Physical Advantages of Being Vegetarian

Before we begin to discuss the advantages of being vegetarian, we would like to describe the different types of vegetarians.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: Eats no meat, poultry, or fish, but includes dairy products and eggs in the diet along with plant-based foods.

Lacto-vegetarian: Excludes all animal products except dairy products. Includes all plant-based foods in the diet.

Ovo-vegetarian: Excludes all animal products except eggs. Includes all plant-based foods in the diet.

Vegan or pure vegetarian: Vegan is pronounced “vee gun.” Some people distinguish between vegan and pure vegetarian, considering the pure vegetarian one who eats no animal flesh, no dairy products, or no eggs, and follows a strict plant-based diet for dietary reasons only. While vegans follow a diet consisting of plant-based foods only, some are further committed to a philosophy that respects animal life and the ecology of the planet. As a result, vegans also do not eat honey because many bees are killed in the process of forced procreation to maintain the beehive and the continued production of honey.

Vegans do not eat sugar, because sugar is clarified over animal bones in the final steps of refining the sugar. Vegans also avoid gelatin, which is made from the bones, skin, and connective tissue of animals. Because vegans consider the ecology of the planet a priority along with concern for animal rights, they shun the use of leather, wool, silk, goose down, and any foods or goods that have been processed using animal products. Their concern is that the planet’s future resources have been harmed and animals have suffered in order for these products to come to market.

Fruitarian: The fruitarian has a simpler diet consisting only of fresh fruits and some vining foods that are technically considered fruits, but have been used as vegetables. These vegetable/fruits include cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocados.

Raw foodist: Those who follow the raw food diet include all fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and soaked and sprouted grains and legumes. Further, the raw foodist does not cook or heat the foods, but eats them only in their natural, raw state in order to preserve their valuable enzymes.

Living foods diet: Those who follow the living foods diet include a broad variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, soaked and sprouted grains and legumes. In addition, they will warm some of their foods in a dehydrator with a temperature regulator. In order to preserve the valuable enzymes that raw foods contain, some foods can be warmed to temperatures no higher than 105 degrees, while others will tolerate a little higher heat at 115 degrees. Vegetarian diets low in fat or saturated fat have been used successfully as part of comprehensive health programs to reverse severe coronary artery disease.

Vegetarian diets offer disease protection benefits because of their lower saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein content and often higher concentration of folate (which reduces serum homocysteine levels, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and phytochemicals. Not only is mortality from coronary artery disease lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians, but vegetarian diets have also been successful in arresting coronary artery disease. Total serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels are usually lower in vegetarians, but high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels vary depending on the type of vegetarian diet followed. Vegetarians tend to have a lower incidence of hypertension than non-vegetarians. This effect appears to be independent of both body weight and sodium intake. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is much less likely to be a cause of death in vegetarians than non-vegetarians, perhaps because of their higher intake of complex carbohydrates and lower body mass index.

Incidence of lung and colorectal cancer is lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians Reduced colorectal cancer risk is associated with increased consumption of fiber, vegetables, and fruit. The environment of the colon differs notably in vegetarians compared with non-vegetarians in ways that could favorably affect colon cancer risk. Lower breast cancer rates have not been observed in Western vegetarians, but cross-cultural data indicate that breast cancer rates are lower in populations that consume plant-based diets. The lower estrogen levels in vegetarian women may be protective.

A well-planned vegetarian diet may be useful in the prevention and treatment of renal disease. Studies using human being and animal models suggest that some plant proteins may increase survival rates and decrease proteinuria, glomerular filtration rate, renal blood flow, and histologic renal damage compared with a non-vegetarian diet. Plant sources of protein alone can provide adequate amounts of essential amino acids if a variety of plant foods are consumed and energy needs are met. Research suggests that complementary proteins do not need to be consumed at the same time and that consumption of various sources of amino acids over the course of the day should ensure adequate nitrogen retention and use in healthy persons. Although vegetarian diets are lower in total protein and a vegetarian’s protein needs may be somewhat elevated because of the lower quality of some plant proteins, protein intake in both lacto-ovo-vegetarians and vegans appears to be adequate.

