Veda is the unmanifest text that gives rise to both culture and
nature as manifestations of its own unbounded, self-referral activity.
by Susan Setzer and Terry Fairchild
Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA
4 April 2008
The following are excerpts from the article ‘Consciousness and Literary Studies’ by Susan Setzer and Terry Fairchild, from The Journal of Modern Science and Vedic Science, Volume 7, Number 1 (1997), The Silver Jubilee Issue, Maharishi University of Management, USA.
‘For the past 25 years … Maharishi University of Management has addressed [a] gap between nature and culture by applying the techniques for developing higher states of consciousness taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to the study of language and literature. As a result, students gain a deep understanding of the full potential of language in both its vertical and horizontal play of meaning while expanding their awareness and discovering themselves in the literary texts they read. Such a method of studying literature is intimate, practical, and fulfilling to the individual. More importantly, it seems especially urgent at this time, for the sake of world and eco peace, to train students to experience themselves and their culture as part of the unity in the cosmos as well as part of its diversity.
‘Literature, prior to its present position, had always been important to social vitality. The poet, dramatist, and prose artist had been able to … render … human existence in a way more convincing than anyone else. However, what these visionaries lacked was a practical method for annexing such a source as a means for upholding life. If a literature curriculum could supply such a methodology, it would restore both balance to the individual and the discipline. It would fulfil the highest goals of the idealist and the most stringent demands of the pragmatist. Such a curriculum would restore literature to its rightful place in society; it could in fact set the stage for a blossoming in literature beyond the achievements of any age including those of Homer, Dante, or Shakespeare because of its universal and repeatable experience of the source of literature in pure consciousness.
‘The foundation for such a curriculum was established in 1973 at Maharishi University of Management. It is a curriculum based upon traditional approaches to … literature and supported by the development of the individual’s full inner … potential, a development that allows for knowledge to be fully appreciated and employed in life. The foundation of this curriculum is Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's exposition of consciousness and the techniques for developing it.
‘The experience of pure consciousness … offers a solution to the most fundamental problem in cultural studies and relations—the relationship of unity to diversity. Maharishi explains that by experiencing pure consciousness regularly, a person begins to cultivate a state of awareness that is simultaneously within and outside the limitations of culture—the state of cosmic consciousness. Permanently established in the field of pure consciousness, the perceiver remains both a silent witness and an active participant in his/her activities, maintaining an unshakable stability even while engaging in the ever fluctuating events of human life.
‘Established in pure consciousness, the universal field of all cultures, a person naturally and spontaneously feels an empathy for another person’s culture, even while recognizing the differences from one’s own. Thus, Maharishi's higher states of consciousness provide not a personal or elite perspective, but rather a universal viewpoint common to every individual of every culture. From the vantage point of higher states of consciousness, humans and their cultures are not isolated, but participants in one cosmic process that includes all people, all things, all life. Yet at the same time what Maharishi refers to, as “cultural integrity,” the individual characteristics that define a specific culture, remains intact.
‘Culture, Maharishi explains, is the manifestation of Natural Law, the Laws of Nature that create and govern all phenomenal existence as well as the laws that culture a particular region. In his exposition of the origin of culture Maharishi notes, “Creativity is the source of all culture. The infinite potential of creativity lies in the state of pure intelligence—unmanifest, unbounded, absolute” (1977).
‘The development of consciousness may at first seem irrelevant to the current issues of literary study; however, reading is both an act of personal growth and an act of social responsibility. If one construes the human subject as isolated from the forces that
shape the rest of the universe and the local ecosystem, one is attempting to read in a vacuum without an appreciation of either shared or cultural differences.
‘Maharishi Vedic Science describes pure consciousness as the basis of Natural Law, what critical theorists might call the seat of Nature’s primordial text. It is the Veda
inscribed in every point of creation and in every human consciousness. The recent discovery of the precise correlation of the parts of human physiology, Nature's
physiology, and the divisions of the Vedic texts by physiologist Tony Nader, [who was later coronated as the first ruler of the Global Country of World Peace, Maharaja Adhiraj Raja Raam] working with Maharishi, presents an expanded and unified field model of the text that has important implications in current literary debates on textuality.
‘The human being as the Veda takes the concept of text beyond anything presently conceived in literary theory, although its origins are not new. Arguably the human text falls within the larger Romantic text of nature, and is a recreation and intimate reflection of its mechanics.
‘Veda is the primordial text of Nature. [It is] the unmanifest text that produces both culture and nature as manifestations of its own unbounded, self-referral activity, leading to a condition of all possibilities and infinite variety while simultaneously organizing
everything into a coherent pattern of unity. In this textual model, unity is structured in the variety of creation, as opposed to the endless fragmentation of the post-modern text. Thus, whatever texts a reader reads, whether literary texts or the world as text, from the text of Nature to the post-modern novel, if the reader reads from the same unbounded self-referral field that produces the text, that reader will read his/her own unbounded creative nature in the text.
This is the freedom and joy of reading in the highest state of consciousness—unity consciousness—in which one is not subsumed in the consciousness of another, not lost in one's actions or the world one perceives; rather one reads one's own Self in everything. This is not the projection of the ego into a personal pattern, distorting life to fit its individual notions; it is the clear witnessing of one's own creative nature discovered to be the all inclusive, universal, creative Nature that produces and supports all creation.
‘In terms of reading or producing literature, the three interacting components of any text are the same as the components of the primordial text of Nature. In a work of art, one could say that the Rishi—knower, the Devata —process of knowing, and the Chhandas—the known, become increasingly unified in the creative moment of reading or writing. This intimate process of knowing something produces more bliss for reader and writer as it approaches the experience of self-referral pure consciousness, the intelligence of Nature's text or Veda where the three-in-one dynamic play eternally takes place. In the state of complete togetherness or “Samhita” of Rishi, Devata, and Chhandas, the subject
and object become unified in the process of knowing. What is it that is known? In a literary text, some specific character of life gets recorded in its words, but what is
simultaneously recorded is the infinite play of Nature's text that underlies and gives rise to a literary text.
‘This joy in finding Nature reflected in human language is apparent to any sensitive reader who reads a master of language like Shakespeare. It is not only his thought we rejoice in but the fitness of each word placed with seeming perfection and without effort for all time, as though written by Nature itself.'
Copyright © 1997 Journal of Modern Science and Vedic Science
Global Good News invites you to read the full version of this paper, ‘Consciousness and Literary Studies’ by Susan Setzer and Terry Fairchild, from The Journal of Modern Science and Vedic Science, Volume 7, Number 1 (1997), The Silver Jubilee Issue, Maharishi University of Management, USA.
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