View about consciousness in the Western World
Most of the Western World is of the view that Darwin had to offer. He said that consciousness evolves from matter and evolution of all consciousness was after the construction of the universe. His view was that the entire universe was the first thing to appear following the big bang and consciousness appeared later and consciousness continues to evolve to this day. Although the theory appears interesting there are some major flaws in the theory if one is to weigh these claims in the light of intelligence which is the extension or product of consciousness. The question is, if the universe appeared after the big bang, what caused the universe to come forth? What produces matter? Western philosophy has no answer to this question. It is important to understand that the sages of Ancient India had already realized the origin of the universe much before the Western world could even take cognizance of the creation process.
True Nature of the Universe
It is consciousness alone that produced matter and also the different vibrations that manifest as thought, word and actions which again constitute matter. The whole genesis of the universe is immaculately explained in the Vishnu Purana with great detail, as also in the Srimad Bhagavatham. It is to be understood and cogitated through sadhana and through spiritual discipline that nothing precedes pure consciousness and nothing else will remain other than pure consciousness. The appearance of the world and its variegated concomitants is simply a movement in the colossal ocean of consciousness. Consciousness alone is on one side and the rest of what the senses can perceive are simply the evolutes of consciousness, there are mere disturbances in the field of consciousness. Consciousness is the subject and the rest of all that exists form the objective world. Other than pure consciousness which is beyond the physical, astral and causal experiences, all that is part of the object. Consciousness itself cannot be viewed or experienced because it is the experiencer. But its reflection on the subtler planes of existence, a reflection of consciousness on the purified mind, the subtlest, non-physical mind, also known as the spiritual mind helps one to intuit that it is consciousness alone that is real and all else is a mere vibration within the field of consciousness which follows the path of duality.
Nature of Perception and Intuition
The greatest and perhaps the most important evolutes of consciousness is the mind. With mind comes the ability to perceive and intuit. These aspects of perception and intuition have varying degrees and depend on the sensitivity and sensibility of the living entity. Sense experience is then an aspect of such perception. Intuition, however belongs to the subtlest aspect of the mind and depends on factors which are beyond the mere experiences of our senses.
Nature of Knowledge and Experience
Knowledge comes from enhanced perception. It comes from the ability to intuit, when matter is relieved from consciousness. Whatever comes out from practicality of this world, which is recorded as experience can be utmost an impression of that experience, it is dead information. Anything that is formulated by previous experience which stays in the mind, as a carried over experience may be useful for carrying our business as usual in worldly activities, it is useful for survival purposes but cannot qualify as an instrument for grasping the nature of consciousness. One can use the information accumulated out of this impression on the mind in two ways. One is to interpret the experience of the impression based on previous impressions already recorded in the mind or to use the current impression with regards to a fresh viewpoint, which is forwarded to the mind from the source, from consciousness itself. Hence there can be two types of responses possible, one is based on analyzing a heap of past experiences and thus interpreting the current experience based on them which may include fear, over-caution, being care-free and other additional emotional content available as overtones of past impressions. The other is to treat the experience with a fresh eye by considering the old experiences or impressions as reference but trying to interpret the experience in new light, in the here and now. These two responses can be radically different. An example will help understand the two approaches better.
Example of a vehicle used to get to a destination
I have to decide whether I use my own vehicle for a long distance travel. In the past I have had the bad experience of the vehicle breaking down. I can recollect two bitter experiences with the vehicle. I have limited time to decide whether it is better to take my vehicle or hire a vehicle for a travel. I am also running on limited funds and I have to reach my destination in quick time. What do I do? Should I take my vehicle or what are the other options since I am running low on funds?
I am unable to decide based on my earlier experiences:
I am overwhelmed and consumed by my earlier experiences. The experiences have been so bad that I dread taking my vehicle. I am falling short of options because I do not have enough money right now to hire a vehicle. The experiences have consumed me so much that I fail to do something about it and I am losing time. My experiences are freezing my actions because my senses and my mind have held me captive and as time is passing I am getting nervous.
I am able to use the light of knowledge
I remember the old experience of being trapped mid-way. But then my mind is not consumed by the situation. I keep my mind active in the here and now. By doing this I am making myself available to increasing awareness or consciousness since I have kept my past experiences at a distance and hence they are not interfering with my availability to the present. Soon I am flooded with ideas because I have allowed consciousness to flood myself with options. In the earlier case, since I only went by bad experiences, my mind was frozen , things never struck me. But when I gave a free hand to my inner self, the mind stopped scaring me. I had forgotten in the first case that I had a neighbor who had a vehicle too. I could have requested him for help and promised to pay him for the gas. I could have called up a friend and found out options about making the travel as quickly as possible. In fact there could be several options that could have emerged out of thin air if I allowed myself to be calm and allowed the freshness of knowledge to consume me. Pure consciousness exhibits its presence by transforming itself to knowledge.
A lesson about consciousness
It is to be understood that pure experience is of no use unless intuitive knowledge and perception about a situation is present, to utilize that experience. It is thus understood that Knowledge becomes your capability through cogitation, meditation, contemplation etc that creates space and distances the mind for one to be able to convert experience into expertise or to induce freshness into every new experience. Pure experience on the other hand is a dead thing incapable of adding value all by itself. Unless supported by the freshness of Knowledge no experience will deliver value. Experience is useful but knowledge is vital.