CHENNAI: Did you know that some of us can hear the colours, taste the sounds, and see the numbers in colours? The cognitive ability of these special senses are jumbled up in these individuals, and one sense usurps the other. This occurs in a clinical condition called ‘Synesthesia.’ Is mind responsible for this condition or the brain?
Did you know that human beings are emotionally interconnected? Mirror neurons are the single most important recent discovery of the Neuroscience. They are Wi-Fi-like neurons of the brain responsible for empathy.
These neurons fire empathetically when the other person is in pain or difficulty. What connects the two individuals in this case? Is it mind or the brain? It has to be the mind. Therefore, this proves that the mind is subtle and is not limited to the physical brain. Imagine we have an opportunity to saunter through the brain as a ghostly apparition; we find the brain producing electrical activity, releasing neurotransmitters and all other mechanical actions, except thoughts. Thoughts are not to be found anywhere. If we close our eyes and remain silent for a while, we perceive thoughts out of the blue. The million-dollar question is whether the invisible thoughts become the electrical activity of the brain or the electrical activity of the brain becomes the invisible thoughts!
Neuroscientists believe that the electrical activity produces thoughts. However, they know that there are specific conditions like near-death experience or out of body experience, where electrical activity of the cortex is absent, but thoughts are there. There are clinical situations where part of the brain is made inactive by ‘cooling’; however, the thoughts continue.
Sometimes, one half of the brain is removed to stop the seizures, and the thought process of the person remains unaffected. The activity of the brain is quantifiable, but thoughts are not measurable. Is it ever possible for the brain to explore the brain or the DNA to research on itself?
Is it not reasonable to presume that something subtler, inquisitive, and more lively than the mechanical brain is required to study the brain? Mind alone can take this job of inspection and study.
Modern science tells that the photons of the light are reflected by the objects and are incident on the retina of the eye. The physical eye cannot act without the electrical activity in the visual cortex of the brain. How is the electrical activity in the visual cortex converted into the solid external world? There must be a facilitator of these electrical impulses. Who is this? Is this the mind?
Then the mind must be subtler than the brain. We know the incoming path of senses to the brain, but where is the outgoing path? How does the world project out of the brain after getting decoded in it? Does the mind create an illusion of objects in the space by a holographic projection outside the body and retains the physicality of the body to develop a real-time effect of the subject-object divide?
Vedanta says the mind is a subtle inert inner organ. When it is activated, it creates space and time and projects the Self as though it is the world of objects and this includes our brain, body and the external universe around us. The mind without the semblance of any externality is Brahman (Sat-Chit-Ananda). God is the subjective-mind emptied of all its acquired contents!
—Dr R N Sreenathan
(Academic Director, Chinmaya International Foundation)