The Yogic View of Consciousness 10: Revealing The Bindu

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Part 10 Cover-1
Last time we discussed pratiprasava, the return of consciousness to its source by absorbing the effects into the causes. We now discuss how this works. Pratiprasava occurs when the yogi uses samadhi to descend through the layers of the mind. The bindu is the “doorway” connecting the layers.

 

Contents for The Yogic View of Consciousness:

Intro Ch 1 Ch 2 Ch 3 Ch 4 Ch 5 Ch 6 Ch7 Ch 8
Ch 9 Ch 10 Ch 11 Ch 12 Ch 13 Ch 14 Ch 15 Ch 16 Ch 17
Ch 18 Ch 19 Ch 20 Ch 21 Ch 22 Ch 23 Ch 24 Ch 25 Ch 26
Ch 27 Ch 28 Ch 29 Ch 30 Ch 31 Ch 32 Ch 33

 

Scientism is Bad, M’kay
Via yoga methods, the ancient Indians discovered what I am calling “yogic cosmology”. It is possible to describe yogic cosmology in the abstract without reference to the methods. I did this in the previous chapter, which I justified as an introduction to the concepts. However, in general, it is a bad approach to describe things independent of their origins.

To make my point, consider a different example: the Big Bang. We can describe the Big Bang as a creation story and omit the underlying details of the telescope technologies, observations, and math that led to this picture in the first place. We can also tell simplified stories for things like biological evolution, atomic physics, and so on.

We can reduce what are otherwise complicated technical issues into qualitative stories. It may be pedagogically expedient to tell a watered-down story. We have to start somewhere, right? However, once the basic concepts have been conveyed, the story must be revised to include the details, qualifiers, and points of uncertainty.

In Part 3, I mentioned scientism, where people make something akin to a religion out of the stories of science. Scientism can flourish when we abstract a story from the technical details. Scientism is bad for the following reasons.

Reducing complicated technical matters to simple stories reduces a composite thing to a false unity. The Big Bang is not a single story. It is a composite of many little stories, some of which are solid while others are weaker. When told as a unified story, the underlying pieces are blurred out and all the shades of grey eliminated. This leads to the misconception that the story as a whole is either true or false. This is bad because new knowledge grows out of the uncertainties in current knowledge. When these are covered over by simplifications, it hinders progress.

When the simple story is construed to be either true or false, this generates false controversies. Taking the Big Bang as a unified creation story pits it against the Biblical story in Genesis. This is an apples-to-oranges comparison disguised as an apples-to-apples comparison. Such thinking is just a circus sideshow and contributes nothing to the matter on either side of the argument. A story abstracted from its natural context becomes a stage of false premises on which the mind can roam freely in philosophical speculation, unanchored from reality.

The result looks like a fried egg on the mental plane. At the center of the thought-form is the original complicated technical matter, the composite of many little stories, understood as such by those who deal with it in those terms. Surrounding this solid core is an artificial penumbra of ideas, like a layer of unnecessary fat, or a big fluffy cloud, which has nothing to do with the original, other than stemming from oversimplifications and misinterpretations of the original. It all makes a big confusing mess.

Watered-down science stories get us scientism. If we water-down yoga stories, we’ll get “yogatism”. We can’t speak of the Absolute, the bindu, the cave of consciousness, or the screen of consciousness without reference to yogic methods. If we do, our “yogatism” will become just another religion. We might as well just believe in the Easter Bunny.

In fact, the West is already permeated by a type of “yogatism” where people think yoga is merely another form of exercise designed for stress reduction. This is a huge thing and gives yoga the same “fried egg” appearance on the mental plane as scientism does for science.

To avoid all this nonsense, I will not tell Taimni’s bindu story as a form of “yogatism”. We will go right to the source. The bindu stems from experiences in altered states of consciousness induced by yoga methods. The details are stated in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras so we begin there.

