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Vedic Model of Mind

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Abstract The Vedic model of mind is a ‘consciousness-based’ approach in which consciousness is primary to nature. It contrasts with the ‘unconscious-based’ approach that places mind in the unconscious brain underlain by insentient random quantum fields. Advances in quantum physics to deeper levels, and in psychology toward higher development, converge on the Vedic model. Adding to the ‘objective’ third-person indirect experimental method the first-person direct experiential method is extending modern science to this more coherent model. These advances, the Vedic model of mind, and some of its practical applications are overviewed in this paper.
Vedic Model of Mind
RW Boyer
The Vedic model of mind is a ‘consciousness-based’ approach in which consciousness is primary
to nature. It contrasts with the ‘unconscious-based’ approach that places mind in the
unconscious brain underlain by insentient random quantum fields. Advances in quantum physics
to deeper levels, and in psychology toward higher development, converge on the Vedic model.
Adding to the ‘objective’ third-person indirect experimental method the first-person direct
experiential method is extending modern science to this more coherent model. These advances,
the Vedic model of mind, and some of its practical applications are overviewed in this paper.
Key terms: Veda, consciousness-based approach, ontology, nonlocality, unified field,
epistemology, higher states of consciousness
Modern science involves observing the natural world through our ordinary senses. We then
apply our abstract reasoning to build theories that help explain and predict the orderly
functioning of what we observe to be the real world. Experience and reason are the established
means to gain knowledge in modern science. To protect against unreliable subjectivity in
experience and reason, the ‘objective’ approach relies on consensual validation – which is based
on inter-subjective agreement among scientists. Historically given little consideration, it is now
increasingly recognized that scientific consensus depends on the level of functioning or
developmental state of contributors to the consensus.
Experience and reason are common processes in the ordinary waking state of consciousness.
This state is a representational or reflective mode of knowing characterized by a separation of
objects observed and the observer. It is the basis for the assumption of the independence of
object and subject that has been a fundamental principle in scientific methodology. Though
experiencing objects as separate from the observer is assumed to be ‘given by nature,’ dualistic
object-subject independence is imposed upon nature by ordinary waking experiences. Given this
epistemological approach, it is not surprising that modern scientific experimental methodology is
fragmented into matter/mind duality with ‘objective’ object/subject independence, and that the
relationship of mind to matter has been extremely difficult to address in modern science.
However, with major advances from macroscopic local matter to much more abstract
nonlocal fields, the interdependence of outer objects and inner observer at more fundamental
levels of nature is now being recognized and confronted. This is indicative that the conceptual
gap in the old mind-body problem is actually beginning to be bridged.
The Vedic approach is drawn from Veda, which can be translated as ‘knowledge. Like
modern science, it concerns the pursuit of total knowledge of nature including human nature.
In the Vedic approach, the mind and the world examined using it share the same source and the
same laws of nature. Long classified as pre-scientific mythology, systematic Vedic
epistemological methods to develop total knowledge had been almost completely lost.
A pivotal contribution to their re-clarification is the work of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to
revive and test them in the scientific context as Maharishi Vedic Science and Technology – which
is the approach discussed in this paper. Also like modern science, it emphasizes theoretical
consistency and empirical validation. However, it adds deeper systematic experiential means that
apply the direct subjective first-person approach, complementing the outer indirect ‘objective’
experimental third-person approach. In this view, reliable knowledge can be gained
systematically in the inner laboratory of the scientist’s mind. This is facilitating progress
toward a more coherent understanding of the underlying seamless connection between matter
and mind, and how they relate to consciousness (Boyer, 2008, 2021).
Vedic Model of Consciousness
Consciousness has been the constitutive issue for psychology (Miller, 1981), and is now a core
issue in neuroscience, in biology, and also in quantum physics. In mainstream modern science,
consciousness is defined as the ability to be aware of a separate object of experience. It is given a
functional role in attention, intention, and the sense of self. It is typically described as fading out
during sleep and coma, restricted by brain malfunctioning, and ceasing entirely when the body
no longer sustains biological life. In this view, consciousness is at best an emergent property of
complex neurobiological processes in the physical brain – or just an epiphenomenon of the brain.
But this physicalist view has been critically challenged by progress in quantum theories (QT)
over the past century. This evidence has led to the rational conclusion widely appreciated in
physics today that matter doesn’t have a material basis. Subtler, more abstract levels underneath
the physical level are being uncovered and investigated – unifying nature on deeper levels.
In the Vedic approach, the ‘bottom-line’ or most fundamental ground state of the mind is
consciousness itself. It is initially ‘directly experienced’ as a fourth natural state in addition to
ordinary waking, dreaming, and sleep when mental activity settles to inner silence – like a wave
settles back into the ocean. The expanded awareness that occurs as a natural result of this
transcendent, deeply restful inner silence is held to activate healing mechanisms that help
dissolve deep-rooted stress and stabilize expanded awareness for more coherent individual and
societal development. It facilitates refinement that expands the range of empirical experience.
Recent progress in quantum theories toward subtler, ontologically real nonlocal levels of nature
will be briefly summarized to clarify further the ‘consciousness-based’ Vedic model of mind.
Progress toward nonlocal mind. The original (Copenhagen) QT interpretation posited quantum
wavefunctions as mathematical representations of nature not real quantum waves in nature
that instantaneously collapse to physical objects when observed (e.g., Herbert, 1981; Penrose,
2005). However, recent QT interpretations posit that interactions with the physical environment
in conventional spacetime reduce or decohere quantum wave coherence into classical objects
objectively, without observers called objective reduction. If quanta interact with the real
environment, obviously they are not just mathematical concepts but real quantum waves.
Further, the major experimental findings in the 1980s/90s of quantum entanglement
supported the phenomenon of nonlocality, in which particles that interact with each other, then
separate, remain connected no matter how far apart (Greene, 1999) These experimental findings
are not accounted for in the classical view that nature interacts only locally (within light-speed).
Nonlocal causal relations are theorized to exist in a more abstract and fundamental, ontologically
real field underlying conventional relativistic spacetime. Quantum gravity theories go even
further toward this underlying level. String theories posit geometric ‘objects’ (strings and branes)
as the basis of matter (Greene, 1999, 2004). And loop quantum gravity theory posits a pure
geometry of information space underneath conventional relativistic spacetime (Smolin, 2001).
And even further, the neorealist interpretation, for example, posits a deeper, subtler, ontologically
real, nonlocal, mind-like information field the ‘implicate order(Bohm, 1980; Bohm, Hiley,
1993). In this QT interpretation, both the local physical world or explicate order’ (including
physical body) and the subtler nonlocal implicate order (including a deeper real level of mind)
exist in a ‘super-implicate order’ or unified field as the source of everything. These cutting-edge
theories interconnect nature on levels underneath and permeating conventional relativistic
gravitational spacetime that had not been identified in classical physics.
It is important to appreciate the profound implications of these advances in quantum physics.
According to the reductive physicalist view, there is no place where real conscious minds exist,
and there are no means for mind to influence matter because there is no break in the physical
causal chain for another influence to change the sequence of events; thus, there is no free will.
But, for the first time in modern science, advances such as those just exemplified support a
logically coherent model to address the mind-body problem. It is based on a real nonlocal field
where individual minds can exist and have causal efficacy (Stapp, 2007: Boyer, 2008, 2010).
Universal to Individual Consciousness, Mind, and Matter in Veda
The ancient Vedic tradition, along with others but with cultural and language differences, posits a
transcendent essence of nature – somewhat akin to the unified field as the source of everything.
