Tag Archives: SARVESHAM SWASTIR BHAVATU

SPIRITUALISM – THE KEY TO HUMAN NATURE


THE THEORY OF HUMAN NATURE : “SARVESHAM SWASTIR BHAVATU”

The Vitruvian Man c. 1492. The painting by Leonardo da Vinci displays the Spirit of Scientific Inquiry about Human Nature.

What is Man? The motivation for asking this question comes from a statement expressed in Sanskrit language, “Sarvesham Swastir Bhavatu” which seeks the well-being of all humans of all races, of all cultures, of all religions, and of all nations. Our efforts to support the well-being of man would be affected by our understanding the ‘real’, or ‘true’ nature of man. All human traditions including several philosophical and scientific traditions make assumptions about human nature. The basic assumption about human nature is that of finding it displayed in feelings, thoughts, moods, action, and behavior. I try to know human nature from the functional characteristics that are observable in biotic interactions of cells, tissues, and organs that constitute the human organism. If man is viewed as a multicellular organism, I need to discover the human nature of this subject who lives because of the functions of the cells, tissues, and organs that provide the structural basis of the human organism.

THE KEY TO HUMAN NATURE – EVOLUTION vs CREATION :

Charles Darwin’s great contributions to Biology: “The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection: Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle of Life”(1859), The Descent of Man(1871), The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals(1872).

Man’s evolution from ape-like ancestors is thought to be the key to our true human nature. Ethology or the scientific study of animal behavior is based on the Theory of Evolution. In order to explain human condition, ethological theories of human nature appeal to the evolutionary past of man.

Konrad Zacharias Lorenz( November 1903 to February 1989 ), Austrian Zoologist, founder of modern Ethology which involves scientific study of animal behavior by means of comparative zoological methods. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology along with two other animal behaviorist.

Lorenz sees man as an animal who has evolved from other animals. He thinks that human behavior is subject to the same causal laws of nature as all animal behavior. Many patterns of animal behavior show “hereditary coordination” or “instinctive movements” that are innate rather than learned. The ‘instinctual’ behavior is fixed and may not be eliminated or altered by the environment. Instinct is inherited and it is essentially unlearned behavior. Some of the most important aspects of animal behavior are innate. Lorenz studied the nature of instinctive behavioral acts. The instinctual behavior is caused by a ‘drive’ which causes the behavior to appear spontaneously. The “four big-drives” are feeding, reproduction, flight, and aggression. Very often, behavior is activated by two or more basic drives. To account for an instinctive behavior pattern in a species, reference is made to its survival value it has for the genes for that behavior. To explain the existence of any particular organ or behavior pattern, Lorenz looks for its survival value for the species. In his book, “On Aggression” ( 1963 ), he explains the natural history of man’s aggressive behavior. He considers that man has an innate drive to aggressive behavior towards his own species like many other animals. Fighting and warlike behavior in man have an inborn basis. He seeks an evolutionary explanation for human innate aggressiveness or ‘Intra-Specific’ aggression which is concerned with fighting and threats between members of the same species. The most destructive aspect of human aggression is its communal nature and the fighting is not between individuals but between groups. Humans fight as groups and human beings are the only animals to indulge in mass slaughter of their own species. He explains that this innate aggressive behavior has evolved from the communal defense response of our pre-human ancestors. However, Lorenz made no scientific study of behavior displayed by apes. Among the members of Homo genus, man is the only surviving representative of the Homo sapiens species and hence it will not be easy to validate his conclusions about evolutionary origin of innate human aggressive behavior. If aggression is viewed as a hereditary behavior which is based upon its survival value for the genes for that behavior, it must be noted that all human ancestors had perished and have gone extinct and the behavior of aggression could not be of value in defending their survival as a species.

COMPASSION WITHIN THE INDIVIDUAL AND BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS :

Compassion or sympathy( sym=together + pati=suffer ) describes the emotional feelings of sorrow for the sufferings or troubles of another person or others accompanied by an urge to help. Compassion describes an understanding arising from the sameness of emotional feeling. When man recognizes pain or sorrow in the lives of others, it spontaneously arouses the emotional feelings of compassion. This understanding and the emotional response to the pain and suffering in the lives of others appears to be instinctive. Apart from the “four big-drives”, compassion is operated by an innate drive or it is a motivated behavior. Compassion and altruism( any behavior that appears to favor another individual’s chances of survival ) is a response generated by human nature. Compassion acts like a physical force, power, or energy. It has the power to uplift man from physical pain and mental, or emotional pain or sorrow. The instinct of compassion comes into play and acts as a force, power, or energy when man experiences sorrow and reacts to the suffering or troubles of another man. I am also suggesting that the emotionally motivated behavior of compassion is found within individuals apart from between individuals. If my experience of pain or suffering does not elicit the emotional response of compassion from others, fortunately, I can derive the benefit of the uplifting power of compassion by simply knowing the source of compassion that exists within myself. When a person is enjoying a state of good health, we find that the cells, tissues, and organs of that human person are interacting with each other in a harmonious manner and these intraspecific biotic interactions display characteristics such as mutual assistance, mutual cooperation, mutual tolerance, and mutual functional subservience to provide a benefit to the human individual who lives because of the functions of these cells, tissues, and organs. The constituent parts of the human body interact with each other with a sense of devotion, sympathy, compassion, and understanding. We often try to find compassion in the actions performed by others in response to the pain, and suffering that we may experience. We describe compassion from the thoughts, emotional feelings, understanding, and sympathetic response that we witness in the behavior and action of others. I recognize compassion in the nature of the interactions between the cells, tissues, and organs of my body and consider that such compassion always operates to keep me the human person in good and positive health. I understand the reality of human existence and suggest that the existence is made possible because compassion is innate to human nature guiding the normal living functions both in health and sickness. I observe the operation of compassion in the wound healing mechanism that is described as ‘Inflammation and Repair’. The emotional feelings of compassion are important for the survival of man who exists to find emotional satisfaction from his living experience. The instinctive behavior of compassion supports the survival of man as it provides an emotional sense of satisfaction and contentment which contributes to the experience of joy and happiness in life.

COMPASSION IS THE KEY TO HUMAN NATURE :

The Key to Human Nature could be discovered by knowing the Cell Structure and Functions. If hereditary behavior is operated by information present in genes, it must be noted that the genes have no independent existence of their own. The nucleus and the genes perform their cellular functions deriving energy from the cytoplasm or protoplasm of the cell. The biological properties, characteristics, and the biological nature of the living substance or protoplasm could account for the instinctive behavior pattern of compassion.

The biological properties, characteristics, and the biological nature of the living substance or protoplasm could account for an instinctive behavior pattern like compassion. Biological functions and characteristics such as nutrition, recognition, awareness, responsiveness, and communication with other living cells have not evolved because of their survival value for the species. At a fundamental level, certain living characteristics or nature is innate or implanted in matter at the beginning of life. The nature called compassion is implanted or innate to the living substance or matter known as protoplasm.

SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE – THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM :

On June 03, 1972, His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama had visited Headquarters Establishment Number.22, C/O 56 APO to inspect the Tibetan soldiers who serve in the multinational military organization called Special Frontier Force. I had served as the Medical Officer at this military Establishment and my duties required the verification of mental, and physical preparedness of all the men.

While I had served in a multinational defense organization called ‘Special Frontier Force as its Medical Officer, I had a direct opportunity to study and observe the interaction of human aggression and human spirit of compassion. Human aggression as displayed by the Tibetan soldiers of this military Establishment is in response to a stimulus from the external environment to which they have been exposed. The brutal, military occupation of the Land of Tibet by People’s Liberation Army of Communist China has provided the environmental stimulus and has influenced the external behavior and action of these Tibetan men who have volunteered to fight China’s act of military aggression. Since, as a Medical Officer, I have a spiritual relationship with these Tibetan soldiers of my Unit, I can easily recognize their true spiritual nature that seeks Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility both within the person and with others present in the external environment. The human spirit seeks Freedom and it resists military occupation and repression. I could easily recognize the Spirit that makes man to use aggression to defeat the purpose of an enemy who has compromised the desire and the quest for Freedom. I would like to invite all of my readers to visit my Facebook Page and show their support to ‘The Spirits of Special Frontier Force.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Spirits-of-Special-Frontier-Force/362056613878227 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Service Information:

Personal Number: MS-8466/MR-03277K; Rank: Lieutenant/Captain/Major;

Branch: Army Medical Corps/Short Service Commission(1969-1972)/Direct Permanent Commission(1973-1984);

Designation: Medical Officer( September 22, 1971 to December 18, 1974 );

Unit: Headquarters Establishment Number. 22, C/O 56 APO;

Organization: Special Frontier Force.

Biographical Information:

1. Place of Birth : Mylapore, Madras City, Chenna Patnam, Chennai, Madras State, Tamil Nadu, India. Born Hindu(Brahmin-Niyogi-Smartha), Telugu-Speaking.

2. Date and Place of Marriage : January 29, 1973, Congregational Town Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.

 

SPIRITUALISM AND KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN NATURE


THE THEORY OF HUMAN NATURE – ‘SARVESHAM SWASTIR BHAVATU’ :

This painting the Vitruvian Man( c. 1492 ) by Leonardo da Vinci displays a spirit of scientific inquiry. What is Man? The understanding of human nature will help to promote man’s well-being.

What is Man? The motivation for asking this question comes from a statement expressed in Sanskrit language, ‘Sarvesham Swastir Bhavatu’ which seeks the well-being of all human beings of all races, of all nations, of all cultures, and of all religions. The term altruism describes unselfish concern for the welfare of others. It involves human behavior and actions that appear to favor another individual’s chances of survival and reproduction. The thought expressed in Sanskrit language reveals human nature. Our efforts to support the well-being of man would be affected by our understanding the ‘real’ or ‘true’ nature of man. All religious and cultural traditions make assumptions about human nature. The basic assumption about human nature is that of finding it displayed in feelings, thoughts, actions, and behavior.If man is viewed as a multicellular organism, we need to discover the human nature of this subject who lives because of the functions of the trillions of cells. Hence, we need to know if human nature is displayed in the functional characteristics that are observable in biotic interactions of cells that constitute the human organism. The objective of this blog post is to explore the universal principles that determine human nature. Human cultures and religions seek to know human nature as reflected in man’s thoughts, feelings, moods, actions, and behavior. I seek the knowledge of human nature by describing the characteristics of behavior exhibited by the cells that constitute the human individual.

THE STUDY OF MAN AS A LIVING THING :

Greek philosopher and the founder of Biology Aristotle(384 – 322 B.C.) has observed that there is a science which investigates being as being and the attributes which belong to being in virtue of its own nature.

Greek philosopher and the founder of Biology Aristotle( 384 – 322 B.C. ) has observed that there is a science which investigates being as being and the attributes which belong to being in virtue of its nature. For a thing to come into being, Aristotle describes four kinds of causes, 1. Efficient Cause, 2. Formal Cause, 3. Material Cause, and 4. Final Cause, the end or purpose for which a thing exists. Aristotle describes corporeal substances are composite of two principles, form, and matter. Matter and Form are the Material and the Formal Cause respectively of what comes to be known as a thing. The matter represents the potentiality of the livng corporeal substance and the form represents the actuality of the living thing. The structure and the behavior of things contribute to their individual being and function. Aristotle did not regard the body and soul as two separate entities as the soul is merely a set of defining features. I would like to proceed with my presentation keeping the basic criteria that Aristotle would use to know human nature, 1. the human form, 2. the living matter, 3. the human living thing, its nature being a function of its structure and its behavior. In case of man, the human form undergoes changes during every stage of its existence such as infancy, boyhood, youth, adult, and oldage. The living matter or protoplasm continues to live without any apparent changes in its fundamental living properties. The biological functions or the characteristics of the living matter or protoplasm do not evolve or change because of its survival value for the species. The living functions such as consciousness, responsiveness, recognition, communication through signalling, motion, and nutrition are innate properties of the living substance or protoplasm and are not acquired by a learning process. This innate ability of protoplasm to perform functions helps in the development of instinctive behavior that is observed in the organism. It is not surprising to observe that certain important features of human nature are innate rather than learned from experience. There are several factors involved in the development of human nature and in the formation of individual character. We need to recognize the contrast between the innate and the learned, heredity and environment, nature and nurture or social upbringing. The biological properties such as Motion, and Nutrition, the biological characteristics such as consciousness or awareness of its own condition called existence in a given environment, and the biological nature such as responsiveness, communication, and recognition of other living cells present in its external environment could account for an instinctive behavior pattern observed in all living organisms. This instinctive behavior pattern accounts for the nature of biotic interactions among members of a given biotic community. To explain human nature, we need to study the character and behavior of man’s corporeal substance or protoplasm and view man as a terrestrial organism represented by a biotic community of trillions of individual living cells and as a natural host to trillions of microbes that inhabit man’s gastrointestinal tract. The terms such as spirit or soul must be used by stating its defining features and we need to understand the connection between the feature and the substance that contributes to that feature of soul or spirit that is seen as the vital, animating principle found in all living things.

THE MECHANIST CONCEPT OF LIFE :

There is fundamental distinction between the lifeless and the living, animate and inanimate, living and nonliving matter. The living system cannot maintain its living functions by exclusively using the elementary laws of Physics and Chemistry.

The Mechanist Concept of Life asserts that the phenomena of life are merely processes and transformations obeying elementary laws of Physics and Chemistry. The living system is ultimately reducible to its constituent molecules and atoms. The living cell is a thermodynamically unstable system. This means that without continuous input of energy, a living cell will degrade spontaneously into a nonliving collection of molecules. To maintain life an organism not only repairs or replaces( or both ) its structures by a constant supply of the materials of which it is composed but also keeps its life processes in operation by a steady supply of energy. This functional activity of a living cell is called metabolism. Living systems must be supplied energy for continual synthesis of new organic molecules and to replace, or to repair broken organic molecules. We need to explain this functional ability of a living system to acquire energy from its external environment. This ability is not operated by laws of Physics and Chemistry. For example, in Physics, the force by which every mass or particle of matter including photons attracts and is attracted by every other mass or particle is called Gravitation which is the weakest of the four Fundamental Forces operating in nature. A living system does not use the force of Gravitation to attract a substance to use it for its metabolism. Physics explains the process of diffusion and the operation of Osmosis in which a solvent passes through a semipermeable membrane such as the wall of a livng cell, into a solution of higher concentration, so as to equalize concentrations on both sides of the membrane( the osmotic pressure gradient ). Osmosis is a relevant biological mechanism but it does not fully account for the energy acquisition by a living cell.

HOW DOES PROTOPLASM ACQUIRE ENERGY?

The Biological Membrane or the Plasma Membrane separates protoplasm of the cell from its environment. It allows a highly controlled exchange of matter across the barrier it poses.

The functional activity called metabolism involves a living system’s continual exchange of some of its materials with its surroundings, principally in the process of building up or destroying its protoplasm. The most striking characteristics of protoplasm are its vital properties of Motion, and Nutrition. By Motion is meant the property which protoplasm has of changing its shape and position by some “intrinsic power” and exhibit amoeboid movement. Ciliary movement or the vibration of hair-like processes from the surface of any cell may also be regarded as a variety of the motion with which protoplasm is endowed. Nutrition is the “power” which protoplasm has of attracting to itself the materials necessary for its growth and maintenance from surrounding matter. When any foreign particle comes in contact with the protoplasmic substance, it becomes incorporated in it, being enwrapped by one or more processes projected from the parent mass which encloses it. When thus taken up, the foreign particle may remain in the substance of the protoplasm for some time without change, or may be again extruded. The living substance called protoplasm has the “intrinsic power” of motion and uses its power to ingest and to expel foreign particles in the external environment with which it may come into contact. The Biological Membrane or the Plasma Membrane which separates protoplasm of the cell from its environment allows a highly controlled exchange of matter across the barrier it poses; some compounds are able to pass through the membrane easily, others are completely blocked. The screening effect on the substances that enter and leave the cell is perhaps the most important function of the membrane. The actions and behavior of protoplasmic substance are dependent upon its innate “power” and may not be attributable to elementary laws of Physics and Chemistry.

SPIRITUALISM AND HUMAN NATURE :

Red Blood Cells provide a very good example of the adaptive subordination of cells to meet the requirements of the Whole Organism. The specialized functions of tissues and organs of human body are possible because of such functional subordination.

The structural differentiation and the functional organization of various organ systems makes man a very complex living organism. This kind of specialized functions of tissues and organs is possible because of adaptive subordination of the cells to the requirements of the Whole Organism. If altruism describes any behavior that appears to favor another individuals’ chances of survival, we can easily recognize this characteristic in the functions performed by the Red Blood Cells. Each Red Blood Cell lives for a very limited life span of its own and during its short period of existence it serves the purpose of the Whole Human Organism with a sense of devotion, with the spirit of cooperation, to provide assistance to all other cells, tissues, and organs of the body in a selfless manner. I define the term ‘Spiritualism’ as the NATURE of a relationship, a partnership, an association, or bonding between two individual living entities based upon characteristics such as compassion, sympathy, understanding, cooperation, mutual assistance, mutual tolerance, voluntary subservience to provide some benefit to the member participating in the biotic interaction. Spiritualism is innate and is not acquired by learning experience. The very existence of the human being and to perform the characteristic living functions, man depends upon the protoplasmic substance and its innate “power” to acquire energy from its external environment. The human form becomes the actuality that it represents by the NATURE of its spiritual association with the protoplasmic living matter. Man is a spiritual being because of the spiritual nature of his protoplasmic living substance.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S.  Class  of  April, 1970. 