One of my favorite benefits of having a vegetarian diet is that there is no cholesterol in any vegetable source of food. Even peanuts are rich in fat but have zero cholesterol. Coconuts are very rich in fat but no cholesterol. Any animal product has tremendous amounts of cholesterol. But our body does not really need the intake of cholesterol (LDL). Our liver produces healthy cholesterol (HDL). High cholesterol deposits in the body cause gallstones, gall bladder problems, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle, tendon and joint problems, not to mention heart-related diseases. When children are given cholesterol, when even proper growth has not taken place, they become hyperactive or lazy; they get cancer, obesity, nervous and irritable at a younger age. It has been researched that you don’t need anything more than complex carbohydrates to provide all the nutrients in a perfect diet. If you eat three different types or varieties of complex carbohydrates per day you can get all the amino acids.

There are many physical disadvantages to eating meat. Some of these disadvantages are:

  1. A meat-eater not only takes in the animal cells and fats, etc. but also the waste products, e.g. chemical food stuff fed to the animals, drugs injected into the animal in the slaughter house, and the intoxicants, coloring and tenderizers sprayed on the dead animal by the market suppliers. By the way, hamburgers are made from Cow with the four D’s (Dead, Dying, Disabled, or Diseased). This is way so many children and young adults have died from eating hamburgers.
  2. It is also suspected that meat-eaters are prime candidates for degenerative diseases, e.g. arthritis, gout, etc. Meat is one of the major sources of internal pollution. When an animal is slaughtered, uneliminated waste products remain in the tissue of the animal, which often give the meat its stimulating flavor. Uric acid and adrenaline, these toxins are secreted into the bloodstream and muscles of animals and get deposited. The fear and struggle to escape death stimulates the secretion of hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine and steroids. No edible plant product has similar toxicity. The human body has to work 15 times more to get rid of that toxin, in spite of which some toxins remain and get accumulated in each and every cell.
  3. A parasite, known for inducing miscarriage and causing blindness, jaundice and nervous disorders in newborn babies, was found in samples of animal meat from abattoirs and markets, particularly in third world countries. An article in the German Bunte magazine, entitled ‘Karnka von Tiere’ (Diseases from Animal) pointed out the diseases that arise from consumption of meat, apart from the reckless wastage of precious land and natural resources for livestock breeding. The article also emphasized on the benefits of meatless diet, and the current trend towards vegetarianism by an increasing number of Germans and in other European countries, notably amongst the younger generation. As a result of overall concern for a healthy diet, meat consumption in the west is declining. According to the Vegetarian society in UK, 7% of the population in UK and US are complete vegetarians with the number constantly increasing.
  4. To preserve fish and prawns and other crustaceans, boric acid is widely used by food manufacturers. It attacks the liver and the brain, causing fits and coma before the victim dies of liver damage. Fruits and vegetables, however heavily sprayed, don’t grow hormones, antibiotics and other drugs common in meat products.
  5. Pigs carry trichinosis bacteria that cling to the walls of the stomach and intestines, which can be fatal. Beef and pork are highly acid forming and release into the blood-stream toxic poisons and microbes. But the WBC in blood may not be sufficient to destroy these microbes and so the toxic reactions set in.

Dr. Gary Fraser, Professor of Epidemiology at Loma Linda University, affirms that fruit, vegetables and fiber protect one against heart diseases. It has been clinically tested that because of less fat and zero cholesterol, vegetarian diet is much better. So, when you try a fruit and vegetable diet, you will find yourself light, relaxed and spiritualized. Remember that what you eat and what you think is what you are. The food taken into your body is what gradually, but surely forms your thought-patterns. And your thoughts, both conscious and subconscious, are in total control of your body’s health or lack of it. So, you have a responsibility towards yourself.

Overall Advantages of Vegetarianism

You can indeed reap a lot of benefits by being a vegetarian and people have become more aware of the health benefits of being a vegetarian. Animal rights issues is only one of the reasons why people decide to go on a vegetarian diet. People are beginning to care more about the environment. However, the main reason why people go on vegetarian diet is because of health benefits. Meat is not good for you as it clogs your thinking. This is especially true if you eat red meat; white meat has less fat compared to red meat. Excessive intake of fats into your body can result in having a high level of cholesterol.