Some of these ancient traditions also hold that ‘direct experience’ of that universal essence is
possible because it is the essence of individual consciousness universal Being as the basis of
individual being (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1972, 1967, 1963; Hagelin, 1987). It is a
consciousness-mind-matter ontology in which universal Being consciousness itself, universal
consciousness – is the ultimate basis of mind and matter. It is in this most fundamental sense that
the Vedic model is consciousness-based. This model contrasts dramatically with the reductive
physicalist view current in mainstream modern science that can be characterized as a matter-
mind-consciousness ontology, in which conscious mind is nothing other than the physical brain.
The completely holistic Vedic approach can be said to start with ultimate unity or wholeness.
The whole creates the parts. The ultimate wholeness is smaller than the smallest and bigger than
the biggest (Katha Upanishad 1.2.20, Nader, 2000). The Vedic approach unfolds the infinite
eternal unity as sequential limitations into finite diversity of parts. The parts emerge within the
whole, rather than the whole emerging from combining the parts. Spacetime is not created from
nothing; rather, it is a phenomenal limitation of the infinite eternal unified field that already
exists everywhere. Space is based in infinity, time in eternity, and mortality in immortality.
Importantly, this also means that no new dimensions (mathematical or otherwise) need to be
added to the ordinary four dimensions of spacetime to account for nonlocality, and also to
account for the overall structure of the phenomenal universe (Boyer, 2021).
Structure of Rik Veda. The first section of Veda, Rik Veda, includes 10 mandalas (chapters) that
systematically unfold how nature manifests from ultimate holism to phenomenally inert parts.
Mandala 1 can be related to unity, Mandala 10 to non-duality (the ‘end of the Veda, Vedanta),
and Mandalas 2-9 to the eight-fold structure of the phenomenal manifest universe. This ‘8-fold
structure’ (Prakriti) is comprised of five basic constituents/essences (earth, water, fire, air, space)
and three more fundamental qualities or levels of nature (related to mind, intellect, ego).
In this holistic account, phenomenal manifestation is generally consistent with sequential
symmetry-breaking, objective reduction, the ‘arrow of time,’ and the second and third laws of
thermodynamics that imply the universe came from the lowest entropy, orderly unified field.
Advances in QT exemplified earlier converge on the Vedic model of three levels of spacetime: 1)
infinite unified field; 2) subtle finite relative nonlocal field including mind; and 3) gross finite
relative local field of ordinary physical matter in conventional spacetime. We will next identify
key principles that form the ‘8-fold structure’ of nature in Veda. With this foundation, we can
then consider the main theme of the Vedic model of mind and its levels, the functions of each
level, and examples of how they are applied in practical technologies to improve human life.
Three fundamental principles/qualities/forces. Most ancient knowledge shares with modern
science simple binary logic from which emerge three-fold models (Bhavasar, Boyer, 2009).
Conceptual delineations are initial dualities from the discriminative function of the intellect
related to the laws of nature. In duality there is an implied trinity, which concerns the relationship
between the two. This trinity is in both modern science and ancient Vedic science. In the
delineation of observer and observed is the process of observing; in creation and dissolution
operators is the maintenance operator; also, in subject and object is the predicate. Key examples
in Vedic literature include the fundamental trinities of sat-chit-ananda, rishi-devata-chandas, and
Brahma-Vishnu-Siva. (They also relate to the trinity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit in some religious
traditions). These abstract principles concern discriminative processes of the intellect and the
dynamics of phenomenal objects all of which directly relate to the fundamental trinity of the
knower, the known, and the process of knowing.
In the aspect of Vedic literature called Sankhya consistent with the 10 mandalas of Rik Veda,
the three fundamental principles, qualities, or ‘forces’ are further enumerated. This framework is
quite helpful for contemporary particle-force theories that posit a multitude of particles emerging
from the fundamental quantum fields (electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear, gravitational,
which gain mass via a theorized fifth field, the Higgs field). The three fundamental qualities
called sattva guna, rajas guna, and tamas guna in the Vedic model – also can be related to these
fundamental quantum fields. Although their dynamics are deeply interconnected, entangled, self-
interacting and ultimately unified they can be said to correspond to the creative (rajas),
maintenance (sattva), and destructive or dissolution (tamas) operators conducting all change
throughout nature. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1967, pp. 269-270) explains further in this quote:
The entire creation is the interplay of the three gunas. When the primal equilibrium of sattva, rajas
and tamas is disturbed, they begin to interact and creation begins. All three must be present in every
aspect of creation because, with creation, the process of evolution begins and this needs two forces
opposed to each other and one that is complementary to both. Sattva and tamas are opposed to each
other, while rajas is the force complementary to both. Tamas destroys the created state; Sattva creates
a new state while the first is being destroyed. In this way, through the simultaneous processes of
creation and destruction the process of evolution is carried on. The force of Rajas plays a necessary
but neutral part in creation and destruction; it maintains a bond between the forces of sattva and
On the ordinary physical level, the fundamental fields can be related to the principles of
attraction (gravitation), activity (inherent dynamism), and inertia or resistance to change (mass).
Sattva can be associated more with the maintenance operator, upholding balanced change and
continuity – associated with the unifying, attraction, harmonizing values of nature, and attraction
to the center point of an object – like gravity in classical relativistic gravitational spacetime field.
It also seems reasonable to relate it to the 3rd law of thermodynamics (decreased activity due to
decreased temperature in material systems results in decreased entropy the fundamental
negentropic or order-maintaining process of inherent order throughout phenomenal nature.
Rajas can be related to inherent dynamism, associated with the creation operator activating
the maintenance and dissolution operators. It is said to provide ‘neutral’ energy or activation that
impels change. In the gross physical universe, it can be associated with energy and expressive or
diversifying processes following the law of energy conservation, and relating possibly to
lightspeed and Planck energy on the gross physical level of nature.
Tamas can be related to inertia or inherent resistance to change, more closely associated with
the dissolution operator that restrains the creative and maintenance operators. In the gross
physical universe, it can be related to the concepts of mass, Higgs field theory, and possibly
Planck’s constant. The three qualities differentiating particles – spin, charge, mass – and the three
values from which the fundamental unit of physical spacetime is derived the Planck length
also seem to relate on the physical level to sattva, rajas, and tamas (Boyer, 2008).
Five basic constituents.
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The mahabhutas can be viewed as ontologically real fields that become quantized by curving
back to express more limited, local properties such as inert quanta and atomic particles. At this
most concrete tangible level, the point or independent ‘part’ quality is most prominent and the
more interdependent ‘wholeness’ quality is most hidden due to viscosity or resistance to change
related to tamas (viscosity or mass). These basic constituents are vibrations of the unified field of
universal Being in its most localized expressions. They can be associated with the concepts in
classical physics that structure ordinary physical objects with the properties of vacuity (space),
mobility (air), luminosity (fire), liquidity (water), and solidity (earth). These five mahabhutas
make up the ultramicroscopic, microscopic, macroscopic, and ultramacroscopic levels within the
local relativistic gravitational field of conventional spacetime.
Each basic constituent (mahabhuta) can be viewed as ‘condensing’ with the increase in tamas
(viscosity or mass) into a denser localized structure from the preceding one, manifesting an
additional property along with properties of the others. They combine in innumerable
permutations to manifest the vast diversity of our phenomenal physical world. The five
mahabhutas materialize from their more abstract, refined, subtler essences called the five
tanmatras – in a ‘nested’ structure of ontologically real phenomenal levels of nature.