 

  

CANCER AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SPIRITUAL SELF


NATIONAL CANCER ACT OF 1971 :
 
The understanding of cancer leads to the understanding of the spiritual substance of the cell.

 On December 23, 1971 President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act to direct efforts to conquer the problem of cancer through investment in cancer research and biomedical science. On the occasion of this 40th anniversary of the signing of the National Cancer Act, we need to reflect upon the problem of cancer. It begins with a single mishap or mutation within the nucleus where 23 pairs of chromosomes on which 20, 000 to 25, 000 genes are scattered. Genes hold the instructions for regulating a variety of cell functions, and proteins carry out the instructions to perform these cell functions. Cancer is a problem associated with abnormal cell proliferation or cell divisions. Cancer study helps us to understand normal functions of cells and to learn about the instructions that tell the cells to grow or to stop growing to make new cells. Normally, cell division begins in response to a signal or instruction received. Cells have circuits or pathways to send instructions. Genes send signals to each other along pathways. When a cancerous cell divides, the new cells receive signals to continue proliferation or cell divisions with the characteristics of immortality. The immune surveillance system may detect the presence of cancerous cells by detecting unique surface marker proteins present on the surface of the cancerous cells and the cells of the immune system neutralize or kill the cancerous cells. The study of cancer provides insight into individual signaling pathways and mutations that are characteristic of cancer. The diagnosis of cancer involves the identification of the cells involved, and their location in the body. For each type of cancer disease, there are many genetic variants. Each cancer has to be defined by knowing the genetic mutation that has affected the individual cell. For example, currently, cancer researchers have identified about 56 sub-types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Each sub-type has its own genetic signature. Cancer treatment involves the killing of cancer cells and the therapy may often cause damage or death of healthy cells and tissues. Cancer research is developing targeted therapies that specifically address cellular flaws and spare the normal, and healthy cells, and tissues.

 
CANCER AND THE THEORY OF HUMAN NATURE :
The understanding of the problem of cancer would help us to answer the question: “What is Man?” We need to know and understand man if we have to fight the problem of cancer. Man is an organism represented by a biotic community of about 100 trillion individual living cells and ten times more of other living organisms that inhabit his gastrointestinal tract. The problem of cancer involves the study of the nature of biotic interactions among members of this biological community. If the members, the individual living cells interact in a manner that show characteristics such as mutual assistance, cooperation, sympathy, understanding, devotion, and functional subservience, man will keep his biological existence and the quality of this existence becomes an attribute of his health and well-being. In this context, I define the word ‘Spiritualism’ as a mutually beneficial interaction between individual living cells of the human organism and the Whole Organism represented by the human individual. For example, the Red Blood Cells deliver Oxygen and remove waste products from other cells in the human body displaying the characteristics of a spiritual relationship or partnership. In the problem of cancer, we encounter cancerous cells that fail to display the chracteristics that I have mentioned. The cancer cells behave like an internal enemy; they invade the territory or space of normal and healthy cells and tissues. Cancer grows and causes both structural and functional changes in the tissues and organs where it is located. The cancer cells show the propensity to spread or invade the local and distant parts and sites of the body apart from occupying the place of their origin. Most of our medical interventions aim at destroying these enemy cells that threaten the biological existence of the cancer victim. The cancer variants describe the genetic variations found in the nuclei of cancerous cells and not that of any variation in the cytoplasm of these cells. This corporeal substance found inside the living cells is ‘spiritual’ in its nature where the word ‘spirit’ means the potential for immortality, imperishability, and immutability. This spiritual substance remains unchanged while the cancer disease affects the genes altering the structure and function of genes to deliver normal instructions. Man always comes into existence from a previously existing egg cell and inherits the maternal cytoplasm. Man survives because of the spiritual nature of this inherited maternal cytoplasm. Hence cancer research must explore the spiritual nature of man that has the potential to survive from generation to generation.
 
JOY IN LIFE, LOVE AND COMPASSION IN HEART :
 
The spiritual well-being of man is reflected as joy in life, love, and compassion in heart. In health care, the term ‘comprehensive care’ describes the preventive, the diagnostic, the curative, the rehabilitative, and the restorative care of the entire person and not merely treating the symptoms of the disease. Cancer like several other disease entities imposes stress upon the human organism. The fear of premature death, the fear of disability or disfigurement, the risks imposed by chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, the medical costs, and the loss of employment or of employability contribute to psychogenic stress. The human body is further exposed to physical and chemical stress because of the nature of medical interventions. Cancer as a disease causes ‘biotic stress’. The cells of the immune defense mechanism may detect the presence of cancerous cells and initiate a battle to destroy them. This immune response causes internal stress and very often there is no cortical awareness of this inner battle to defend life. The hostile biotic interactions between cancer cells and healthy cells produces a stress reaction which is mediated by the same stress pathways; the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal pathway. A cancer victim would have a better chance to become a cancer survivor if he is stress resistant and has greater stress tolerance. The restorative care in cancer patients must commence as soon as the diagnosis of cancer is made as the body has already experienced the stress reaction before the clinical diagnosis of cancer could be made. To make a person stress resistant and stress tolerant, it needs the understanding of the spiritual nature of man.  
 
MAN IS A SPIRITUAL BEING :
The Great Banyan Tree of Kolkata has lived for over 250 years. This tropical fig tree known as Ficus benghalensis is native to India; 'adventitious' roots that grow from its branches go downwards and take root to form new trunks over a relatively wide area. In Sanskrit language, the Banyan tree is known as 'ASVATTHA' and is cherished for its everlasting or imperishable nature. If the tree is living, we need to know the nature of its substance that keeps it living.
The Banyan Tree offers unusal appearance. It has roots that appear growing from its branches and the roots are located upwards and away from the ground; it has trunks and branches growing downwards apart from the normal branches that grow upwards and outwards. Because of its adventitious roots, Banyan Tree spreads to cover a wide area and lives for a long time. Knowing and understanding this Asvattha Tree is important to gain the Knowledge of Vedas, the Hindu Scriptures that reveal the Knowledge of the Spiritual Self or Adhyatma Vidya.

 THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE BANYAN TREE  :

The Hindu Scripture of The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XV known as  Purusottama Yoga speaks about the nature of the Supreme Person. It metaphorically compares the Supreme Being to the popularly known Fig Tree called Ficus benghalensis. The first verse reads as follows:
Sri Bhagavan Uvacha :
 “Urdhva-mulam adhah-sakham Asvattham prahur avyayam,
    Chandamsi yasya parnani yas tam veda sa Veda vit.”
The Supreme Lord Krishna said: There is a Banyan Tree which has its roots upwards and its branches down and metaphorically it is imperishable; and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this Tree is the Knower of the Vedas( the person attains the Knowledge of the Ultimate Reality or the Supreme being). When we know the Banyan Tree and its apparent imperishable quality, we may understand the true nature of Man. Man is a spiritual being. The truth or falsity of this proposition depends on the fact of man’s having a substance that is of spiritual nature. Such a substance of spiritual kind is perceptible to the senses, is amenable to direct observation, and could be subjected to verification by experimental science. To establish the fact of man’s spiritual nature, it needs reasoning based upon scientific validity. The structure and the behavior of things contribute to their individual being and function. If man has a set of defining features based upon his structure( Human Anatomy ), function( Human Physiology ), and behavior( Human Behavioral Science ), the spiritual nature of man could be proved on theoretical and practical grounds and could be verified by scientific experiments. I am not seeking to discover a soul or spirit that could have existence independent of man’s physical being. However, it will be important to note that it is not possible to conceive of a soul or spirit if it is never associated with its human body. My purpose is that of describing the spiritual nature of human organism and of other living beings. To understand the true nature of human being, we need to ascertain the validity of Knowledge that pertains to the Spiritual Self.
 
MAN IS A MORTAL BEING :
Man’s greatest need is not only to know the world around him but also to know himself better. Man must understand what it is to be a substance and what it is to exist. Man is a physical being or thing with matter and form. The corporeal body of man is composite of two principles; matter, and form. What is called matter is potentiality, and what is called form is actuality. The corporeal substance called protoplasm becomes actuality and is recognized as a living person because of the uniqueness of its genome that operates its living functions and defines its size, shape, color, and external form or morphological appearance. However, life comes into existence only when matter or substance has the ability to acquire energy from its external environment. The human being comes to life when his corporeal substance uses its potential ability and power called ‘Nutrition’ to acquire energy and material from its environment. Life begins with fertilization, the union of sperm with egg cell, and this event called conception proceeds to develop a human being after an important event called implantation. The life journey after conception continues if there is a connection between the energy seeking embryo and its maternal energy provider. To exist means that the substance is maintaining a relationship, a partnership, a connection, or association with its source of energy. Man leads energy dependent existence deriving energy and material from nature which supports other living forms with a similar corporeal substance called protoplasm. The mortality of man must be understood as the dissolution of man’s physical form. The dissolution of living man into non-living molecules and physical elements would not alter that potentiality of protoplasm to acquire energy and material to create its own substance. Things in Nature change with Time; but what is called Nature remains unchanged even under the influence of Time. As per The Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy as described in classical Physics, mass or energy remain constant. The potentiality of living substance to acquire energy and material to form its own kind of substance has remained unchanged or unaffected by major natural calamities and other cataclysmic events. Life forms perish and yet life continues as new life forms. During the billions of years of existence, planet Earth has experienced several minor, and major Extinction Events described in its geological history. The Science of Paleontology offers scientific evidence to support an argument based upon theoretical and practical grounds to propose that the substance called protoplasm could be eternal, immovable, immutable, and indestructible. At a fundamental level, it could be stated that man is a mortal or materialistic being who derives his physical form because of its association with an imperishable substance. During any stage of his existence, the form called man cannot be separated from the eternal nature of its substance.
California State Tree known as Redwood includes Sequoia sempevirens, and the Giant Sequoia known as Sequoia gigantea. The Redwoods are the most massive trees in the world and could attain a trunk diameter as large as 30 feet. They also include the tallest trees in the world averaging about 300 feet high. They include the oldest known living trees and may reach ages of over 3,000 years. What is that corporeal substance that is living apparently in an imperishable manner?

 

Sequoia sempevirens. Man has officially designated this tree as the State Tree of California State. What is the connection between Man and Plants or Trees? What is the corporeal substance shared or common to all living entities?
Sequoia gigantea is a massive tree. A living thing has a form and has matter. We often recognize the form and give it a name. What about the "MATTER" that constitutes the substance of this Living Thing? We need to understand the 'potentiality' of the Matter to know the nature of the Form. The Form has no independent existence of its own. The Form lives if and only if it has Matter that is living.

 WHAT IS SOUL OR SPIRIT ?  :

Traditionally, man has been divided into two parts; body, and soul. In common usage, the term soul represents the immaterial aspect of a human being. Soul is further defined as that part of the individual which is considered to survive the death of the body. The term spirit is often used to describe a disembodied soul. On separation from the human body, the soul or spirit has a life of its own, a capacity for independent existence or self-subsistence which describes its immortality.
 
THE CONCEPTIONS OF SOUL  :
 
There are a variety of conceptions about soul or spirit. Some of the traditional conceptions of soul are the following:
1. Soul is the immaterial substance, form, or principle of self-motion, vitality, life force, or life in living things. The insentient body is completely distinct from the sentient soul.
2. Soul describes the Doctrine of the Self, and is considered to be synonymous with the True-Self. In a human being, soul confers the Individuality and its nature of humanity.
3. Soul is often described as a thinking substance and is equated with mind. The soul has knowledge of itself by reflection of its acts. The soul is the knower and it knows the physical, and mental acts of the human body where it resides.
4. Soul is important to maintain, and to preserve life. Soul may not directly participate in the activities of the human body. However, the activities of the human body may have a polluting effect on soul. If the soul is tainted or contaminated by the sinful acts of the body, the soul may obtain purification by its release from the body. Some form of human effort, activity, attitude, and behavior is essential to keep the soul in its natural, pure, and perfect condition.
5. The soul that has experienced the polluting effects by its association with a human body would be forced to experience perpetual reincarnation by a process called transmigration. The soul continues to reside as a prisoner in different bodies until such time it attains its original state or condition of purity and perfection.
6. Soul is a transcendental or noumenal object that is real but not visible and could not be detected by human sensory perception. The human body that is visible is in fact unreal or is a product of sensory illusion.
 
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOUL AND HUMAN BODY  :
 
Most religions and cultures speak about soul and describe it as some incorporeal or immaterial substance/principle of human life that is distinct from the body. Despite the frequent acceptance of the existence of a soul, different religions and philosophers have developed a variety of theories as to the nature of the soul and its relationship to the human body. There are divergent views about the origin of the soul, when and how it gets implanted into the human body, and the mortality or when and if the soul dies. I would like to share the view that is attributed to Lord Krishna, the avatar or reincarnation of Hindu God Lord Vishnu.
 
ADHYATMA VIDYA – THE BHAGAVAD GITA  :
The word ‘vidya’ is related to acquired knowledge derived from studies. The term ‘adhyatma’ pertains to the individual soul, atma, or atman which describes the Spiritual Self. The phrase ‘Adhyatma Vidya’ could be described the Knowledge of the Spiritual Self.
 
The legendary IndianSage Veda Vyasa also known as Krishna Dvaipayana was the author of the epic ‘The Mahabharata'( Great Epic of the Bharata Dynasty ). Veda Vyasa is recognized as the compiler of ancient Hindu texts known as Vedas. In the Book VI of Mahabharata, Lord Krishna had a conversation with Prince Arjuna while the warring parties of Pandavas, and Kauravas had assembled at the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Lord Krishna revealed His views about soul, human body and their relationship in “The Song of the Lord” known as ‘The Bhagavad Gita’. These poems of The Bhagavad Gita give a synopsis of the religious thought and experience of India through the ages. The Chapter X of The Bhagavad Gita is titled ‘Vibhuti-Vistara Yoga’ and it describes the divine or transcendental attributes of the Supreme Lord. In verse #39, the Lord claims, “I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no being, moving or unmoving( “Chara-acharam” ) that can exist without Me.” In verse #32, the Lord proclaims, “….of all the branches of Learning and Knowledge, I am the Knowledge of the Spiritual Self( “Adhyatma Vidya” ). In verse #22, the Lord describes the nature of His connection with the living beings that He has generated, “…. and in living beings, I am Consciousness( “Bhutanam asmi Chetana” ).” He had also clarified that Consciousness or Chetana as a different characteristic and has separated it from mind, intellect and sense perception. Mind is traditionally viewed as the major organ of sense perception, seat of thoughts, intellect, emotions, feelings, and self-ego. Chetana is associated with the characteristics of a living being. The Lord had also cited The Vedanata Sutra to make the distinction between the body, the soul, and the Supersoul. The Vedanta, the insights from Vedic Scriptures describe three manifestations of the Supreme Lord’s Energy. These are 1. Annamoya or dependence upon Food for existence, 2. Pranamoya or the manifestation of the living symptoms and life forms, and 3. Jnanamoya or the Knowledge of the distinction between the body the field of activity and the Knower who resides in the body. If a living being needs food for its existence, and performs its living functions in a state or condition called awareness or consciousness, it could be described as the manifestation of the Supreme Lord’s Energy. In Chapter VII titled ‘Paramahamsa Vijnana Yoga’ or Knowledge of the Ultimate Truth, in verse #9 Lord Krishna claims: “I am the life( “Jivanam” ) of all that lives.” He had demonstrated a connection between life and consciousness to describe the spiritual nature of Self. The Chapter XIII of The Bhagavad Gita titled ‘Kshetra – Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga’ deals with the dichotomy or distinction between the material body, immortal soul, and the Supersoul. It states the view that the material body is called the field of activity or Kshetra. One who knows this body, the field of activity is called the Knower of the Field or Kshetrajna. The Knower of the Field is the Owner of the body. The Supreme Lord is also the Knower of the field of activity in all bodies( verse #3 ). In this human body, there is another indwelling obeserver, a sanctioner, a preserver, an enjoyer, and indeed ultimate Controller called ‘Paramatama’ or Supersoul. The Supreme Lord or Paramesvaram is residing equally in all living entities( verses # 23, 27, and 28 ). Just like the Sun who illuminates the entire living world, the soul within the body illuminates the entire field of activity of the physical body by Chetana or Consciousness( verse #34 ). This view as stated suggests that consciousness is the proof or the symptom of the presence of the soul. A similar view is shared in Chapter II titled ‘Sankhya Yoga’. The imperishable or indestructible soul pervades or permeates(“tatam” ) the entire physical body( verse #7 ). What is spread all over the body? Consciousness could be described as spread over the entire body and it leads to the interpretation that the symptom of the soul’s presence is perceived as individual consciousness.
 
