Contents of the Article
1. A Brief Introduction on the Law of Evolution of Consciousness
2. The Journey of Evolution of Consciousness as per the Hindu Four Fold Social Order
3. My Personal Experience with the Law of Evolution of Consciousness in My Work
4. Journey of Evolution of Consciousness in the Modern World
5. Anodea Judith’s Stages of Evolution of Consciousness and Shifts in Personal Identity
6. My Own Journey of Evolution of Consciousness plotted along side Hindu Model and Anodea Judith’s Model of Shifts in Personal Identity
A Brief Introduction on the Law of Evolution of Consciousness
In the year 1995, while I was in the third year of my Engineering college at REC Kurukshetra, I had a profound spiritual awakening. It awakened my Kundalini and set me permanently on the path of discovery of ultimate truth and freedom through evolution of consciousness.
Ever since then I have been outgrowing and donning new identities as my consciousness started evolving through different layers. The starting and ending of each layer of evolution of consciousness necessitated corresponding changes in my self identity, which further necessitated further changes in my work and relationships.
I doubt if there is any soul in the modern world who debates evolution. All of nature is in a state of evolution. This fact is clearly seen as it evolves from insentient rocks to sentient human beings through plant and animal stages. Even within the species there has been ongoing evolution. In two legged creatures, the species called Homo sapiens is what survived through the process of evolution from about three different species of humans in the prehistoric age.
But I definitely doubt whether everyone would agree if there are further stages of evolution lying dormant in humans. While most would still agree to evolution of consciousness in humans up to the intellect, very few possess the vision for development of consciousness beyond intellect and thought.
The work of NEEV Centre for Integral Living is to exactly chart the progress of evolution from body to mind to intellect to superconscious levels which are spiritual in nature.
The reason for most people shunning the evolution from mind to spirit is that this process is not something which nature has evolved for general humanity. Though, even the intellectual development of the mass of humanity has not happened, there are still a significant enough population of humans at the intellectual level to make this realm of consciousness something normal and accessible to all of us.
Going beyond the mind is not yet a normal movement of nature, therefore it requires a conscious effort by individuals to undergo this transformation. However, as far as my knowledge goes, at least for the last three thousand years, there is indubitable evidence and recorded literature of a perennial stream of individuals attempting to make the transition from mind to superconscious spirit.
The journey of evolution of consciousness as per the Hindu four fold social order
In India, Vedic society was divided into four different classes to facilitate the evolution of individuals from body to mind to intellect to spirit. The four classes were
- Brahmins – Those who were devoted solely to spirituality and spiritual pursuits; the highest among them being, those who had successfully transformed their consciousness to beyond mind.
- Kshatriyas – The administrators responsible for right functioning of society
- Vaishyas – Businessmen/Traders who were responsible for production and distribution of goods in society
- Sudras – Service providers through physical labour
These divisions of work are not to be confused with the latter day Hindu caste system that was a result of misinterpretation and ossification of a fluid evolutionary ladder of psychological individual progress designed with great insight and intelligence by the ancient Rishis/seers.
The four divisions are actually four different eco-spheres of work fit for the particular stage of evolution of consciousness of any individual. Moreover all these spheres form an integral whole. Each sphere is supported by and supports the other spheres. True, there in a hierarchy in terms of evolution of consciousness but it is not a dominator hierarchy in which one sphere seeks power and exploits the other. At least this is how it is supposed to be in theory. So the differentiation of these levels of work was more appropriately a holoarchy in which the higher level was supported by the lower level and the higher level lovingly nurtured the lower level to evolve to a higher consciousness.