To link this system to the fundamental forces in modern physics, one reasonable speculation
is that the mahabhuta of space (or aether) is most closely associated with the gravitational force;
air with the gravitational and strong forces; fire with the gravitational, strong, and weak forces;
water and earth with all four but most with electromagnetism (electricity more with water and
magnetism more with earth). This correspondence of levels of nature in Veda to levels of nature
in modern physics is a major step toward logically coherent links between ancient and modern
science, extending cutting-edge quantum physics to even deeper levels that include real minds.
With this terse overview from universal consciousness to mind to physical matter (and brain),
we can now go into the Vedic model of mind. -+
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Vedic Model of Mind
First, it will be helpful to summarize briefly the progress in modern psychology on a general
model of mind, and show how it is toward the Vedic model. Then we will go into the profoundly
integrative view of relationships and interactions between levels of mind in the Vedic model.
The scientist-practitioner model in evidence-based psychology reasonably would be expected
to be based on an accepted general model of mind. Applying the outer indirect third-person
‘objective’ means to gain knowledge, however, it has been quite difficult to establish an accepted
general model of mind – even after perhaps 3000 years of western science and philosophy.
Modern psychology began in the 1800s using introspective methods to investigate the mind,
but the results were not considered reliable enough to build an accepted general model.
Unobservable mental concepts were then placed in a ‘black box’ in the behaviorist paradigm and
rejected as legitimate topics in modern science in favor of studying observable behavior only.
However, the cognitive paradigm quickly superseded the behaviorist paradigm, focusing on
‘objective’ indirect third-person means to investigate the unobservable subjective mind
experimentally, given the unreliability of subjective means to investigate the mind via self-
reflective introspective reports. Certain concepts have arisen repeatedly, however, that do point
toward a general model of mind; but the concepts were not mapped together well.
The two indirect third-person ‘objective’ research approaches to develop models of mind are
the disembodied functional, information-based approach in cognitive science and the embodied
structural, biologically-based approach in neuroscience. Although there is considerable research
relating cognitive functions to ‘embodied’ structures in the (brain), neuroscience has not yet
identified a model of mind in the brain where subjective mental functions can be matched
precisely to brain structures and mechanisms. This next brief summary of historical progress,
therefore, focuses mainly on functional research, showing convergence toward the Vedic model.
The functional cognitive model in modern psychology. The shift from behaviorism to the
cognitive paradigm came with indirect experimental evidence that observable stimulus-response
relationships depend on the unobservable, abstract information value of stimulus input.
Extensive research led to the conclusion that inside the ‘black box’ of mind – between stimuli (S)
and responses (R) are complex information processing functions of discrimination, attention,
innate drives, and intelligent decision making (now assumed in most of applied psychology).
Initial functional cognitive models conceptualized a horizontal linear sequence of stages
through which parallel sensory inputs (S) narrow down to serial behavioral output (R), such as
Broadbent’s (1958) ‘filter theory.’ Two-process theories proposed an automatized or ‘zombie-
like’ unconscious mode of processing and an effortful, controlled conscious mode of processing
(Shiffrin, Schneider, 1977; Hameroff, 2008). Further research added a vertical component
depth of processing with shallow automatic unconscious/preconscious processing, and
controlled conscious processing at a deeper interior level of mind (Boyer, 2021, p. 244):
S → senses - sensory memory - long-term memory - response selection - response output → R
↓ ↑
central processing functions, short-term memory, conscious attention
Similar two-process and two-level theories actually had been prominent even before the
behaviorist paradigm rejected unobservable subjective processes. These historical introspective
theories delineated focal conscious attention and a peripheral fringe (Wundt, 1907, 1912;
Titchener, 1908, 1913; James, 1890). The fringe region can be viewed as including both a
shallow fringe of input processes and an interior fringe deeper than conscious focal attention.
This is somewhat implied in contemporary global workspace theory’ (GWT) in which
consciousness is associated with a generalized workspace analogous to center stage of a theatre,
with peripheral ‘psychological’ processes surrounding it on and off stage (Baars, 1997). This
theory models typical conscious experiences in the ordinary waking state of consciousness.
The concept of a conscious fringe deeper than focal attention is relevant to an important
debate concerning the primacy of either cognition or affect. (The debate directly relates to the
fragmentation in applied psychology of cognitive versus humanistic therapies.)
One side argued that emotions depend on cognitive evaluations in attributing meaning to
events (e.g., Lazarus, 1984). The other side argued that cognitive evaluations depend on deeper
interior undertones of conscious affect that are more powerful contributors to intentional
behavior than cognitive thinking (e.g., Zajonc, 1980).
The term affect can be understood to include both emotions and feelings. To emote is to
express subjective feelings in outer objective behavior. To delineate them, ‘emotions’ are
observable behavioral expressions associated with psychobiological processes in the body;
‘feelings’ are subjective inner felt senses that are unobservable interior processes (Damasio,
1999). Cognitive processes are deeper when comparing cognition and emotion; affective
processes are deeper when comparing cognition and feeling – consistent with the Vedic model.
Affect as feelings deeper than cognitive thinking adds to the model of levels of depth. In the
functional model, conscious processing has a vertically deeper conscious inner fringe of feelings,
including a deeper subjective ‘felt sense’ of unitary self. The human information processing
system as a unitary self is reactive to bottom-up sensory input, but also proactive and consciously
directed by top-down feelings and thoughts to achieve its own valued internal and external states.
Discussed later, systematic first-person direct means to investigate deeper levels of the mind
experientially in order to bring more clarity to subjective dynamics in the mind is precisely what
the Vedic approach adds by allowing mental activity naturally to settle to deeper interior levels.
The general functional model of mind below depicts shallower lower-order sensory functions
on the top and deeper higher-order cognitive and affective functions on the bottom. This
organizes and clarifies a massive body of experimental research in the past 150 years or so that
had not been clearly mapped into a general model of the human mind (Boyer, 2021, p. 245):
Sensory Environment
Input (S) → → Output (R)
↓ ↑
Sensory receptors Behavioral effectors
Sensory memory
Long-term memory
Peripheral conscious attentional fringe
Short-term memory (attention-activated long-term memory)
Focal conscious attention
Conscious fringe of deep feelings
Conscious inner sense of self
Levels of mind in Veda. The functional model (not considering physical body) depicted above is
reasonably consistent with the model in the Sankhya aspect of Vedic literature. Sankhya
enumerates what is held to be the totality of nature from its source in the unified field to the
gross level of matter (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1967; Bernard, 1947). A key aspect is a model of
levels of mind, depicted below with Vedic terms in the right column (Boyer, 2020, p. 246):
Sensory Environment Sensory Environment
S → →R S → → R
↓ ↑ ↓ ↑
Sense Organs Action Organs Gyanendriyas Karmendriyas
Mind (primarily thinking) Manas
Intellect (decision making and feeling) Ahamkara
Unitary self or ego Mahat
Consciousness Purusha
Similarities in the two models are apparent. Of fundamental importance, however, is that in
the Sankhya model consciousness underlies all the levels of sensory, cognitive, and affective
processes of the individual both functionally and structurally. This means that individual mind is
not just in the brain. Rather, it is held to be a nonlocal mental space underlying the physical level
of nature, consistent with the cutting-edge quantum theories noted earlierfurther underlain by
universal consciousness or Being (Purusha), again somewhat akin to unified field theory.
This model sharply contrasts with therapies still applying an ‘unconscious-based’ Freudian
model of focal conscious experience underlain by the sub-conscious and unconscious brain.