If you think that not eating meat is going to make you look scrawny or unhealthy please think again. Just imagine that cows, goats, gorillas, elephants, rhinoceroses and so on are all vegetarians (herbivores) but look at how tough these animals are, not to mention their life span which is longer compared to the carnivores (meat eating animals). If you look at the chicken and vulture (carnivores), these animals eat just about everything and notice

how unhealthy these animals look. The Chinese believe that the chi or life force in your body is less when you consume meat and so do the Indians with their ancient yogic principles, their life force was called prana. The great Tai Chi masters of China were adept at preserving their chi, even if some of the masters were not vegetarians, they still had a balanced diet. It has now been scientifically proven that a balanced vegetarian diet is better compared to a diet that is taken with meat.

There are a lot of misconceptions about being a vegetarian; protein is one of the main topics of debate as a lot of people think that you can only get protein from meat. Vegetarians get a lot of protein, if they eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. What vegetarians don’t get is the excess protein of traditional American diet, excess that leads to kidney overload and mineral deficiency diseases.

A lot of people also think that a vegetarian diet is not a balanced diet. Vegetarian diets have a proportion of three macronutrients, which are complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Vegetarian food sources (plants) tend to be higher sources of most micronutrients. Another myth that needs to be clarified is the so-called lack of calcium among vegetarians. Many vegetables, especially green, leafy ones, have a good supply of calcium. The truth is that vegetarians suffer less from osteoporosis (a deficiency of calcium that leads to weak bones).

It is not my intention to force people to become vegetarians. However, vegetarianism is my answer to complete health and wholeness. The three issues to consider in regard to vegetarianism are: spiritual, mental, and physical (nutritional). The spiritually aspiring person attempts to work on his/her self. The purpose of spiritual growth is to move away from the animal nature into the more human nature that God intended for us to have. Meat eating inhibits this. Again, the same science that sometimes attempts to ignore the existence of a force higher than man also has proved, in the laboratory, that aggression levels are much higher in meat eaters than non-meat eaters! The animal instincts become more powerful every time you eat meat. Another spiritual aspect of being a meat eater is when one must question the necessity and the method as well as the karma of killing animals. However, everyone has their own morals which they must determine for themselves. It is not the purpose of my dissertation to force a specific moral behavior on anyone.

Most spiritual people believe auras. Kirilian photography shows us that a force field remains around dead or amputated tissue. You adopt that animal aura when you eat a dead animal. Fruits and vegetables have a higher vibrational aura than animal products.

Is it not personal evolution that the spiritual candidate is interested in? If so, meat eating is urgently prohibited. “You are what you eat”, is a slogan that I love to use to show the mental aspect of vegetarianism. When animals are slaughtered, fear and aggression enzymes are shot into their cells from their glands and other organs, just as in humans, and are part of the dead carcass that goes on to the food store. They remain in the meat until the consumer ingests those same enzymes, which are molecularly very similar to those found in humans. Fruits and vegetables do not have emotions; therefore, when they are picked they do not release any emotions cells prior to digestion. The enzymes within fruits and vegetables supply the body with sufficient nutrients that will always uphold a healthy state of mind.

Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients; the very thing the body needs to live a long disease and pain free life. The same cannot be said for meat. Nutritionally, the alkaline-based digestive system of humans will not properly break down substantial acid substances, the greatest of which is meat. Colon cancer is rampant! This is caused by the slow evacuation and the putrefaction in the colon of the remains of meat. Lifelong vegetarians never suffer from such an illness.

Many meat eaters believe that meat is the sole source of protein. However, the quality of this protein is so poor that little of it can ever be utilized by humans because it is incomplete and lacks the correct combination of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Studies show that the average American gets five times the amount of protein needed. It is a common medical fact that excess protein is dangerous, the prime danger being that uric acid (the waste product produced in the process of digesting protein) attacks the kidneys, breaking down the kidney cells called nephrons. This condition is called nephritis; the prime cause of it is overburdening the kidneys. More usable protein is found in one tablespoon of tofu or soybeans than the average serving of meat!

Have you ever seen what happens to a piece of meat that stays in the sun for three days? Meat can stay in the warmth of the intestine for at least four days until it is digested. It does nothing but wait for passage. Often, it usually stays there for much longer, traces remaining for up to several months. Colonic therapists always see meat passing through in people who have been vegetarians for several years, thus indicating that meat remains undigested there for a long time. Occasionally this has been documented in twenty-year vegetarians!

