CONSCIOUSNESS; THE MISSING LINK.
Since consciousness lies at the root of all life, from the elemental to the complex, it is with consciousness that we have to approach the growing of crops. In the Puranas, it is described how consciousness in living beings comes in four stages:
In seed form, consciousness is found in stone and rock. Diamonds are crystals that grow and growth is impossible without consciousness, which is the symptom of life.
In plants, consciousness assumes the seedling phase. Also here the conscious aspect determines growth.
In animals, consciousness is like a fully-grown plant, before flowering sets in. Animals have personality and the ability to learn, but not to philosophise or to think abstractly.
In humans, consciousness is like a plant in the bud. If humans come to self-realisation and unconditional love, the bud begins to bloom.
An Interesting Conversation
Those who argue that lower life forms have no soul and thus no consciousness we may point to the following conversation adapted from the Mahabharata.
‘’The parallels are quite much closer than we may think at first. I mean, what it says in the human materia medica, how can it have any bearing on plant life?”
“By seeing the plant in a similar manner as a human being. The plant has its mouth in the ground – the roots. At the junction of root and stem, where the first becomes the latter, we find the heart and the source of the circulation, which brings nitrogen up and sugars down. Digestion, respiration, vision, urinary organs and sweat glands are all in the leaves. So the plant is like a human being in many respects and suffers from similar diseases and parasites.”
“Next you are going to tell me a plant has consciousness too. Trees have life, but they must be blind, deaf, without smell, taste and touch.”
“You talk about the aggregate of the five Great Creatures, which create the material world and govern the senses that appertain to it. In the Mahabharata is a nice story that illustrates why plants are more like us than you think.
The Five Great Creatures
‘’King Bharadwaja was asking the sage Bhrigu about the senses and the elements that belong to them. The ear partakes to the element of space, the nose of earth, the tongue of water, the touch of air or wind and the eyes of light or fire. All creatures, both mobile and immobile, are composed of these five Great Creatures.
‘’Bharadwaja had his doubts about the veracity of this statement and asked how come these five elements are not visible in the immobile creatures. Trees don’t have any heat in their bodies. They have no motion and are made of dense particles. The five elements are not visible in them. Trees don’t see, hear, have no smell or taste organs and cannot touch anything.”
“Exactly. That’s what I think too.”
“But you know as well as I do that trees do have a lot of space in them in the inter- and intra-cellular spaces. They always produce leaves, fruits and flowers and as a consequence they have heat in them too, causing the leaves to drop and later to give you warmth when you burn it in a fire. They also get sick, whither and dry, showing they have a sense of touch, for how else can disease touch them? From the sound of wind, thunder and fire, fruits and leaves drop down, so the trees can hear and must have ears. What else to say about this? There is even a book, ‘The secret lives of plants’, which describes this consciousness. Brighu had a few things more to say too.
“A creeper winds its way around a tree up and up, even if it has grown a distance away from the tree. It will seek out the tree without fail and then climb up its trunk. Blind things cannot find their way, thus proving the plants have eyes. Also, the leaves and flowers are held so that they follow the sun, catching as much light as they can throughout the day, proving trees have sight and movement.
‘’They put forth flowers in due season as a reaction to certain scents, such as the burning of incense. They drink water by their roots and catch diseases, which can be cured by diverse means. This proves they have taste. They are susceptible to pleasure and pain, caused by weather and man, in cutting and breaking them and they will grow anew, showing they have life.
‘’They suck up water and grow and become humid. If there were no water in trees, then why does green wood generally not burn? So you see that also the immobile creatures partake of all the properties of all other creatures. Therefore, I say they are not too much different from humans, although similar states may look very different. This is a free rendering of the arguments put forth by the king and the sage and extended to modern findings, such as found in the ‘Secret life of plants’.
Different Terminology is not less Scientific
“While Bhrigu may have used terms not acceptable to modern science, his exposition is rather scientific in my view. We also do not accuse Newton of using unscientific terms, although a modern formulation of the law of gravity may sound very different from his. Scientific language also has developed over the ages. We only have to look in Black’s medical dictionary, to see how terms have changed in the last fifty years.
‘’That this is due to more refined observational techniques, rather than to a better understanding, is of course conveniently forgotten. Yet similarly as we have brought observational accuracy to the highest possible degree, the Vedic seers calculated time from the atom and came up with an accuracy we have not even matched.
Consciousness and "Dead Matter"
“Consciousness may be seen as the unifying factor, in that it is common to everything, even to what you and I designate as dead and inert matter. For even dead matter is the product of consciousness. A car is also the product of consciousness, like a table and a chair.’’
“A car a conscious object? As also a chair and a table? Now you are pulling my leg.”
“Of course not. Ever heard of the ‘Monday-morning car’? That is a car that has all the car ingredients, but not the “car consciousness” and so it will always have some sort of trouble. It was built on Monday morning, when the crew was having their thoughts still by the past weekend, rather than by the work at hand – they worked on autopilot. So their consciousness was with the weekend and its inconjunct drinking bouts, birthday parties and fights with the spouse, rather than with building a car. Hence the name – “Monday-morning car”, which is a bitch to own. It is also not restricted to cars but appertains to all objects made by other people. After all, they put their consciousness into that object so it works as it is supposed to do. If not, the thing will work haphazardly.”
“That is true – I have had a camera that always had such temperament.”
“See? Even you call it temperament, which is an expression of consciousness.”
“I give up, I am convinced you are right.”