These models are based on reductive physicalism within which conventional approaches to
psychotherapy have developed. They have not yet incorporated theoretical advances,
summarized earlier, in quantum physics to deeper levels of nature underlying biology, chemistry,
and classical physics where an ontologically real mental level of nature could actually exist.
Levels of body and mind as sheathes or lters (koshas). 0#
# +
###   #   # 12 
 3  & '((4 "    #
#/   # "
              *  $  
 *  5   / 
##1# 2#
    #  3      #    "
 -#+
# ##+
$  #            #  
 +   +     ! 
 !      $  #   +
#                #
#    *      3        
"  $     aaa    +      #
### "#
6$   aaa    +  +      
7  +              
           # 
   #$     
#%# 
#              #  
aaa "              #  
# #  * # #  
+a  aa 
#    $          #  ##
    1,  23       
+#9 
8    '  anh:
      #          a
      #       ; #  6  
;sh         #
      #                 
#    #             +  
  ;    ;sh 6+ ++ 
               #    #  #
Sensing (gyaneṇdriyas) and acting (karmendriyas). 5  
  ,    1  2           
 " 1*2 # #  
 1*2#
 "#
#$ "
   +  %  
           #   #  
 
 anh                  
    # "    
## "
   = #  1*2  #  # 
    #  > 
  #  ## &    
        #      +  #  
+  , # @#    #  
* &2 
#3 
Thinking and deciding (Manas). "  #        
* +#
   #   3   
&+ #      #    
9  anh  #     
 #
- =
#   #  #  
    #                
# 8$###
 #      
 ,,/  #  "  #
7, "
#$ 
       #            +
       #  "       # #
  +          #-  1A#,2
  -  -    -      +
 "   #   
#              
## = #  #  #        
#+ # #  8$# ++
 #   "    $   #      
  +    #     #  #      *  
        #        #
#   +    ##$  
- #+          
#$ # #  9  
"    ,#          +  
#  3    =      #
#        #        #    
#          #    $    
# 
B#  #+: 
 
      # 
# #  ++ C   
7              #+  #  +
Deciding and feeling (Ahamkara). "    
 "
+   #  &    
            +        
  7 12  *    " 
     +  %
$#        " 
     12   + 
#- #
   3      
  +          #      %      
"                    
##  3  # +  
## "12
    #              
9$9+  ##              
  +
aaa         +   
             
 
Individual being (mahat).9#+
+7# 
 "##
 *+#
  #  #    i      *    
 anh   # #   
#   +            +  
       "      #  
9     $   ##
 $     
## #1 !2
+      #  #                 
1#21+ 2"
9# "
  +    #9    9    #  #
# "$##
                7      
#      $        +  ##  
anh         #!"             
$ E#      +  
 "#
      #      # #    #      12  
1 2"      
$*   #      
# #       #   
# 2
+# "
 +  +   *  
 ,#                  =  
    #  9  12        
$  "            #
 #
#12 
"##-. ##
##++ =
9$ 
  "$
### 
                  #    9
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Model of Evolution and the End-State of Human Development
In mainstream modern psychology, the most fundamental motivation has been theorized to be
meaningless biological survival. This widely accepted view seems, on its face, to be inconsistent
with applied psychology approaches that emphasize personal responsibility and the impetus for
higher levels of personal achievement. Motivational theories attempt to account for inner needs
and intentions that direct behavior. In Maslow’s need hierarchy theory, higher-order needs
develop as lower-order needs are met, from physiological, safety, social, and esteem needs to
self-actualization. This has led further to a synergistic model in which basic survival needs
deficiency motivation – support the more inclusive and fundamental need for self-actualization –
growth motivation (Maslow, 1976; Boyer, 2008a).
Individual and species survival may adequately characterize motivation of lower animals.
But in humans, survival can be placed into a meaningful context of ethical, religious, and
spiritual behavior consistent with self-actualization. The need for safety and security can be
viewed in terms of an ultimate sense of safety and security, beyond the sense of duality of self
and other. This is associated with the deeper concepts of self-realization and enlightenment that
ultimately transcends subject-object duality of the ordinary waking state characteristic of
contemporary scientific thinking. It further can be conceptualized in terms of the pursuit of
permanent survival – that is, the concept of eternal life (Boyer, 2008a).
Many ancient cultural, religious, and spiritual traditions hold that permanent fulfillment in
enlightenment is the natural inherent direction of evolution, not meaningless biological survival.
In this view, the survival instinct, hierarchy of needs, and self-actualization are special cases of a
super-ordinate direction toward permanent fulfillment as a natural tendency throughout nature
that becomes more evident in higher life forms (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1997).
In the Vedic tradition, the principle of motivation that shapes selective attention in an
expanded model of natural evolution (associated with concept of Dharma) is that the purpose of
life is the expansion of happiness (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1963, 1967) appreciated in other
traditions as well (e.g., Dalai Lama, Cutler, 1998). All subordinate intentions even those
appearing to contrast with survival or immediate gratification are held to be part of this
inherent super-ordinate tendency. It is also the basis for the fundamental principle that the
natural tendency of the mind is to go toward increasing enjoyment or happiness (Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi, 1963). Attention is drawn by the integrated, synergetic complex of needs, desires,
and motivations in the natural pursuit of increasing happiness and fulfillment. This includes
biological survival, most prominent under threat. These two principles are fundamental to Vedic
developmental technologies – including the natural process of meditation discussed soon.
It also seems reasonable to expect that evidence-based developmental approaches in modern
psychology would be based on an established model of higher developmental stages and states.
However, this also is not generally part of conventional approaches, which typically focus on
symptom reduction in the context of the reductive, physicalist, disease-oriented medical model.
Developmental psychologists have sought to identify the role of higher and ‘peak’ experiences,
and further to characterize the highest or end-state of human development. Prominent theories
will be noted now to establish their natural extension toward the Vedic developmental model
(James, 1929; Maslow, 1962; Piaget, Inhelder, 1969; Piaget, 1972; Walsh, Vaughan, 1993).
Formal operations, or abstract scientific reasoning. Piaget’s (1972) influential perceptual-
cognitive theory proposed qualitatively distinct stages of cognitive development that emerge via
a child’s active sensory-perceptual observational experience of the tangible natural world.
Formal operations conventional, abstract, representational thought considered the necessary
basis for modern scientific thinking is theorized to be the end-state of psychological
development according to Piaget’s (1972) theory.
Piaget’s theory of the developmental end-state is consistent with modern education, which is
heavily committed to this type of psychological development. Commonly, formal operations are
the end-state by default, due to fixating attention on the surface, objective, materialistic level in
the training typical of modern science and modern education.
Beyond formal operations and abstract reasoning. Contemporary developmental theories now
propose higher post-formal, post-representational and post-conventional development –
involving self-actualization and advanced moral reasoning (Maslow, 1976; Commons, Richards,
Armon, 1984; Alexander, Langer, 1990; Arlin, 1989; Pascual-Leone, 1990). Research suggests
that less than one percent of the general population may achieve a mature level of self-
actualization (Cook-Greuter, 1990).
Loevinger’s theory (1976) of post-formal development focuses on growth of individual ego
or self to the highest levels of integrative, self-actualizing experiences. Kohlberg and Ryncarz’
(1990) theory extends moral judgment to a ‘natural law’ orientation in which, “...human
responsibilities, duties, and rights are not arbitrary or dependent upon social convention but are
objectively grounded as laws of nature.” This highest stage is said to involve transpersonal
experiences of a connection between the individual and the cosmos/universe. It is sometimes
associated with transcendence of the experiential gap between self and other, which is the object-
subject duality of ordinary waking again typical of modern science and education.