Some vegetarians claim they are more satisfied after they eat. The reason for this is that there are fewer ketones (protein-digestive substances) formed when vegetable protein is digested. For many, ketones cause a trace amount of nausea which one normally interprets as a decreased desire for food due to this uncomfortable and slight degree of queasiness. Although the body calls for more food, the taste buds tolerate less. This is the danger of the popular high-protein diet substances on the market. This abnormally high level of ketones is called ketosis and refers to the state of starvation that the body incurs due to the inability of the appetite to call for nutrition. Most Americans who eat the wrong type of carbohydrates never recognize the high amount of complex carbohydrates required to overthrow this condition. Also, when the blood ketone level is too high, it results in abnormally acidic blood, called acidosis. Tigers or lions who eat meat and grow strong on it have acid-based digestive systems. Our hydrochloric acid isn’t strong enough to fully digest meat. Also, their intestines are in a straight run of about five feet long, not twisted and turned, layer over layer, compacted into a small area like the human intestine, which is twenty feet long.

Meats are frozen for a long period of times. Some meat (especially poultry) is frozen up to two years. Cold temperatures do not kill all species of bacteria. Worse than this, as it is shipped and stored, most frozen meat is thawed and refrozen many times. This is almost unavoidable. Meat eaters suffer more frequently from various types of food poisoning than vegetarian eaters, so much so that statistics show that every American has had food poisoning on at least one occasion. When you’ve felt ill, out-of-sorts, had diarrhea, or were just a little sick to your stomach, no doubt you had not the slightest idea that you had been poisoned by scavengers living off the dead carcass you just ate.

Meat is costly and it is the most wasteful source of resources. When one removes meat from his or her diet, a whole new world of eating opens up. Cooking and preparing vegetarian style is no more time consuming than cooking meat. It costs less than half as much to eat vegetarian as it does to eat meat. There are excellent, nutritious, and easy to prepare vegetarian dishes that are Italian, Chinese, Indian, Mid-Eastern, French, Spanish, etc. Additionally, one can enjoy many other foods that he has never tasted because of the meat craze. Most consumers have eaten no more than five or six varieties of beans and legumes — less than 10% of what is available and grains, including different appetizing types of wheat, nuts, and seeds. And they can be prepared very creatively!

In my opinion, there are far more benefits to becoming a vegetarian then there are becoming or staying a meat eater. Due to the fact that I was raised on meat, I have the wonderful experiences from both worlds. As a meat eater, I was constantly sick, tired, and overweight. As a vegetarian, I am healthy, full of energy, and maintaining a perfect weight. I love being a vegetarian and it shows. Because I wish the best for myself, it’s just second nature to want the best for others. From my past experience and research, going vegetarian is the best thing anyone can do for their mind, body and spirit.

The Correlation Between Meats, Disease and Obesity

In my research I have found evidence on how animal products are linked to colon cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes, osteoporosis, heart attacks, Chron’s disease, allergies, impotence, etc. This may explain why strict vegetarians, those that avoid all animal products, have lower cholesterol and LDL levels and lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, non-insulin dependent diabetes, and colon cancer compared to non-vegetarians. Many strict vegetarians, or vegans, also maintain an overall healthy life-style, maintain weight close to desirable levels, participate in regular physical activity, and abstain from smoking, alcohol and drugs, which may relate with these findings.

Heavy cream, whole milk, fried eggs, bacon, pork rinds, beef, cheese, and butter — all these contribute to long-term obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, reproductive cancers, prostate enlargement, auto-immune diseases, and other diseases. Many people are trying popular fad diets that are high in protein and vegetables with little to no carbohydrates.

One of the biggest fad diets today is the “Atkins Diet”. These types of diets have been popular lately, being marketed as a “miracle” diet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Animal products contain outstanding amounts of anti-biotic (what the meat industry refers to as “Bio-security”). This term is further explained as the levels of drugs “they” [the meat, dairy, and poultry industry] consider safe levels. There are also residual amounts of anabolic and androgenic steroids within the fat and muscle of the animals and dairy products.

Eating a meal high in protein is not healthy. Some nutritionist neglect to note that having animal fats coursing through our blood makes the blood fat [lypemia], which stays that way for up to four hours. During this time fats actually cover the surface, actually preventing insulin from penetrating the cell to bring any glucose molecules present inside the cell. Furthermore, diets high in animal fats contain the very pro-inflammatory fat [Arachidonic acid] that causes the release of a particular type of hormone that causes inflammatory conditions within the body [arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, to name just a few]. These diets also intensify the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, PMS and other auto-immune diseases and disorders.