Samadhi Reviewed
I now retell Taimni’s interpretation of the Yoga Sutras, given in his Science of Yoga. I will pepper original insights based on my altered states experiences where I can. The following has a lot of overlap with my previous post on the 10 types of samadhi. That is okay. It doesn’t hurt to hear these ideas more than once. The previous post described the 10 types of samadhi but did not emphasize their proper context in yoga practice. Here I emphasize that context, which is the descent through consciousness. When this is understood, we get a get a first look at a fuller concept of the bindu.

Patanjali’s yoga methods can be broadly divided into two stages:

  1. Learn samadhi.
  2. Apply samadhi to dive into the depths of the mind with the aim to experience Kaivalya.

The first stage, (explained in Chapter 6 of What is Science?) consists of the eight-fold limbs: yama, niyama, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana, dharana, and samadhi. Stage 1 culminates in learning how to perform samadhi. Recall that samadhi is the fusion of the observer and the observed, where the object in the mind and the first person self-awareness become the same. Let’s spend a moment reviewing samadhi.

There is nothing equivalent to samadhi in Western cultures. Even in Eastern cultures, a person who can do samadhi is rare. This is because samadhi is hard to do. It takes inordinate practice. One must be able to silence all the levels of the mind before samadhi is possible. One must commit and dedicate their entire life to the practice. It’s not something one can do for an hour after work every day. This is why Ashrams exist. People committed to yoga need a cocoon to support their efforts.

Once mastered, samadhi is a way to use the mind that is different from normal thinking. In normal thinking there is a dichotomy between the observer and the observed. Samadhi is a mental technique that causes the fusion of the observer and the observed in what has been called “knowing by being”. Similar to normal thinking, any thought can serve as the subject of meditation.

The object of meditation is called a pratyaya. The pratyaya is a memory in the mind of the yogi. It is not like a normal memory that we bring before our “mind’s eye”. In samadhi, the yogi’s mind has been highly purified (remember sabda, jnana and artha?), and there is no mental awareness of externals (i.e. stage 1 above has been mastered).

Most important, the consciousness of the yogi fuses with the consciousness of the pratyaya. In normal thinking, “you”, as the observer, “see” a memory as distinct from yourself, as an image in your mind. There is a clear observer/observed dualism in normal thinking, even when we recall a memory. Not so in samadhi. In samadhi, there is no “you” and no observed memory. They fuse into one mental activity where observer and observed become indelibly one.

Samadhi and Saddle-Node Bifurcations
This section is a tangent. It is a mathematical analogy for understanding samadhi. We can make an analogy with samadhi and a saddle node bifurcation. First, consider this excerpt from section 3.1 of Strogatz’ well-known text on nonlinear dynamics:

Figure 1: Excerpt from Strogatz

Figure 1: Excerpt from Strogatz

The idea of the analogy is simple. Consider the left fixed point to be the observer (the yogi’s self-awareness) and the right fixed point to be the observed (the pratyaya) in the mind of the yogi. Notice how the two fixed points approach each other, and then fuse into the same thing at the bifurcation at r = 0.

This analogy shows the dynamics of two seeming opposites fusing into one entity.   In the math, the opposites are the attractor on the left and repeller on the right. In samadhi, the opposites are the observer, (the yogi’s self-awareness) and observed (the pratyaya) in the yogi’s mind.

The analogy suggests samadhi is a bifurcation in the mind. The vrittis of the yogi that constitute self-awareness and the vrittis that constitute the pratyaya are initially separate in the mind. The mental method of samadhi causes them to bifurcate and become the same thing.

Also, notice Strogatz’ comment about the fixed point at the bifurcation being “extremely delicate”, indicating that it is in a state of perfect balance, like being on a razor’s edge. Samadhi, the holding of the state of fusion of the observer/observed, is also likely to be a similarly delicate balancing act.

I have some intuition to make these statements because a similar phenomenon occurs in lucid dreams. In DO_OBE I call it my “lockmold”, which is a sense of how stable or unstable I “feel” during a lucid dream. The same analogy can apply to maintaining lucidity in the dream state. Here the opposite states are (1) the nonlucid state of dreaming, as against (2) being awake. Lucid dreaming seems to be a fusion of these two states into a composite state that is “extremely delicate” to use Strogatz term. I give a technical discussion of lucid dream stability in my global workspace and dreaming paper.