Toward higher states of consciousness. Reports of transcendent experiences appear in the
literature of most cultures (e.g., James, 1929; Maslow, 1976; Alexander, Boyer, Alexander, 1987;
Alexander, Boyer, 1989; Pearson, 2002a). Until recently, however, it was quite difficult to
investigate such reports using outer, indirect third-person, ‘objective’ experimental methods. This
was due to lack of comprehensive theories to interpret the reports, lack of experimental
paradigms to examine the reports formally, and especially lack of means to replicate them under
testing conditions. (Alexander, Boyer, 1989). It has been estimated that only one-tenth of one
percent of the college population have such experiences (Loevinger, 1976).
According to the Vedic model of human development to higher states of consciousness,
higher development is facilitated by direct experience of the fourth state of consciousness
identified by Vedic terms such as turiya and samadhi. The Transcendental Meditation®
technique, drawn from Vedic Yoga, has been a reliable technology through which large numbers
of practitioners report frequent experiences of transcendence (Alexander, Boyer, 1989; Orme-
Johnson, 1988, 1989, 1995; Wilber, 1998; Travis, Pearson, 2002a). Reports of even higher state
experiences in the direction of enlightenment also are being researched (Wallace, 1986;
Alexander, Boyer, 1989; Alexander, Langer, 1990; Travis, Arenander, 2006). Results of major
tests of the Vedic model of human development have appeared in peer-reviewed journals (e.g.,
Chandler, Alexander, et al., 2005; Alexander, Rainforth, Gelderloos, 1991; Alexander, Cranson,
et al., 1986). For example, research showing increased EEG coherence in TM practitioners has
been shown to be positively correlated with emotional stability and moral maturity directly
relevant to therapeutic goals in the direction of psychological health (Travis, Haaga, et al., 2009a,
b; Travis, Arenander, 2006; Chandler, Alexander, et. al, 2005).
Seven states of consciousness. In psychological research, as well as in most historical literature,
a sequential model of higher human development has been absent. Thus, it sometimes has been
challenging to comprehend the guidance of purported highly developed or even ‘enlightened’
individuals who seem at times to differ among themselves, perhaps due to perspectives expressed
in the context of different higher states (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1972). As Maharishi (1972, p.
278) has emphasized, “Knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.”
In the Vedic model, the full range of human development includes seven states of
consciousness, each with its own perspective or phenomenal reality. This model provides
milestones that help clarify purported higher states and their characteristic experiences.
Respecting cultural and language differences, historical and contemporary reports of higher
states can be viewed in this developmental model. In simple terms, the seven states of
consciousness are distinguishable by the experience of self and environment (subject and object,
self and other). They can be placed on a continuum from virtually no wakefulness to full
wakefulness of the total unity of nature (Boyer, 2008a, p. 408; 2021, p. 311).
Sleep (Sushupti Chetana) – virtually no experience of self or environment
Dreaming (Swapn Chetana) – imaginary individual self and environment
Waking (Jagrat Chetana) – individual self and relative environment
Transcendental consciousness (Turiya Chetana)unbounded wakefulness, universal Self only
Cosmic consciousness (Turiyatit Chetana) – universal Self and separate relative environment
Refined cosmic consciousness (Bhagavad Chetana) – universal Self and maximum value of relative
Unity consciousness (Brahmi Chetana) – individual self and environment are the universal Self
Clearly, this model describes development far beyond ordinary waking experience, abstract
scientific reasoning, and self-actualization. Also, it places evolution and promotion of health,
happiness, and optimal functioning in a vastly expanded and integrated framework quite far
beyond meaningless biological survival. Though it integrates and extends further many of the
core principles in modern science, it is important to recognize that it honors and is consistent
with the extensive established knowledge achieved in modern science. It is in tackling the most
fundamental contemporary issues and quandaries now prominent in modern science that the
Vedic approach to knowledge makes its most profound contributions.
Vedic Applied Developmental Technologies
The Vedic approach holds that the individual is cosmic(Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 2003;
Nader, 2000). This means each individual being is an expression of ultimate unity and is
composed of all levels of nature. And it also means that each Vedic developmental technology is
drawn from its unified basis. In other words, the parts come from the whole, opposite of the
whole emerging from a compilation of parts as in the currently fragmented, reductive physicalist
view of nature that still is prominent in mainstream modern science.
Directly related to holistic versus reductive worldviews, this crucial issue also concerns the
difference between natural versus artificial means of human development and especially the
potential increasingly devastating consequences of the fragmented understanding of nature.
Quite unfortunately, this has become an existential concern with respect to contemporary
technologies such as AI, robotics, cybernetics, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and research
on trans-humanism based on the fragmenting view of nature in reductive physicalism that human
nature emerges from meaningless random genetic and quantum processes.
In the Vedic approach, each specific technology maintains its connection to the unified
wholeness of nature. This is the essential distinguishing feature of holistic developmental
technologies. In this approach, each technology promotes optimal functioning in an integrated
way according to the natural organizing and balancing qualities inherent in nature itself. Ethical
and moral principles, for example, relate to protecting and supporting natural balances that
promote higher human development.
Many popular applied technologies come from insights, intuitions, and sometimes evidence-
based theories in the fragmented reductive physicalist approach in mainstream modern science.
They are not based in understanding and experience of the natural wholeness and fundamental
unity of nature. They may produce some benefit in one part but tend not to be well-coordinated
with other parts, and thus can have negative side effects. For example, there has long been
criticism that the strategy in pharmacotherapy of isolating and extracting active ingredients
removes them from the larger integrated context of ‘nature’s intelligence.’
This fundamental principle is expressed in the integrative natural medicine approach in
Ayurveda, which applies technologies that reduce the build-up of imbalances in mind and body.
Illness is understood to be the consequence of behavior that is not in tune with the natural
balance in the time, place, and conditions in which the individual is living. It also allows
identification of risk factors and preventive approaches, as well as diagnosis of imbalances.
One important principle in treatment strategies is to re-establish balance by increasing the
effect that is opposite of the imbalance. In the case of imbalances that build up due to stressful
emotional, behavioral, and environmental factors, the key holistic ‘active ingredient’ is reduction
of accumulated stress and tension from deep rest and relaxation in mind and body as a natural
result of effortlessly settling the mind to its ground state of inner silence.
The TM® program. Since publication in 1970 of initial research on the Transcendental
Meditation program in Science, considerable experimental research has documented its
beneficial physiological, psychological, and sociological effects (e.g., Wallace, 1970; Orme-
Johnson, 2020; Scientific Research on Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi
Programme Collected Papers, 1977-90; Dillbeck, 2011). An important principle in this Vedic
approach is that rest is the basis of activity.’ This is consistent with deep rest as the natural
antidote to stress and disease, and the first commonsense prescription. The deepest rest is said to
be gained when mental activity settles to the deepest level of inner silence, the fourth natural
state of consciousness, also called transcendental consciousness. Compared to either ordinary
rest or sleep, there is strong evidence for increased EEG coherence associated with this state of
restful alertness, and simultaneously greater reductions in stress markers such as cortisol,
respiratory rate, skin resistance, and plasma lactate during TM practice (Nader, 2000; Dillbeck,
2011; Orme-Johnson, 2021).