The final Chapter XVIII of The Bhagavad Gita titled ‘Moksha-Opadesa Yoga’ comes to an interesting conclusion about the Single Reality that pervades all existence that is divided into innumerable forms. Verse #20 reads as follows:
“Sarva bhutesu yenaikam bhavam avyayam iksate
  avibhaktam vibhaktesu taj jnanam viddhi Sattvikam.”
“Understand that Knowledge by which one undivided, imperishable( “Avyayam” )reality is seen within all diverse living entities is in the nature of goodness( Sattvikam” ). What is that undivided reality that is imperishable that connects all the diverse, living entites?
 
THE BODY-SOUL DICHOTOMY  :
 
In the Indian tradition, the individual soul is known as Atma or Atman. The Supreme Soul or the Supersoul is known as Paramatma, Paramesvaram, or Brahaman, the Ultimate Truth and the Reality. However, the concepts about Atma or individual soul vary and Hindus belong to different schools of thought. While the concepts about individual soul are different, there is general agreement among various Indian thinkers and philosophers about the distinction between the material, insentient, and perishable human body and the immaterial, sentient, and imperishable or immortal soul. Soul is independent, and is not attached and it still requires the substance of the corporeal body. However, I am not able to draw that distinction and make that separation from the substance and its function. To describe function, I need the substance. Man lives and functions with consciousness because of the fundamental nature of the corporeal substance called protoplasm, and this substance is apparently imperishable, indestructible, and immortal. We could destroy the physical form of man and several other living forms, but man or nature and the influence of Time have not demonstrated an ability to destroy this living substance which has survived on planet Earth continuously over billions of years. Man cannot create life and man cannot destroy life. Man can only live or exist because of the spiritual nature of his corporeal substance with which he can not seek separation until the time of his death. The substance has a life of its own and continues to create new substance of its own kind and becomes visible as a living life form with a different identity or morphological appearance.
 
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S.  Class  of  April,  1970.
 
Please also review my earlier post titled “Spirituality,Soul, Consciousness, and the God Connection” which is reproduced below this post.
 
Paire de base
Image via Wikipedia

THE STATUS OF MAN IN NATURE :

The First Book of Moses, The Old Testament Book of Genesis describes the story of Creation; in Chapter 2, verse 7, it narrates man’s creation: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

The Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 27:"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."

MAN IS A CREATED BEING  :  

Man is a created being. Spirituality explores the connection between man and his Creator. The Trimurti at Elephanta Island Cave Temples near Mumbai, India represents God as the Creator(Brahma), the Preserver(Vishnu) and the Destroyer(Shiva).

MAN IS A SPIRITUAL BEING :

The status of man in nature describes man as a created object; a new object, one of its own kind, distinctive, and unique. The principle of Creation
involves the use of inspiration and imagination as opposed to the view proposed by the Theory of Evolution. The fundamental issue is about understanding man’s status in nature. Did man come into existence by gradual changes caused by random and unguided events called genetic mutations? Or, does man actually exist in nature because of his relationship with other objects present in his living environment? What defines man’s existence? What establishes the reality of man’s physical existence? Should we focus on the changing form? Alternately, should we give attention to an unchanging relationship that is a prerequisite for the existence of all life forms? If an object cannot come into its state of existence, how could that object get a shape or form? In the context of a discussion about man’s existence in nature, I state that  man is a created object, and hence man
exists as a Spiritual being. The term Spirituality describes the nature of this connection between man and His Creator. Soul is the immortal part of man as distinguished from his body; it is the vital principle which moves and animates all Life. Soul may represent the essence of a human being, it could be the quality which confers individuality, humanity, and the moral nature of man. I divide man into two categories; the first category is called the ‘SELF’ which represents man as a physical, mental, and social being; and the second category is called the ‘KNOWING-SELF’ which represents man as a moral, and spiritual being. These two categories function together and the functional unity of the human person is an attribute of a neuro-biological function called Consciousness. Man’s physical being is represented by a changing external or morphological appearance and while the physical Identity is constantly changing, the unchanging Individuality is supported by man’s spirituality or the nature of his constant spiritual relationship.  

 THE ETERNAL REALITY OF SOUL’S IMMORTALITY  :
Ajanta Caves near Aurangabad, Maharashtra State, India, Fresco-type wall painting- Man's spiritual dimension describes man's humanity, moral nature, individuality, and Consciousness.

 Religious thinkers have further defined Soul as that part of the individual which partakes of divinity. People of all races, cultures and religions would like to investigate the nature of this God-Connection as they perceive the world and the universe in which they exist as a fact of Creation. I need to find evidence that would fundamentally deny the fact of Creation.

 MAN IS A SOCIAL BEING  :

 

French philosopher Auguste Comte(1798-1857) coined the term Sociology. He believed that the scientific study of social organization would make possible a reconstitution of the social order based on principles of moral progress.

Apart from being a created Physical being, man is recognized as a Social being as he displays social instincts and social behaviors in all of his activities. A rudimentary understanding of Sociology or Theories of Social Science would clarify this matter. Social instincts and Social Behaviors are seen in all animals including bacteria. At a cellular level, the social function is called ‘Association’. Man is an association of trillions of cells. Each human organ and organ system represents an association of cells that display functional subordination to perform selective tasks. Life is just impossible without social structure and organization.

MAN IS A MORAL BEING  : 

 

Man is a Spiritual being and is endowed with Moral nature. James Tissot in his painting captures the essence of man. The Book of Matthew, Chapter 27 verses 3-5 narrate the story of Apostle Judas Iscariot and his moral failing that caused the dissolution of his biological existence-"When Judas who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. "I have sinned," he said,"for I have betrayed innocent blood." So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself."

Man is an individual who exists in a social group. At the same time, man is a Moral being, as he displays moral behavior even when he is corrupt. Man displays the ability of Repentance for his thoughts, for his actions of commission and omission. Man has the ability to admit his sins, express remorse and may often punish himself for his sinful conduct. Man experiences grief for his actions that are sinful. Man actively searches for solutions for his sinful conduct. Man cannot sustain his biological existence if he had morally failed. A famous example would be that of Apostle Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus.

 MATTER, ENERGY, AND KNOWLEDGE  :
Greek philosopher  Aristotle had observed that corporeal substances are composite of two principles, form and matter. What is called matter is potentiality, what is called form is actuality. The totality of things have been divided in various ways. The three fundamental distinctions are 1. the distinction between the natural and the supernatural, 2. the distinction between the material and the spiritual, and 3. the distinction between the lifeless and the living. When we make the distinction animate/inanimate, living/non-living, and inorganic/organic, a question arises about the nature of that distinction. The difference, is that one of kind or degree? The Mechanistic View claims the continuity of nature in terms of the universality of purely mechanical principles. I have defined Life as ‘Knowledge in Action’. Please view the blog post at http://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/what-is-life-life-is-knowledge-in-action/
I define Life as organization of matter with implanted supernatural Knowledge. The establishment of supernatural Knowledge in matter decribes the operation of ‘God Principle’, Spirit, or Soul. Life comes into existence when matter and energy come together with the establishment of ‘God Connection’.
  
LIFE AND CONSCIOUSNESS  :                    

 

Amoeba proteus, unicellular, protozoan organism is conscious or aware of its own state of existence. It has the abilities of Motion, Nutrition, and Reproduction. All of its living functions are goal-oriented. It responds to its environment and survives adverse environmental conditions by a process called encystment.

The basic characteristic of a Living Cell or organism is the presence of consciousness. I recognize a cell as a Living Cell if it displays functions that characterize the presence of awareness or consciousness. The Living Cell or Living Object need not be aware or conscious of the Subject who may be investigating or observing the properties of that Object. The Living Object need to be aware of its own existence and its condition called Living. Atoms and molecules display their properties and interact according to the Laws of Physics and Chemistry. Living organic molecules show individualistic behaviors under experimental conditions that could be repeated and be verified. The Living Cell is very selective and it responds in a variable manner to physical and chemical stimuli. It can communicate or send signals to other Living Cells present in its environment. It responds according to its internal condition in relation to the environment in which it exists. The interactions of non-living physical matter are not goal-oriented. The interactions of Living matter are goal-oriented and they specifically achieve the purpose of sustaining, preserving, defending, and continuing the Living functions.

MAN IS A MORTAL, PHYSICAL BEING  :

Man is a mortal being who must eventually die. When Lazarus died and was laid in a tomb for four days, Jesus performed a miracle and Lazarus came back to life from death. The Book of John, Chapter 11, narrates this event. In verses 41 and 42, Jesus said,"Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people who are standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me." The risen Lazarus had eventually died.

LIFE AND DEATH IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS :

 

When does Life begins? When does Life ends? Life always comes into a state of existence from a previously existing Living Cell. Life and Death is a continuous process and is recognized by the presence of Consciousness and Individuality.

When does Life begins? When does Life ends? Every Living Cell is derived from a previously existing Living Cell. Life has not experienced the final event called DEATH. Life continues its act of Living through a function called Reproduction. A given species is considered to be totally extinct only if there is no surviving member to represent that particular species. Death is a programmed event and it gives meaning to the Identity of a Living Object. The dissolution of a single Living Object should not obscure the fact that Life is a continuous process. Life continues as Living Objects get new Identities. It is very reasonable to expect that Life would continue after the death of a given Living Object. People all over the world are a witness to that simple and direct observation. During the Life-Death continuum, the connection between the Creator and the created Living Object is manifested by the biological function called awareness or consciousness. The presence of Soul is evidenced by the presence of consciousness. As long as the Soul is functioning and is united with the physical being, the presence of consciousness could be detected and could be verified.

THE SOUL AND GOD CONNECTION : 

 

All types of Living Cells with or without nucleus represent thermodynamically unstable systems. Without a continuous input of energy a Living Cell will degrade spontaneously into a nonliving collection of molecules. Biological existence is possible because of an association or connection, or partnership between energy seeker and energy provider.

 There has been no clearly defined and universally accepted metaphysical conception of the term Soul. It is a term rarely used with precise definition in philosophy, religion, or common life. In this discussion we face the problem of using words to which no definitive meaning is attached. If I make an attempt to define the word ‘God’, you may even speculate that I may belong to a new religious order. We need to come to a consensus even if an entity called ‘God’ does not exist. We need to formulate a view, a hypothetical view about Soul and test that hypothesis by countering it with a skeptical hypothesis. The Science called Physics deals with the properties, changes, interactions, etc. of matter and energy in which energy is considered to be continuous. In the ultimate analysis, matter is a representation of its energy content. The Science called Biology deals with Life and Life processes. While Life is made up of physical matter, Life processes are not explained by simple mechanistic interactions. However, I am willing to use the principles, the methods, and the tools used by Physics. Molecular Biology explains biological events by studying the molecules within cells; the molecular basis of genetics – Nucleic Acids and its relationship to energy cycling and replication. If this universe is seen as matter and energy, I would define God as the Controller of Force/Power/Energy. All living things are essentially made up of the same kind of living matter and yet they appear to be different. Life could be attributed to ONE common principle which has the ability to be simultaneously different. Each living object comes into a state of existence as a new object, as an original object, one of its own kind, unique, and distinctive. This morphological variation is an attribute of the organic molecules that establish the phenotype or the physical identity of that living organism. Physics provides those powerful tools to see the molecules and to recognize their individualistic behavior. Life comes into existence using a creative principle, and creative mechanisms that need inspiration, and imagination apart from the use of simple mechanistic laws. If Life is governed by the Law of Individuality, I would define God as a Creative Force/Power/Energy.

 

Life is a condition that describes Synchronized Existence, the synchronization of activities, the connection between energy dependent life functions and its Source of Power.

A majority of these life forms that we know and have studied, have synchronized their state of existence with an event that produces alternating periods of light and darkness while that source of light is not being turned ‘on’ and ‘off’. Rather we are forced to experience the effects of an illusion. Sunrise and Sunset is the reality that governs a majority of Biological Rhythms that control the life processes. Illusion is the necessary condition for the biological existence of Life. If Earth’s rotational spin generates this illusion, God uses Force/Power/Energy to cause illusion. In the universe that exists today, to the extent we have verified; there are no two identical celestial objects that exhibit the same rotational spin. In this context, it may be said that the Force/Power/Energy called God has created Earth to provide a home to the life forms that He has created as Individuals. These life forms have the ability called reproduction and yet lack the ability of producing two identical new objects. Sexual or Asexual reproduction always results in the production of new Individuals which could be easily verified by using the Biometric Identification Technology. Even the clones, sharing identical genomes, in reality exist as individuals. This Individuality when investigated by the tools supplied by Physics, it is discovered that the organic molecules behave as Individuals and man is not able to modify that behavior. Under the same experimental conditions, the molecules behave as individuals. When we examine the nature of this biological existence, it indicates that life processes are supported by the provision of energy from an external source. The Living Cell is a thermodynamically unstable system. This means that without a continuous input of energy a Living Cell will degrade spontaneously into a nonliving collection of molecules. This lack of energy independence would direct us to define God as the Power/Force/Energy which delivers Compassion/Mercy/Grace which helps energy acquisition by energy dependent living organisms. Life forms on planet Earth exist depending upon an extraterrestrial source of energy or Cosmic Power/Force/Energy. Life exists because of its ability called ‘Association’. The act of associating, the state of being associated; the companionship, the fellowship, and the partnership is the defining feature of the State or Condition, or Act of Living. Association or patnership between energy seeker and energy provider could be described as God-Connection. Organisms that are single do not live as single cells but develop association with other single cells to form distinct Colonies. Organisms that are multicellular represent an organization of individual cells that are associated having common interests, purposes, sensations, etc., Since association has a purpose, in the context of biological existence, the association or connection, or partnership between the energy seeker, and the energy provider is a meaningful event and not a simple, mechanical, physical event governed by the Laws of Interactions between Matter and Energy. There are Four Fundamental Interactions and they do not regulate or define this Interaction between Living matter and the Cosmic Force/Power/Energy. Living matter uses and exploits energy in a creative manner to build organic molecules and to break down organic molecules. The life processes are very similar and yet the results are totally different. While using energy mostly following a similar metabolic pathway, each organism supports its identity and individuality.

 

WHO HAS ESTABLISHED THE CONNECTION BETWEEN AUTOTROPHS AND HETEROTROPHS? The creative mechanism to trap Solar Energy describes implanted Knowledge to formulate the connection between autotrophs and heterotrophs.

 

In mitochondria, many substances(food) are oxidized and ATP, the energy-storing chemical of the Cell is produced. The most important equations for living things are mutually inverse. Respiration of humans, and Cellular Respiration represents the reverse of Photosynthesis.

SOUL AND DEATH  :

The idea of ‘Soul’ always comes in the context of Death. If man is immortal, we will not be spending our time and energy discussing to verify the existence of an immortal principle. The human subject has a limited life span and it arouses a sense of curiosity about the existence of something that could defy Death. I am trying to define the word ‘Soul’ in a manner to promote an understanding that ‘Soul’ is immortal if we look at man as an Association of individual living cells. We need to establish the Identity of that Individual for whose purpose or interest this Association of Individual living cells exists. If we think of Death as a final event, it is not supported by factual evidence. In this Association, death is a daily event. We simply fail to acknowledge this daily event as there is an immortal principle that is escaping this death experience. The Individual thinks that he is alive and sustains his Individuality without getting overwhelmed by the dying process that is continuous. While the human organism is changing its external appearance and identity all the time, the Individuality survives if ‘Soul’ the vital, or operating immortal principle is functioning. The issue or question about ‘transmigration’ of Soul would not arise if every living organism exists strictly as an Individual with an Individuality. As stated before,man has no choice and he must always exist as an Individual even when we use Reproductive Genetic Engineering Technology to produce identical clones with the same genome. The dissolution of matter may not change the Law of Conservation of Energy. If Soul is defined as the God Connection that gives the ability of energy acquisition, the Soul when removed from a physical object to which it has given Individuality, would operate as per the commands of the Controller of Force/Power/Energy. It provides the possibility of carrying the impressions of a previous state of existence into a new state of existence with a new identity and Individuality. During the life span of a given Individual, an association of cells in which death is a daily event, Soul is a continuous principle as its purpose and interest is to maintain Individuality of that Individual.

SOUL AND THE LIVING CELL :

I define man as a physical, mental, social, moral, and spiritual being as I define the term ‘health’ as the physical, mental, social, moral, and spiritual well-being of the man in his environment and community and not merely as absence of disease. This definition of ‘health’ would help me to provide ‘comprehensive health care’ in my role as a Primary Care physician. Specialists and Super specialists provide health care in specific areas involving an organ or an organ system.

 

Jean Paul Sartre had stated that Nothingness(Non-thing or Neant) is a condition of not having Being and yet it is supported by Being. Nothingness comes into the world by the Being-for-itself. The Conscious Knowing-Self or the Essence of man is preceded by the Subjective Reality of physical Existence.

