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Natural Laws and Mysticism in the Cosmic Cycle of Creation
Department of Chemistry and Physics
Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, California, USA
July 26, 2020
Natural laws discovered by human beings are proposed to be fully consistent with understanding the nature of reality, the ultimate goal and meaning of human life, and the cosmic cycle of creation, evolution and development of the universe. Natural laws are the creations of an infinite Supreme Consciousness using its infinite creative power in a natural mathematical and logical style. In this approach, only the infinite Supreme Consciousness that controls its own infinite creative power is supernatural. Everything else is natural, including the Supreme Consciousness’ Cosmic Mind in which our universe is evolved. A rational mystic approach based on applying natural laws to expand and concentrate the mind is the key to understanding the meaning of life and attaining the goal of life — oneness with the Supreme Consciousness.
Introduction: Is the Universe Comprehensible but Pointless?
Early experiences and efforts of human beings to understand and explain the natural world led to the creation of various beliefs, sects, priesthoods, superstitions, doctrines, scriptures, and religious conflicts throughout history. With rapidly-growing advances in physical science around the 16th and 17th centuries, dogma-based religions that made claims about the origin and nature of the world have been challenged, supplemented and sometimes replaced by scientific descriptions and models of the universe that are strongly supported by observational and experimental science. Theological worldviews with supernatural explanations for the world are being gradually replaced by a scientific worldview based on careful scientific observations, testing of scientific hypotheses, and the discovery of natural laws. The application of scientific discoveries and natural laws such as the laws of gravity, electricity and magnetism, nuclear physics and quantum theory has led to many positive benefits and technological advances in human society, as well as many problems. Religious values and religious practices that have been a source of traditional religious, social and moral values have been undermined by scientific progress, which has not shown a scientific basis for different religions and religious values and beliefs. A weakening or loss of religious beliefs has left many people without beliefs that previously gave meaning and value to their lives. While some theologians tried to incorporate scientific explanations into their religious systems, others found some of their doctrines challenged by scientific advances. When religious beliefs that can be tested by science are undermined by scientific discoveries, this can also be a challenge to the authority of other religious beliefs that are not testable by science. Most early scientific discoverers expressed religious beliefs, at least publicly. In modern times, with the weakening of religious authority (including life and death authority), more scientists are openly skeptical about religious beliefs and their claim to giving meaning to human lives. According to physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless”. (1) The purpose of this article is to point to a rational and practical alternative to such a bleak conclusion.
Physicists admit that they do not understand the fundamental nature and origin of the universe and conscious minds within it. Most physicists are satisfied with trying to discover, understand and apply natural laws, expressed concisely by mathematical equations. Many physicists think that as natural mathematical laws become more capable of describing how our universe evolves, including the evolution of life, individual minds and consciousness, then the less need there is for a cosmic creator in order to explain our universe.
Ultimate questions about why the universe and its cosmic laws exist cannot be answered by scientific experiments. Physicists can answer questions about how the universe develops and functions by referring to the natural laws that they have discovered. The concept of a cosmic creator of natural laws can still be meaningful to thoughtful human beings, and not only for describing how the universe works. In describing their spiritual or religious experiences, many individuals express having a close personal relationship and two-way communication with their creator, and/or believe that others have had such experiences. Such experiences and beliefs add deep meaning to their lives.
The Continued Progress of Scientific Discovery of Natural Laws
Human beings can expect to continue to discover and apply more and more natural laws by using our powerful, developed and subtle minds. Superstitions and other irrational beliefs will continue to be replaced by scientifically-established natural laws. However, the big question “What is the source of these cosmic laws?” seldom gets asked. The scientific enterprise does not seem to require answers to this question.
Human beings are still evolving, biologically and culturally. The evolution of matter, life, minds, and ever more advanced minds goes on in accordance with natural laws that are being discovered by scientists using the most advanced and powerful scientific instruments. Let us assume, based on the present successful trend of scientific research and discoveries, that all physical and mental phenomena in the future will be described more and more completely by natural laws discovered by human beings. If this is the case, no supernatural laws will be accepted or necessary. Does the existence of natural laws go against or support freedom of the human will? This remains an open question.