Dr. Atkins insists that all carbohydrates are responsible for high cholesterol levels, obesity and other health problems. He fails miserably to note that there is a difference between refined, beached flours, and refined sugars and whole grains, and lower glycemic index carbohydrates. Atkins further neglects to note that cholesterol only occurs in animal products, and many carbohydrate foods are low in fat, devoid of cholesterol and contain fiber. Atkins’ book sales have risen, as have cattle, egg, dairy, pig and poultry prices. Pork rinds, the one and only fried snack the Atkins’ diet permits, have climbed in popularity by more than 15% in one year. The numbers of those who have jumped on the high-protein, high-fat kick are staggering, and portend of disastrous health consequences in these individuals in their future. It is a known fact that high protein intake can damage the kidneys and leach calcium from the bones. The lack of fiber disrupts the digestive tract, leading to constipation as water is pulled from the colon to aid the kidneys in diluting the ammonia load that results in the breakdown of animal proteins in the body.

George Blackburn, director of the Center for the Study of Nutrition and Medicine at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as researched high-protein diets over the

years. He points out that there are many annoyingly common side effects: bad breath, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, irritability and lightheadedness. [35] In addition, and somehow conveniently omitted is the fact that when carbohydrates are limited or severely restricted as in the Atkins’s diet muscle mass is digested first, resulting in the quick weight losses that are typically noted in the early stages of the diet. This occurs in a process known as “gluco-neo-genesis” (the making of new glucose from storage sites in the skeletal muscle, smooth and even cardiac muscle) as well as liver stores of glycogen. You see the brain “eats first”, in other words, the brain requires a continual supply of carbohydrates in the form of glucose or blood sugar and oxygen. If this fuel is restricted in the diet [low carbohydrate intake] the brain will look for the easiest source; in this case glycogen storage within the muscle. As muscle are broken down to liberate glucose, water is also liberated to be excreted and creating a quick and very exciting weight loss on the scale for the unsuspecting, trusting dieter. This creates a cascade of events, including a loss of body muscle mass, a reduction in BMR [basal metabolic rate], or the number of calories your body burns throughout a 24-hour period to maintain homeostasis balance. As the muscle is lost, strength is lost with it, as well as the body’s ability to burn calories (primarily from fat) while you are sleeping, working etc. The auto-immune system is depressed as the body is placed under this great “unnatural stress” of consuming proteins at 40-50 percent more than we need, or can properly digest and utilize.

Dr. Atkins has managed to ignore the many population studies, notably the Framingham Heart Study, which has demonstrated that diets high in meat and saturated fat increase risks for heart disease, colon cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, obesity, and a shortened lifespan. He also ignores the fact that the planet’s thinnest and healthiest humans in the world live in Asia and the Pacific Rim, where rice, noodles and other high-carbohydrate foods make up 70 percent of the daily diet. For the supporters of the Atkins’ diet that are quick to claim genetics play a role in the Asians ability to eat this way and not become obese are not staying up to date on the following. When Asians abandon their traditional diets that are high in carbohydrates and fiber and low in fat for foods for the traditional western diet high in protein and fat, obesity and degenerative diseases becomes routine. Research studies show that, on average, people switching to a vegetarian diet lose an average of 10% of their body weight. Indeed, without limiting calories at all, a vegan diet (free of all animal products) trims about one pound per week, and that’s even without getting beneficial exercise and without dodging spaghetti, rice, and bread. Imagine the results if these same individuals ate these same types of foods in as unrefined a state as possible and added exercise.

Atkins and the other peddlers of high protein, low carbohydrate diet would never consider suggesting a vegetarian diet in light of the research of Dean Ornish [Reversing Heart Disease], John MacDougall [The MacDougall Plan] and others. How do these individuals and their toxic diets explain the fact that heart attacks are the most common form of death in the United States, and yet the risk of heart attack for a man consuming a non-meat diet is cut dramatically? Atkins has nothing to say about vegetarians having one-third the incidence of colon cancer as meat-eaters? The American Dietetic Association has called the Atkins Diet “a nightmare,” or that thousands of doctors and dietitians are speaking out against this irresponsible medicine. The work of Michael Klapper, M.D. [Diet for all Reasons], and T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. [The China-Oxford-Cornell Study] have found conclusively that diets high in protein and animal fat are just plain deadly. Protein diets only works when dieters also cut calories. The regimen is a throwback to old low-calorie diets of the 1970s and early 80’s (Cambridge Diet, Medifast Diet, etc.). They all promised great weight loss, but delivered only temporary weight loss, and long-term health consequences.

