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Body/Mind as an Instrument of the Divine (Consciousness)
by Colin Drake
If you sit quietly noticing the sensations in (and on the surface of) your body, you can easily see that these occur, are detected by the nervous system and then appear in awareness, i.e. you become aware of them.
In the same vein you can notice that sounds occur, are detected by the ears, and then appear in awareness.
Sights occur, are detected by the eyes, and then appear in awareness.
Aromas occur, are detected by the nose, and then appear in awareness.
Flavours occur, are detected by the taste buds and then appear in awareness.
Thoughts occur, are detected by the mind, and then appear in awareness.
Mental images occur, are detected by the mind, and then appear in awareness.
Therefore the physical mind/body is an instrument through which awareness (consciousness at rest) can sense and contemplate the physical manifestation of cosmic energy (consciousness in motion, or motion in consciousness).
So the body/mind is an instrument through which awareness can experience the physical world, for experience is awareness of thoughts/mental images/sensations.
The body/mind is also an instrument through which awareness can interact with, and enjoy, the universal manifestation of cosmic energy.
Thus the body/mind is an instrument through which consciousness can know itself when manifest as the physical world, that is when in motion.
The human mind has the added advantage of being capable of self realization that is of realizing the deeper level of pure awareness, consciousness at rest, the unmanifest.
Therefore the human mind/body is an instrument through which consciousness can know itself in both modes: at rest and in motion. That is as pure awareness and as the physical universe.
This realization of humans as instruments of the divine (consciousness) occurs in many of the worlds religions. In Judaism, as instruments to enjoy and continue the creation; in Islam, as instruments through which Allah could know Himself; in Advaita Vedanta, as instruments through which Brahman could know Himself and His manifestation; and in Vaishnavism, as instruments to perform Yagnas (sacrifices) for the satisfaction of Krishna (Vishnu). There are also echoes of this in Christianity where man can be seen as an instrument to glorify God and receive His benefits. Mahayana Buddhism also has the concept of the Bodhisattva as an instrument to work for the enlightenment of all beings.
This is particularly stressed in Advaita Vedanta where we find the idea delineated in the Upanishads:
As Brahman is everything, it follows that we all are Brahman and that He is the agent by which the mind thinks, eye sees, tongue speaks, ear hears and body breathes (Kena I v.5-9). He is also described as the ear of the ear, eye of the eye, mind of the mind, word of the words and life of the life (Kena I v.2). Thus He is the pure awareness (Brihadaranyaka 4 v.7) in which all thought, life and sensation appears; and He is the seer (Isha v.8) and all knowing (Katha 2 v.18).
The Katha Upanishad likens man to a chariot, of which the atman (the Self, awareness, Brahman within each individual) is the master, the body is the chariot, the mind is the charioteer, the sense organs are the horses and the roads they travel on are the objects of sensation. The atman is the enjoyer and experiencer of the ride, which is made possible by the charioteer, chariot and horses. (Katha Upanishad 3v.3-4) So Brahman needs the mind and senses, to enjoy and experience the physical world. However when the mind is unaware of the masters presence, through lack of discrimination, it is unable to control the senses which run amok like wild horses (Ibid 3v.5). Brahman, pure consciousness, is hidden in every heart, being the eternal witness watching everything one does. He is said to be the operator whilst we are his innumerable instruments. (Svetasvetara Upanishad 6v.10-12)
Moreover, it is not only humans but all sensing organisms that are instruments through which consciousness can know itself when manifest as the physical world, that is when in motion.
Obviously different organisms have different capacities in this respect as all senses are limited to a certain wavelength, or range, of sensation (experience). As far as we know humans are the only species capable of self realization that is of realizing the deeper level of pure awareness, consciousness at rest, and thus are the only beings through which consciousness can know itself when at rest as pure awareness. However, there could well be other species, terrestrial and non- terrestrial, that are capable of this. Humans are also only limited instruments in terms of sensing, contemplating and knowing the manifest and the unmanifest.
Colin Drake is the author of Beyond the Separate Self:
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