From time to time human beings have wondered if good and evil thoughts and actions are also governed by natural laws. Where do human desires for justice, love, beauty, immortality and truth come from and do these mental experiences follow natural laws? Is the law of karma, where good or evil intentions produce pleasant or painful reactions, a natural law? See Gauthier (2). Do these and other natural laws require a cosmic creator?
Natural Laws or a Cosmic Creator, or Both?
It may be that an ultimate cosmic creator can neither be proved or disproved scientifically. Scientists are ingenious in coming up with alternative explanations and theories to try to explain observed facts. This is how science has progressed as far as it has, and will continue to progress. This is also why many scientists are naturally skeptical about the existence of such a cosmic creator. Many scientists and others are reluctant or unwilling to accept the existence of a cosmic creator as an article of blind faith as religions sometimes require, and rightfully so. If skeptical scientists have any scientific faith, it is faith in the existence and regularity of natural laws themselves. In a universe without regularities that are describable and predictable by such natural laws, science as we know it would be impossible. Where do natural laws come from? One possibility is that an infinite cosmic creator, with its infinite creative power, has created the natural laws, while human beings just discover these natural laws using their evolved minds and scientific methods and apparatus.
Is a conscious cosmic creator necessary for creating natural laws? Perhaps a cosmic creator produced the natural laws unconsciously, that is, without consciousness. Or perhaps the natural laws always existed or are always evolving from other cosmic laws, in which case no cosmic creator would have been needed to create the natural laws. If natural laws have always existed, this would mean that time also has always existed, or that the natural laws somehow exist outside of time. A claim that time has existed infinitely into the past cannot be supported scientifically since scientists cannot measure infinite quantities. The proposed cosmic creator could have been the source of time itself, with time being a creation within a cosmic mind produced by a cosmic creator.
An infinite consciousness or cosmic creator that produced the cosmic mind and the universe may always remain ultimately a mystery to finite minds, although the cosmic mind and the created universe within it may be known more and more through intuitional and scientific investigation. The conscious cosmic creator would also be, at least indirectly, the creator of matter and energy. Since we exist as conscious, thinking beings, the cosmic creator would be the ultimate source of our individual minds as well. Our universe (and perhaps many others) and all of us with our developed conscious minds could exist within a conscious cosmic mind produced by an ever-mysterious cosmic creator.
The Cosmic Cycle of Creation
According to Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (3,4,5,6,7), a 20th century spiritual teacher (1921-1990), there is a cyclic evolution from Supreme Consciousness to matter and back to Supreme Consciousness. It is called Brahmachakra or the Great Wheel or cosmic cycle of creation. The cosmic cycle of creation begins with the unexpressed infinite Supreme Consciousness having an infinite creative power. The first phase of the cosmic cycle is extroversive—from subtle to crude. As the creative power is expressed, a portion of the unexpressed Supreme Consciousness is expressed and gains attributes or qualifications from its creative power. The expressed Supreme Consciousness gives subtle, then mutative, then cruder attributes to itself, evolving a Cosmic Mind from a portion of itself in stages. The Supreme Consciousness successively gains feelings in its evolving Cosmic Mind of “I exist”, “I do” and “I have done”. The physical universe then evolves as thought waves within the objective or “I have done” portion of the Cosmic Mind, as the Supreme Consciousness is further qualified by its infinite creative power. Cosmic thought waves producing the physical world (“physical” as experienced through human sensory processes) are produced and become crudifed to the level of solid matter.
In the returning or introversive phase of the cosmic cycle of creation, the Supreme Consciousness slowly withdraws the various attributes, starting with the crudest attributes, that it previously applied to a portion of itself. This causes crude matter to evolve into living structures with individual minds as well as collective minds, and instincts for self-preservation. Later, living beings evolve and develop subtler mental propensities as well as intellectual and intuitive capacities. Highly evolved human minds can merge with the subtlest level of the feeling of “I exist” of the Cosmic Mind. The highly developed human mind can pass through this stage to merge with the unexpressed Supreme Consciousness, from which it originated. This cyclic evolution of consciousness from unexpressed Supreme Consciousness to Cosmic Mind and then to matter, and from matter to living beings with less developed minds and then to human beings with more highly developed minds that eventually merge with the unexpressed Supreme Consciousness, is called the cosmic cycle of creation.
