The Concept of Consiousness in Vedas
Hridaya Ranjan Sharma
Department of Vedic Studies, Banaras Hindu University, Banaras, India
Abstract: Consciousness (chetna) is a unique and divine quality of the universe that enriches humans to acquire and occupy a higher position among animate and inanimate beings. Recently, efforts have been made through scientific research and social reforms to centralize the definition of consciousness. In this context, it is significant to point out that most of all the scientific research and innovative methods of this academic field are usually based on three well known means of cognitions: sense perception, inference, and analogy. However, these three means of cognitions prove and produce limited facts of the phenomenal world. Vedic texts are regarded as the foremost means of verbal cognition and provide us with some of required assets of knowledge about consciousness. The great seers and sages had realized in their deep meditation that this phenomenal world is not a complete picture of the whole universe. In fact, there remains more to know about the manifested sphere of the universe. In addition to the fact that the vedic texts are the oldest and most authentic written literature of the world, there exists a series of vedic commentaries in which ancient commentators through the traditional method of vedic studies have discovered the hidden and coded theories and formulas of the vast universe and beyond. On the basis of these scripts and the fact that treasures of true knowledge and ancient science are well preserved in these texts, this paper provides few salient features of the concepts of consciousness.
ELEMENTS, vol, 3 (3), page 4-7, 2005
Conscious Awareness and the Brain Processing
Rajendra D. Badgaiyan
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Abstract: The study of consciousness has been limited primarily to philosophical domain. There are a number of conceptual and methodological issues that have prevented scientific investigation of conscious experience. We began the investigation by exploring its cognitive components. Since awareness is an important component of consciousness that could be measured, we used neuro-imaging techniques to study the brain processing of awareness using memory as a model. It is known that in the tests of ‘non-conscious memory’ subjects retrieve studied items without becoming consciously aware of retrieval. In contrast, they are fully aware in conscious memory tests. Spatial and temporal patterns of cortical activities observed during the two forms of memory were analyzed to understand neural network that might be associated with the awareness of retrieval. It appears that during conscious recollection, studied items are first retrieved non-consciously. Thereafter, a reentrant signaling loop is activated between the extrastriate area and frontal cortex. Experiments suggest that this loop may be responsible for the awareness of nonconsciously retrieved information. Further characterization of the extrastriate-frontal connectivity may help explain the neural mechanism of conscious experience.
ELEMENTS, vol, 3 (3), page 8-12, 2005
Sankhya: The Philosophy that Shaped the Tenets of Ayurveda
Jyoti Sharma & Amala Guha
University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT
Abstract: Ayurveda, “the science of life”, is over 6000-year-old health care system that originated in India. Principles of Ayurveda are based on six major philosophies or Shad Darshan (shad= six; drish=vision) that have evolved over time, between 3000 BC and 500 BC. This paper discusses some of the basic principles of ayurveda that are adapted from Sankhya philosophy.
ELEMENTS, vol, 3 (3), page 13, 2005