The Hindu psychology classified three different gunas/temperaments that constitute the consciousness of every individual. The three temperaments are
- Sattva – Balance, Harmony, Knowledge, Light, Unaction
- Rajas – Diffusion, Will, Determination, Action
- Tamas – Inertness, Indolence, Laziness, Inaction
The level of consciousness in any individual is defined by the relative proportion of temperament in every individual. The ancient division of four social orders was designed keeping in my mind the type of individuals in whom a particular guna predominated. Below is a chart to show the interrelationship
Brahmin – Sattva predominating
Kshatriya – Sattva dominant Rajas
Vaishya – Rajas
Sudra – Tamas
My Personal Experience with the Law of Evolution of Consciousness in My Work
Birds of the same kind flock together; so goes the common saying. An individual with a predominant temperament of Rajas would sleep if he were made to forcibly attend a discussion on metaphysics but would spring to life if there was a discussion on how to make money and increase business. A person with predominant tamas would find it extremely uncomfortable if he were put in an administrative or leadership position because such a person is comfortable taking orders rather than giving them.
I have seen this law unequivocally operating in all my years as an educator and social entrepreneur. Unfailingly children would bond with others of their own type. Even in adults the law operates uncannily. A particularly revealing incident took place when I was a school Principal. One of our school helpers who would do the sweeping and cleaning of all classes was particularly smart. She showed a keen interest in learning, though she did not know how to read and write, and was very aware of dynamics of teaching in Kindergarten. At that time my wife Shikha was the Kindergarten teacher. She was in need of an assistant teacher who would help her out in a new activity based curriculum we had designed. So instead of hiring a new one, we decided to give our school helper a chance. She lapped up the opportunity; next day we could not even recognize her as she came all spruced up and dazzling in a saree. The honeymoon did not last a week. Without any notice, I saw her one day back with her broom and pail of water, happily doing her work. On asking why, she said that it was far more easy and peaceful for her to do this work rather than manage unruly children of Kindergarten.
This was just one of the tireless events in my life that showed the inexorable law of consciousness evolution at work. The event above was relatively insignificant and harmless. However in all my years post entering college and building NEEV as an organization I suffered immensely for not knowing and misjudging the level of consciousness of those who worked with me. I raised people to those positions or expected them to do that work which was simply beyond their level of consciousness. Almost all left and today have found those spheres of work which are suitable to their current level of consciousness.
When I was going through this whole journey in NEEV, I met with innumerable people and immense suffering: much melodrama unfolded even with people closest to me. However with each event of suffering, I got a clearer exposition of the law of evolution of consciousness and as a result my own consciousness evolved. The fire of all this suffering kept burning the forests of my ignorance. And each time a patch of ignorance was burnt, like a phoenix a new level of consciousness and a new self identity arose in me.
When I entered college in 1993, I was psychologically a Sudra ; when I closed down NEEV Vidyalaya I was psychologically preparing to become a Brahmin. Whatever I write today through NEEV Centre for Integral Living is not the work of an academic or pedantic philosopher, but that of a human being who has devoted his life to find truth and freedom, and who has taken all the suffering that came along the way, as the price to pay.
Journey of Evolution of Consciousness in the Modern World
The four fold social order that was based on helping people get the right field of activity for their psychological development got increasingly rigid and conventional. The light and wisdom in this order went out and what remained was a corroded shell which later Indian society usurped to create a trenchant feudal hieracrhy of caste which inflicts Indian society even till today. Moreover with industrial revolution, the four fold roles also started witnessing tumultuous changes. This does not mean that they have been wiped out. Since we are talking about an eternal law of evolution of consciousness, the principle remains, though the forms it takes changes in time.
The modern equivalent of four fold social order, today would be something like this
Brahmin – Seer (who has experience of transcedent reality), Jnani/Philosopher (who has knowledge of his true Self) and Yogi/seeker (a dedicated seeker of truth)
Kshatriya – Social Entrepreneur, Environmentalist, Knowledge Activists, Academic Philosophers (Those engaged in understanding and changing the values of current social order)
Vaishya – Business Entrepreneurs, Traders, Social Workers, Politicians (Those who work with the current social order)
Sudra – Employed people, Farmer, Artisan, Slum Dweller (Those whose services and goods are bought by the above class)
I am more than aware that many people would not see eye to eye with me with this classification. They are free to disagree. I have come up with this classification based on my experience, understanding and wisdom. I admit that like with any model, there can be exceptions. However I have my reasons for the classification; while many may disagree, some would find it helpful in their journey of evolution of consciousness. I would also like to add that all classifications are helpful tools, not to be considered ultimate truths. They are a finger pointing to the moon, not the moon itself. Also, all models are simplified and compressed versions of actuality. So their general drift has to be assimilated rather than forming absolute conceptual boundaries.