I attach my ideas to some ideas expressed by others. Sartre is a well-known person. He had won the Nobel Prize for literature but declined to accept it. I may not totally agree with him and his views about consciousness. He had stated his view in a manner that people can easily understand. He makes a distinction between objective things and human consciousness. He claims that consciousness is a ‘non-thing'(‘neant’ or nothingness ) and its reality consists in standing back from things and taking a point of view on them. Because consciousness is a non-thing, it does not have any of the causal involvements that things have with other things. If you stand before a mirror, the reflection exists only if it is supported by the presence of a physical being or thing. If the physical thing is taken away, the reflected image is gone but the reflective surface retains its ability to reflect the images of things.

 THE BIOLOGICAL MEMBRANE AND CONSCIOUSNESS  :

 

The Biological Membrane is not a simple physical barrier separating the Living Cell from its environment. The Protoplasm or Cytoplasm, the Living Matter uses its Biological Membrane with a sense of awareness or consciousness which recognizes the fact of its existence and the fact of something present in its environment.

 In a Living Cell, consciousness reflects its external environment and its internal condition or internal environment. The Living Cell knows, it is aware of its state, fact, and act of its Living. The Living Cell makes contact with its environment by using a cell membrane, a biological membrane, or a bio-membrane. If you carefully look at some of the functions of this membrane, you would discern that the Living Cell has consciousness or awareness of these functions. The Biological Membrane behaves in a conscious manner and it is not a simple, physical barrier between the Protoplasm, the Living Substance and its environment. If the term ‘soul’ describes a vital principle, or a source of Knowledge, it provides the information with which these functions could be performed. Some molecules and ions can freely move across this Bio-membrane and some are actively pumped in or out of the Cell that involves expenditure of energy. The Living Cell has the ability to recognize the condition of its nucleus, if the DNA is damaged, the Cell can initiate a process and cause its own dissolution.

 

Red Blood Cells display functional subordination to serve the purpose of the Whole Organism. Functional differentiation, and Functional Unity are important to support the existence of the Subject or Individual who is in reality an association of trillions of cells.

In multicellular organism, the consciousness works both at the level of each individual cell and to establish the functioning of the organism as an individual unit. Without functional unity, the organism cannot maintain its biological existence. Cell differentiation is the process by which the individual cells use adaptation to perform specific tasks. Red Blood Cells perform specific tasks.

 THE NEURO-BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF CONSCIOUSNESS  :

 

Reticular Formation of Brain Stem has connections with almost all other parts of the Central Nervous System and it helps to coordinate and integrate actions of different parts of the CNS. It is important for Behavioral Arousal, and the Capacity for Consciousness.

In the human Brain Stem, several neurons, and nuclei which are in an area called Reticular Formation are functionally adapted to compose the contents of human consciousness. The Reticular Formation gives the Capacity for Consciousness. The contents of this consciousness are read in the cortical areas of the cerebral hemispheres and described as Cortical awareness. Most philosophers, most of the psychologists, and several of the religious thinkers pay attention to this Cortical awareness and describe that as human consciousness. We tend to ignore the fact that there would be no Cortical awareness unless there is a Capacity for Consciousness. Most recently, the surgeons had removed the complete left cerebral hemisphere from a child to stop convulsive seizures. The child is alive, fully conscious, and hopefully would continue to live in future with some neurological deficits. Just like the human heart which has four different muscular chambers and each has a function of its own; we need to understand consciousness by knowing its components. We need to use separate terms to distinguish these different components. There would be confusion if a term is used without attaching a specific meaning. Cortical awareness is important and is very interesting and yet man can exist and survive with minimal cortical awareness. We have seen children with severe degrees of mental retardation, and they can keep their biological existence if they retain the ability to Compose Consciousness. I want to designate the upper Brain Stem as the Seat of Consciousness and the word consciousness itself must describe the functions of the Brain Stem which are most important for man’s biological existence. A man is clinically dead in the absence of these Brain Stem functions involved in the Capacity of Consciousness. In Clinical Medicine, the term conscious is often used to measure the degree of Arousal or Cortical awareness and hence this subject matter would remain confusing for a long time. If a subject is unconscious, I would not issue a ‘death certificate’. In Clinical Medicine, the term used is ‘Brain Death’ and when Brain Death is diagnosed, the human person for all practical purposes is dead. I would suggest that we must use the term ‘Unconscious’ specifically to indicate the Brain Death which is diagnosed by testing the Brain Stem Reflexes. If the human person is viewed as a single physical thing or object, the integration of functions is achieved at the Brain Stem( Reticular Formation), and he maintains his individuality throughout his physical existence only when this part of the brain is functioning. If you like the term individual soul or Jeeva Atma, its existence is a reflection of this function. To see a reflection, we need two things; the physical object and a reflective surface. The quality of reflecting objects may depend upon presence of Knowledge. It is not known if this particular kind of knowledge exists as organic molecules; however, it is very well understood that most of the knowledge to perform a variety of biological functions is contained in organic molecules and the most well-known group of these organic molecules are known as DNA. There are Viruses which can function with RNA. Hence, there is still a possibility of finding organic molecules that could be associated with the functional ability called consciousness, awareness, cognition, recognition, responsiveness, perception, memory, intelligence, and association. The most important aspect of ‘association’ is ‘God Connection’ and without this function of ‘association’ man cannot keep his biological existence.

 

Consciousness is awareness of existence, the facts that relate to the state or condition of existence. Behavioral Arousal and Cortical awareness of thoughts, feelings, and sensations is an important component of total Biological Existence.

IDENTITY AND INDIVIDUALITY :

 

The Eternal Reality of Soul's Immortality is described in The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, verse 12. Lord Krishna spoke to the Pandava Prince Arjuna :"Na tv evaham jatu nasam na tvam neme JanadhipaH;Na chaiva na bhavisyamaH, sarve vayam ataH param." For each of us our Individuality existed in the past and our Individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Certainly, never at any time did I not exist, nor you, nor all these Kings and certainly never shall we cease to exist in the future.

The issue of spirituality, the nature of Soul and consciousness must be explored in the context of arriving at an understanding of man’s Identity and Individuality. If man is viewed as an association of trillions of cells, we need to know the Identity of that Subject who lives because of the functions of the trillions of cells. The purpose of consciousness at cellular level is to foster functional unity of the multicellular organism and to establish it as an Individual. In a multicellular organism, cells have short lives as individuals. The Subject or the whole organism has a life span of its own and it has effects on individual cells. Multicellularity is accompanied by adaptive subordination of all cells to the requirements of the organism as a whole. To achieve proper numerical balance between functionally related cell groups, the death of many cells is necessary for other cells to reach maturity. This programmed cell death plays an important role in embryological development. Such programmed cell death events are essential if the organism as a whole is to develop its normal final form. Waves of genetically driven cell deaths are critical to the proper modeling of organs and organ systems. We need to know and understand that death of cells is a must to establish the Identity and to sustain the Individuality of the human being. The dying process helps man to understand his Individuality. The Individuality is preserved while death is a daily event at the cellular level. The phenotype or the morphological appearance of the human Subject undergoes constant change during the Life journey and yet the Individuality remains unchanged. We recognize the death of this human Subject when his Soul departs from his body. Soul may be stated as an entity which is regarded as being immortal or spiritual part of the person. The Spirit of a dead person generally refers to a principle separate from the body and leading an existence of its own. If Soul is viewed as a Non-thing or Nothingness, it comes into the world of existence by entering the physical being at its conception which becomes conscious or aware of its existence. This consciousness has also existed in a previously existing Living Egg Cell which is the Mother of Life, Energy, and Knowledge. Consciousness by its very nature is immortal, it is eternal, and it has no birth or death. We recognize the arrival and departure of the new product during the Life-Death continuum where the Individuality is unaffected by the changes that are caused by the powerful influence of Time.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970

A HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY


The tradition of Thanksgiving Day – Man lives by giving Thanks during all days of his life.

THE TRADITION OF THANKSGIVING DAY :

In the United States, Thanksgiving is an annual holiday observed on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a day of feasting, and it often serves as a public expression of thanks to God in the form of a prayerful eating of food. It commemorates the Pilgrims’ celebration of the good harvest, and a friendly relationship between Plymouth Colonists and Native Americans in 1621. The first national Thanksgiving Day, proclaimed by President George Washington was celebrated on November 26, 1789. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an annual holiday.

GRATITUDE IS AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT :

The word “Thanks” is used to acknowledge the feelings of gratitude for a benefit that we have received; grateful acknowledgment of something received by or done for one. Giving thanks is an act that reveals the spiritual nature of a relationship between two or more entities involved in interactions. The term ‘spiritual’ describes the nature of a relationship, partnership, an association, or bonding between two living entities based upon characteristics such as cooperation, mutual assistance, tolerance, sympathy, compassion, voluntary subservience, and functional subordination to provide some benefit to the members of a biotic community participating in the biotic interactions at a given place, and in a given environment. The human organism represents a biotic community of interacting living cells. It is estimated that the human body consists of about 100 trillion cells, and the human body carries about ten times as many bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. These microbes are important to the health of humans. Man has no cortical awareness of the biotic interactions that take place inside his gut and the colonization of his gut by several kinds of microbial flora. The biotic interactions between the gut cells of the human body and the bacterial cells have the characteristics of spiritual biotic interactions.

Living cells have a corporeal substance called Protoplasm that has the ability of Spiritual Biotic Interactions. The Biological Membrane or Cell Membrane separates the cell from its environment and other living cells present in the environment. Cells use unique proteins, biological molecules and receptor sites to recognize the other living cells and use chemical signals to facilitate the interactions. Such interactions between living cells have the characteristics of consciousness or awareness.

The biotic interactions take place at cellular level and are dependent upon the conscious nature of living cell that gives it the ability to recognize the presence of other living cells in its external environment. The anatomical organ known as brain does not play any role in these spiritual biotic interactions inside the human gastrointestinal tract. Each time we eat a meal, consume any food or drink, the act of eating represents ‘Thanksgiving’. Man has no choice and has no control over the beneficial effects of his eating and in expressing his thanks to the microbial flora of the gut with whom he had established a mutually beneficial spiritual relationship. Whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not, man lives by providing a Thanksgiving meal during all the days of his existence. Each meal functions as a serving of ‘Gratitude’. While human existence is dependent upon Lord God Creator’s Power/Force/Energy known as Mercy, Compassion, Grace, and ‘KRUPA’, man may or may not publicly express his thanks in acknowledgment of that Compassion. However, man has no escape from the act of giving thanks. I am happy to share this article titled ‘A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day’, published in The New York Times that speaks of the benefits or dividends associated with acts of expression of Gratitude.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/science/a-serving-of-gratitude-brings-healthy-dividends.html?r=1

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S.  Class  of  April,  1970.

Related articles

SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALISM – BIOTIC INTERACTIONS AND CONSCIOUSNESS


Paire de base
Image via Wikipedia

The objective of this presentation is to define ‘Spiritualism’ as an internal, mutually beneficial partnership, relationship, association, or bonding between individual living cells of the same organism, or between two different organisms. Spiritualism has to be explained in the context of biotic interactions and consciousness determines the nature and characteristics of such biotic interactions.

Dr. Heinrich Anton de Bary( 1831 - 1888 ), German Physician, Botanist, Founder of Modern Mycology, Microbiologist, Founder of Plant Pathology had coined the term 'Symbiosis'.

 Dr. Heinrich Anton de Bary had coined the term ‘Symbiosis’ in 1879. It describes the living together of unlike organisms; the intimate association of two dissimilar organisms from which each organism benefits. Symbiosis ( sym – together; bios – life ) refers to various kinds of close and permanent associations between members of different species and the term could also be used to describe the nature of social relations between different human beings.

CARIBOU LICHEN - In 1866, Dr. Bary was the first to show that Lichens consist of a fungus and an alga in intimate association for mutual benefit.

 WHAT IS A BIOTIC COMMUNITY?  :

A biotic community is a biological or natural community consisting of two or more interacting and interdependent populations of living cells or living organisms. No species, and no individual member lives in isolation from other species or other living members in a biological community. The life of the community and of all its members, and of all organisms in it requires energy.

 NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, ENTIRE OF ITSELF :

John Donne( 1572 - 1631 ), Jacobean metaphysical poet, author of Devotion Upon Emergent Occasions( 1624 ).

 Ernest Hemingway’s novel “For Whom The Bell Tolls” gives this modern version of the quote from John Donne’s Meditation XVII, “Devotion Upon Emergent Occasions” : “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent a part of the main.” In this blog post I would like to examine the biological basis for human existence and understand the nature of man and the status of man as an organism existing at a given place, and given environment because of mutually beneficial biotic interactions.

WHAT ARE BIOTIC INTERACTIONS?  :

Science and Spiritualism - Spiritualism represents a biotic interaction like Mutualism

 Living organisms interact with each other competitively and sometimes beneficially. Some of these interactions are temporary, casual and of minor importance whereas others are permanent, vital and of major significance. Many interactions are highly specialized and complicated involving adaptive changes in structure, function, behavior, and ecology. Some interactions create negative effects on the interactants, reducing survival or reproductive success; other interactions produce effects increasing survival or reproductive success. In some cases, members of an interaction are apparently unaffected. Biotic interactions could be divided into two categories; a. Intraspecific Interactions; interactions between the individual living cells that comprise the same multicellular orgainsm, or interactions between members of the same species, and b. Interspecific Interactions; interactions between members of two or more different species. The biotic interactions may involve nutritional benefits, support of other metabolic functions, space in which to live, shelter, or protection, transport, or reproductive capability. Biotic interactions are significant not only because they influence individual species but also because they constitute the principal stabilizing, connective linkages among the various species contained in a biotic community. Individual members of any given species in a biological community persist in relative harmony because of biotic interactions despite individual gains and losses. As a consequence of this web of interactions, the biotic community as a whole persists with all of its members ultimately contributing to its continuation. The consequences of biotic interactions could be positive, negative, or neutral. Mutualism is an association of two different species that result in mutual benefit or gain. Facultative Mutualism or Protocooperation involves facultative interactions between plants and animals in ways that are general and indirect but beneficial to both species. The interactions that occur between soil bacteria and fungi and between them and higher plants growing in the soil are Protocooperative. In the zone of plant roots, soil bacteria and fungi interact with each other, some producing nutrients or metabolites required by others and all obtaining nutrients ultimately from root exudates and decaying organic matter. Plants benefit from the actions of this microflora by acquiring needed minerals, and nitrogen compounds. The important association of nitrifying bacteria in the process called Nitrogen Fixation, the extraction of Nitrogen from the environment by the roots of leguminous plants is well-known. Collectively all microflora and higher plants, with associated soil fauna, participate in determining soil composition, soil structure, and soil fertility. Man exists in nature as a terrestrial organism because of these biotic interactions that transform the characteristics of soil and its ability to support life. Biotic communities that are based on Obligative Mutualism are characterized by stable, persistent, and interdependent associations between species. Coexistence in a given habitat is always required as this association is mandatory for the survival of each participant. This kind of association is perpetrated from one generation to the next. To guarantee the coexistence of the partners, the species involved show relationships based upon structure, behavior, and life history. In lichens, the fungal member penetrates algal cells with feeding tubes or haustoria, thus effecting an intimate physical interconnection. This nutrient exchange helps the algal cells to develop resistance to drying or to extreme temperatures. Commensalism is an association in which one member benefits while the other remains unaffected. Physical Commensalism involves the need for living space and the examples are provided by woody plants that physically support numerous orchids and ferns. Nutritional Commensalism is well illustrated by the many organisms found in the alimentary tracts of man and other higher animals. Such microbial gut flora use host waste products for food and acquire water and a suitable climate in which to live. No harm is done to the hosts. In Parasitism, the smaller organism benefits at the expense of the larger organism. Both plants and animals are attacked by parasites. Many parasites cause disease and death of the host organism. Parasitism constitutes a considerable burden on a host population. Many disease causing organisms are parasites carried from host to host by some other organism; for example Malaria is caused by a protozoan parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. In such situations, the biotic interactions involve three necessarily coexisting species: the pathogen, the carrier or vector species, and the host. An intermediate host interposed between the target host and parasite adds ecological complications to host-parasite interactions: the parasite, host, and intermediate host must all be present in the same community in suitable numbers at the same time. Consumption describes organisms eating organims. It is the most important class of biotic interactions. Herbivory describes animals eating plants. Predation refers to a large or strong animal that consumes a small or weak animal. Scavengers eat or consume dead or decaying organisms and organic material. Consumption is the basic food association( trophic link ) through which the composition dynamics and variation of biological community’s structure takes place. All organisms form links in the community food chains and food webs, the nutritional pathways characteristic of given biological community. Amensalism is an association between organisms of two different species in which one is inhibited or destroyed and the other is unaffected. There are two basic modes of Amensalism; 1. Competition occurs when two species utilize a common, limited resource such as food, space, and water, and in doing so, one species interferes with, injures, or deprives the other species. Competition may involve a larger or stronger organism that excludes a smaller or weaker one from living space or deprives it of food; Intraspecific Competition occurs when competitors are of the same species. Competitive interactions may lead to Competitive Exclusion or Competitive Displacement, and 2. Antibiosis, in which one organism is unaffected but the other is damaged or killed by a chemical secretion. The classic example of Antibiosis is the discovery of Penicillin antibiotic by Dr. Alexander Fleming who had observed that the bread mold Penicillium notatum had effects upon the growth of colonies of bacteria. Mutual Antagonism occurs when a biotic interaction between two species results in harm or death to both.

