Common (Cosmic) Reference

August 6, 2022

Few readers asked me if I can provide a better model to explain the whole-connectedness of Cosmos. In the past, my answers have always centered around the concept of “soul”. Cosmos is whole-connected because all entities are connected by the common (cosmic) ‘reference’. The ‘reference’ is the true observer which is always present. The ‘reference’ points to the whole in its entirety. The common (cosmic) ‘reference’ is the soul.

I don’t have a better answer today but I can elaborate a little further. No model will be good enough to express the profound mystery of the soul. Limited as they are, models and analogies may be helpful to some people.

Soul hypothesis does not imply that entities are things-in-themselves

Entities owe their existence to the common (cosmic) ‘reference’ but this does not make entities things-in-themselves. We are essentially saying that Cosmos as a whole and all entities within Cosmos are relative, derived, transformed forms of Cosmic Consciousness.

The opposite view (“no soul” doctrine) claims that entities owe their existence to their relationships. I expressed my critique of the “no soul” doctrine in this article.

Witnesses, substantiates and controls

Cosmic Consciousness is the ground, the base of all existence. Cosmic Consciousness witnesses, substantiates and controls the entire Cosmos. Cosmic Consciousness knows our innermost feelings, and thoughts. Cosmic Consciousness is the soul of our soul.

Soul perspective

The perspective of the soul is special because it is the vantage point where the distinctions between manifested and unmanifested disappear.

Matter, Mind, Soul

We are clueless about the soul. We are equally clueless about the mind.

In the past, I have used an analogy. I said mind is the event horizon of the soul. The existence of the soul can be deduced from the radiance of the mind just like the existence of a Black Hole can be deduced from the radiance of its event horizon.

In a less poetic approach I would argue that mind is the functional aspect of agency. What is agency? Agency is the causal aspect of individuality. What is individuality? See here.

Agency emerges after a certain degree of individuality. The minimum degree of individuality is expressed as a cognitive core. In the case of an elementary particle the cognitive core is a collection of invariant quantities such as charge and spin that defines that particle. A biological example of a cognitive core is DNA. Cognitive cores can also be described as rate-independent memory structures.

The term “matter’ refers to various combinations of cognitive cores and their interactions. These ‘interactions’ constitute the dynamical laws of nature.

Cognitive cores and dynamical laws are distinct ontological categories. Conservation laws are part of the cognitive core category. In general, invariant (time and space independent) quantities belong to the cognitive core category. Time and space dependent laws and quantities belong to the ‘interactions’ (dynamical laws) category.

Mind includes the two categories (cognitive cores and dynamical laws) therefore mind includes matter but mind has something more. What is it? It is that extra dimension that gives the individual a degree of control (causal impact) (a degree of free will). This extra dimension is very mysterious. We know almost nothing about this extra dimension.

As mind develops in the course of evolution subtler functions of the mind develop (ego, memory, thinking, intuition) and the degree of control increases. These higher functions of the mind are beyond mysterious. We are clueless about the higher functions of the mind!

As the evolution of mind-matter continues different levels of organization form. Each level exhibits a different degree of materiality. Each level is governed by different cognitive cores and their interactions. Also, each level may have different degrees of agency therefore exhibit different degrees of mind functionality. This means that the individuals at each level are subject to different kinds of laws. Physical laws are not violated but additional laws come into play.

Soul is immanent in the physical world. Soul must exist at the core of each cognitive core.

Soul is immanent in the realm of the mind as well. Soul must exist at the core of each agency.

Core of the core

If the mind is the core of being the soul is the core of the core of being.

Dimensionless singularity

The infinity of Cosmic Consciousness is hidden in the singularity of the soul. Singularities are dimensionless. Singularities do not have attributes. But, singularities have event horizons where dimensions and attributes manifest.

Source of life is the soul

We should not restrict the definition of life to organic life. I see Reality (the totality of existence) as Eternal Life. Cosmic Soul is the source of life and energy in Reality.

How do we know?

The statements of spiritual philosophy are derived from spiritual experiences humans have been having for thousands of years. The epistemology of spiritual philosophy is based on the intuitive faculty of the human mind. We are also lucky to have teachers like Shrii Shrii Anandamurti who gave us rational explanations of the soul, mind, and matter.

Why do I use the term ‘reference’?