To get really abstract, notice for r > 0, the system has an attractor at +∞. Of course people don’t normally think of it this way, but as the flow diagram indicates, everything converges to +∞. This would correspond to Kaivalya, the Absolute, where there is no observer or observed. Such thinking mixes the mainstream Western math thinking with the Hindu understanding explained in Part 5.

Tangent’s done; let’s get back to the main discussion.

Into The Depths
The following discussion is based on Taimni’s commentary to Yoga Sutra aphorism 1.17 in The Science of Yoga. This is the clearest expressions I have read of how the decent into consciousness works. It is also one of the best explanations of the 10 types of samadhi. I strongly recommend that you read the original. In fact, here is the ten-page excerpt from The Science of Yoga. You can read this in conjunction with my description. You will see I am only repeating in my own words what Taimni said there.

Learning samadhi is not the end of yoga, but the beginning. Samadhi is the main tool used to dive into the depths of consciousness in search of Kaivalya. One “sinks into the cool dark waters” as van der Leeuw put it. The fusion of self-awareness (observer) and the pratyaya (observed) functions as a metaphorical rope, allowing descent into the depths of consciousness. The descent into the depths is exactly the process of pratiprasava, the resolving of effects into causes, discussed last time.

We now discuss how samadhi causes pratiprasava and thereby allows the yogi to descend to progressively deeper levels of the mind.  In Chapter 6 of What is Science? I discussed the power (artha) releasing function of samadhi.  I don’t repeat myself here and the interested Reader may want to consult the aforementioned.

Samadhi causes pratiprasava, by the release of artha, which causes the pratyaya to break apart into its constituents. Then, samadhi is applied to the constituents, then to the constituents of the constituents, and so on, until there is nothing left of the pratyaya. Between the dissolving of the pratyaya at one level and its reappearance in more basic form at the next higher level, there is an intervening transition where the bindu functions.

Here is a picture to make the process clearer:

Figure 2: Pratiprasava, resolving of the effect into the cause occurs during the samadhic descent through consciousness. The images representing the pratyaya (Shiva, etc.) are only suggestive filler and shouldn’t be taken literally.

Figure 2: Pratiprasava, resolving of the effect into the cause occurs during the samadhic descent through consciousness. The images representing the pratyaya (Shiva, etc.) are only suggestive filler and shouldn’t be taken literally.

 

Figure 2 shows the stages of the descent into consciousness and the process of pratiprasava. The underlying table brings together a variety of information dispersed throughout the Yoga Sutras. This is my diagrammatic equivalent to the following figure from Taimni, taken from his commentary to aphorism 1.17.

Figure 3: The descent through consciousness via the 10 types of samadhi.

Figure 3: Taimni’s equivalent to Figure 2 from The Science of Yoga.

There are thus four types of samadhi in which there is a pratyaya present. When the pratyaya is present it is called samprajnata samadhi. In samprajnata samadhi, the pratyaya is present either at the visesa, avisesa, linga, or alinga phase of the gunas. The corresponding name of samadhi at each level is “savitarka”, “savicara”, “saananda” and “sasmita”. A given form of samadhi is named after the type of consciousness corresponding to a given state of the gunas.

There are four corresponding transition states collectively called asamprajnata samadhi. The four specific forms of asamprajnata samadhi are: (1) visesa to avisesa, (2) avisesa to linga, and (3) linga to alinga, and (4) alinga to nirbija.

The above account for 8 of the 10 types of samadhi described in the Yoga Sutras. Nirbija samadhi is the 9th, and dharma mega samadhi is the 10th. The last two were described in the quote from van der Leeuw at the end of Part 1.

Nirbija is analogous to the forms of samprajnata samadhi except there is no pratyaya. Van der Leeuw described nirbija samadhi like this:

“…we come to a state in which nothing seems to be any more, in which we ourselves seem to have lost name and form and all characteristics. We come to the great Void.”

“When we reach the Void within, the state in which nothing more seems to be, it would appear as if we were surrounded on all sides by a blank wall and as if it were impossible to proceed any further.”