INTERACTIONS WITHIN A SPECIES : THE ROLE OF NEGATIVE INTERACTIONS :

Intraspecific Competition provides the ultimate force limiting the abundance of a species in a community. Natural enemies could be present or absent but others of the same species are always present providing the Competition that insures against over exploitation of available resources and the irreversible destruction of a community due to overpopulation. Fighting and territorial defense are some of the overt methods by which Competition manifests itself. Territoriality, the dividng up of resources, mostly space, is a common means of defense against overcrowding. Instead of involving individuals against individuals, it involves groups of individuals. It also produces the response of migration of individuals and mass flight of large groups of individuals. Competitive Intraspecific Interactions between humans and Mutual Antagonism among human social groups may endanger human existence.

THE ROLE OF POSITIVE INTRASPECIFIC INTERACTIONS :

Man’s life journey begins as an Embryo which gets implanted into the maternal tissues by about 6 days after its conception. Thus, mother is the source of Food and Energy to establish human life. Man has no existence in the absence of this positive Intraspecific Interaction between Embryo and Mother.

Man’s life journey begins with conception and implantation of the embryo into maternal tissues about six days after conception. The prolonged period of gestation, the anatomical connection between developing fetus and mother, the psychological bonding and the extended period of dependence of newborn and the role of parental care reveal the importance of Positive Intraspecific Interactions for human existence. Numerous interactions among individuals of the same species lead to the development of social groups. Parental Care and protection provides the basis for many aggregations of like individuals, and social units like families.

Tropical Orchids provide an example of Physical CommensalismA medical historian described the proboscis of the female Anopheline Mosquito:"Down this tiny tube crept microscopic poison which swept away two of the mightiest empires( of Greece and Rome ) the world has ever seen." Half the morbidity of the human race until very recently was due to Malaria transmitted by bites of female Anopheles Mosquito.
A tapeworm is a ribbon like parasitic flatworm that belongs to the Class Cestoda. The Pork Tapeworm or Taenia solium grows upto 33 feet long and lives in human small intestine which is about 20 feet long. I had dissected a human cadaver in which I found the Pork Tapeworm tightly coiled in the entire extent of the small intestine contributing to the death of my human anatomy specimen.
 
A medical historian described the proboscis of the female Anopheline Mosquito:"Down this tiny tube crept microscopic poison which swept away two of the mightiest empires( of Greece and Rome ) the world has ever seen." Half the morbidity of the human race until very recently due to Malaria transmitted by bites of female Anopheles Mosquito.

MAN’S BIOLOGICAL EXISTENCE AS THE HOST OF A BIOTIC COMMUNITY :

Escherichia Coli – Example of microbial flora of human gastrointestinal tract. Man exists as a natural host to a biotic community of trillions of microorganisms.

Man exists in nature as a natural host to a biotic community of trillions of microorganisms. At birth, the stomach and gastrointestinal tract are usually sterile. With the first intake of food and contact with other humans present in the environment, bacteria commence the colonization of infant’s digestive tract. These microorganisms perform functions beneficial to the host. The microbes are provided with a protected place to live and their environment is rich in nutrients. This mutual beneficial, symbiotic relationship is always present during the entire course of life after birth. The human body consists of about 100 trillion cells and it carries about ten times as many microbes in the intestines. The microbial flora include enteric bacteria, bacteroides, enterococci, lactobacilli, and clostridia. The small intestine contains low numbers of bacteria, about 100,000 to 10 million bacteria per milliliter of fluid. In the large intestine, the bacterial members can reach 100 billion per milliliter of fluid. It is estimated that these gut flora have around 100 times as many genes in aggregate as there are in the human genome. The metabolic activities performed by these bacteria resemble those of an internal organ of human body. The microbes are important to the health of humans. These bacteria are useful for efficient processing of food, absorption of water, absorption of nutrients like Magnesium, Calcium, and Iron. They perform a variety of useful functions such as synthesis of essential vitamins like Biotin, Vitamin K and production of short-chain fatty acids. The gut flora may produce hormones to direct the host to store fat. They train the host immune system to respond only to pathogens and thereby prevent the growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria. They stimulate increased growth of human gut cells and also stimulate the growth of indigenous bacteria. Gut flora have enzymes that human cells lack for breaking down complex sugars called polysaccharides. The gut flora help in the digestion of unutilized energy substrates and may contribute upto 60 percent of the weight of the feces for human excretory function. Microbial flora of the gut can influence the phenomenon known as “Oral Tolerance” which may reduce an overreactive immune response like those found in allergies and auto-immune disease. Gut flora play a major role in metabolizing dietary carcinogens and hence have a role in prevention of cancer. Human existence demands the play of these biotic interactions for its own benefit and for the benefit of the biotic community as its natural host.

SPIRITUALISM – THE NATURE OF SPIRITUAL INTERACTIONS :

 
Sweetness is the name of this Biotic Interaction. This Interaction has the characteristics of Spiritualism or Spiritual Interaction.

The term ‘spiritual’ describes the nature of a relationship, partnership, an association, or bonding between two living entities based upon the characteristics such as compassion, sympathy, cooperation, mutual assistance, tolerance, voluntary subservience, devotion, and functional subordination to provide some benefit to the members participating in the biotic interaction at a given place and in a given environment. Depending upon the size, complexity, and structure and functions of the Whole Organism, Spiritual Biotic Interactions and Spiritual Relationships are also based upon thoughts and feelings of sympathy and compassion that are attributes of mental functions and emotional makeup of the partners interacting. The Spiritual nature of biotic interactions is a reflection of the Spiritual nature of the Creator of the living entities who has provided the different modes of interactions using inspiration and imagination. Hence, Spiritualism as a biotic interaction describes an internal, mutually beneficial partnership between individual cells of the human organism and the Whole Organism that represents it as a Human Individual. 

THE STATUS OF MAN IN NATURE :

The First Book of Moses, The Old Testament Book of Genesis describes the story of Creation; in Chapter 2, verse 7, it narrates man’s creation: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

The Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 27:"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."

MAN IS A CREATED BEING  :

Man is a created being as he always exists as one of its own kind of unique, original, and distinctive object. Man always arrives from a previously existing egg cell and yet his genome has not existed before, and would not exist again. Man exists as an object that is created using the powers of inspiration and imagination that keeps man as an Individual with Individuality.  

MAN IS A SPIRITUAL BEING :

The status of man in nature describes man as a created object; a new object, one of its own kind, distinctive, and unique. The principle of Creation
involves the use of inspiration and imagination as opposed to the view proposed by the Theory of Evolution. The fundamental issue is about understanding man’s status in nature. Did man come into existence by gradual changes caused by random and unguided events called genetic mutations? Or, does man actually exist in nature because of his relationship with other objects present in his living environment? What defines man’s existence? What establishes the reality of man’s physical existence? Should we focus on the changing form? Alternately, should we give attention to an unchanging relationship that is a prerequisite for the existence of all life forms? If an object cannot come into its state of existence, how could that object get a shape or form? In the context of a discussion about man’s existence in nature, I state that  man is a created object, and hence man
exists as a Spiritual being. The term Spirituality describes the nature of this connection between man and His Creator. Soul is the immortal part of man as distinguished from his body; it is the vital principle which moves and animates all Life. Soul may represent the essence of a human being, it could be the quality which confers individuality, humanity, and the moral nature of man. I divide man into two categories; the first category is called the ‘SELF’ which represents man as a physical, mental, and social being; and the second category is called the ‘KNOWING-SELF’ which represents man as a moral, and spiritual being. These two categories function together and the functional unity of the human person is an attribute of a neuro-biological function called Consciousness. Man’s physical being is represented by a changing external or morphological appearance and while the physical Identity is constantly changing, the unchanging Individuality is supported by man’s spirituality or the nature of his constant spiritual relationship.  

THE ETERNAL REALITY OF SOUL’S IMMORTALITY  :

 

Ajanta Caves near Aurangabad, Maharashtra State, India, Fresco-type wall painting- Man’s spiritual dimension describes man’s humanity, moral nature, individuality, and Consciousness.

Religious thinkers have further defined Soul as that part of the individual which partakes of divinity. People of all races, cultures and religions would like to investigate the nature of this God-Connection as they perceive the world and the universe in which they exist as a fact of Creation. I need to find evidence that would fundamentally deny the fact of Creation.

 MAN IS A SOCIAL BEING  :

 

French philosopher Auguste Comte(1798-1857) coined the term Sociology. He believed that the scientific study of social organization would make possible a reconstitution of the social order based on principles of moral progress.

Apart from being a created Physical being, man is recognized as a Social being as he displays social instincts and social behaviors in all of his activities. A rudimentary understanding of Sociology or Theories of Social Science would clarify this matter. Social instincts and Social Behaviors are seen in all animals including bacteria. At a cellular level, the social function is called ‘Association’. Man is an association of trillions of cells. Each human organ and organ system represents an association of cells that display functional subordination to perform selective tasks. Life is just impossible without social structure and organization.

MAN IS A MORAL BEING  : 

 

Man is a Spiritual being and is endowed with Moral nature. James Tissot in his painting captures the essence of man. The Book of Matthew, Chapter 27 verses 3-5 narrate the story of Apostle Judas Iscariot and his moral failing that caused the dissolution of his biological existence-"When Judas who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. "I have sinned," he said,"for I have betrayed innocent blood." So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself."

Man is an individual who exists in a social group. At the same time, man is a Moral being, as he displays moral behavior even when he is corrupt. Man displays the ability of Repentance for his thoughts, for his actions of commission and omission. Man has the ability to admit his sins, express remorse and may often punish himself for his sinful conduct. Man experiences grief for his actions that are sinful. Man actively searches for solutions for his sinful conduct. Man cannot sustain his biological existence if he had morally failed. A famous example would be that of Apostle Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus.

 MATTER, ENERGY, AND KNOWLEDGE  :
Greek philosopher  Aristotle had observed that corporeal substances are composite of two principles, form and matter. What is called matter is potentiality, what is called form is actuality. The totality of things have been divided in various ways. The three fundamental distinctions are 1. the distinction between the natural and the supernatural, 2. the distinction between the material and the spiritual, and 3. the distinction between the lifeless and the living. When we make the distinction animate/inanimate, living/non-living, and inorganic/organic, a question arises about the nature of that distinction. The difference, is that one of kind or degree? The Mechanistic View claims the continuity of nature in terms of the universality of purely mechanical principles. I have defined Life as ‘Knowledge in Action’. Please view the blog post at http://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/what-is-life-life-is-knowledge-in-action/
I define Life as organization of matter with implanted supernatural Knowledge. The establishment of supernatural Knowledge in matter decribes the operation of ‘God Principle’, Spirit, or Soul. Life comes into existence when matter and energy come together with the establishment of ‘God Connection’.
  
LIFE AND CONSCIOUSNESS  :                    

 

Amoeba proteus, unicellular, protozoan organism is conscious or aware of its own state of existence. It has the abilities of Motion, Nutrition, and Reproduction. All of its living functions are goal-oriented. It responds to its environment and survives adverse environmental conditions by a process called encystment.

The basic characteristic of a Living Cell or organism is the presence of consciousness. I recognize a cell as a Living Cell if it displays functions that characterize the presence of awareness or consciousness. The Living Cell or Living Object need not be aware or conscious of the Subject who may be investigating or observing the properties of that Object. The Living Object need to be aware of its own existence and its condition called Living. Atoms and molecules display their properties and interact according to the Laws of Physics and Chemistry. Living organic molecules show individualistic behaviors under experimental conditions that could be repeated and be verified. The Living Cell is very selective and it responds in a variable manner to physical and chemical stimuli. It can communicate or send signals to other Living Cells present in its environment. It responds according to its internal condition in relation to the environment in which it exists. The interactions of non-living physical matter are not goal-oriented. The interactions of Living matter are goal-oriented and they specifically achieve the purpose of sustaining, preserving, defending, and continuing the Living functions.

MAN IS A MORTAL, PHYSICAL BEING  :

Man is a mortal being who must eventually die. When Lazarus died and was laid in a tomb for four days, Jesus performed a miracle and Lazarus came back to life from death. The Book of John, Chapter 11, narrates this event. In verses 41 and 42, Jesus said,"Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people who are standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me." The risen Lazarus had eventually died.

LIFE AND DEATH IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS :

 

When does Life begins? When does Life ends? Life always comes into a state of existence from a previously existing Living Cell. Life and Death is a continuous process and is recognized by the presence of Consciousness and Individuality.

When does Life begins? When does Life ends? Every Living Cell is derived from a previously existing Living Cell. Life has not experienced the final event called DEATH. Life continues its act of Living through a function called Reproduction. A given species is considered to be totally extinct only if there is no surviving member to represent that particular species. Death is a programmed event and it gives meaning to the Identity of a Living Object. The dissolution of a single Living Object should not obscure the fact that Life is a continuous process. Life continues as Living Objects get new Identities. It is very reasonable to expect that Life would continue after the death of a given Living Object. People all over the world are a witness to that simple and direct observation. During the Life-Death continuum, the connection between the Creator and the created Living Object is manifested by the biological function called awareness or consciousness. The presence of Soul is evidenced by the presence of consciousness. As long as the Soul is functioning and is united with the physical being, the presence of consciousness could be detected and could be verified.

THE SOUL AND GOD CONNECTION : 

 

All types of Living Cells with or without nucleus represent thermodynamically unstable systems. Without a continuous input of energy a Living Cell will degrade spontaneously into a nonliving collection of molecules. Biological existence is possible because of an association or connection, or partnership between energy seeker and energy provider.

 There has been no clearly defined and universally accepted metaphysical conception of the term Soul. It is a term rarely used with precise definition in philosophy, religion, or common life. In this discussion we face the problem of using words to which no definitive meaning is attached. If I make an attempt to define the word ‘God’, you may even speculate that I may belong to a new religious order. We need to come to a consensus even if an entity called ‘God’ does not exist. We need to formulate a view, a hypothetical view about Soul and test that hypothesis by countering it with a skeptical hypothesis. The Science called Physics deals with the properties, changes, interactions, etc. of matter and energy in which energy is considered to be continuous. In the ultimate analysis, matter is a representation of its energy content. The Science called Biology deals with Life and Life processes. While Life is made up of physical matter, Life processes are not explained by simple mechanistic interactions. However, I am willing to use the principles, the methods, and the tools used by Physics. Molecular Biology explains biological events by studying the molecules within cells; the molecular basis of genetics – Nucleic Acids and its relationship to energy cycling and replication. If this universe is seen as matter and energy, I would define God as the Controller of Force/Power/Energy. All living things are essentially made up of the same kind of living matter and yet they appear to be different. Life could be attributed to ONE common principle which has the ability to be simultaneously different. Each living object comes into a state of existence as a new object, as an original object, one of its own kind, unique, and distinctive. This morphological variation is an attribute of the organic molecules that establish the phenotype or the physical identity of that living organism. Physics provides those powerful tools to see the molecules and to recognize their individualistic behavior. Life comes into existence using a creative principle, and creative mechanisms that need inspiration, and imagination apart from the use of simple mechanistic laws. If Life is governed by the Law of Individuality, I would define God as a Creative Force/Power/Energy.

 

Life is a condition that describes Synchronized Existence, the synchronization of activities, the connection between energy dependent life functions and its Source of Power.

A majority of these life forms that we know and have studied, have synchronized their state of existence with an event that produces alternating periods of light and darkness while that source of light is not being turned ‘on’ and ‘off’. Rather we are forced to experience the effects of an illusion. Sunrise and Sunset is the reality that governs a majority of Biological Rhythms that control the life processes. Illusion is the necessary condition for the biological existence of Life. If Earth’s rotational spin generates this illusion, God uses Force/Power/Energy to cause illusion. In the universe that exists today, to the extent we have verified; there are no two identical celestial objects that exhibit the same rotational spin. In this context, it may be said that the Force/Power/Energy called God has created Earth to provide a home to the life forms that He has created as Individuals. These life forms have the ability called reproduction and yet lack the ability of producing two identical new objects. Sexual or Asexual reproduction always results in the production of new Individuals which could be easily verified by using the Biometric Identification Technology. Even the clones, sharing identical genomes, in reality exist as individuals. This Individuality when investigated by the tools supplied by Physics, it is discovered that the organic molecules behave as Individuals and man is not able to modify that behavior. Under the same experimental conditions, the molecules behave as individuals. When we examine the nature of this biological existence, it indicates that life processes are supported by the provision of energy from an external source. The Living Cell is a thermodynamically unstable system. This means that without a continuous input of energy a Living Cell will degrade spontaneously into a nonliving collection of molecules. This lack of energy independence would direct us to define God as the Power/Force/Energy which delivers Compassion/Mercy/Grace which helps energy acquisition by energy dependent living organisms. Life forms on planet Earth exist depending upon an extraterrestrial source of energy or Cosmic Power/Force/Energy. Life exists because of its ability called ‘Association’. The act of associating, the state of being associated; the companionship, the fellowship, and the partnership is the defining feature of the State or Condition, or Act of Living. Association or patnership between energy seeker and energy provider could be described as God-Connection. Organisms that are single do not live as single cells but develop association with other single cells to form distinct Colonies. Organisms that are multicellular represent an organization of individual cells that are associated having common interests, purposes, sensations, etc., Since association has a purpose, in the context of biological existence, the association or connection, or partnership between the energy seeker, and the energy provider is a meaningful event and not a simple, mechanical, physical event governed by the Laws of Interactions between Matter and Energy. There are Four Fundamental Interactions and they do not regulate or define this Interaction between Living matter and the Cosmic Force/Power/Energy. Living matter uses and exploits energy in a creative manner to build organic molecules and to break down organic molecules. The life processes are very similar and yet the results are totally different. While using energy mostly following a similar metabolic pathway, each organism supports its identity and individuality.

