WHY should we develop our Heart Space? – Part-5

However, if humans refuse to seek a life beyond mere sense gratification and struggle, we risk devolving into nothing more than well-dressed, polished, and sophisticated two-legged animals. We regress to lower stages of consciousness, neglecting our unique capacity to explore and realize our spiritual potential.

The Different Levels of Consciousness

According to the Vedic literatures, there are five stages of consciousness:

1.     Avrata – Covered Consciousness

The Vedic wisdom books proclaimed thousands of years ago that even plants and trees possess life. However, their consciousness is veiled, and their perception of pleasure and pain is highly limited. This is why we observe trees enduring hours of rain and extreme weather conditions without complaint.

2.     Sankuchita – Constricted Consciousness

Animals and birds possess a higher level of consciousness compared to plants. They can perceive pleasure and pain to a greater extent and exhibit intelligence similar to humans. For instance, a sneaky cat might venture into the kitchen to drink milk when no one is around. However, their thoughts are primarily centered around basic instincts such as eating, sleeping, mating, and defending.

Once in our ashram, the monastery of monks, each of us was given a couple of hangers to hang our shirts for drying in the open terrace. However, over time, all fifty residents lost their hangers. We wondered who could have stolen them, and as weeks passed, we forgot about the incident.

One day, while on the terrace, I noticed a beautiful nest perched on the top branch of a tree facing the ashram. To my astonishment, the nest was entirely constructed from our cloth hangers. I called the other residents, and together, we marveled at the ingenuity of these simple birds.

Where did these birds learn to build a nest, let alone one made of hangers? We have never heard of any bird studying civil engineering at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology. This incident highlights the intelligence present in animals and birds. However, the key distinction is that they are unable to expand their thinking or employ their intelligence beyond the four basic instincts of eating, sleeping, sex life, and defending.

It becomes evident that humans, too, utilize their intelligence to engage in these activities, albeit in a more complex manner. However, we have the potential to transcend these basic propensities and pursue higher endeavors.

3.     Mukulita – Blossoming Consciousness

Human beings are in this category as we possess a consciousness that can be likened to a bud, holding the potential to blossom into a beautiful flower. Unlike animals, humans possess the capacity to inquire about birth and death, as well as explore the purpose of life.

Through sincere inquiry and introspection, we can discover answers to the most perplexing questions that arise in our lives. We have the ability to transcend the pursuit of mere bodily pleasures and the daily struggle to fulfill our desires. Our existence encompasses more than the basic instincts of eating, sleeping, sex, and defending. As humans, we possess an innate ability to tap into this higher potential.

To be continued…