Dharma mega samadhi, like the four types of asamprajnata samadhi, is a transitional state. van der Leeuw described it thus:

“We have to move in a dimension we did not know before…”

“The first part of our journey towards reality is the surrendering of our world-image and the turning inwards until we reach the center of consciousness, the second is to pierce through that center and find the reality which, acting on that center produces the world-image in the cave of our consciousness.”

“The experience of going through the center of consciousness and emerging, as it were, on the other side is very much one of turning inside out.”

Dharma mega samadhi is the transition out of the relative and into the Absolute, and is the very last stage of pratiprasava.  The effect has been fully absorbed into the cause, and consciousness now rests in the ultimate cause, the Absolute, the experience of which we have already discussed.

Asamprajnata Samadhi, Pratyak Cetana and the Bindu
The idea of the bindu derives from the experience of asamprajnata samadhi. First I repeat the Taimni quote from Part 1:

“The … ordinary mind is…constantly and completely turned outwards. It is used to taking interest only in the objects of the outer world and this habit has become so strong that any effort to reverse the direction of consciousness and to make the mind withdraw from the periphery to the centre is accompanied by a mental struggle…”

“… These two tendencies which make the mind inward-turned or outward-turned correspond to Pratyak and Paranga Cetana” (Figure 4)

Figure 4: The two directions of consciousness.

Figure 4: The two directions of consciousness.

In Part 1 the ideas of pratyak and paranga cetana were used to describe our ordinary minds. The ideas also apply to samadhi. You can see that pratiprasava is an alternation of consciousness directed outward to the pratyaya (paranga cetana), followed by the inward directing of consciousness (pratyak cetana) during asamprajnata samadhi. This is how Taimni says it:

“It will be seen, therefore, that in the progressive recession of consciousness from the lower mental plane to its origin, Samprajnata Samadhi with its characteristic Pratyaya and Asamprajnata Samadhi with its void follow each other in succession…”

“The recession of consciousness towards its centre is thus not a steady and uninterrupted sinking into greater and greater depths but consists in this alternate outward and inward movement of consciousness at each barrier separating the two planes.”

Thus, pratiprasava, the descent through consciousness is the alternation of paranga and pratyak cetana.  It is more like breathing, in a sense, than diving.

Let us consider what happens at the transition of asamprajnata samadhi:

“Now, in Samprajnata Samadhi there is a Pratyaya (which is called a ‘seed’) in the field of consciousness and the consciousness is fully directed to it. So the direction of consciousness is from the centre outwards.”

“In Asamprajnata Samadhi there is no Pratyaya and therefore there is nothing to draw the consciousness outwards and hold it there. So as soon as the Pratyaya (P) is dropped or suppressed the consciousness begins to recede automatically to its centre O and after passing momentarily through this Laya centre, tends to emerge into the next subtler vehicle. When this process has been completed the Pratyaya (P’) of the next higher plane appears and the direction of consciousness again becomes from the centre outwards.”

 

Figure 5: The bindu links the various phases of the gunas (or planes of Nature if you are a theosophist).

And there we go: the bindu. Taimni illustrates the transition process as shown in Figure 5. The very center, the “o” with a dot over it is meant to represent the bindu, which he calls a “Laya centre” in the quote above.

Taimni then describes what is in the awareness of the yogi during the transition of asamprajnata samadhi:

“From the time the Pratyaya P is suppressed to the time when the Pratyaya P’ of the next plane appears the Yogi is in the stage of Asamprajnata Samadhi. During all this time he is fully conscious and his will is directing this delicate mental operation in a very subtle manner. The mind is no doubt blank but it is the blankness of Samadhi and not the blankness of an ordinary kind such as is present in deep sleep or coma.”

“The void of Asamprajnata Samadhi is sometimes called a ‘cloud’ in Yogic terminology and the experience may be compared to that of a pilot whose aeroplane passes through a cloud bank….When the consciousness of the Yogi leaves one plane and the Pratyaya of that plane disappears he finds himself in a void and must remain in that void until his consciousness automatically emerges into the next plane with its new and characteristic Pratyaya.”