 

WHO HAS ESTABLISHED THE CONNECTION BETWEEN AUTOTROPHS AND HETEROTROPHS? The creative mechanism to trap Solar Energy describes implanted Knowledge to formulate the connection between autotrophs and heterotrophs.

 

In mitochondria, many substances(food) are oxidized and ATP, the energy-storing chemical of the Cell is produced. The most important equations for living things are mutually inverse. Respiration of humans, and Cellular Respiration represents the reverse of Photosynthesis.

SOUL AND DEATH  :

The idea of ‘Soul’ always comes in the context of Death. If man is immortal, we will not be spending our time and energy discussing to verify the existence of an immortal principle. The human subject has a limited life span and it arouses a sense of curiosity about the existence of something that could defy Death. I am trying to define the word ‘Soul’ in a manner to promote an understanding that ‘Soul’ is immortal if we look at man as an Association of individual living cells. We need to establish the Identity of that Individual for whose purpose or interest this Association of Individual living cells exists. If we think of Death as a final event, it is not supported by factual evidence. In this Association, death is a daily event. We simply fail to acknowledge this daily event as there is an immortal principle that is escaping this death experience. The Individual thinks that he is alive and sustains his Individuality without getting overwhelmed by the dying process that is continuous. While the human organism is changing its external appearance and identity all the time, the Individuality survives if ‘Soul’ the vital, or operating immortal principle is functioning. The issue or question about ‘transmigration’ of Soul would not arise if every living organism exists strictly as an Individual with an Individuality. As stated before,man has no choice and he must always exist as an Individual even when we use Reproductive Genetic Engineering Technology to produce identical clones with the same genome. The dissolution of matter may not change the Law of Conservation of Energy. If Soul is defined as the God Connection that gives the ability of energy acquisition, the Soul when removed from a physical object to which it has given Individuality, would operate as per the commands of the Controller of Force/Power/Energy. It provides the possibility of carrying the impressions of a previous state of existence into a new state of existence with a new identity and Individuality. During the life span of a given Individual, an association of cells in which death is a daily event, Soul is a continuous principle as its purpose and interest is to maintain Individuality of that Individual.

SOUL AND THE LIVING CELL :

I define man as a physical, mental, social, moral, and spiritual being as I define the term ‘health’ as the physical, mental, social, moral, and spiritual well-being of the man in his environment and community and not merely as absence of disease. This definition of ‘health’ would help me to provide ‘comprehensive health care’ in my role as a Primary Care physician. Specialists and Super specialists provide health care in specific areas involving an organ or an organ system.

 

Jean Paul Sartre had stated that Nothingness(Non-thing or Neant) is a condition of not having Being and yet it is supported by Being. Nothingness comes into the world by the Being-for-itself. The Conscious Knowing-Self or the Essence of man is preceded by the Subjective Reality of physical Existence.

I attach my ideas to some ideas expressed by others. Sartre is a well-known person. He had won the Nobel Prize for literature but declined to accept it. I may not totally agree with him and his views about consciousness. He had stated his view in a manner that people can easily understand. He makes a distinction between objective things and human consciousness. He claims that consciousness is a ‘non-thing'(‘neant’ or nothingness ) and its reality consists in standing back from things and taking a point of view on them. Because consciousness is a non-thing, it does not have any of the causal involvements that things have with other things. If you stand before a mirror, the reflection exists only if it is supported by the presence of a physical being or thing. If the physical thing is taken away, the reflected image is gone but the reflective surface retains its ability to reflect the images of things.

 THE BIOLOGICAL MEMBRANE AND CONSCIOUSNESS  :

 

The Biological Membrane is not a simple physical barrier separating the Living Cell from its environment. The Protoplasm or Cytoplasm, the Living Matter uses its Biological Membrane with a sense of awareness or consciousness which recognizes the fact of its existence and the fact of something present in its environment.

 In a Living Cell, consciousness reflects its external environment and its internal condition or internal environment. The Living Cell knows, it is aware of its state, fact, and act of its Living. The Living Cell makes contact with its environment by using a cell membrane, a biological membrane, or a bio-membrane. If you carefully look at some of the functions of this membrane, you would discern that the Living Cell has consciousness or awareness of these functions. The Biological Membrane behaves in a conscious manner and it is not a simple, physical barrier between the Protoplasm, the Living Substance and its environment. If the term ‘soul’ describes a vital principle, or a source of Knowledge, it provides the information with which these functions could be performed. Some molecules and ions can freely move across this Bio-membrane and some are actively pumped in or out of the Cell that involves expenditure of energy. The Living Cell has the ability to recognize the condition of its nucleus, if the DNA is damaged, the Cell can initiate a process and cause its own dissolution.

 

Red Blood Cells display functional subordination to serve the purpose of the Whole Organism. Functional differentiation, and Functional Unity are important to support the existence of the Subject or Individual who is in reality an association of trillions of cells.

In multicellular organism, the consciousness works both at the level of each individual cell and to establish the functioning of the organism as an individual unit. Without functional unity, the organism cannot maintain its biological existence. Cell differentiation is the process by which the individual cells use adaptation to perform specific tasks. Red Blood Cells perform specific tasks.

 THE NEURO-BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF CONSCIOUSNESS  :

 

Reticular Formation of Brain Stem has connections with almost all other parts of the Central Nervous System and it helps to coordinate and integrate actions of different parts of the CNS. It is important for Behavioral Arousal, and the Capacity for Consciousness.

In the human Brain Stem, several neurons, and nuclei which are in an area called Reticular Formation are functionally adapted to compose the contents of human consciousness. The Reticular Formation gives the Capacity for Consciousness. The contents of this consciousness are read in the cortical areas of the cerebral hemispheres and described as Cortical awareness. Most philosophers, most of the psychologists, and several of the religious thinkers pay attention to this Cortical awareness and describe that as human consciousness. We tend to ignore the fact that there would be no Cortical awareness unless there is a Capacity for Consciousness. Most recently, the surgeons had removed the complete left cerebral hemisphere from a child to stop convulsive seizures. The child is alive, fully conscious, and hopefully would continue to live in future with some neurological deficits. Just like the human heart which has four different muscular chambers and each has a function of its own; we need to understand consciousness by knowing its components. We need to use separate terms to distinguish these different components. There would be confusion if a term is used without attaching a specific meaning. Cortical awareness is important and is very interesting and yet man can exist and survive with minimal cortical awareness. We have seen children with severe degrees of mental retardation, and they can keep their biological existence if they retain the ability to Compose Consciousness. I want to designate the upper Brain Stem as the Seat of Consciousness and the word consciousness itself must describe the functions of the Brain Stem which are most important for man’s biological existence. A man is clinically dead in the absence of these Brain Stem functions involved in the Capacity of Consciousness. In Clinical Medicine, the term conscious is often used to measure the degree of Arousal or Cortical awareness and hence this subject matter would remain confusing for a long time. If a subject is unconscious, I would not issue a ‘death certificate’. In Clinical Medicine, the term used is ‘Brain Death’ and when Brain Death is diagnosed, the human person for all practical purposes is dead. I would suggest that we must use the term ‘Unconscious’ specifically to indicate the Brain Death which is diagnosed by testing the Brain Stem Reflexes. If the human person is viewed as a single physical thing or object, the integration of functions is achieved at the Brain Stem( Reticular Formation), and he maintains his individuality throughout his physical existence only when this part of the brain is functioning. If you like the term individual soul or Jeeva Atma, its existence is a reflection of this function. To see a reflection, we need two things; the physical object and a reflective surface. The quality of reflecting objects may depend upon presence of Knowledge. It is not known if this particular kind of knowledge exists as organic molecules; however, it is very well understood that most of the knowledge to perform a variety of biological functions is contained in organic molecules and the most well-known group of these organic molecules are known as DNA. There are Viruses which can function with RNA. Hence, there is still a possibility of finding organic molecules that could be associated with the functional ability called consciousness, awareness, cognition, recognition, responsiveness, perception, memory, intelligence, and association. The most important aspect of ‘association’ is ‘God Connection’ and without this function of ‘association’ man cannot keep his biological existence.

 

Consciousness is awareness of existence, the facts that relate to the state or condition of existence. Behavioral Arousal and Cortical awareness of thoughts, feelings, and sensations is an important component of total Biological Existence.

IDENTITY AND INDIVIDUALITY :

 

The Eternal Reality of Soul's Immortality is described in The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, verse 12. Lord Krishna spoke to the Pandava Prince Arjuna :"Na tv evaham jatu nasam na tvam neme JanadhipaH;Na chaiva na bhavisyamaH, sarve vayam ataH param." For each of us our Individuality existed in the past and our Individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Certainly, never at any time did I not exist, nor you, nor all these Kings and certainly never shall we cease to exist in the future.

The issue of spirituality, the nature of Soul and consciousness must be explored in the context of arriving at an understanding of man’s Identity and Individuality. If man is viewed as an association of trillions of cells, we need to know the Identity of that Subject who lives because of the functions of the trillions of cells. The purpose of consciousness at cellular level is to foster functional unity of the multicellular organism and to establish it as an Individual. In a multicellular organism, cells have short lives as individuals. The Subject or the whole organism has a life span of its own and it has effects on individual cells. Multicellularity is accompanied by adaptive subordination of all cells to the requirements of the organism as a whole. To achieve proper numerical balance between functionally related cell groups, the death of many cells is necessary for other cells to reach maturity. This programmed cell death plays an important role in embryological development. Such programmed cell death events are essential if the organism as a whole is to develop its normal final form. Waves of genetically driven cell deaths are critical to the proper modeling of organs and organ systems. We need to know and understand that death of cells is a must to establish the Identity and to sustain the Individuality of the human being. The dying process helps man to understand his Individuality. The Individuality is preserved while death is a daily event at the cellular level. The phenotype or the morphological appearance of the human Subject undergoes constant change during the Life journey and yet the Individuality remains unchanged. We recognize the death of this human Subject when his Soul departs from his body. Soul may be stated as an entity which is regarded as being immortal or spiritual part of the person. The Spirit of a dead person generally refers to a principle separate from the body and leading an existence of its own. If Soul is viewed as a Non-thing or Nothingness, it comes into the world of existence by entering the physical being at its conception which becomes conscious or aware of its existence. This consciousness has also existed in a previously existing Living Egg Cell which is the Mother of Life, Energy, and Knowledge. Consciousness by its very nature is immortal, it is eternal, and it has no birth or death. We recognize the arrival and departure of the new product during the Life-Death continuum where the Individuality is unaffected by the changes that are caused by the powerful influence of Time.

 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970

FOOD AND SPIRITUALITY – PREVENTION OF OBESITY


DEFINITION OF OBESITY :
Prevention of obesity requires formulation of Eating Behavior that is consistent with inner cues of Hunger and Satiety. A Balanced Diet may or may not provide the experience called Satiation.

The word ‘obese’ is derived from Latin word “obedere” which means to devour ( ob + edere means about + eat ). Obesity is the result of excessive eating. Obesity is the commonest effect of continued over consumption of calories. This blog post intends to explore preventive principles that could be applied to curb  the behavior that leads to excessive eating. Preventive principles could be different from principles used in the treatment of obesity. Prevention of excessive eating would be of value in the clinical management of obese patients but should not be viewed as a curative regime. Obese patients may need other interventions apart from restriction of dietary intake. In my opinion, the prevention of obesity involves the ability to formulate eating behavior that is consistent with inner cues of hunger and satiety.

THE PROBLEM OF OBESITY :
The measurement of body weight is the simplest and the least direct method of measuring the fat content in the body.

Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder of modern times. Obesity can occur at any stage of life. Obesity in childhood and adolescence has become common and is viewed with a sense of alarm. Obesity is defined as a condition in which there is an excesss deposit of fat in ( and on ) the body with an increase in body weight more than 10 percent above normal for the age, sex, height, and stock or clan. Body weight is a valuable screening measure for obesity. The measurement of body weight is the simplest and the least direct method of measuring the fat content in the body. It must be very carefully noted that we have tools to measure body weight and that we have no tools to measure or estimate the sensations called Hunger and Satiety. Hence, the preventive principles are not evidence-based, and are only reason-based. It will not be practical to provide consistent results while we depend upon criteria such as Hunger and Satiety which are not measurable quantities that are stated using a precise, scientifically accurate method. To deal with the problem of obesity, we have to deal with the issues of Hunger and Satiety to regulate feeding behavior and to control caloric intake. Patterns of eating behavior and physical activity are influenced by social, cultural, and economic factors. Hence, obesity is a complex issue but the complexity should not stop us from preventing the problem of excessive eating. Genetic factors may influence total body fat and its distribution. However, the epidemic of obesity is not caused by the prevalence of a defective gene or genes.

 
BRAIN MECHANISMS AND REGULATION OF FEEDING BEHAVIOR :
 
The brain mechanisms involved in Feeding Motivation include a complex network that involves the Limbic System that controls the Emotional States and the Hypothalamus located at the base of the brain.
Hypothalamus has nerve centers that are sensitive to changes in blood chemistry, water, products of digestion, and temperature. Hunger, Thirst, and Satiety are regulated by Hypothalamus.

The brain mechanisms involved in feeding motivation include a complex network that involves the Limbic System that controls the emotional states and the Hypothalamus located at the base of the brain. Hypothalamus has nerve centers sensitive to changes in blood chemistry, water, products of digestion and temperature. A nerve center called Ventromedial Nucleus is described as the ‘Satiety Center’. It is the clearing house for satiety signals. Lesions in this area cause gross overeating or hyperphagia. The nerve center in the lateral hypothalamic area is described as the ‘Eating Center’ or ‘Hunger Center’. It facilitates feeding responses. Electrical stimulation of this area elicits voracious feeding and lesions in this area cause prolonged noneating or aphagia. Glucose receptors are present in the cells of the above nuclei which monitor the level of the circulating blood glucose in order to produce the appropriate response. Excessive eating can be controlled by direct electrical stimulation of Satiety Center. Internal changes that initiate behavioral changes are commonly termed ‘Drive’ or ‘Motivation’. Hunger is a sensation associated with various physiological changes that stimulate the drive to search for food. Most people are familiar with the sensation described as hunger pangs. The responsiveness of the brain mechanisms for feeding is governed by messages reporting the nutritional state of the body. Responsiveness is higher with increasing lack of food in the body. The contents of these messages are primary determinants of the level of feeding motivation. Hunger and Satiety represent high and low levels of feeding motivation.

PHYSIOLOGICAL MECHANISMS FOR REGULATION OF FOOD AND CALORIC INTAKE :

Life depends upon a virtually uninterrupted supply of materials for its metabolism. For purposes of survival, metabolic expenditure cannot exceed food intake for very long period. In principle, feeding must proceed throughout life at a pace equal to that of metabolism. In many cases, food intake does not closely follow caloric expenditure. It is permissible for food intake to lag when there are reserves in the body. Discrepancies between intake and expenditure leads to distortion of the basic pattern of caloric regulation. The capacity of the digestive system may set a limit on nutrient supply to the body. Such limitations play a role in human feeding behavior. In man, the capacity of food-gathering and of the digestive system exceed the demands of metabolism. Man has the inherent physiological capabilities and anatomical capacity to consume food and calories in excess of his normal metabolic requirements. It should not be a surprise to observe a similar predisposition to obesity among human pet animals like dogs and cats. 

Lack of fuel in the body can be corrected by intake of food that provides energy. Ingested food( calories ) passes from 1. the mouth to 2. the digestive tract to 3. the blood stream, and then to 4. storage sites such as liver and fat tissues. These four regions are continuously monitored using a variety of receptors:

1. Organs for taste, smell, and touch in the mouth region. 2. Distension rceptors or mechanoreceptors in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract that monitor the volume. 3. Chemoreceptors that monitor the nature of contents of the blood stream. 4. Receptors in Hypothalamus and Liver for monitoring of fat tissues.

The signals converge on the brain mechanism for the feeding motivation using nervous and humoral or chemical pathways. The signals have two kinds of effects; 1. if signals from the four regions report increased fuel contents, the feeding motivation is lowered and satiety is raised, and 2. if taste, visual, and smell receptors are stimulated by palatable food the feeding motivation is increased. The signals for satiation overide the signals for hunger and feeding stimualtion. Food intake stops when feeding motivation drops below a critical level. When food is catabolized, it causes fuel depletion. Gastric emptying and emptying of Colon and Rectum also stimulate hunger sensation causing resumption of feeding. Once feeding isresumed, intake is enhanced by the positive effects of food stimulus. The interplay of positive and negative feedbacks from food intake tends to maintain a balance between caloric intake and energy output so that body fuel content or body weight in fully grown individuals remains constant. Few people adjust their food intake to meet their needs on a daily basis. The excess Glucose that is not utilized by the body is stored in the Liver as Glycogen which is further converted into fat. The excess amount of fat remains stored in the body fat tissues. The control of the amount of energy reserve in the fat tissue and the nature of control system is not fully understood. The physiological stimuli and changes associated with hunger could be stimuli for coordinating the long term regulation of the reserve energy. However, it must be noted that man can accumulate energy reserves and yet experience hunger sensation that is normally generated by a lack of fuel in the body.

OBESITY AND ENERGY BALANCE :

Exercise consumes carbohydrates and most of the fat. Obesity or excess fat accumulation is the consequence of imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Obesity develops if physical activity or energy expenditure becomes very low and the person is not able to reduce food intake or energy intake. In modern times, people are able to obtain their food with little or no physical effort. New sources of power do the work formerly carried out by human muscles. Large number of people spend time without physical activity. People have appetites and are seldom really hungry. A very small excess of calories if habitual, can lead eventually to a large accumulation of fat. It has been reported that if a person eats a slice( 20 g ) of bread that is not needed each day or goes by car instead of walking for 20 minutes, the daily extra 48 KCal or 200 KJ will build up over 10 years to 20 Kg of fat deposited. In simplest terms, obesity is the outcome of consistent consumption of more calories than are required to meet the energy expenditure of that particular person.

THE CAUSES FOR OBESITY :

The causation of obesity is still difficult to explain. There are differences between obese and nonobese individuals in respect of hormone secretion and metabolism. Endocrine changes at puberty, during pregnancy, and at menopause may contribute to obesity at these stages of life. The effects of obesity are better understood than the causes of obesity. In Medicine, obesity is described as a clinical condition with several probable causes. Some of the organic pathological causes of obesity include endocrinal disorders such as hypopituitarism, hypothyroidism and hypogonadism. Hormonal changes associated with menopause, Anterior Pituitary tumor causing Cushing’s Syndrome, Dercum’s disease( Adiposis dolorosa ), and Frohlich’s Syndrome ( Posterior Pituitary Deficiency ) are causes of obesity. In a few obese individuals, psychiatric mood disorders such as depression and anxiety could be present. Depressed or anxious patients or the emotionally deprived may seek solace in food and such emotional factors play a role in the predisposition towards excessive eating. Overeating could be a symptom of boredom or emotional frustration. In mental diseases, bizzare disturbances of appetite, taste , and food preference may be seen. Some well-known examples are Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia. Self-imposed starvation may develop after bereavement or after disappointment in love. It must be understood that the functions of food include that of obtaining a sense of emotional satisfaction apart from satiation of hunger. The most important and the most universal cause of obesity among otherwise normal people is overeating and lack of exercise.

THE PROBLEM OF FOOD CRAVINGS – DESIRE, GRATIFICATION, SATISFACTION, AND CONTENTMENT :

The word desire or craving involves the feelings to wish, covet, or long for something. Similarly, the word appetite describes a desire to satisfy some craving of the body. The term greed describes excessive desire especially for wealth or food. The term lust describes a passionate sexual desire without idealized or spiritualized feelings. The word glutton describes someone who indulges excessively in eating and drinking. All of these different kinds of passionate desires or appetites have a common feature. The behavior that is attributable to greed, lust, and gluttony could be influenced by man’s sense of contentment. The role of contentment could be explained by ubderstanding the following quote from the Books of The Old Testament, The Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 5, verse 18:

“Then I realized that is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him – for this is his lot.”

While it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, the acts of gratification; eating, and drinking may not provide a sense of satisfaction that is complete and that overcomes the craving for food and drink. Contentment is the factor which determines as to the degree of gratification that is needed for producing the effect called satisfaction. Man can choose to set the bar called contentment at a high or a low level and experience the effect called satisfaction while seeking gratification of his desires. To conquer the insatiable enemy called desire, to achieve the result called satisfaction, one must overcome the senses, the mind, and intelligence which are the sitting places of desire. To accomplish the purpose of restraining the senses, the mind, and intelligence, we need to know man as the Whole Organism. I divide man into two categories; 1. The Self that represents man as a physical, mental, and social being, and 2. The Knowing-Self that represents man as the moral, and spiritual being. The Knowing- Self is the Higher-Self and hence it can exercise control and restraint over the Lower-Self which includes the physical body, the sense organs, the mind and intellect, which are the seats of all passionate desires.

In obese people, eating is less often determined by internal cues like hunger and satiety. For many obese people, the craving to eat is very strong and is similar to the craving for alcohol in the alcoholic and for a cigarette in a person addicted to tobacco smoke. The problem of food cravings is a significant factor in the management of obesity. The failure to respond to a dietary plan that restricts food and caloric intake is often caused by the inability to overcome food cravings which leads to non-compliance. The eating or feeding behavior is influenced by man’s sense of contentment. A person who lives in a state of self-contentment experiences a little less hunger and experiences a sense of satiation or satisfaction more easily after a routine meal. Such a person who is self-contented is not prone to food cravings. He may not need a dietary plan and may not need to count the calories he consumes. He is more likely to maintain a steady body weight without the requirement of changing the level of physical activities. Man has the ability to set his expectations at a level and experience contentment with what he has. If there is contentment, the desire for food and drink is easily satisfied. A contented man is more likely to meet the daily requirements of calories for optimal physiological functioning without gaining body weight. The prevention of obesity could be helped by a proper understanding of food, its nature, and its functions. 

WHAT IS FOOD?
Food is a substance eaten for nourishment, for psychological satisfaction, and to support Social Bonding. There is Spiritual Relationship between Food and its Consumer.

Food is a substance eaten for nourishment. Food serves functions other than nutrition. Food plays a vital role in the development, and the maintenance of social interactions, social relationships, and is the fundamental basis for man’s spiritual relationship with a source of energy and its provider which sustains life and existence.

FOOD=ENERGY=LIFE  :

Food describes any substance which a living organism can convert into energy and new tissue using the process of metabolism. The body fluids surrounding each cell are the immediate source of nutrients. The nutrients supplied by food are either used as building blocks in synthesizing large molecules or they are oxidized producing a form of energy that is further used for powering the activities of the cell. To maintain life, an organism not only repairs or replaces( or both ) its structures by a constant supply of the materials of which it is composed but also keeps its life processes in operation by a steady supply of energy. Living systems must be supplied energy for continual synthesis of new organic molecules and to replace or to repair broken organic molecules. Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, Dean of the Harvard Medical School( 1847 to 1882 ) had defined life; “To live is to function; and that is all there is in living.” At cellular level, the living functions include uptake and conversion of nutrients, synthesis of new molecules, production of energy, and regulation and coordination of metabolic sequences.

The Living Cell is a thermodynamically unstable system. This means that without a continuous input of Energy, a Living Cell will degrade spontaneously into a collection of nonliving molecules.

The processes of synthesis and breakdown of the organic molecules of the cell are termed metabolism. Metabolism is divided into two categories; 1. Anabolism- it describes the processes of maintenance and growth, and 2. Catabolism- it describes the processes of energy production. The Living Cell depends on a virtually uninterrupted supply of materials for its metabolism. The Living Cell is a thermodynamically unstable system. This means that without a continuous input of energy, a Cell will degrade spontaneously into a nonliving collection of molecules. Food supplies organic molecules and other substances as nourishment to sustain life. Life is characterized by the presence of complex transformation of organic molecules and by the organization of such molecules into successively larger units of protoplasm, cells, organs, and tissues.

WHAT IS NUTRITION?

Protoplasm or Cytoplasm is the clear, soft, gelatinous living substance found inside all living cells. A most striking characteristic of Protoplasm is its vital property of Nutrition. Nutrition is the power which Protoplasm has of attracting to itself the materials that provide energy and are necessary for its growth and maintenance.

 All the tissues and organs of which the human body is composed, consists of building blocks called Cells. Each Living Cell contains soft, gelatinous, semi-fluid, viscous, clear or translucent, colloidal living substance or matter called Protoplasm or Cytoplasm or Cytosol. A most striking characteristic of protoplasm is its vital property of ‘Nutrition’. Nutrition is described as the ‘power’ which protoplasm has of attracting to itself the materials that provide the energy, and the substances for its growth and maintenance from surrounding matter/environment. Nutrition, as a biological function and activity, is the evidence for the operation of Consciousness at cellular level. The Living Cell is conscious or aware of its own existence in its given environment, it is conscious or aware of its energy dependent state of internal condition, and consciously uses its power of nutrition to attract substances from its immediate environment. The Living Cell displays its living functions while it exists as a conscious entity. The Cell Death is characterized by the absence of the power of nutrition, and in the absence of energy input or food intake, the Cell dies. Consciousness and Food are related to each other. Consciousness gives the power of attracting Food and Food provides the ability to live with Consciousness which is the most important characteristic of life. The human organism exists because of the functions of the trillions of cells. The purpose of consciousness is to foster functional unity of the multicellular organism and establish it as an individual. This conscious individual experiences hunger, and thirst which provide the drive or motivation to initiate his feeding behavior. Each individual cell uses its own power of Nutrition to attract the nutrients from the body fluids that are present in its immediate environment. Certain metabolic disorders and conditions like Diabetes are associated with problems of food intake at cellular level. The man may feed himself, and nutrients like glucose accumulate in the blood stream and fail to provide the nourishment needed by the cells. Similarly, there are several mental diseases that are associated with a variety of eating disorders, and bizarre disturbances of appetite, taste, and food preference.

 HUMAN NUTRITION :

The Protoplasm has the power of Nutrition. The Cell Membrane or the Biological Membrane is not a simple physical barrier separating the Cell from its surrounding environment. The Cell Membrane plays an active role in food intake.

The Biological Membrane or the Plasma Membrane separates the living cell from its environment and from other cells. It helps to maintain a constant ‘milieu’ in which intracellular reactions occur. The Plasma Membrane allows a highly controlled exchange of matter across the barrier it poses; some compounds are able to pass through the Membrane easily, others are completely blocked. Food must provide adequate amounts of all chemical elements needed by the Cells. Of the approximately 35 elements known to occur in cells, four( Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen ) make up about 95 percent of the cell weight. Nine elements( Calcium, Phosphorus, Chlorine, Sulfur, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, Iodine, and iron ) contribute about 4 percent of the cell weight. The remaining 20+ elements together constitute less than 1 percent of cell weight and are called trace elements because they occur in minute quantities. However, many such as Copper, and Zinc fulfil vital functions. Animal cells do not have the ability to synthesize certain complex organic molecules from simple inorganic compounds. Certain large organic molecules that serve as building blocks that must be supplied by food are known as essential dietary components. They include Vitamins, Essential Amino Acids, and Essential Fatty Acids. Man has restricted synthetic powers as compared to the bacteria and hence needs greater number of essential foodstuffs. Man derives energy solely from the breakdown of complex organic molecules, mainly Carbohydrates and Fats. Fuel for the maintenance of life comes from other living organisms or their products. Human life ultimately depends on the existence of green plants that can use inorganic source of energy such as Solar radiation. Terrestrial life depends upon an extraterrestrial source of Energy. All terrestrial organisms live as energy dependent entities and live by establishing a relationship with a source of energy.

FOOD AND ENERGY – THE ‘GOD-CONNECTION’  :

Human life begins as a single cell, the fertilized Ovum. How does it obtain food and energy? Man exists because of a "Connection" with an Energy Provider.
Man's life journey begins as an Embryo which gets implanted into the maternal tissues by about 6 days after its conception. Thus, mother is the source of Food and Energy to establish human life.

Man exists because of a “Connection.” In nature, man exists as an energy seeker or heterotroph. Human existence becomes possible only when man is connected to an energy provider. This biological connection to a source of energy is made possible when biological information is implanted in the single cell which begins its journey to grow and develop into a new organism. If Sun is viewed as a source of energy for all life on this planet, man is not directly connected to that source of energy. Man exists as a multicellular organism and each cell derives its energy from powerhouses called mitochondria; the intracellular membrane bound organelles found in all living cells.

Man exists as energy seeker. Mitochondria are the powerhouses found inside all living cells. They establish the 'Connection' between the energy seeker and the energy provider.

The mitochondria have the necessary biological information to transform oxidative energy into a form of chemical energy that the cell could further use for its living functions. In nature, man obtains food from other organisms. Only the green-celled plants known as autotrophs can directly convert light energy into chemical energy that they can further use.

Green-celled plants are known as autotrophs. They can directly convert light energy into chemical energy that they further use to manufacture plant substances and products. The Chloroplasts act like Solar Panels to capture inorganic light energy. The Chloroplasts act like a relay station in the flow of energy from the Sun to Man who uses the Mitochondria to establish this Connection.

Man is connected to these Chloroplasts of green plant cells that have the ability to trap Sun’s light energy. Sun’s energy is an extraterrestrial source of energy and it is provided to man by the intervention of Chloroplasts and the Mitochondria which man had directly acquired from his mother’s egg cell. These biological mechanisms are put in place and they operate outside the intellectual or physical abilities of man. In my blog post titled, ‘The Divine Mother of Life, Energy, and Knowledge, I have described the mother as the source of life and energy. Kindly read that post using the hyperlink :

http://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/the-divine-mother-of-life-energy-and-knowledge/

FOOD AND SOCIAL BONDING  :

The act of consuming or eating Food establishes Social Bonding between the Food Provider and the Food Consumer. Feeding has a social purpose and it initiates social interactions. There is always a spiritual relationship between Mother and the Baby, a relationship based upon sympathy, understanding, affection, feelings, and Love.

Apart from nutrition, man consumes food for psychological satisfaction or to derive a sense of emotional contentment, and for the benefit of other individuals. A pregnant woman consumes food to provide a direct benefit to the baby growing in her womb. This placental connection between mother and her fetus establishes an anatomical relationship and a social relationship and social bonding between the two both during the duration of pregnancy and after the delivery of the baby. Man’s feeding behavior and feeding activities are influenced by social, and external environmental factors. Both, the timing of feeding, and the choice of food are affected by social facilitation. Food-directed activities in social situations demonstrate the ability of food to establish connection between food provider and the food consumer. Hunger and Satiety operate the physiological mechanisms related to food intake. The psychological, and emotional contentment derived from food is related to Social Bonding and Social Relationships that are fostered by Food. I describe spirituality as a relationship based upon sympathy, understanding, affection, feelings of care and Love. Food has the intrinsic ability to nurture a spiritual relationship between the provider of the food and its consumer. There is also a direct emotional relationship between man and the food he consumes. The causes for excessive or overeating are not yet fully understood. The physiological mechanisms of hunger and thirst cannot fully account for the feeding behavior of man. Just like lust, and greed, man has psychological desire or craving for food and develops an intimate relationship with the food and drink he consumes. However, man can always express his craving for food in a spiritual context and seek the satisfaction provided by knowing the nature of God-Connection.

FOOD AND THE COVENANT OF SALT FOREVER  :

Salt enjoys a special status among all food substances that man consumes. The intimate connection of salt with the idea of a "COVENANT" or binding contract or binding relationship, as a mark of Loyalty and Faithfulness, between man and God and between man and man is recognized in all human cultures.

 Salt is universally used as a seasoning and as a preservative of food. Salt enjoys a special status among all food substances that man consumes. The status of salt as a life-giving and life-sustaining substance is well-founded. The intimate connection of salt with the idea of a “COVENANT” or binding relationship between man and God, and between man and man is recognized in all human cultures. The idea of “a covenant of salt forever” is found in The Fourth Book of Moses, The Old Testament Book of Numbers, Chapter 18, verse 19: “It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring.” Similarly, The Third Book of Moses, The Old Testament Book of Leviticus, Chapter 2, verse 13 reads: “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings, add salt to all your offerings.” The special status enjoyed by salt is reflected in the phrases popularly used in the languages of different people; “Untrue to Salt”( Persian ), “Trespass not against the Salt”( Greek ), “There is Salt between Us”( Arabic ), “Injury or Harm to Salt”( “Namaq or Namak Haraam” – Indian ). Jesus had very effectively communicated the relationship between the status of salt and the nature of man. The nature of man is understood in terms of his behavior, character, and conduct. It is expected of man to display respect, faithfulness, and loyalty in his relationship with other persons where the relationship is established by the covenant of salt. Jesus had directly instructed people to reject any person who has lost the fundamental characteristics of character and integrity and had stated His view by comparing man to salt. By accepting food, by consuming food, and by deriving nourishment and sustenance from food, man has established a binding relationship forever with his food provider.

