The Adventure of Consciousness
Diploma in Consciousness Studies
‘To cosmic consciousness in its state of complete knowledge and complete experience all touches come as joy, Ananda. It is the narrowness and deficiency of consciousness that cause all our troubles, moral and even physical, as well as our impotence and the perpetual tragicomedy of our existence. But the remedy is not to starve the vital, as the moralists would have us do; it is to widen it; not to renounce, but to accept more, always more, and to extend one's consciousness'.
From The Adventure of Consciousness by Satprem
Introduction to Consciousness
The Diploma in Consciousness Studies was started in 2015 at the behest of Prof. Braj Bihari Chaubey, (Director of the Sadhu Ashram Institute for Sanskrit Research, Punjab University)who trained Jasbinder in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta. The course combines Vedic psychology and Jungian depth-analysis in a pioneering integration of Eastern and Western approaches to the process of Self-realization.
What are Consciousness Studies?
Our very existence is equated with consciousness. To the extent that we are conscious we know ourselves and understand the world around us. The more conscious we become, the more capable we are of grasping Reality, both personal and Absolute. Consciousness is a new soul-sense. Like the evolution of the eye which gave us a new sense, higher consciousness awakens us to new perceptions, adaptations, and mastery. We become more finely tuned - to our bodily needs, our instincts, our feelings and thoughts, but also to the heart-beat of the world around us, to Nature and to our fellow-creatures.
Instead of experiencing ourselves as alienated, isolated beings, we experience ourselves as part of an indivisible whole - the world-wide-web of creation.
Structure of the Course
Consciousness studies originated in Vedic times approx. 5000 years ago with the Rishis (sages) who, through intense observation and experiment, developed a scientific study of the very instrument of knowledge. They discovered that in order to know anything truly, we first had to acquire a consciousness that was neither muddied nor distorted, but like the clear and limpid surface of a lake, would give us a view to its very depths.
What is That by knowing which, all else becomes Known? asked the Rishis. ‘The Self’ is the answer that came to them. In their state of deepest meditation or Samadhi, they entered the superconscious, and discovered the laws which govern the physical, subtle and causal planes of existence.To this consciousness, the cosmos offers its secrets - of the very essence of every aspect of creation.
To experience this state of Self-realization the rishis developed a highly scientific system of training, which came to be known as the eight limbs of Yoga. The beginning of this yoga are the yamas and the niyamas, the ethical foundation which establishes us in the right relation to ourselves, our society, the world and nature. The other stages are asanas (hatha yoga), pranayama (control of breath), pratyahara (withdrawal of projections), dharana (concentration), dhyana (unbroken concentration or meditation), and samadhi or superconsciousness.
Vedic psychology uniquely differentiates between the senses, mind, intellect and the over-arching ego. In this way we can begin to discriminate between different states of consciousness instead of identifying with them. We learn particularly then to distinguish between the ego-personality and the Witness Self, which includes the rest but transcends their relativity. As long as we are caught in the ego-personality with its fears and hungers we remain delusional, disempowered and easily manipulated. It is only when we discover the Self that we truly come into our power and a sovereign authority, which is termed Svaraja or Self-rule.
Like the lotus floating on a muddy pond, the Self rises above the dramas and tantrums of the ego, enjoying unbroken wholeness and bliss in its awareness of the nature of Absolute Reality (sat-chitta-ananda). This is the experience of non-duality, of the Oneness of the Absolute, the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.
Skill in Action
Vedanta is often misunderstood as being exclusively spiritual and divorced from worldly attainments. On the contrary, the goal of Vedanta is unification and expansion of consciousness. It roots us more solidly in the world, from a position of mastery rather than servitude, with a consciousness that remains poised and fearless, able to adapt to change when required. The central message of Vedanta is skill in action. With a clear mind and a healthy ego, we can meet the demands of our worldly existence more efficiently, with measure and legitimacy, and a morality finely tuned and balanced between our needs and those of our fellow-creatures. This embodiment of the divine in our daily lives is termed dharma and is regarded as the foundation of spiritual fulfillment.
The integration of Jungian depth-psychology and Vedanta offers a complete and dynamic route to making the Self real in the world. Jung’s analysis of the unconscious gives us a methodology for freeing ourselves from the complexes that cause inner divides, neurosis and the false self, in order to restore wholeness and activate the archetype of the Self. Vedic psychology offers us the means to attain the highest level of consciousness, to overcome the illusion of duality and separateness, and to unite the seer and the seen, an unbroken golden thread giving us the ultimate continuity-of-being through all eternity.
By a graded and gradual progression we achieve a solid and lasting seat of consciousness which remains unshakeable in the midst of upheaval and adversity. By the practice of the techniques provided at each stage of the journey we become confident in our ability to remain courageous and heartened even in the face of life’s greatest challenges. Because now we know our own strength. Released from the fears and insecurities of the ego, we become capable of love. ‘Renounce and enjoy’, said Mahatma Gandhi, for it is only when we give up the fantasy of possession that everything truly belongs to us.