Here he is describing the traditional understanding of the transition between the phases of the gunas as passing through a “cloud”. This idea is explicit in the name “dharma megha samadhi” because “megha” means “cloud”.

These references to a “cloud” in the yogic literature are confusing, as are the distinctions between the 10 types of samadhi. As I said in the 10 types of samadhi post, Patanjali’s whole scheme is incomprehensible unless interpreted in the framework of the planes of nature. This framework is wholly lacking in the Western “yogatism” of exercise, and also lacking in the academic study of the Yoga Sutras in Western academia.   Even in Eastern literature grounded in real yoga, the concepts are confused.  In the Yoga Sutras, the planes of nature are described as states of the gunas. “Planes of nature” and “gunas” refer to exactly the same thing.

This then is Taimni’s concept of the descent of consciousness and pratiprasava. We can see that the bindu serves as the link connecting the different states of consciousness.  It manifests during the transition state of asamprajnata samadhi.

The Bindu Is Real
I told you this was all quite abstract. And we haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet! In his later writings, Taimni refined his understanding of the bindu into something wholly abstract. But we get to that next time. For the moment I wrap up the above discussion.

We can see that the concept of the bindu comes from experiences in altered states induced by practicing yoga. It is not that one sees a little “hole” and somehow jumps through it. No, the idea stems from the alternation in the forms of samadhi, and specifically in the transitions of asamprajnata samadhi.

The experience of the bindu is described above as like momentarily passing through a dark cloud, where nothing seems to be for the moment. This is one way it can manifest, but not the only way. But the main generalization is that there is a dynamic transition state, and it is this that is referred to as the bindu.

I do not say any of this as mere intellectualizing. I have experienced the transition through the bindu many times in my projection experiences. In DO_OBE, Chapter 2, there is a section entitled “On The Border Between Waking And Projecting”. This describes some of the experiences I have had of moving through the bindu. It is quite real, Folks. You can learn to take your mind through it. I am not going to repeat what I said in DO_OBE here, and you are of course free to go read it.

A First Model of the Bindu
I want to wrap up with an even more general picture than given in Figure 2. We can abstract what is described in the Yoga Sutras, as interpreted by Taimni. What we seem to be dealing with, at least in part, is like a transition between harmonics.

A good physical example of a harmonic transition is feedback with an electric guitar. If you don’t know what I am talking about, see here. Guitar feedback is aptly named because what happens is you get a positive feedback loop between the tone held on the guitar and the amplifier system. This puts additional energy into the guitar and causes a transition from the fundamental tone to one of its higher harmonics. As the feedback scientist in the linked video indicates, one can control and manipulate the system and control to some extent the harmonic that is amplified by the feedback cycle.

I will assert that the transition from one level of consciousness to another operates by a similar type of feedback mechanism, which in turn causes a transition to a higher harmonic of the system. In this case, the system is the mind itself. So, the higher harmonics of the mind are the inner planes, or, in yoga terms, the different states of the gunas.

In this way, the transition effected by asamprajnata samadhi is akin to a “quantum jump” from one tone to another. For the Reader educated in Eastern thinking, you see how this moves us towards Nāda yoga. It also begins to bridge the ancient Eastern understanding to our modern understanding of vibrations. There is nothing particularly original about what I am saying. Cymatics, the link between vibration and form, is a normal science.  Cymatics is one small step the West is taking towards nāda yoga.

If I am making a small contribution, it is to point out that we can interpret Taimni’s interpretation of Patanjali to indicate that the bindu is a harmonic transition. It’s not a doorway, but, as a harmonic transition, a quantum jump.  As such, it has the same functional effect as a doorway by causing something to move from one state to another.

Here’s a picture for the right side of your brain (for you left-handers out there) that illustrates the various types of samadhi as harmonics (samprajnata samadhi) and harmonic transitions (asamprajnata samadhi).  This diagram makes very clear that we can consider global states of the mind to be analogous to harmonic modes, and can therefore speak of “modes of the mind”.  From this view, our normal waking state is only one of the possible modes the mind can be in.

