Author: Sri Ramakrishna
Publisher: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
Size: 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Understanding Consciousness: Recent Advances consists of the proceedings of the fourth biennial International Seminar on Consciousness held at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, in January 2008. The participants included not only philosophers and scientists but also mystics. Their illuminating papers will be read with profit and pleasure by scholars and lay persons alike. It is hoped that this volume will be as well received as the three earlier volumes.
Sri Ramakrishna showed through his own experience that consciousness as cit or caitanya is one and undivided, and it is transcendent consciousness that has become immanent consciousness. In order to realize Brahman as transcendent consciousness it is at first necessary to negate the world as neti, neti, 'not this, not this'. But after realizing transcendent consciousness, one comes back to the world and sees that Brahman itself has become the whole universe. Sri Ramakrishna gives an example to illustrate this point: a person who wants to reach the roof of a house at first leaves behind the steps of the staircase one after the other. But after reaching the roof when he comes down, he finds that the steps of the staircase are also made of the same material as the roof.
The word consciousness, derived from Latin, literally means 'knowledge of things together'. This concept, it has been rightly said, is commonly invoked but imperfectly understood and contradictorily defined. In recent times, apart from the philosophers and psychologists who have been traditional investigators of consciousness, it has also received the attention of researchers in neuroscience, information theory, and cybernetics. So the topic of the fourth International Seminar on Consciousness, held in January 2008, at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture-'Understanding Consciousness: Recent Advances' -seems to have been a happy choice for global discussion.
The topics of the three earlier biennial International Seminars on Consciousness are: 'Philosophy and Science: An Exploratory Approach to Consciousness' (2002), 'Life, Mind and Consciousness' (2004), and 'Consciousness: A Deeper Scientific Search' (2006). The proceedings of all the three Seminars have already been published by the Institute.
The fourth Seminar was inaugurated by Swami Prabhanandaji Maharaj, General Secretary, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna
Mission, on 18 January 2008. The Keynote Address was delivered by Professor P. N. Tandon, President, National Brain Research Centre, New Delhi, and Professor N. Mukunda, Vice-President, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, delivered the Presidential Address.
It may be pertinent here to take notice of the recent re- searches by Dr V. S. Ramachandran in the realm of mystic experiences. He emphatically asserts: 'I'd like to argue that there is in fact no such barrier, no great vertical divide in nature between mind and matter, substance and spirit.' He is in tune with the realization of Sri Ramakrishna that the entire universe was immersed in the Ocean of Consciousness, as it were, and there was no distinction between matter and spirit in the realm of superconsciousness. This belief was enthusiastically shared by
One of the salient features of our interdisciplinary Seminars is that we cast our net wide enough to invite as speakers not only philosophers and scientists but also mystics. This seems to give the Seminars a holistic dimension.
We are grateful to Professor N. Mukunda and Professor Jonathan Shear for taking the trouble of editing the Seminar proceedings for this volume. Professor Benoy Banerjee and others of the Publication Department deserve due gratitude from us for assisting in further editing the volume.
We would also like to thank the East India Pharmaceutical Works Ltd, Kolkata, the Department of Science and Technology (New Delhi), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (Pusa), both departments of the Government of India, and the Department of Higher Education, Government of West Bengal, for extending their helping hands in the form of financial assistance.
It is hoped that this volume will be as well received as the three earlier volumes on Consciousness.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend