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Question
how is consciousness said to be eternal?

Because consciousness shoot up only when there is communication between neurons. That is we fall unconsciousness(or loss of consciousness) under anesthesia.

That is, it seems matter is eternal but not consciousness.

Thanks.

Answer
Dear Vivek,

Thank you for your question.

The word "consciousness" is used in different meanings. In Western neurology and psychology, for example, consciousness refers to mental processes, as you describe. It also refers to that part of the personality that is under the control of the Ego. Thus we find the conscious mind contrasted with the unconscious, not only as in anesthesia, but also referring to aspects of personality that lie outside our conscious control or awareness normally. Freud believed dreams could reveal some of the content of the unconscious.

In our Sanatana Dharma, however, the Sanskrit word Cit , Consciousness, means something else entirely. Cit is the very substance of Reality. Consciousness was there before the Big Bang and will remain after this universe disappears in Mahāpralāya. Everything that is is Consciousness congealed, as it were, into various forms of matter. It gets manifested in stages from subtle to gross, from thought to the world of solid matter. The human nervous system is a highly sophisticated conduit that reveals Consciousness to a high degree, and through this vehicle Consciousness can turn back on Itself to know Itself and become Enlightened.

Einstein taught us that E=M, energy equals matter. Modern physics has already dematerialized the so-called material world. Our Sanatana Dharma calls energy Shakti, and it is that aspect of Consciousness that creates, preserves, and destroys the manifested universe.

Best wishes,

Brother William

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William Schindler, a.k.a. Brother William

Expertise

I can answer questions about Vedanta philosophy, Patanjali Yoga philosophy and practice, Tantra, Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Vivekachudamani (Shankara`s Crest-jewel of Spritual Discrimination), Advaita (non-dualism), the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition, Goddess worship, meditation practice, Hindu monasticism (sannyasa), and Sanskrit.

Experience

I've been studying and practicing Vedanta and Tantra since 1969.

Organizations
I'm the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based on traditional Hindu Tantra. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1969.

Publications
I have three books in print: GAY TANTRA, ESSAYS ON GAY TANTRA, BLOOD OF THE GODDESS.

Education/Credentials
I hold a B.A. in Sanskrit (UC Berkeley 1975) and an M.A. in clinical psychology (Antioch University 1986).

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