 

Figure 6: States of consciousness in yoga are like quantum levels of harmonics. Left shows it as a typical "energy diagram" where the modes represent discreet energy states. The left shows it as modes of vibration. Same difference.

Figure 6: States of consciousness in yoga are like quantum levels of harmonics. Left shows it as a typical “energy diagram” where the modes represent discreet energy states. The left shows it as modes of vibration. Same difference.

 

In What is Science? (very end, chapter 10) I spoke of how dissolving the pratyaya in samadhi releases power, artha, and how this power was used to propel the yogi into the deeper levels of consciousness:

“Artha released in samadhi is used only to move deeper into consciousness, to climb back up the potential well, to return to the state of equilibrium.”

(I don’t know, can I quote myself?)

We can see from the above diagram that the power released in the dissolution of the pratyaya acts like a quantum of energy and facilitates a “quantum jump” from one level of the gunas to the next higher level.   In this fashion, through the progressive dissolution of the pratyaya, the yogi “bootstraps” himself up to the highest level of the mind – the state of nirbija samadhi – and from there makes the final transformation to Kaivalya.

Please be aware Figure 6 is presented in the spirit of what I described in Part 8 about how math concepts can help us understand relative relationships as a map of inner realities. Figure 6 is not meant to be taken literally. As if it is even possible to measure such energy relationships of the mind in altered states of consciousness. Maybe one day, but not today.

So, we get two different views here of relative relationships. The onset of samadhi can be framed as a bifurcation, a fusion of two fixed points into one fixed point. And we can loosely envision the bindu as a type of harmonic transition or quantum jump.

Again, the content of these experiences is completely omitted. But the patterns help give some insight to otherwise abstract things being described in the Yoga Sutras.


‘Being is Awareness’ is a Tautology

Ugh, we’re not done yet. This is the last section…promise! I want to close talking about the implication of samadhi, then we’re done…for the moment.  Having said all the above, I want to comment about the pratyaya and the resolving process of pratiprasava.

In Part 7 of What is Science? I discussed how the pratyaya has consciousness.  Based on the above description, the pratyaya seems to be “only” a memory in the mind of the yogi.  We reconcile this in the next post.  For the moment, let’s stick to the idea that the pratyaya is a special form of memory in the yogi’s mind.  Then, one can easily recognize that the yogi has only fused his consciousness with itself.   Seen in this fashion, samadhi is a type of tautology where one comes to know oneself. However, this occurs in a way unlike any normal form of thinking.

Because samadhi is consciousness knowing consciousness, one should not think this is somehow less objective than when we perceive the external world via our eyes, ears and other senses. The eye and the ear, and the things perceived with them are also only forms of your consciousness. The difference between you and a yogi is you are deluded into believing that the ear and eye and the things perceived are somehow different from your consciousness. In this respect, the “normal” operation of the mind, waking paranga cetana, outward directed consciousness, is decidedly inferior to samadhi. Such delusion is not present or possible in samadhi.

In other words, the tautology that consciousness knows only itself exists in so-called “normal” perception and thinking, but it is masked, covered, confused, and cloudy. This condition is called “avidya”, the ignorance of not realizing that consciousness only knows itself. It is called “vikshepa”, distracted. Consciousness is distracted by the vrittis, the patterns, within it, and thus cannot know itself. Avidya and vikshepa are states of being caught up in the variety of patterns resonating and vibrating in consciousness, as the entire book Experience is dedicated to explaining. These are precisely the vrittis that yoga is meant to silence (chitta vritti nirodhah).

A main point of this whole excursion into the yogic view of consciousness is to explain how it is that there is no external world. It is a projection, an illusion, it is avidya.  What you think is the “real world” outside of you, the “gay spectacle of time and space with all its qualities”, as van der Leeuw calls it, is just your consciousness.  The real “real world” is the Absolute, and it exists at the center of your consciousness, and the center of my consciousness, and the center of everything’s consciousness.  This foreshadows what we discuss next time.

The methods of yoga expose the tautology of consciousness and thereby allow one to directly experience this tautology. When the tautology of consciousness is experienced in its pristine purity, this is Kaivalya. There is only consciousness, alone; nothing else.

