Notes on consciousness

  1. If there are three observers at 0 c, 0.5 c and 0.9999 c, their observations of the universe would be different. This is relativity. If observers see the same universe differently, then how can the universe be said to have a single nature?
  2. If a universe cannot have a single nature that it can present consistently to all observers, then there can be no unified theory of everything. If there is nothing fixed to refer to, then there is no standing ground for a theory. To arrive at the theory of everything, experience of constant existence at all frame of reference would be necessary. Interpretation of an observer at 0 c of the experience at 0.5 c, may not necessarily be true for the observer at 0.5 c.
  3. Thought experiment: Can relativity be applied on to quantum fields? If the large hadron collider is moving is at 0.9999 c with respect to the observer, would the experimental results still be valid?
  4. There are two different states of unconsciousness:
    • Death state of unconsciousness: Atman/Soul has left the body and reengagement with mind/body is not expected. Person is truly dead and appears so.
    • Pre-death state of unconsciousness: Atma/Soul has not left the body and reengagement with mind/body is possible. Person appears dead or in a coma to the world but is not truly dead.
  5. In between the two states of unconsciousness, pre-death and death, exists the clue to understand the bare essential functioning of the soul/atman. In this free state, the soul remains closer to its pure form, without having the need to engage the constructs of mind or the sense organs or the world outside or the need to look for a different body to live-in next.
  6. Like a person is standing at the door step of the house from where he can go inwards or outwards, the soul is free to engage the mind in the subtle body and go inwards into a given body and its experience or abandon the current body and seek another body more suited to the current evolved needs of the subtle body. If the current needs are zero, there should be no need for another body.
  7. When the soul decides to “go inside the house” by engaging the mind and the current body, the rules for extent of such engagement must be set. The sages (gyani) who study the soul (not so much the world) say that this engagement must be limited for it doesn’t matter how big the house and how deep one goes into it, the exit must happen. The scientists (vigyani) who study the world (not so much the soul) say this engagement must be maximum, for this one freak opportunity to learn the world should not be wasted. The sage says do not engage, for engagement creates karma and births. The scientist says engage with all your might or else your only go at life would be wasted.
  8. The scientists says, the universe is eternal but consciousness comes and goes. The sage says, consciousness is eternal and the universe comes and goes.

So, what are you? Are you a blip of consciousness that will be forever extinguished at death? Or are you eternal consciousness that will repeatedly come and go into the playground of universe till you learn to destroy your ego and burn your karma?

What is your world view? A fixed universe with random meaningless blips of consciousness and life forms? Or an eternal consciousness soul that craves for varying experiences in a semi-real universe?

Notes on Satkaryavada

  • Sat-karya-vada: The argument of eternal action
  • Source: Samkhya Sutras of Kapila
  • Satkāryavāda (सत्कार्यवाद, “form”) refers to the Sāṃkhya’s concept of causation.—Satkāryavāda (the doctrine that the effect pre-exists in its cause), presents the three fundamental qualities (i.e. triguṇa) as the grounds for an argument by asserting that the diversity of the phenomenal world is also nothing but the transformation of the three qualities according to the relative superiority or inferiority among their forces. In this case, an aspect of superiority or inferiority among the three qualities is expressed in the concept of saṃsthāna.
  • If something exists, it exists because of preexisting potentiality. Even if this potentiality is beyond grasp, it is considered to exist in an unmanifest state before it becomes manifest at the right time.
  • Only nothing comes from nothing
  • Something cannot be created from nothing
  • The effect (manifest) is immanent in the cause (unmanifest) and emerges from it.
  • Prakriti (manifest) in Sāñkhya philosophy is the feminine energy of the Purusha (Unmanifest). She is fully capable of producing everything, but She produces it based on purusha’s will. The prakriti is not inert, or unconscious; She rather has a subordinate will.
  • What is not meant to be, will never be – like ungrown horns on a man which will never become a reality.
  • Things cannot arise haphazardly, things can only be produced by what is capable of producing them.
  • Because the making is possible [only] of what [the cause] is capable of
  • Whatever happens, happens according to a rule.
  • Everywhere, always, everything is possible. (Samkhya Sutra 1.116)
  • User (purusha) and instrument (prakriti) are powerful to contain the causes and effects in themselves.
  • Desire causes creation

Source: Shodhganga: A study of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika categories (samkhya)
Satkāryavāda (सत्कार्यवाद) refers to one of the philosophical systems regarding the cause and effect relation prevalent in Ancient India.—Satkāryavāda is upheld by the Sāṃkhya-Yoga and Advaita Vedānta philosophers. According to Satkāryavāda the effect already exists in the cause in a potential condition. So, it is not basically new creation and different from the material cause. But effect is only an explicit manifestation of that which are contained in its material cause. For example, a pot is not different from the clay, a cloth is not different from the threads.