Those who are serious about taking off pounds, keeping them off and improving overall health should know that carbohydrates actually boost overall metabolism. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, pasta’s (artichoke, spinach, whole wheat, corn, tomato, spelt, barley flours to name a few), fruits, vegetables and beans, nuts, help the thyroid gland burn calories more efficiently. The adrenal glands are not over-taxed, which calm the Thymus gland, and prevents the lymphatic system from becoming clogged and sluggish. The pancreas works better to maintain a stable blood sugar level, and the colon moves waste matter along its merry way and out. We as Americans have to take responsibility for ourselves and think of what we are reading and being told. Many of these books use the Eskimos as examples of those individuals who consume a high protein, high fat diet as the shining example of how the body can thrive in a constant state of ketosis [metabolic acidosis]. Again these authors fail to note that thousands of years of evolution are in place with this race, not to mention the health problems these people endure and that the Eskimos eat their meat raw.

We can live without bogus and potentially dangerous diet plans to lose weight and stay healthy. Following a good, old-fashioned common sense eating lifestyle of keeping fat and cholesterol low, and a diet of fresh fiber-rich foods. Teaching people to eat more in line with vegetarian foods, and never fear eating good quality unrefined carbohydrates again. This will lead to better health, and less of a fixation about foods and hopefully less stress at least in this part of our life.

Consciousness, How It Interacts With But Is Separate from the Body

ConsciosnessSTEPHEN KNAPP – Very often scientists have a desire to do something that determines or proves the philosophy they use. Rather than simply basing their philosophy on the facts alone, they may tend to base their viewpoints or interpret their experiments on what they desire. In this way, they may use the idea that life comes from chemicals because if it is true, there are then so many things science can do. With science we could build a better human machine, a better brain, or create immortality. But if it is not true, then science cannot recreate life, or build machines as good as humans, or overcome death. Therefore, science does not want to face that. Instead they may choose to take an idea and follow it as far as it will go by using many taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars to investigate many useless and unnecessary things.

One very famous physicist stated that if there is such a thing as the conscious self, a nonmaterial particle that possesses consciousness which does not come about from chemicals, then scientists might as well retire and become truck drivers. This is an example of the bias in science and the motivation behind rejecting any non-mechanistic idea, and in clinging stubbornly to mechanistic and physical explanations of life. Only in this way can they become like God, with their hopes of creating life and doing so many wonderful things, and denying any need to recognize a Supreme Being.

Today, scientists hardly talk about the mind. They just talk about the brain. There are over a billion neurons in the brain and each of these little brain cells discharge electrical impulses which send out particular kinds of signals. So the scientists are conceiving of mapping which parts of the brain control cognitive functions, like thinking, memory, motor responses, sensory impressions, etc. Then they hope to stimulate artificially the activity of specific neuron cells with chemicals or electrical shock to negate those neurons that affect one’s feelings of anxiety or depression, or similar unwanted feelings. In this way, one could simply take a chemical in order to feel a particular feeling. This is based on the Western concept that the mind is the self and is not separate from the brain, but is a part of it.

The basis of this kind of modern research of the mind was set by the British biologist T. H. Huxley more than a century ago. He said that all states of consciousness are caused by molecular changes of the brain. In other words, this is all that causes our changes of mood or the way we feel when experiencing good or bad events in our life. On the basis of this theory, the mind is merely a by-product of a properly functioning brain, and the mind can be controlled simply by adjusting the brain in various ways.

There are, however, a few who do not agree with this. The Australian neurophysiologist and Nobel laureate, Sir John Eccles, thinks that mind or consciousness is separate from the brain. While performing experiments on the cerebral cortex, which controls movements in our bodies by sending appropriate signals to various muscles, he has noted that before any voluntary act is performed, the 50 million or so neurons of the supplementary motor area (SMA) within the cortex begin to act. Thus, the SMA acts before the cerebral cortex sends the necessary signals to the muscles needed to perform the desired activity. Eccles concludes that conscious will, separate from the brain, must first be there before the chain of neurological events begin. Therefore, the mind controls matter rather than matter (the brain) controlling the mind. In this way, we can begin to understand that, as Sir Karl Popper, a philosopher of science, describes, the mind and brain exist in two separate realities. The brain is a functioning material organ of the body, and the mind or consciousness is the immaterial symptom of the living entity or soul which motivates the body. Thus, as explained in the Vedic literature, the two work together like a driver seated in a car.