When the units of consciousness, i.e. you and me and everything else, come to be experienced in these terms, the fabric of All That Is becomes revealed to Itself. The fabric is full of bindus connecting everything to everything else.

That is where we go next in Part 11.

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8 thoughts on “The Yogic View of Consciousness 10: Revealing The Bindu

  1. I’m always happy when a blog post makes me bust out my copy of the yoga sutras! Beautiful work you are doing. I’ll let you know in a few lifetimes what Samadhi is like…I’m barely proficient at the Yamas,

    • Hi Sir. Thank you for commenting. Boy! You said it! I agree, I can barely handle the yamas and niyamas too! If you aren’t familiar, you might like Swami Krishnananda. He has a lot of subtle practical tips in his Study and Practice of Yoga that helps with the early stages. My whole book Experience is based on his approach to the yamas and niyamas. Best! -Don

  2. kashyap vasavada

    Hi Don: As you know, Lubos’ recent link on Stanford lectures on consciousness is very fascinating. Did you get chance to view Tony Nader’s two lectures? He is a Neuroscientist and follower of Maharishi. His lectures follow Hagelin’s lecture and are quite interesting. I quickly glanced at them. Perhaps tomorrow I will listen carefully. He mentions lot of stuff about Yoga sutras and Vedas.
    Another thing. Let us forget about time reversal for the time being. Just call the image point after Retina as a new source for the brain. Then the two rays may make sense.
    The wave (ingoing) f( t – r/c) is the usual retarded wave. To see this; if you increase time t, r (distance from source) has to increase to keep the quantity in parenthesis constant. So this wave goes from source to the image.
    But the wave f( t + r/c) is the advanced wave, i.e as t increases you have to decrease r to keep the quantity in the parenthesis constant. So it is going towards the source like your projected wave!
    This will not make sense outside the brain. Otherwise you would be saying that something goes from eyes to the object.
    What do you think?
    kashyap

  3. Hi Kashyap

    Very great to hear from you! Yes, I saw Lubos post. I am amazed at how open minded he is to discuss such topics, and his positions are very well-informed. Very impressive. I haven’t watched the videos. I must make some time to do so and then I can offer comments.

    Your idea is very interesting. I wonder if we can use this to model the “screen of consciousness” idea that is part of the model I gave in Part 2. That is, imagine there is a screen, the action of which corresponds to our first person awareness of things. Perhaps what is happening is that the retarded wave is traveling from the object to the eye. Then, imagine the advanced wave projects from the bindu to the screen. Then, the simultaneous impinging of both solutions upon the screen (something analogous to a focal point, I guess) is what generates our moment to moment awareness?

    I don’t know. Intuitively, I am still very stuck on the idea of a Möbius strip. Your idea bears some resemblance, but of course is not the same. Imagining a screen where the advanced and retarded waves impinge is kind of like how a point in a Möbius strip has two opposite orientations. This is of course all very loose, and your ideas are forcing me to consider how time, t, fits into my thinking.

    I will continue to think on it. Every time we talk new insight opens up. It is very much fun and I am so happy you are willing to offer your thoughts!

    I look forward to talking more!

    Very best wishes, Kashyap!

    Don

  4. kashyap vasavada

    Hi Don: I forgot to mention that in physics it is quite common to have one wave going in one direction, getting reflected from the other end and then you have two waves in the medium going in opposite directions. You might remember this from your undergrad days in vibrating strings. Stringed instruments work on this principle. The two waves can be described by the two f’s I mentioned. Under certain conditions of resonance they form standing waves and persist for quite some time. If there is reflection from Bindu then it could be well known classical physics. We do not have to bring in concept of advanced waves!
    Best.
    Kashyap

    • Hi Kashyap. Thank you for the additional thoughts. It gives me more to think about.

      I will be very interested to hear what you think after the next post when I go into Taimni’s very abstract ideas about the structure of Nature. The only thing I can link it to in Western thought is Leibniz’ idea of monads, which never gained any traction in Western science, but seems to closely resemble the underlying theory of yoga. I’ll bring Leibniz in 2 posts from now.

