by Sri Ajit Halder
It is commonly accepted that humans are three-dimensional beings and belong to the world of objects displaying a variety of forms, shapes and patterns. The three dimensions referred to here are the dimensions of length, width and thickness of any object. Their measured values give an overall idea of the physical size of that object. A human body falls into the same objective categories. Humans share features with other living species of this planet like birth, growing up and gaining strength to be able to move about from place to place, engaging in life-supporting activities, and suffering as a result of ageing and progressive health decay. Ultimately life ends with the death of the body. Although these human characteristics have parallels in higher forms of animal life inhabiting our world, in one respect we notice a significant difference. Unlike other living creatures, humans are endowed with the divine gift of a higher level of consciousness which is a “spiritual consciousness” of metaphysical nature. This attribute of spiritual nature belongs to the human’s affective domain and is integrated with the innermost mental world of humans - which suggests that every human being is a spiritual being as well as a physical being, and the two aspects are inseparable. This article proposes that spiritual consciousness of the human mind and heart adds one extra dimension to complement the already existing set of three spatial dimensions of a human body. This concept of possessing an additional dimension uplifts the human species to the status of four-dimensional beings.
A discussion on the concept of dimension as is understood in the realm of science and in everyday usage will be relevant to appreciate the theme of this article. This discussion will also prepare the ground for making a smooth progression towards the concept of a four-dimensional human being. Here the word ‘dimension’ points to a physical measure of an object as a reference point to help forming a clear spatial idea of any object under consideration. Conventional wisdom in the field of physics tells us that Time is the so-called fourth dimension. However, Time is not a part of space and therefore cannot be considered as the fourth spatial dimension. We are looking for the fourth dimension in humans which should be integrated with the personality of individuals. One only needs to look deep inside a human mind for the fourth dimension, and our assertion is that Spiritual Consciousness rightly fits into our premise as the fourth dimension of a human being.
A solid block of wood has length, width and thickness as its three distinct dimensions. One can measure these dimensions to get an estimate of the size of the wooden block. A sharp point mark is without a dimension. A line drawn on paper has length, the first dimension. The front (or back) surface of a sheet of paper can be used to represent a two-dimensional plane. The thickness of a ream of paper represents the third dimension of the pile of sheets forming the ream. Viewed from another angle, a point is the projection of a straight line that possesses just one dimension. Likewise a straight line is the projection of a two-dimensional plane, and a plane such as the blue-print plan of a house is the projection of the three-dimensional structure of that building. It may be mentioned that a two-dimensional entity includes and controls i.e. limits the magnitude of a single dimension, and that a three-dimensional entity includes and controls the a two-dimensional entity. Hence by natural order and the method of induction, the fourth dimension empowers a human to exercise dominion over the three-dimensional objects of the material world and can influence a person to lead a morally enlightened life. Extending this line of argument, one can say that our three-dimensional world (including its human inhabitants) blessed with spirituality, is the projection or the foot print of the creator of the world, the divine personality of Godhead.
So much for the narrative on physical dimensions - now our discussion will focus on the subject of spiritual consciousness. Firstly, a note on the word ‘consciousness’ is provided to help consolidate our thoughts on spiritual consciousness. In the words of Sri Sri Babathakur, we read: “Consciousness Itself, which is the innermost Self, is independent by nature called the Kutastha, the immutable Consciousness, the ever–witness of Itself and everything else. That is the permanent and eternal nature of life which is ever transcendental….”. The ordinary human being is only conscious of the material world in which the person lives and acts. The experience any human gains in the pursuit of worldly life is the aspiration to enjoy a comfortable living, seeking happiness, acquiring assets, and enjoying life in general. And most of us cannot think of anything beyond our existence in this world. This state of being engrossed in worldly affairs is due to the character of the untrained mind, the influence of mostly sensory or phenomenal impulses upon the three objective dimensions, and preoccupations in the worldly matters. As a result, what any individual perceives as reality is a picture of the gross world filtered through his/ her unconscious mental conditioning. This objective experience is incomplete and insufficient to satisfy the inner and higher needs of life. We start enquiring within ourselves if we can improve our consciousness to have a subtler, finer and wider view of life - leading to a life of morality and spirituality.
In the spiritual traditions of India, consciousness is understood to be obscured by mental imperfections as a result of past actions (karma) and experiences. The goal of spiritual practice is the transformation and higher integration of these contents so that any practitioner following a spiritual path has his/her delusions dissolved and gradually moves closer to reality. Spiritual consciousness may be realized by pursuing religious observances and believing in the idea that the universe itself is consciousness. Meditation can have a calming influence on the mind that is usually restless and distracted by the happening in the world. It would be a good idea to follow a meditation session by reciting the Gayatri mantra or any other inspiring verse like Surya Bandana, the Argala Stotram or Shiva Stotra.
Traditionally, a person seeking spiritual enlightenment spends a period of tutelage with a Guru who oversees the disciple’s progress in these observances and guides him/her in the cultivation of spiritual awakening. The devotees of the Sacchidananda Society have been blessed by Sri Sri Babathakur over several decades through the receipt of His divine message and guidance to lead a righteous life. His advice, contained in His many publications, is a source for spiritual enlightenment for His followers.
Seekers of spiritual consciousness have all passed through the gateway of heart into stages of conscious evolution designed into our human experiences. These range from the basic will to survive in this world, all the way up to ultimate spiritual consciousness. The stages are divided into two tiers of conscious evolution - the basic tier, which then progresses into the spiritual tier. The basic tier of human development involves knowing and respecting the laws of the country one lives in, belonging to a religious community, and engaging in discharging duties and responsibilities to his/ her family and to the community. The consciousness that any individual has in this state resonates mostly with the physical, three-dimensional world in which he/she lives and acts. As persons evolve up the ladder of consciousness development, their viewpoints expand to a wider worldview and, yet, they retain all that they have learned from the lessons of the lower levels of consciousness through which they have already passed. The supreme state of consciousness is associated with spiritual enlightenment and union with the divine. This awareness enables us to identify human spirit with the universal spirit, and enjoy chidananda, or the bliss of knowing.
In conclusion, this article has brought the trio of the human body, mind and spirit together to focus on spiritual consciousness. This higher mental awareness allows us to act in the greater good of ourselves and of our fellow humans, and leads us to God Realization. This type of consciousness can be reached by progressing through several stages of development of the mental power into spiritual power. It normally remains dormant and has to be realized through concerted efforts. Human attributes like intelligence, the ability to make moral decisions, and to separate right from wrong help in reaching the higher level of consciousness. In this developed state, attention is improved, thought is refined and perception enhanced. We can achieve a greater awareness of reality in its four integrated dimensions.