According to this Vedic technology, not understanding how the mind effortlessly settles to
the deep state of inner silence has resulted in a long history of confusion in mental and spiritual
development. In trying to still the mind, the common experience is that the mind is fickle and
wandering. Traditions have developed based on the view that the mind must be controlled to
attain inner stillness. Methods based on this common view apply forms of either contemplation
reflective thinking on some idea or object of attention or concentration effortful focus on a
particular object such as an image or the breath. In contrast, an essential Vedic principle revived
by Maharishi is that transcending is accomplished through lesser and lesser mental activity and
softer thinking without effort (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1963, 1967). Effortlessness is held to be
essential for the efficacy of TM practice.
It is claimed that it is in transcending mental activity to pure unbounded awareness that the
state of consciousness of the individual naturally expands, which is the theorized basis for its
documented benefits. Over 600 studies on TM practice have been published, about 400 in
refereed journals ((Nader, 2000; Dillbeck, 2011; Orme-Johnson, 2021; Scientific Research on
Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme Collected Papers, Vols. 1-5
1977-90) such as major meta-analyses on anxiety reduction, psychological health, and self-
actualization (Badawi, Wallace, et al., 1984; Farrow, Hebert, 1982; Travis, Wallace, 1997;
Eppley, Abrams, Shear J.,1989; Alexander, Rainforth, Gelderloos,1991) and research on
neurophysiological indicators of the reversal of chronic stress conditions and also stress
reactivity (Travis, Haag, et al., 2009; Barnes, Treiber, Davis, 2001; Barnes, Scarano, 1986;
Orme-Johnson, 1973; Rosenthal; 2011).
The TM technique is a reliable, systematic procedure for avoiding mental effort or engaging
in sensory, intellectual, or emotional activity that can interfere with the natural settling process
and even prevent transcendence. Although simple and natural, it is subtle, and in vivo instruction
by a qualified teacher is needed.
In further contrast to mental practices that involve concentration, contemplation and mindful
reflection, the approach applying Vedic principles is to strengthen the mind and body directly by
repeated transcending of all mental activity to the deep restful alertness of transcendental
consciousness. Transcendental consciousness is unbounded ‘self-referral’ awareness, distinct
from the mental activity of ‘being aware of’ some object in ordinary ‘object-referral awareness’
(Travis, Shear, 2010; Chiesa, Malinowski, 2011; Finkelstein, 2011).
When increasingly fulfilled from the inside due to repeated experience of unbounded
awareness and resultant reductions in accumulated stress and tension, more freedom and less
bondage to the inevitable gains and losses of daily living is said to grow automatically over time.
Inner silence, growing awareness, and contentment spontaneously develop self-sufficiency,
compassion, acceptance, and non-attachment. Ultimately, inner bliss is said to be the foundation
for natural freedom from boundaries, even in the midst of boundaries (Dillbeck, 1983, 1990).
Enlightenment involves permanent growth beyond the limitations of ordinary life. The full
unbounded state of the individual self is no longer overshadowed by the ups and downs of daily
living. Inner contentment is said to bring balance and freedom spontaneously, not practice of a
mood or intentional mental state or ideas of non-attachment, equanimity, or unity in the
boundaries of the ordinary waking state (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1963, 1967).
Effortless transcending is described as relaxing, enjoyable, and frequently blissful.
Spontaneously maintaining transcendent inner silence is said to require purifying the mind-body
system of deep-rooted imbalances. This refines the mind-body system and allows it to stay in the
deeply settled state for more than brief episodes – and eventually permanently as an unbounded
inner wakefulness underneath and along with waking, dreaming, and sleep in the more advanced
fifth, sixth, and seventh states of consciousness.
From the deep ground state of the mind, healing mechanisms that remove obstacles to
healthy functioning are said to be naturally activated, similar to how sleep and dreaming
rejuvenate from fatigue. Research has shown that sub-periods during which subjects report
having experienced transcendental consciousness are positively correlated with breath
quiescence or virtual breath suspension indicative of profound physiological rest. It also is
positively correlated with simultaneous increases in skin conductance and peak alpha EEG
power, again indicative of a unique integrative state of deep rest and increased alertness
simultaneously (Travis, Wallace, 1987; Badawi, Wallace, et al., 1984; Farrow, Hebert, 1982).
The contrast of transcendental consciousness and active mental states associated with other
practices has become clearer based on experimental comparisons. Some mental practices
correlate with increased gamma synchrony, proposed as the best measurable neural correlate of
consciousness that is, the ordinary active waking state (Stapp, 2007; Hameroff, 2006). This
EEG pattern is not correlated with the theorized fourth state of consciousness, which typically
involves peak alpha power indicative of restful alertness (Dillbeck, 2011; Travis, Shear, 2010;
Travis, Haaga, et al., 2009a, b; Travis, Arenander, 2006).
Advances in neurophysiological findings on EEG coherence and brain integration show that
EEG alpha coherence and synchrony are positively correlated with neural integration and
improved mental health, such as emotional stability and moral maturity (Sauseng, Klimesch,
2008; S Palva, JM Palva, 2007; Travis, Arenander, 2006; Hebert, Lehman, et al., 2005).
Extensive research has accumulated also on the benefits of TM practice in areas such as the
neuroendocrinology of stress, stress reactivity, cardiovascular health, rehabilitation, substance
abuse, academic performance, IQ, cognitive efficiency, ADHD, posttraumatic stress, and self-
actualization as well as reduced anxiety and depression (Dillbeck, 2011; Schneider, Fields, 2006;
Deans, 2005; Nader, 2000; Alexander, Robinson, Rainforth, 1994) a wide range of results
suggestive of very fundamental positive influences on mental and physical health relevant to
therapeutic outcomes.
With sufficient degree of deep rest, biochemical and structural imbalances in the nervous
system are said to dissolve naturally, termed the process of normalization. Correspondingly, this
activity in the body increases mental activity, bringing the mind outward into active thinking.
Because thoughts arising in this way during TM practice occur subsequent to physical processes
of normalization, they don’t directly facilitate it; attention is not placed on them, and time is not
spent analyzing them. On occasion, some of the resulting thoughts can be somewhat distressing
or uncomfortable. Alertness is understood to be expanded and stronger when experiencing
deeply settled states, and the strongest when mental activity is transcended. This is said to
strengthen the mind during normalizing processes, and procedures are included to maintain
correct effortless practice and smooth out such experiences.
The TM technique has been taught to a wide range of individuals with different educational,
religious and cultural backgrounds in diverse conditions including prisons, psychiatric wards,
substance abuse treatment programs, nursing homes, as well as discipline-challenged school
settings. Extensive research shows significant benefits across these challenging groups and
settings. In addition, insurance statistics indicate that utilization rates for many chronic medical
and psychiatric conditions are lower in regular TM practitioners compared to matched samples
from the general population (Orme-Johnson, 2021; Dillbeck, 2011; Orme-Johnson, 1995, 1987).
These findings document its safety and wide applicability.
To keep TM practice itself simple, and to avoid straining or interfering expectations, the
emphasis is on cumulative benefits outside of the practice, with gradual progress as expanded
awareness grows underneath mental activity and is naturally integrated into daily activity. In
contrast to problem-focused ‘unconscious-based’ approaches, Vedic principles emphasize gentle
naturalness to refine and integrate consciousness, mind, and body. Effortless transcending is held
to be the key element the holistic active ingredient. Once established as a daily routine,
additional technologies accelerate growth, such as the advanced TM-Sidhi program.