Problems with Scientific Theories of Consciousness

The current idea that the mind is part of the brain is held not only by many biologists, neurologists, etc., but by others in all branches of science, including physics, computer science, and psychology. We might, however, point out a number of problems with this current thinking. Let us suggest that it is just as reasonable to consider an alternative view, and that the Vedic concept is actually more consistent and does not have as many problems as their concept has.


For example, does a person have the same experience in seeing a sunset as a machine programed to say “I see a red light,” when it registers a sunset taking place? In other words, is merely recognizing light waves all there is to consciousness? If the mind works simply in a mechanistic way, as science tends to propound, then simply registering that we see a sunset would be all there is to consciousness. It would be exactly like a mechanical reflex to a particular stimuli. The point is that we could say a tape recorder hears music, but does it actually hear or enjoy it? Does it get goose bumps or inspiration from listening to it?

The experiences of enjoying something cannot be measured or broken down into a simple mathematical equation. Therefore, in an eliminative or reductionary philosophy, which science uses, it is believed that if something cannot be broken down into a measurable and simple equation, then it is not real and leaves no room for discussion. With this viewpoint, reductionary scientists can begin throwing out a word like “consciousness” because it does not have any meaning or reality. It does not fit into an equation. You can break the movement of brain cells down to a mathematical formula, but not consciousness. And since the word “mind” also does not fit into an equation, we can throw that out as well. And, of course, the concept of a soul has been given up long ago. After all, everything is seen as an extension of the mechanical workings of the brain. So the idea is that we should only use vocabulary which is related to physical, identifiable, and quantifiable formulas.

By understanding these examples of a machine responding to a red sunset, or a tape recorder hearing music, we can know that there is something in consciousness far beyond the ability of any machine giving simple reactions to external stimuli. Machine reactions are similar to our senses sending electrical messages to the brain. But, obviously, we experience more than a simple sensual or physical stimulus. A machine cannot describe the experience of hearing a Beethoven symphony and cannot recognize one piece of music from another. A machine has no emotions, so how can it describe the experience? Therefore, scientists who just try to show that our own responses are a mechanical reaction to sensory stimuli are simply trying to negate the idea of consciousness or the existence of the soul. But, if there is a conscious particle, then they cannot make something else conscious, or create life, or be a Dr. Frankenstein without first creating that conscious particle or soul, which they cannot do.

From the Vedic literature, we learn that there is a conscious self that is separate from the machine or body. Obviously, we are conscious of every single impulse that the senses of our body/machine deals with. There is perfect interaction. So science will question how the self can interact so well with the machine if it is not part of the machine. And why is consciousness affected when changes are made to the brain? If the self is separate, then consciousness should not be affected. These are the arguments of science, and the Vedic literature offers some very interesting answers. If these arguments are answered, then why not consider an alternative viewpoint, as described in the Vedic literature?

The idea that consciousness is changed by changes of the body or machine can be understood more clearly if we use the example of a person driving a car. Obviously, the driver is separate from the car, but if the driver gets in his car and is hit by another car, he will immediately say, “You hit me.” It is not that the driver was hit, it was the car that was hit, but the driver identifies with the car as if he were a part of it. So the driver is affected by changes in the machine. Similarly, when the self depends on the body and strongly identifies with it, he will think he is the body and will be disturbed if there is some problem with it, although he is actually separate from it.

Another example is that there have been carefully controlled and documented experiments done with epileptic patients. In these experiments, the patients have been treated with electric shock to certain parts of the brain in order to respond in a particular way. The findings of these experiments have shown, however, that in almost every case the patient would respond to a certain stimuli stating that he was not doing it, but that the doctor, by controlling the electrical impulses, was making the patient’s body respond in a certain way. Thus, the mind’s inclination was different or separate from the response of the body. So simply by applying electric shock to parts of the brain for certain responses does not give any adequate explanations of what is the mind.

In considering the mind, we also have to consider the will. If all that the patients did was respond to stimuli, then, according to the mechanistic theory, that is all that would be expected of being conscious. But the patients were protesting that it was not they who were voluntarily reacting. It was against their will. So if there was no such thing as a separate self with an individual will, there would have been no protest, like a robot programmed to act in a certain way. So these experiments that showed that the mind had an identity and will separate from the brain were startling in neurological circles. The reason was because it brought up the old argument that there is something separate between the mind and the brain–it is not all one.