In my previous writings I used the concept of “reference” from computer programming to establish a crude analogy. In computer programming a “reference” is a special kind of connection between the units of a computer program. When you pass the “reference” of the whole program to the sub-units those sub-units become whole-connected.  The “reference” points to the whole in its entirety. The “reference” controls the whole.


Let’s refer to the common (cosmic) ‘reference’ as CCR for short.

Mirror analogy

In the Sufi literature “mirror” symbolizes the soul. Unit consciousness (CCR) reflects the Cosmic Consciousness (Cosmic Soul). The degree of reflection depends on how polished the mirror is.

Ray analogy

There is also the “ray” analogy: individual souls being rays emanating from the Cosmic Soul. The ray analogy expresses the idea that each CCR is a direct connection to Cosmic Consciousness.

Where does the CCR concept come from?

Throughout history, many sages have expressed the CCR concept in many different words. You must have heard the aphorisms “All in One, One in All” or “the universe in a grain of sand“. For me, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti’s explanations of Prota Yoga and Ota Yoga were most convincing.

The concept of common (cosmic) reference is the same as the Ota Yoga concept.

CCR is not physical

I will lose the physicalist readers here. CCR cannot be physical because CCR cannot be subject to any speed limit. Communication between Cosmic Consciousness and unit consciousness cannot be subject to time. If there is any speed limit in this special link the whole-connectedness of Cosmos cannot be established.

Direct CCR-to-CCR connection is not possible

All soul-to-soul connections have to go through the Cosmic Soul. In contrast, direct mind-to-mind and direct object-to-object connections are possible. I listed the kinds of connectivity that I can think of in physical and mental realms in this article.

While the mind-to-mind or object-to-object connections can be represented by complicated network graphs the (CCR – Cosmic Soul – CCR) connection cannot be represented as a network. If we insist on a network picture the closest representation that comes to mind is the “star network” where all nodes connect to the central node.

Mind-to-mind connections are mostly asynchronous

Mind-to-mind connections can be subject to time but the time dimension is relaxed. Mind-to-mind connections are asynchronous in nature. You can read an article many days after it is published. Mind-to-mind connections manifest through various media: spoken word (myths, oral traditions, direct language communication), written word (books, newspapers), visual media (movies, television), internet media.

Physical object-to-object connections are subject to time

There is a maximum speed for physical interaction. The four known physical forces are subject to this speed limit. Even the gravitational waves obey this speed limit which is the speed of light in vacuum.

Why the “star network” picture is misleading

The “star network” analogy is hardly an improvement over the “ray” analogy. Besides, it gives a misleading impression that the nodes are “things-in-themselves”.

star network

CCR is NOT a thing-in-itself

This cannot be overemphasized: CCR is not a thing-in-itself. CCR has no separate existence. This is why I like the “reference” analogy from computer programming. The “reference” has no separate existence. It is part of the whole yet it points to the whole in its entirety. Similarly, CCR is a ‘reference’ to Cosmic Consciousness which is the whole.

More Terminology

Self: Cosmic Soul, Cosmic Consciousness, Parama Purusha, Atman.

self: CCR, soul, unit consciousness, atman

ego: a function of mind. Ego is different than “self”. Ego is different than soul.

CCR is Self-referential

CCR is Self-referential (“S” is capitalized) not self-referential. This is how the CCR hypothesis avoids paradoxes that arise from self-reference.

Do software entities have CCR?

Categorically, software entities are between mental and physical entities. We discussed the physical entities. Physical entities are objects of the Cosmic Mind and the Cosmic Mind is the object of the Cosmic Soul and the Cosmic Soul is the ‘reference’ to Godhead.

Mental entities are objects of the Cosmic Mind as well. Similarly, software entities have to be the objects of a mind substantiated by a soul. This combination can be achieved with the human mind as well as the Cosmic Mind. There are software entities created by the human mind and there are software entities (inferences) created by the Cosmic Mind.

Where is the CCR in a software entity? It is in the mind in which this software entity operates.

Is human soul different than the CCR of an electron?

It is natural to think that human soul is much more than the CCR of an electron. Surely, human mind is much more than the cognitive core of an electron but there is no difference between human soul and the CCR of an electron. It is the same mysterious connection to Cosmic Consciousness in all entities, no exception.