The TM-Sidhi® program. Yoga has become very popular with today’s focus on healthier
lifestyles and appreciation of the mind-body connection in integrative and preventive medicine.
Frequently, the emphasis is on the part of yoga associated with body postures and physical
exercise, hatha yoga, a beneficial physical approach; but yoga is primarily a mental technology.
Detailed in the Yoga Sutras, yoga refers to union, and sutra to stitch or thread. The Yoga Sutras
describe natural processes to stitch or thread together the consciousness-mind-body relationship,
called sidhis, revived and systematized as the TM-Sidhi program. In a scientific context, the
Yoga Sutras are not only means to develop higher states but also empirical tests of the degree
they are stabilized. Practice of the Yoga Sutras is said to involve softer thinking to the finest
levels of individual attention while maintaining unbounded inner silence – called samyama.
The Yoga Sutras cover a wide range of empirical outcomes. For example, one sutra develops
compassion, another refines the distinction between intellect and consciousness itself, and others
refine the five senses and enliven intuition. One of the most tangible sidhi practices is ‘yogic
flying,’ described as developing in stages including a ‘hopping’ stage – somewhat analogous to a
jumping frog. This stage is reported among many TM-Sidhi practitioners. Electrophysiological
recordings have shown that the highest global EEG coherence occurs during ‘yogic flying’
practice (Travis, Orme-Johnson, 1990) Advanced stages of ‘yogic flying’ have not yet been
documented, though anecdotal reports have appeared throughout religious and spiritual historical
literature in both western and eastern traditions (e.g., Pearson, 2002b).
A significant body of experimental research supports the claim that regular experience of
transcendental consciousness produces increased coherence in psychophysiological functioning,
as evidenced, for example, in increased EEG coherence. It is a reasonable thesis that individuals
who are less stressed and more coherent in mind and body have a more orderly influence in their
environment. The individual coherent effects are said to be magnified to a sociological scale in
large group practice, associated with the concept of collective consciousness. About 50 studies
have been published (most in peer-reviewed journals) that report significant improvements in
health, economic growth, crime rate, and other positive indicators of quality of collective life on
local, state, national, and international levels with group practice of this technology (e.g., Oates,
2002; Davies, Alexander, 1989; Orme-Johnson, Cavanaugh, et al., 1989; Cavanaugh, Orme-
Johnson, Gelderloos, 1989).
Social effects are typically explained in terms of the communication of ideas and feelings
between people via direct contact. For example, a courteous response, compliment, or ‘random
act of kindness’ may result in the recipient extending a similar courtesy to others, and in this way
the positive influence transmits through a social network via ordinary physical means. But they
don’t account for empirical findings of the coherent influence of ‘collective consciousness.’
In many physical systems – such as magnetism, laser light, crystallization, primary organizer
cells in the embryo – there is a phase transition to a coherent state in a system when about one
percent of the elements function coherently. A physical analogy is the quantum mechanical
version of the Meissner Effect, associated with superconductivity and superfluidity. A similar
field effect is theorized to occur in social systems when ‘mental temperature’ is reduced to
deeply settled states and a threshold level of collective coherence is produced. It is proposed to
be a field effect on the nonlocal level, consistent with the quantum field theories noted earlier
(Hagelin, 1987; Dillbeck, Cavanaugh, et al., 1987). This subtle field effect is generalized from
physical to social systems region, nation, and world population. This empirical collective
coherence effect suggests a practical means to influence societal trends in healthier directions. A
growing body of well-designed research supports the bold thesis that this may be a viable means
to create a more peaceful global society (e.g., Oates, 2002; Hagelin, 1987).
Mind-body types in Ayurveda. A major aspect of modern psychology is standardized tests to
establish reliable classifications of personality types with predictive and explanatory power.
Maharishi Ayurveda, which deals with natural medicine and the lifespan, provides an applied
framework for the consciousness-mind-body relationship. Importantly, this holistic approach
identifies a fundamental correspondence between the senses, the body, and the natural
environment. It is a profound integration of psychology, physiology, and the ontological structure
of levels of nature converging in a more coherent, integrated understanding of nature but not yet
fully established in modern medicine, biology, physics, and psychology.
In the Vedic approach, as outlined earlier in this paper, there are three fundamental qualities
or ‘forces’ of nature (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1967), which can be associated with creative,
maintenance, and dissolution operators in physics and mathematics. These three forces structure
five fundamental constituentssimplistically translated as space, air, fire, water, and earth. It is
reasonable to suggest that these five basic constituents relate to particle-forces in physics
(Hagelin, 1989).
Again, one speculative delineation is that the gravitational force relates to space;
gravitational and strong nuclear forces to air; gravitational, strong and weak nuclear forces to
fire; gravitational, strong and weak nuclear, and electrical forces to water; and all the forces
including magnetism to earth (Boyer, 2010, 2008a). The five senses also correspond to these five
basic constituents: hearing to space; touch to air; sight to fire; taste to water; and smell to earth.
In other words, sensory qualia relate to basic structures of the objects of sense, allowing an
integrated system of health-promoting behavior in accord with fundamental structures of nature.
On the physical level, the three fundamental forces correspond generally to the terms vata,
pitta, and kapha called doshas. This is the basis for the system of classification into mind-
body types that identify individual personality. Each individual is composed of the predominance
of certain permutations of vata, pitta, and kapha, which relate to specific biobehavioral
tendencies. Vata dosha is most prominent in space and air; it is most associated with flow and
motion, and primarily concerns regulation of motor functions. Pitta is most prominent in fire and
water; it primarily concerns regulation of metabolic functions. Kapha is most prominent in water
and earth; it primarily concerns cohesion and structure.
These genetic aspects of psychophysiology react differently to biorhythms and other natural
cycles such as times of day, seasons, and lifespan stages. Vata is associated approximately with
late autumn and winter, the periods of 2-6 AM and 2-6 PM, and later adulthood; pitta with
midsummer and early autumn, 10 AM-2 PM and 10 PM-2 AM, and early/middle adulthood; and
kapha with spring and early summer, 6-10 AM and 6-10 PM, and childhood. When the three
qualities or doshas are in proper balance, mental and physical health are promoted. When
aggravated or imbalanced, disease can result. Illness is understood to be the consequence of
behavior not in tune with the natural balance for the individual mind-body or
psychophysiological type at the times and conditions of daily living. This integrated system
allows rapid identification of risk factors for preventive strategies and practical applications.
Biobehavioral therapies in Ayurveda. In the Vedic approach, sensory experience directly relates
to the effects of objects of sense as the qualia of smells, tastes, sights, touches, and sounds. For
example, with respect to the gustatory sense there are six basic tastessweet, salty, sour, bitter,
pungent, astringent each with its own effects. Ingesting foods in a balanced or imbalanced
manner promotes or disturbs natural psychophysiological balances in the individual.
This principle is applied to all stimulus input from any of the five senses, whether through
eating, respiration, touching, or auditory input such as listening to various musical forms and
visual input such as watching videos. Counteracting negative effects of unhealthy personal habits
involves establishing balance in lifestyles and routines that support balanced use of the senses.
Body-oriented approaches include Vedic sound vibration therapy, music therapy called
gandharvaveda, a wide variety of herbal regimens including rasayanas, body purification
therapies called panchakarma, gentle body movement and exercise routines based on principles
of hatha yoga called asanas, simple breathing exercises called pranayama, Vedic light therapy,
dietetics, aromatherapies, and daily and seasonal routines called behavioral rasayanas.