Another example of this is in the field of near-death experience. There have been top scientists at such places as the University of Virginia using the strictest standards for documenting and researching particular phenomena. They have been able to demonstrate conclusive findings in over hundreds of test cases with patients who were, according to all known laws of physics, technically in a state of unconsciousness, or in a coma due to a heart attack or accident. The patients, after being brought back to consciousness, explained in detail what procedures had been performed to revive them. They described themselves as floating out of their body, up into the room, looking down and watching the medical procedures the doctors were performing on them. There was no possibility that they could have dreamed this as subsequent tests have shown. This shows that there is a difference between the brain and the mind, and that the mind or consciousness can continue working even though the brain is impaired and hardly functioning at all, as in a comatose state.

Vedic Recognition of the Soul’s Presence

In the near-death experience we have the description of what happened to the individuals when they were revived, but what if they had not re-entered their body? What if the patients could not be revived? If they had died, where would they have gone? Or is death simply the end of everything? When someone dies, the relatives may cry and exclaim, “Oh, he is gone, he has left us.” But what is gone? He is lying there, or at least the body is. So if he is gone, then it is that part you have not seen that is gone. So what is it?


As we have shown in the last several pages, philosophers and scientists have all questioned this and have arrived at no final conclusion. But the Vedic literature gives detailed descriptions of the self. The Chandogya Upanishad (6.10.3) begins explaining that the subtle essence in all that exists is the self. It is the true and thou art it.

In the Twelfth and Thirteenth Khandas of the Chandogya Upanishad, it gives further examples in which it states that a tall tree has its essence, the self, originally in the small seed from which it grew. Yet to break a seed open will reveal no such potency for it to grow into such a huge plant. But the power is there. Likewise, to take salt and mix it with water renders the salt invisible; yet, by tasting the water, we can know the salt is there. Similarly, in the material body, the self exists, though we do not directly perceive it. However, Bhagavad-gita (13.34) explains: “O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.” Therefore, just as we cannot perceive the salt mixed in the water except by taste, we also cannot see the soul in the body except by recognizing the symptom, which is consciousness.

Consciousness can be recognized easily by performing a small experiment. Pinch part of your body and you will feel pain. This is a sign of consciousness, not only in humans but also in cats, dogs, or other animals. In any type of species of life, there are two types of bodies; the body which is alive, and the body which is dead and deteriorating. The live body is pervaded and illuminated by the consciousness of the self. The Mundaka Upanishad (3.1.9) says: “The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air (prana, apana, vyana, samana, and udana), is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited.”

Thus, the self is the motivating factor within the body, and when it leaves, the body breaks down and slowly disintegrates. Therefore, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (2.4.3-5) points out that whomever is dear to us, whether it be our wives, husbands, sons, daughters, teachers, guardians, etc., they are dear to us only due to the presence of the self within the body, who in reality is what is dear to us. Once the self leaves the body, the body becomes unattractive to us because it rapidly gets cold, stiff, and begins to decompose. Therefore, the body is not our real identity, but we are the self within.

Vedic Mathematics and the Spiritual Dimension

SVAMI B.B. VISHNU – I remember the time my father pulled me aside and said, “Son, you can explain everything with math.” He was a rationalist, and for him God existed only in the sentiments of the uneducated. At the time I believed him, and I think his advice had a lot to do with my decision to pursue a degree in physics. Somewhere along the way, however, in 1969, something happened (something many people are still trying to figure out) which drew me away from the spirit of that fatherly advice and subsequently my once promising career.

Unfortunately, I think I went too far to the other side. I threw reason to the wind, so to speak, and unceremoniously became a self-ordained “spiritual person.” Science, the foundation of which is mathematics, as I saw it, had nothing to offer. It was only years later, when the cloud of my sentimentalism was dissipated by the sun of my soul’s integrity, that I was able to separate myself from yet another delusion-the first being the advice of my father, and the second being the idea that I could wish myself into a more profound understanding of the nature of reality.

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Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare  ॐ हरे कृष्णा हरे कृष्णा कृष्णा कृष्णा हरे हरे। हरे रामा हरे रामा रामा रामा हरे हरे॥ ॐ