There are two divisions of Satkāryavāda—a) Pariṇāmavāda and b) Vivartavāda.
Pariṇāmavāda: Effect is a real transformation of its cause.
Vivartavāda: Effect is unreal

Sāṃkhya-Yoga’s view is known as Prakṛti-Pariṇāmavāda, Rāmānuja’s view is known as Brahma-Pariṇāmavāda, Śaṃkara is Vivartavādin.

It is the Sāṃkhyas who have actually established the theory satkāryavāda by different arguments. Īśvaṛakṛṣṇa has discussed the theory of satkāryavāda in his Sāṃkhyakārikā. He gives five arguments to prove this theory. The five arguments are discussed here as follows:

  • asadakaranād
  • upādāna-grahaṇāt
  • sarvasambhavābhāvāt
  • śaktasya-śakyakaraṇāt
  • kāraṇabhāvāt

Notes on “I think, therefore I am”

Original statement: The phrase originally appeared in French as je pense, donc je suis in Discourse on the Method by René Descartes.

Latin translation: Cogito, ergo sum. It appeared in Latin in his later Principles of Philosophy

From Wikipedia: Later translated into English as “I think, therefore I am” , so as to reach a wider audience than Latin would have allowed.

As Descartes explained it, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt.”

A fuller version, articulated by Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes’s intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”)

Descartes’s statement became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it purported to provide a certain foundation for knowledge in the face of radical doubt. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception, or mistake, Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one’s own existence served—at minimum—as proof of the reality of one’s own mind; there must be a thinking entity—in this case the self—for there to be a thought.

One common critique of the dictum is that it presupposes that there is an “I” which must be doing the thinking. According to this line of criticism, the most that Descartes was entitled to say was that “thinking is occurring”, not that “I am thinking”.

View 1:
Essentially, thought cannot end up being the sole provable thing in existence since it has requirements for its own existence.

View 2:
St. Augustine was one of the early proponents of similar thinking. Parmenides 5th Century BC also said something similar.

View 3:
Saiva Siddhantha identifies mind and thoughts as perishing with the body and hence these cannot be associated with the identity of I. The soul is believed to be more subtle than the mind. While energies associated with mental activity can be measured, the soul itself cannot be traced by outside methods.

Notes on potentiality and actuality


  • What can be
  • Potential, Potency, Possibility, Capability, Dunamis (Greek) etc. – but there is an uncertainty if it will ever become actuality.
  • Noumenon
  • Unmanifest, hidden
  • Before the experience
  • In his philosophy, Aristotle distinguished two meanings of dunamis (Possibility). According to his understanding of nature there were:
    • Weak sense of potential (“Chance to happen or not to happen”, “Do something mindlessly”, “Natures that do not persist”, “Things happen by chance”)
    • Strong sense of potential (“Preference to make it happen”, “How something could be done well”, “Things that are stable”, “Strong tendency to happen”)


  • What is
  • Currently happening, Reality
  • Phenomenon
  • Manifest, visible
  • At the time of experience
  • Actuality is often used to translate both energeia (ενέργεια) and entelecheia (ἐντελέχεια) (sometimes rendered in English as “entelechy”)
    • Energia: Being at work, “is at work”ness (eg: Pleasure, happiness, kinesis)
    • Entelechy: being-at-an-end, the realization of potential, whatever happens to be the case right now leading to final reality

Everything exists in a state of potentiality ready to spring forth into a state of actuality. But what converts the potentiality into actuality?

We cannot know the unmanifest potentiality. Even though the manifest actuality arises from the unmanifest potentiality, it only represents only a single possibility that materialized into reality. By studying the actuality post facto, we can learn of one potential that actually materialized. However, there could be multiple potentials that cannot be inferred as they are not yet manifest. Inability to know the unmanifest can be mitigated to some extent by learning from the manifest. However, a complete grasp of unmanifest potential is not possible.

From Ashish Dalela:
This idea is very unintuitive in Western philosophy where “reality” is that which exists independent and outside of our experience, and our experience is a phenomena, not reality. Therefore, we never call the phenomena a reality in Western philosophy because we think that reality exists materially and objectively outside my mind. However, if you extend this idea to its logical limit, then reality must also be outside God’s mind—i.e. exist even prior to God’s experience. How can then God be the origin of reality if this reality is outside God’s experience, and He only becomes aware of this reality? Atheism thus follows naturally from the idea that there is some reality outside the observer.