Gradients of Consciousness

When we are living and going about our everyday life, does that mean we are aware of our everyday surroundings and know exactly what is happening? However, how do we get thoughts unrelated to our immediate environment if that is the case? Is there some other explanation that is yet to be explored?

Meaning of Consciousness

With all of its epistemological and religious diversification, Indian thought tends to view aspects of humanity as being on a spectrum - gradient, in which the edge between the everyday experience and the so-called altered conscious states that can be attained through the practice of yoga and meditation is attracted instead of between the tangible and the mental. Philosophy thus focuses on the two perspectives of the world that might be acquired and lived in these two categories of states: normal and abnormal.

Levels of Consciousness

The Upanishads offer a wealth of psychological knowledge. The Vedas and Upanishads describe the characteristics of the mind, its operations, and many psychological occurrences, including normal, aberrant, diseased, paranormal, and supernatural occurrences. The fundamental concepts of the medieval intellectual movement revolve around the concepts of oneself, spirit, human behavior, being, and experiencing.

The "five" holsters make up the traditional Indian notion of "Personality" that is presented in the Upanishads. They are "Annamaya" (the sheath of nourishment), "Pranamaya" (the sheath of vital air), "Manomaya" (the sheath of mind), "Vijnanamaya" (the sheath of cognition), and "Anandamaya" (bliss sheath). A portion of the human system is fed by "anna (food)" (Annamaya). That portion known as "Pranamaya" is fed by "prana," or "bioenergy." The component that is fed by education is called "Manomaya." The section "Vijnanamaya" is fed by "ego," whereas "Anandamaya" is fed by "emotions."

Indian Conceptualization

Aurobindo's definition of consciousness was based on the Vedic epistemology, which goes beyond individualized awareness. Because it serves as the foundation of everything that exists, the consciousness not only encompasses the capacity for self-awareness but also possesses a vibrant and imaginative energy in addition to being the genesis of selfhood and the feeling of self. It can control its responses or refrain from responding; it can both respond to and generate forces. Further, consciousness is not regarded as a simple yes-or-no occurrence but rather as unfolding in a gradient that extends from the alleged supercontinent Spirit above to the utterly indifferent materiality below.

The mechanisms of molting and expansion of consciousness which have provided our universe with its unique characteristics are produced by the combination of all three components of awareness: its cosmic essence, its energetic component, and its capacity to separate itself into numerous types and levels.

The basic idea is that reality is not considered a product of the brain or as something uniquely human but instead a vital precept, if not the sole substance, of consciousness. One of the earliest Upanishads describes the Ultimate Reality as "this enormous being, endless, without limitations, is only a mass of consciousness." The foundational reality is defined in the Vedantic philosophy as a unity (Saccidananda) made up of being (Sat), awareness (Cit), and pleasure (Ananda). It implies that under this ontology, none can be that is not conscious or which lacks pleasure in its very being since this unbroken oneness of Saccidananda is thought to be the inherent characteristic of all existence. No conscious experience of delight in one's existence is conceivable without consciousness, and vice versa.

This aligns differently with what people often experience. Although it may appear to us that existence is not always happy and that numerous occurrences are unconscious, this is likely the result of our usual human egocentric perception of reality. Although we label anything that occurs outside the confines of our typical waking state as "unconscious" and identifies any intake that is either too less, overwhelming or the incorrect kind as "suffering," this does not imply that consciousness and pleasure are entirely missing from those occurrences. Since cit and ananda are believed to constitute the fundamental substance of things, their occurrence or absence cannot rely on our physiological instrumentation's ability to recognize them.

The constraints of each person's particular centers of consciousness and pleasure that constitute a part of daily life are recognized by Indian literature. Ancient writings repeatedly emphasize that ignorance is the state in which people live daily.

True Nature of Consciousness

Even while addressing the most esoteric topics, the Indian philosopher attempts to personally appropriate this information through teleological awareness, in contrast to the Western philosopher, who gravitates toward the ideal of objectivity devoid of individual and subjective dimensions. Because of this, knowledge in Indian culture has a reactive or transformational quality regarding its effects on the individual. This is repeatedly alluded to as the distinction between the first and third-person viewpoints in literary works.

In Indian terminology, vyavahrika, and paramrthika, consciousness is a term that can refer to occurrences along either part of the phenomenal/real split. The Citta, cetana, caitta, buddhi, manas, vitarka and vicar, and chakra can characterize the essence of scientific egological consciousness (vyavahrika) or the essence of consciousness in phenomenal experience.

Light is frequently employed as a metaphor in Indian philosophies to demonstrate the essence of awareness. Therefore, there are two main categories of hypotheses of consciousness: (1) those that agree on the idea that consciousness is the illumination (praka) that enlightens others (para-praka), i.e., that consciousness illuminates (cognizes, demonstrates) just its attribute, but not itself, and that it necessitates some other act of awareness to be illuminated (recognized, encountered); and (2) the ones who describe consciousness as self-illuminating (sva-praka). Theories from the Vaieika, Nyya, and the Madhyamaka school of Buddhism, fall within the first classification. The second alludes to Kashmiri aivism and the Buddhist branch of Yogcra that is connected to Indian tantrism.


The Indian tradition does not associate consciousness with regular human thought. The medieval Indian scriptures' authors engaged in the phenomenological practice and succeeded in obtaining entry to a remarkably broad spectrum of conscious sensations. As is evident, Indian psychology draws from a rich knowledge base stored in our early religious scriptures and texts. Thus, it gives us a comprehensive understanding of concepts that are not only rich in data but also significantly different from their western counterparts.

However, ignorance and pain are characteristics of our constrained vision of it instead of the universe as it exists. They assert that as long as we meet the psychological requirements, we can understand how to take place in the completeness of consciousness and pleasure. A variety of elements that stay hugely troubling in dichotomous or purely physicalist philosophies are explained by the intimate relationship between existence and awareness, which at its pinnacle corresponds to an ultimate identity.