Every natural law was formed in the cosmic cycle of creation and exists within the Cosmic Mind. All the transformations from Supreme Consciousness to Cosmic Mind and matter, and then from matter to individual minds, Cosmic Mind and the Supreme Consciousness, are expressions of natural laws. These natural laws guide human beings back to the Supreme Consciousness, which is both the ultimate origin and the goal of life. Understanding and applying these natural laws is the basis of a universal spiritual science and technology.
The Mystic Approach and the Supreme Goal of Life
Despite continuing scientific progress in discovering and applying natural laws, the fundamental mystery of the cosmic creator may continue to baffle the human intellect. According to Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, the secrets of the cosmic creator are attainable through a mystic approach: “Mysticism is a never-ending endeavor to find out the link between finite and infinite. What is infinite in macrocosm is finite in microcosm, but the potentialities are the same. What is required is to develop one’s finite attributions into infinite ones through the process of mystic approach.” (8) Shrii Shrii Anandamurti and other spiritual masters have taught this mystic approach through systematic practices of mental concentration and loving service to the universe and its finite expressions. Many people applying these time time-tested practices have described experiencing the cosmic creator as a supremely knowing, loving, personal and benevolent presence in their lives. (5) Finally, an individual’s mystic endeavors to attain oneness with the infinite cosmic creator are said to finally culminate, after many lifetimes of physical, mental and spiritual struggles and progress, in the limitless happiness and peace resulting from merging with the Supreme Entity or cosmic creator–the unexpressed Supreme Consciousness.
It is proposed that human beings, with our highly-developed minds, can, by following natural laws and systematic mystic practices, become one with the cosmic creator that is the ultimate origin and goal of life. A human being can choose to either merge with the cosmic creator—the unexpressed Supreme Consciousness—or become one with the Cosmic Mind and continue the cosmic cycle of creation and cosmic evolution. In either case, the cosmic cycle of creation continues.
- Weinberg, Steven, quoted at https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/86758.Steven_Weinberg, accessed 7/15/2020.
- Gauthier, Richard, “The Law of Karma in the Cosmic Cycle of Creation”, https://www.academia.edu/43338489/The_Law_of_Karma_in_the_Cosmic_Cycle_of_Creation , accessed 7/16/2020.
- Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Ananda Sutram, http://anandamargabooks.com/portfolio/ananda-sutram/gallery/spiritual-philosophy/, accessed 7/13/2020, and
- Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Idea and Ideology, http://anandamargabooks.com/portfolio/idea-and-ideology/gallery/spiritual-philosophy/, accessed 7/13/2020.
- Pranavatmakananda, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti: Advent of a Mystery, Prabhat Library, Kolkata, 2017. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=%22Shri+Shri+Anandamurti+advent+of+a+mystery%22&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss.
- Gauthier, Richard, “Who Was P. R. Sarkar or Shrii Shrii Anandamurti?”, https://www.academia.edu/43366267/Who_Was_P._R._Sarkar_or_Shrii_Shrii_Anandamurti , accessed 7/13/2020.
- Gauthier, Richard, “Shiva, Krishna and Anandamurti”, https://www.academia.edu/43404282/Shiva_Krishna_and_Anandamurti, accessed 7/13/2020.
- Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, “Salvation and corporeal beings”, published in Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 2, also in “The Electronic Edition of The Works of P.R. Sarkar – V7.5”, https://gurukul.edu/publication/the-works-of-p-r-sarkar/ , accessed 7/16/2020.
Copyright © 2020 by Richard Gauthier. All rights reserved. richardgauthier.academia.edu/research Contact: richgauthier (at) gmail.com