Several modern philosophers have now come up with developmental stages of consciousness which roughly map with the four fold order of the Hindus. The one with whom I have been most influenced with is Ken Wilber, particularly the stages of consciousness which lead up to the intellect. His model is mostly inspired by work of other philosophers and a detailed understanding of the model would take up another complete article, which has been in the pipeline for a year now. Hopefully I come up with it this year.
Anodea Judith’s Stages of Evolution of Consciousness and Shifts in Personal Identity
In this article I would just like to present the development stages of consciousness of one modern writer called Anodea Judith who has done extensive work on Chakra system. The stages of development of consciousness according to her are based on awakening and balancing of Kundalini chakras and are
- self preservation – Physical Identity
- self gratification – Emotional Identity
- self definition – Ego Identity
- self acceptance – Social Identity
- self expression – Creative Identity
- self reflection – Archetypal Identity
- self knowledge – Universal Identity
The study of evolution of consciousness through different development stages by different writers is a very enlightening exercise for anyone in the journey of attaining absolute Self Knowledge; at least this was the case with me. These levels provide a seeker with a sort of map in a seemingly existentially meaningless creation. All religions have these maps to help seekers and they all trace roughly the same territory.
For the sake of this article I chose one such map by Anodea Judith because is quite accessible to most people as she has laid the levels out in psychological rather than philosophical terms so one can understand evolution as shift in personal identities.
My Own Journey of Evolution of Consciousness plotted along side Hindu Model and Anodea Judith’s Model
As I noted earlier in my article, a shift of identity necessitates a shift in field of work. All that I have been doing in my life so far now can be neatly plotted on this model of evolution of consciousness as a huge amount of the distance has been travelled : there is a lot of data.
|No.||Personal Life Stage||Years||Hindu Four Fold Classification||Anodea Judith’s Identity||Anodea Judith’s Psychological Trait|
|1||Childhood and Schholing||0-18yrs||Sudra||Physical/|
|2||College, Corporate Job, Job as School Teacher, Job as School Principal||19-31yrs||Sudra||Ego Identity||self definition|
|3||Creation of NEEV as a social work organization,||32-34yrs||Vaishya||Social Identity||self acceptance|
|4||Creation of NEEV as Social Enterprise||34-37yrs||Kshatriya||Creative Identity||self expression|
|5||Creation of NEEV Vidyalaya (Education)||37-41yrs||Kshatriya||Creative Identity||self expression|
|6||Creation of NEEV as Centre for Integral Living||42yrs-||Brahmin||Archetypal Identity||self reflection|
People who have known me at different periods of time or even for a significant length of time have been confused by the shifts I made in my identities. This is because a large mass of people plateau out to a single identity till the end of their life. Evolution is scary, especially as it reaches the spiritual realms. To leave the comforts of the known for a vague unknown is a daunting prospect.
But for some people, whose time has come, nature puts evolution on a fast track. In fact Yoga is a means of conscious evolution, evolution on a fast track. I am presenting a table of how I went through this track of evolution in my own life, plotting my personal life events along with the Hindu four fold system and Anodea Judith’s levels of evolution of consciousness
With the last shift of Identity as a Brahmin or Jnani (Knower of Self), I walked out of all social organizations. I wrote an article on this “Closing down of NEEV Vidyalaya and starting of NEEV Centre for Self Inquiry“. Currently I spend time alone, engaged in self-reflection ( more appropriately – Self Contemplation) preparing myself for the 7th shift as Brahmin/Rishi – one who has become freed of the ego and has experienced the universal transcendent self. I am not sure whether this shift shall happen or not in my lifetime but that is the only choice-less path.
This is my personal story, however what this entails for others is that I am now going to regularly write articles spanning the width and height of the journey of evolution of consciousness through NEEV Center for Integral Living, based on my own life journey.