About Author: –
Sunil Upasana hails from Kerala (India) and has been a Bengalurean for 13 years. He has had a deep yearning to understand the profound philosophy that underlies Hinduism Read More.
The focal point of the Astika – Nastika conversations is mainly the origin of consciousness in humans. While theism emphasizes on an independent existence of consciousness from the material body, atheists based on the Carvaka doctrine argues that the consciousness is a product of the body and it perishes along with the body.
Let’s examine the factors giving more validity to the theist opinion:
The primary and secondary plane of existence
As the name denotes, primary plane is the first level of existence. Everything originates in the primary plane. Those that comes afterwards are all based on this primary plane. Hence, it can be stated that without the primary plane, there will not be any further planes of existence or corresponding experiences.
The next plane can be described as the secondary plane and it is based on the primary plane of existence. A yogi who is also spiritually adept, can change his existence level from the primary plane to secondary plane and vice versa.
Primary plane of existence – Consciousness or Body?
As per Vedanta doctrine:
Let’s check the relation between the primary and secondary planes of existence as per Vedanta. Upanishad proclaims “Prajnanam Brahma”, which means that consciousness (Prajna) is Brahman, the ultimate truth. Thus, the primary plane of existence is nothing but consciousness as per Vedanta. This plane is neither materialistic nor anyhow related to matter. Consciousness is the abstract plane on which matter as well as the experiential world is relying upon.
As per Carvaka doctrine:
Carvakas have explained the relation between body and consciousness in such a way that it is in conflict with all other philosophic doctrines of India. As per Carvaka theory, the materialistic human body is the primary plane of existence. This primary plane is concrete and visible with naked eyes. Materialistic body creates the consciousness and this consciousness is the secondary plane of existence. This plane is abstract and not visible with naked eyes.
How to understand that consciousness is not a creation of body?
As described above, in Indian Philosophy, Astikas and Nastikas have contradictory stand regarding the relation between consciousness and material body. Here, how can we understand that the Astika opinion which gives independent existence to consciousness apart from the body is correct?
Just imagine a Yogi performing meditation. During the initial stages of meditation, he will be aware of his body as well as consciousness. But as he goes deep and deep into the meditative realm, only consciousness will be within him and he becomes completely deprived of his bodily awareness. As his senses are not performing any functions, he won’t be able to access the outer world. But as he comes out from his meditation, his body awareness will be restored.
The aforementioned yogic experience is quite extraordinary and from this we can understand whether body or consciousness has got an independent existence.
– Even after losing his bodily awareness, the Yogi could indulge in the plane of consciousness.
– After coming out from his meditation, his bodily awareness was restored.
It is clear that the reverse process, of the above, is not possible. Keeping the consciousness aside, body can’t stay independent and it is not ideally feasible to regain the lost consciousness in a later stage. As the consciousness leaves the body, the condition of death prevails and a return from that stage is quite impossible.
Thus, consciousness is vital for bodily awareness. As the consciousness exists even in the absence of bodily awareness, it can be understood that there is absolutely no chance for the consciousness to be a product of material body.