      I don’t know if you read his Monadology? It’s only 12 pages long. Here is the text if you are interested.

      Take care, Kashyap, and I’ll look forward to our future conversations! -Don

      • kashyap vasavada

        Hi Don: My knowledge of neuroscience is practically zero. Do neuroscientists understand how info is carried by optic nerves to the brain after it is received by retina? It is probably like a wave guide through which em waves travel. But I am not sure.
        Best.
        Kashyap

      • Oh boy, Kashyap, you cracked a can of worms with that question! Short answer: no, it’s not understood and it’s unbelievably complex. People talk about the “neuron code” but it has not been yet decoded. It seems all aspects of cell and tissue function contribute to the information flow and processing. Very, very unlike our technology. One (relatively) simple example to show the difference between brains and computers: In the cerebral cortex, the regions that mediate vision also store visual memories. So, if someone looses such tissue (by stroke for example) they become blind and also loose previous memories of visual stimuli. These are generally called “agnosias”. A classical example is prosopagnosia, or face blindness where damage to a very specific region causes people to: (1) loose the ability to recognize someone by their face, and (2) disrupts previous memories of people’s faces. All of this falls under the medical specialty of neurology, which is very fascinating to read about.

        On the other hand, a graphics card is quite distinct from a hard disk in a computer.

        Neurology is at the top level of brain function, i.e. the level of behavior. In terms of your question, the cell level events are known in broad outline, and in great detail in some cases. It is known how photons activate rhodopsin in rods and cones. Then, its a big black box. Then action potentials exit the retina and go into the brain via the optic nerve to visual-specific brain regions. There is a lot of current work on the black box of processing in the retina after the light stimulation and before the exit of action potentials.

        It is unbelievably complex what goes on in the retina. It is some type of parallel processing computer that extracts a variety of types of information from the incident light. Some of the known types of information extracted are: (1) high frequency contrasts of intensity, (2) low frequency intensity contrasts, (3) moving intensity contrasts, (4) binocularity (e.g. a 3D scene is constructed from a time series of 2D retinal images based on the distance between the two retinas), (5) a green frequency channel, (6) a red frequency channel, (7) a blue frequency channel. For (1) there is also an inverted map of intensity that measures darkness instead of brightness. So, that gives 8 information streams off the top of my head. All of this happens in the retina.

        There are other things going on too. The retina responds to some 10^6-10^7 orders of light intensity, but the intrinsic response range of the retina cells is ~ 10^2 units or maybe 7 or 8 bit. So, the retina adapts to the average light intensity of a scene and constantly shifts its baseline based on average scene intensity.

        It is quite amazing actually. Stunningly amazing. Just based on what I said above, the incident radiation is “parceled” into 8+ parallel streams. Leaving the eye, each stream is >>somehow<< coded as a frequency/phase shift code because all you have leaving are pulses of action potentials, which are just discreet, fixed intensity pulses that can only vary in frequency and relative phase amongst the ~10^6 axons (wires) making up the optic nerve.

        Oh, and to make it even worse: each species has its own variants. Cat, human and frog retinas are all quite different in the details.

        Every time some new aspect of the puzzle of how the brain interprets light gets solved, you see some new technology appearing in computers: face recognition, adaptive brightness, and so on.

        So, short answer, in spite of a mountain of data, no, neuroscientists do not understand the information stream leaving the retina and entering the brain. While so many details are known, the code (or codes!) are not understood.

        Once in the brain, it gets REALLY complicated compared to the retina!

        Of course, someone highly specialized in visual physiology might beg to differ with me because they will know the fine details of some one aspect of the puzzle. But when you step back and look at retinal function as a whole, it is still mostly a black box. Even though it has "physio" in the name, physiology is so unlike physics. It is still a branch of biology after all and concerned with descriptive, hyper-detailed facts that don't always fit together into a coherent whole.

        That is probably more info than you wanted. Sorry if that's the case. I lecture this stuff and so the material is right there off the top of my head.

        Talk to you more soon, Kashyap!

        Best wishes,

        Don

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