The holistic Vedic approach also includes diagnostics to identify imbalances due to behavior
that doesn’t support natural health and strong immune systems. Ayurvedic experts called
Vaidyas can identify the individual mind-body type, the prakriti or basic constitution, and the
vrikriti or current state of the mind-body type. One important diagnostic procedure Nadi
Vigyaninvolves feeling the pulse. Activity in the body is understood to send information to the
heart via the bloodstream, coded in the heartbeat and accessed through the carrier wave of the
pulse. The pulse is said to contain information on the condition of the whole person as well as the
various parts of physiology. Each of the three doshas has five sub-doshas related to particular
areas and functions, such as the liver, stomach, skin, and spinal column. Information about these
15 sub-doshas can be accessed through the pulse. Applying this method, an expert pulse
diagnostician is said to be able quickly to obtain considerable information about the mind-body
system relevant to current health status and treatment needs.
Another important approach – Vastu – addresses architectural design and construction such as
homes and office buildings, as well as city planning. Chaotic environments typical of suburban
sprawl, for example, may reduce coherence in mental and physical functioning. Orientation with
respect to the four cardinal directions, relationship to bodies of water, location of nearby roads,
energy flow including air and light through a building, dimensions of rooms and their lay-out for
purposes such as studying, cooking, and sleeping are considered. The shape and slope of building
sites, relationship to the local ecosystem, and health effects of building materials are considered
as well. Further, the center of a building is designed to be an open area Brahmasthan that
establishes a core of silence in the building. Hallways and windows are placed for flow of light,
air, and energy through the building for health-promoting behavior.
The important field of ‘green’ technologies can benefit from focus on family homes,
community buildings, and neighborhood designs applying principles of Vastu that are said to
foster subtle healing energies. These biobehavioral and ecological approaches are considered
quite important components in the multi-modal system of therapy, healing, and human
development associated with this holistic Vedic approach (e.g., Lipman, Arenander, 2010).
Verbal therapies in Vedic psychology. Approaches such as counseling and psychoeducation (as
well as TM practice described earlier) emphasize the very subtle nature of thinking and feeling.
They do not involve probing to bring to conscious attention traumatic memories from the past,
pathogenic beliefs, or irrational schemas to work through them in the ordinary waking state of
conscious mind (or conversely, trying to put them out of the mind). The Vedic technologies are
subtler and simpler. They are based on the fundamental principle that what you put your
attention on grows in your life’ (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1963). Placing attention on what was
wrong in the past perhaps needed in certain circumstances is considered generally to miss
and not utilize the subtle natural functioning of mind. Maharishi (1963) makes this point clearly:
“Analyzing an individual’s way of thinking and bringing to the conscious level the buried misery
of the past, even for the purpose of enabling him to see the cause of the stress and suffering, is
highly deplorable; for it helps to strengthen directly the impressions of the miserable past and
serves to suppress his consciousness in the present.” (pp. 258-259)
Contemporary approaches most consistent with this principle are solution-oriented. Attention
to solutions tends to be more enjoyable, constructive, and proactive than focusing on problems.
The orientation in the Vedic approach is on developing higher states of consciousness, which are
understood broadly in this context to occur as a natural result of progress rather than directly
focusing the mind on psychological and behavioral problems, or on symptom relief. The
emphasis is on naturally expanding the mind for growth-oriented and solution-oriented personal
evolution in daily active living. Mind is subtler than body, and needs to be treated more subtly.
When strong emotions arise, however, it is helpful to allow their expression in a safe
environment. This is exemplified in the ‘counseling’ dialogue in the Bhagavad Gita (Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi, 1967; Dillbeck, 1991), which demonstrates careful timing in dealing with the
levels of behavior, thinking, and feeling (Boyer, 2008b).
In this framework, the approach to healing of allowing the mind and emotions to settle down
naturally can be viewed as also applicable to talking therapy. In the model of mind described
earlier, levels of mind involve outer emotional behavior, inner rational thinking, and deeper inner
feelings and sense of self. Effective listening, validating, and empathic skills help settle emotions
to deeper inner levels consistent with the principle of rest for natural healing. Though applying
observational and listening skills, it avoids training in complicated thinking due to past-oriented
and problem-focused analytic interventions that train the mind in a manner that can dissipate
health-oriented psychological energies including cognitive and affective patterns.
Many issues in psychotherapy are addressed either with cognitive or humanistic therapies,
reflecting fragmented views about how cognitions and affect/feelings coordinate with each other.
Cognitive therapies focus on irrational beliefs; and humanistic therapies on ‘getting in touch with
feelings’ and working through ‘unfinished emotional business.’ The level of the mind associated
with rational thinking integrates information from inner goals and motivations deep inside with
outer environmental input to plan and direct healthy behavior. In this view, it can be said that
deep feelings guide thinking, and thinking directs behavior. It is a simple, fundamentally
integrated view of how thoughts and feelings interrelate in promoting psychological health.
The deepest and most refined feelings are sometimes attributed to the inner intuitive sense.
Intuition can be an important basis for decision making and behavioral choices when these
deepest levels of feeling are not overshadowed by accumulated stress and strain. As body, mind,
feeling heart, and ego or self are increasingly refined and stress-free, the intuitive sense is
enlivened and gives more reliable input for behavioral choices. But when overshadowed by
deep-seated imbalances due to accumulated stress, it can be less reliable. Under these common
circumstances, the rational thinking mind can be usefully relied upon to gain more knowledge,
and to evaluate intuitive-like feelings carefully before taking action. Assuming that an intuitive
feeling is ‘right’ because it ‘comes from the heart’ can result in relationship problems with
negative consequences over the longer-term, even with the best of intentions. These are common
issues presented in therapy, which can lead to less effective counsel without a subtler, more
integrated model of how cognition and affect subtly interact (Boyer, 2008b). Repeated natural
experiences of transcending through the subtle levels of mind enlivens and integrates them for
more coherent understanding and clarity of experience of our inner universal and individual self,
feelings, thoughts, behavior, and the outer environment in which we live.
Summary and Conclusion
This introduction to the Vedic model of mind reflects a more coherent understanding of
matter, mind, and consciousness. It has been clarified here by contrasting holistic versus
reductive and ‘consciousness-based versus unconscious-based’ approaches. Also, how
ontological levels of nature including levels of mind, and epistemological means of gaining
knowledge, influence each other have been considered to clarify further Vedic technologies for
individual and societal development. Some of the profound practical implications of this model
have been briefly described.
A key point is that modern science has been practiced in the context of the ordinary waking
state of consciousness. Individual experiences in this ordinary state have not, for the most part,
included or recognized the full range of possibilities of permanent higher states of consciousness.
This expanded range of natural states of consciousness had long been overlooked. However, in
the past century, major progress has been achieved in modern science toward deeper
ontologically real levels of nature that are more fundamental than the model based in reductive
physicalism at the ordinary physical level. This progress includes deeper interconnections
between matter and mind now being appreciated in quantum physics toward completely unified
field theory – a perennial feature of ancient Vedic science.
In the completely holistic Vedic approach, each individual is composed of all the gross,
subtle, and transcendent levels of nature again, “the individual is cosmic” (Maharishi Mahesh
Yogi (2003)’ and each individual can fully develop that cosmic understanding and experience.
Maharishi Vedic Science and Technology has re-clarified systematic epistemological means for
natural development of higher states of consciousness fostered by repeated ‘direct experience’ of
transcending the gross and subtle levels of nature to the ground state of the mind. The natural,
effortless process of transcending, missing in science and education for millennia, has been
revived and is being empirically validated.
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