of nature and form of political systems and levels of scientific and technological developments. Moharir (10) in this holistic article has attempted to describe the concept about ‘Soul’ on the basis of modern scientific logic, and has pleaded for evolving a universal consensus opinion for rationalization and standardization of various terminologies, free from socio-religious fears, personal biases, prejudices, preferences and dogmas, being indiscriminately used by people from different disciplines in essentially describing the same thing. As a consequence, the energy or frequency pattern mentioned by a physicist, a life-force or information by a biophysicist, GOD by a religious preacher or ‘consciousness’ and ‘soul’ by a meta-physicist or a quantum physicist, in fact, synonymously refer to the same common constituent of everything existing in the universe. The confusion prevalent with regards to inconsistent conflicting ideas and concepts in this area of research needs to be removed. Literature, on the subject of ‘Soul’ written with limited narrow traditionally philosophical, psychological, religious, cultural, emotional and dogmatically personal biases have complicated and confused the situation more than resolved for greater clarity despite tremendous advancements in science, technology and limits of instrumental resolution. Rarely has anyone described (or at least attempted to describe) the subject of ‘Soul’ from a holistic multidisciplinary perspective. No wonder, our understanding about ‘Soul’ and ‘Mind’ continue to be mysteriously enigmatic, confusing and dogmatically bound to the traditional yoke. It is high time to at least attempt to resolve the matter for good and set all speculations, fallacies, fictions and subjective imaginations to rest, purely and almost exclusively on the strength of scientific logic and truth. This is particularly important in view of the fact that research on subjects like, soul, mind, consciousness, mind-matter interactions, clairvoyance, spirits and spirit-world etc. are receiving increasing research funding on global scale. Moreover, in the twenty first century, when developments in scientific and technological areas are driving the civilization, we cannot allow humanity to remain a continued victim of ignorance, illiteracy, superstitions, blind faith, confusion and continue to bear the burden of dogmatic religious views any more. It is the moral duty and responsibility of the Global scientific community and scientific academies in particular to rise above narrow considerations of dogmas of various shades of opinions and educate the common man on the basis of scientific facts. Therefore, all that has gone into literature on the subject of Soul needs to be rationalized on standardized uniform terminology of common human perceptions in general. There is therefore no reason, excuse or justification on the part of any of our religious leaders to remain themselves, irresponsibly ignorant, aloof, isolated or blind-folded from the developments in modern science and to keep their followers scientifically unaware, ignorant, illiterates and brain-washed to remain dogmatically opposed to new scientific thinking. They first need to open-up themselves, develop capacity to understand the new science, evolve with changing time, accept reality and help in providing a scientific basis to their faiths before preaching to newer generations because, the only purpose of religions is to collectively and individually educate their followers to live mentally, thoughtfully, intellectually, knowledgably, academically, physiologically, nutritionally and physically in sound good health in harmony with the laws of nature. It is therefore heartening, in contrast to the known history and traditionally orthodox and dogmatic attitude of the Vatican Church, that Pope Francis has recently in 2014 BC, should have voluntarily endorsed the Scientific theories of ‘Evolution’ and ‘Big Bang’ to be factual realities. How I wish, the Islamic Religious leaders from all nationalities also take a cue in this direction and help their followers in liberating themselves from out-dated dogmatic yokes.
Keeping in correspondence with the developments in modern science and technology, the ancient ‘Vedic’ and ‘Upanishad’ philosophies (20,000 BC) from India, surprisingly, stand tall and scientifically relevant to a large extent even today. But unfortunately, the scholars here are not even educating and explaining the fundamental science described in the Vedas, Upanishads and Gita to the common men. They continue to merely keep repeating and telling stories and performing the ritualistic practices, traditions and superstitions without reason, question or independent rethinking. No surprise, the perfectly scientific treatises, such as ‘Vedas’ and ‘Upanishads’ should continue to be erroneously described under ‘Hindu Religious literature’. Unfortunately, Sanskrit language scholars from India rarely understand modern science and Scientist (Physicists) on their part neither learn nor understand Sanskrit. No wonder, why, ignorance, misconceptions, misunderstanding, confusion and even incorrect interpretations of Vedic teachings continue to prevail amongst larger section of masses. The author without any reservation, heed of what others might think of him, has no hesitation in admitting that with all intellectual honesty, his own attempts to sincerely understand the concepts of soul, consciousness, mind and re-birth etc. literally made his head hurt. Even, reading the best of available scholarly books written by celebrated authorities, from various segments of religious and philosophical schools, without bias, malice, prejudice, doubts or intentions of questioning their sincerity, honesty, convictions and authority in attempting to write their own thoughts through these books, have personally not been able to provide him (author) clear mental images, or comprehension about these concepts. Perhaps, the author himself lacks the kind of necessary sophistication to fully conceive all that is described in these books, when millions of other readers have rocked their heads, tamely accepted and surrendered to their contents. They all have appeared to him (to the author), a myriad collection of beautifully worded, strongly motivating, emotionally charged, masterly skilled, psychologically captivating and mentally paralyzing and yet, profound literary compositions of choicest words and phrases, subjectively presenting individual perceptions but still demanding clarity on the basis of modern scientific theories. The present article is therefore an outcome and reflection of the frustration suffered by the author in seeking to understand these concepts, which have been boggling human mind since time immemorial. I hope, my readers would appreciate my sincere urge, hopeless frustration, dilemma in my pursuit and convictions. Perhaps they may patiently introspect, and possibly indentify themselves with me and justify the arguments raised in this article. They may even find themselves in no better situation than me. Optimistically, a ray of hope may be seen in someone from somewhere on the horizon provoked from such an introspection.
The author is also of sincere convictions that a holistic plausible explanation for Soul, consciousness, mind, memory and rebirth can possibly be sought within the framework of multi- and inter-disciplinary approach involving tenets of new theories on epi-genetics, biocentrism, morphogenesis, morphic resonance, chemical reaction kinetics, stellar chemistry, quantum physics, quantum chromo-dynamics, String Theory, the Standard Model of Atomic Structure and molecular biology (23-31). We have perhaps not listened carefully to what Nature has been trying to convey through the modern developments in physics, without some kind of dogmatic bias at the back of our minds that all matter (Atoms) has a rudimentary degree of consciousness and that man and all animate life forms are a direct result of this property of matter OR that of various kinds of field-attributes generated by the matter under specific constitution and configurations. Quantum mechanics, to that extent is a mathematical description of the consciousness of matter (11).
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