Food that is seasoned with salt and is given as offering to God, and food that is seasoned with salt and is given to another person establishes a binding contract, a covenant, a binding relationship which has validity of its own. The nature of this social bonding and binding social relationship is reflected in the words used by Jesus while He delivered His Sermon on the Mount: "You are the Salt of the earth. But, if the Salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men."

FOOD AND GOD  :

The Last Supper- The Gospel according to Saint Mark, Chapter 14, verse 22, and the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapter 26, verse 26 and the Gospel according to Saint Luke, Chapter 22, verse 19, depict the scene called the Last Supper. The ritual instituted by Jesus has established the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles was the betrayer and is depicted by the person who is leaving the dinner table with bread in his hand.

Jesus Christ has described Himself as the Spiritual Food of man. In the Gospel according to Saint John, Chapter 6, verse 35, Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” Further, the Book of John, Chapter 6, verse 48 also reveals the purpose of Jesus, “I am the bread of life. I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” Virtually all Christian Churches celebrate the practice of Communion such as Mass, Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper in some form or the other.  The First Epistle of Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 10, verse 31 instructs, “so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Apart from the satisfaction of hunger and thirst, man uses food and drink to derive a psychological satisfaction by establishing a spiritual connection with God who is the ultimate Food Provider.

In all religious traditions and cultures of this world, food is associated with God. Food is used in the ritualistic worship of God, food is offered to God, and food is consumed in the name of God. Most religious festivals involve the use of food in celebration of God’s Mercy, Grace and Compassion. Food is traditionally used as the medium for fomenting a spiritual relationship with God.

FOOD AND GOD IN INDIAN TRADITION  :

"Annam Brahma, RasO Vishnu, Bhoktaa DevO MaheswaraH" - The Divine Trinity-Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva define the Indian tradition about Food and Spirituality. Lord Brahma, the Creator symbolizes solid food called Annam, Lord Vishnu the Protector symbolizes liquid food called Rasa, and Lord Shiva the Destroyer symbolizes the Food Consumer called Bhokta. Food and Drink are described as Bhojan, the person who consumes Food and Drink is described as Bhokta. Both Food and the Food Consumer symbolize the Divine Entity. Both man and food are created by God using the powers of Creativity. The nature of man, and the synthesis of food by plants using the process called Photosynthesis involve the use of creative mechanisms and the implantation of supernatural knowledge.

The Indian tradition  describes Food and Drink as God and man the consumer of Food and Drink is also God. Man must view food as a spiritual substance; spiritual nourishment provided by the LORD God, the Creator and that attitude towards food would provide nutrition, psychological satisfaction, and social bonding which is complete and wholesome. The creation of Earth, and the Status of Man in nature are fundamental attributes of the Divine Being and His Divine Powers. The physical, mental, and social well-being of man is nourished by food that establishes man’s spiritual relationship with food and the food provider.

THE PRINCIPLES OF PREVENTION OF OBESITY :

1. Man has to eat and drink all his life. 2. Man has a predisposition to obesity as his anatomical structure and physiological functions may not prevent excessive consumption of calories even when the body has satisfactory energy reserve. 3. Man derives nutrients, psychological satisfaction, and develops social bonding by using food. 4. Food when used as a spiritual medium, it provides a complete sense of satisfaction and leads to contentment in life. 5. Man has the ability to control his senses, his feelings, and his intellect by acquiring knowledge about food. 6. Man can choose and set limits to his experience of contentment in life. He can set the level of expectation in a manner that the gratification of his desires produces the effect called satiation or satisfaction to defend his physical, mental, social, moral, and spiritual well-being.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S.  Class  of  April,  1970. 

 

JAPANESE NUCLEAR DISASTER ON 11 MARCH 2011


1 – control rods; 2 – reactor cover; 3 – react...
Image via Wikipedia

AN UNFORGETTABLE LESSON IN HUMAN HISTORY :        

I dedicate this blog post to the nuclear engineers of the Tokyo Electric Power Company who are currently serving at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. I sincerely applaud their spirit, dedication, and courage to confront the challenge of averting an imminent nuclear meltdown at this Nuclear Plant where Plutonium is being used as fuel at Reactor #3. I would remember the people of Japan in my prayers as I firmly understand that man is a created being who exists in the physical world depending upon the Power/Force/Energy which bestows Mercy, Compassion, and Grace upon all of us. The natural disaster, a combination of a powerful earthquake and a massive tsunami on March 11, 2011 resulted in loss of life and property and yet there is Hope. As per the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy, matter is indestructible. I pray for renewal, regeneration, and regrowth in Japan. Man has no choice, and has no alternative as the Subjective Reality of his physical existence is conditioned. Man exists in the physical world depending upon energy provided to him by his Creator and this acquisition of energy for biological existence is sustained by God-Connection. Man’s dependence upon Nuclear Energy and the consequences of Radiation exposure and injury should be fully understood.

A very powerful Earthquake and a devastating Tsunami initiated the Japanese Nuclear Disaster on March 11, 2011.

 

 

Nature's Fury- Tsunami hitting Natori, Japan. The Disaster that followed this tsunami is more frightening.

 

 

Man's dependence upon Nuclear Energy is the real issue to be faced by Japan, and the rest of the World.

 

 

Japan's Nuclear Disaster - Explosions and Fire at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

 

The explosions at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant has caused a breach in all the three containment structures and the risk of radiation escaping into the environment has become real and the consequences would be inescapable.

 

We need to earnestly ask ourselves: Is this Safe? Is this Cheap? Is this Green? In human history, the Japanese Nuclear Disaster on March 11, 2011 will be the most unforgettable Moment. Nuclear Power is more frightening than the Earthquake and the Tsunami that initiated this Nuclear Crisis. It also speaks about the effects of human activities on their environment and on the survival of other species.
The Safety of Nuclear Power is exposed by this image. The containment structures have failed and could not prevent the escape of radiation from the Reactor Core.

ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS OR CONSCIOUSNESS  :

 

We understand the term Evacuation, Exclusion, or Danger Zone only in terms of its significance to human beings. We need to always think of the entire Ecological Community and man simply belongs to the greater Ecological Community.

 

The nuclear disaster in Japan will give us a reason to reflect upon the fragile nature of human existence. The Earthquake and the devastating Tsunami are understandable natural calamities and man has no control on geological events and Plate Tectonics. Man has no control over the tidal waves unleashed by the earthquake. However, man has to come to terms with his dependence upon Nuclear Power. This tragedy would also give us a chance to understand the interconnectedness, interrelatedness, and the interdependence of all forms of life. Consciousness is the awareness of something; the awareness of one’s own state of existence and the awareness of the existence of other conscious entities present in the environment. A living organism’s ability to detect the presence of other living organisms in its environment is the characteristic of the biological function known as consciousness. A living cell is conscious as it displays awareness of other living cells present in its environment. The relationship between the organism and all the factors including other organisms that make up its environment is described as Ecology. Consciousness establishes the interconnectedness, the interrelatedness, and the interdependence of a diverse population of living organisms that constitute a continuous ecological chain. This disaster speaks about the effects of human made radiation; the effects on the environment, the effects on other members of human community, and the effects on the Ecological Community in the areas affected by the disaster.

 

MAN AND NATURE – WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP ?   : 

The Science known as Ecology, Bioecology, Bionomics, and Environmental Biology study the relationships between organisms and all factors including other organisms, that make up their environment. I derive Knowledge from Spirituality Science to understand as to how the relationship between man, and other organisms gets established.

Ecology considers organisms at the levels of individuals, populations, and communities. It will be easy to visualize the human toll in terms of sickness, death, and forced displacement of a large population of human beings. The loss, the pain, and the suffering that is endured by each human individual reveals only a part of this disaster of epic proportions. While we humans try to escape from a disaster zone or area, we need to recognize that our evacuation plans during an emergency fail to include the plant, and animal life with which we share our living environment. We need to take into account the land and water that exist in the area affected by a disaster. The problem is not that of simple relocation of human beings. The human costs are further aggravated by the lack of gasoline, the damage done to the roads and the lack of transportation to move a large number of people quickly and efficiently. The lack of food, safe drinking water, the lack of housing is often understood as a problem just affecting the human victims of the disaster. We have to give attention to the impact upon the Ecological Community as a whole. We need to understand the costs of nuclear industry, the risks it poses to life, and environment, and the long-term consequences imposed by nuclear plant shutdowns. Nuclear accidents get very dramatic attention. There is a fundamental problem with Nuclear energy it is not clean, it is not cheap, and it is not safe. It is very frightening when we face the uncertainties this disaster has imposed on us.

 

THE BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF RADIATION  :

The Biological effects of Radiation are well understood. The human risks from exposure to Ionizing Radiation are known. We need to realistically assess the safety levels for the entire Ecological Community.

 

The General Electric Company designed Boiling water reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant had posed safety concerns when they went into operation during 1972. These reactors have about 1000 MW capacity per year and are similar to the Chernobyl 4 Reactor that exploded in 1986. However, in Japan, the reactors have better safety features. This type of Nuclear Crisis is an inherent risk that could happen at any time during the life of the reactor for a variety of reasons. The containment structures have faced a stress and sustained damage. The explosions on March 12 have demonstrated that the danger of radiation leak is not fully contained. These nuclear reactors built-in 1972 have an average lifespan of about 40 years and they are at the end of their operational life. We can never ignore the problem of aging that is  an inseparable characteristic of the operation of nuclear plants. We have to recognize the risks imposed by the Suppression Pools that are designed to cool and trap the radioactive particles of Iodine, Cesium, and Strontium. It has been reported that levels of 400 millisieverts per hour had been recorded near the No.4 reactor at Fukushima. At that level of radiation exposure, the operators would be at a high risk of getting radiation sickness after two and half hours of continued stay. According to the World Nuclear Association, radiation exposure to over 100 millisieverts a year can lead to cancer. It has been stated that 1,000 millisieverts of radiation exposure causes immediate or Acute Radiation Sickness. The fatal dose of radiation exposure is about 5,000 millisieverts. The biological effects of radiation are determined by the amount of energy absorbed. Energy dissipation must be quantified to determine the exposure levels. The amount of exposure, the duration of exposure, and the area of the body surface that is exposed are the important factors that determine the nature of radiation injury or illness. The radiation enters the body either as waves or as particles that are electrically charged. Radiation enters body like minute bullets that cause localized injuries in the cells affected. Whether the cell dies immediately or shows molecular changes depends upon the number of sites in the cell that are bombarded and upon how critical these locations are. In the chromosomes, the molecular DNA structure could be damaged. High radiation doses cause rapid cell death. If the cell changes are more subtle, the damage to DNA would unable the cell to reproduce, or the new cells produced could be abnormal and not viable. The tissues most affected by radiation are those that undergo rapid replacement, such as bone marrow, intestinal tract, and skin. Some of the direct effects of radiation exposure include cell depletion, inability to produce new tissue, lowered resistance to infections, decreased number of Red Blood Cells, bleeding from disrupted blood vessels, effects of toxins released by tissue breakdown, and slower blood clotting time. The indirect effects of radiation exposure include tumor growths, a shortened life span, recurrent bacterial infections, anemia, and body ulcers. The explosions at Fukushima Nuclear Plant have exposed the highly radioactive material to environment and radiation levels have increased in the surroundings and in distant areas. It is not known as to how long the population would remain exposed to radiation risk as the population could not be fully evacuated. People in the Danger Zone have been warned to stay indoors.  The longer-term exposure to radiation can raise the risk of Thyroid, and Bone cancers, and Leukemia. The incidence of birth defects and deformities would increase. People would become more vulnerable because of suppression of immunological functions. Children, pregnant women, women of child-bearing age would face the brunt of this nuclear disaster while the environment takes its time to recover. There can never be a happy ending to a very tragic story of this kind. There is no Winner and we are all Losers.

THE TWO FACES OF THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY  :

 
Nuclear Energy - Is there a Winner? Are we all not the Losers?

 

The civilian uses of Nuclear Power often conceals the use of Nukes as weapons of warfare. The radioactive waste from both civilian and military use remains toxic for thousands of years. The waste is disposed by concentration and storage in casks. This disaster would reveal more information about the fate of highly radioactive waste that is often stored at the nuclear plant on a permanent basis.

BLESSINGS TO PEOPLE OF JAPAN  :

 

Indian tradition, in the epic story of Samudra Manthan or Churning of the Ocean, glorifies Lord Shiva who had protected humanity from utter destruction by holding a deadly poison in His throat. We need a Savior to protect humanity from deadly toxins like Plutonium.

 

I seek the Blessings of Lord Shiva to protect and defend the existence of the people of Japan and wish them a success in their efforts to contain the problem of radiation leaking into the environment.

A LESSON FOR INDIA AND ITS NUCLEAR LIABILITY  :

Japan's Nuclear Disaster offers a valuable Lesson to India. India must carefully review its Bill for Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.

 

Kindly review my blog post titled Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010 – A Himalayan Blunder.

http://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/civil-liability-for-nuclear-damage-bill-2010-a-himalayan-blunder/

TIME’S DIVINE POWER OF HEALING :

On March 11, 2012, I am pleased to share the following photographs from Japan that display Time’s Divine Power of Healing. I continue to seek the well-being of people of Japan and the full recovery of its Land and all of its inhabitants.

 

 

 

“SARVESHAM SWASTIR BHAVATU” : This is a statement expressed in Sanskrit language and it seeks the well-being of all people, of all nations, of all religions, of all races and of all living entities in their environment and community.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B,S., Class of April, 1970.

After the Japanese Disaster, A

Reappraisal of Nuclear and the

LNG Option

by Kent Moors Ph.D. | published March 14th, 2011

After the triple blow of a massive earthquake, aftershocks, and a tsunami,

much of the infrastructure in northeast Japan is reeling, and the energy

sector is descending into a significant crisis.

Already, a casualty has emerged: The resurgence of nuclear power as an
alternative energy source worldwide has taken a direct hit.

Japan has now introduced electricity rationing, as more and more
nuclear-generated power comes off-line.

As of Sunday morning, four of the six nuclear power plants in the district
suffered damage from the natural disasters, while technicians lost the
ability to cool six nuclear reactors at two of those plants.

Three of those units are at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco, TYO:9501) Fukishima Dai-ichi power complex, where a hydrogen explosion occurred
Saturday at Unit 1 and a separate explosion was feared likely at Unit 3.

Such explosions are in the outer building – not in the one surrounding
the reactor core itself. The Japanese facilities have two complete
structures separating the core from the outside world, unlike the
1986 Chernobyl disaster (where the plant had only a single encasement).
Nonetheless, the overriding concern in Japan is to prevent a meltdown
at each facility.

If a full meltdown occurs, a huge, molten, radioactive mass would burn
through both containments and all supporting structures, destroy the
buildings, and release a mixture of highly radioactive particles to be
spread by wind and rain.

How bad the aftermath would be depends on two things – how much
radiation is released and the weather.

At least through Wednesday (March 16), the wind is blowing out to sea,
rather than inland, toward population centers. That’s good.

However, reports yesterday about the detection of highly radioactive
cesium-137 and iodine-131 outside the Dai-ichi complex means a small
amount of dangerous radioactivity has escaped. Experts believe that
the radiation problem is thus far localized and minor. Nonetheless,
upwards of 200,000 people have been evacuated from the area
surrounding the Dai-ichi complex.

To prevent the meltdowns – the worst scenario reminiscent of the cinematic treatment in “The China Syndrome” (1979) – operators have been pumping in seawater in a last-ditch effort to cool down the reactor core. Absent another significant tremor de-stabilizing the plants even further, most specialists believe this will be successful.

But there will be some major costs.

For one thing, seawater corrodes the reactors, making them unusable. There
will be significant downtime for other reactors, as detailed technical examinations take place, to say nothing of the massive cleanup required at a number of plants.
The largest damage, however, is to the credibility of nuclear power in general.

Nuclear Expansion Plans Are Likely to Be Delayed

This calamity is not about inadequate company oversight or technical
deficiencies.

This is all about how Mother Nature can undermine even the best-laid
plans of mere mortals.

As the larger Asian region begins to ascertain the damage done to the
nuclear-as-remedy approach, major nuclear expansion plans in China, India, throughout East Asia, and in Australia are likely to be delayed. The same
goes for the two new reactors under construction in Japan and the 12 more currently in the planning stage.

The real impact, however, is likely to be felt well beyond Asia.

According to London’s World Nuclear Association, there are at present
442 reactors worldwide providing around 15% of global electricity. Plans are already announced to build more than 155 additional reactors, most of them
in Asia, with 65 reactors currently under construction.

Back at the epicenter of the present disaster, the impact upon Japanese
electricity volume is already wreaking havoc on factories attempting to
jumpstart production.

In trading today throughout Asia, shares were tumbling on concerns that
major companies would be unable to return to any normal level of production anytime soon.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange also suspended any trading in Tepco. The company
is facing an avalanche of sell orders that would greatly exceed the exchange’s
24% limit in the decline of share price.

Yet, despite the current sourcing problems, energy needs will certainly
not abate.

LNG Is the Immediate Alternative

Prior to the earthquake, 54 nuclear reactors at 17 plants nationwide
produced more than 30% of Japan’s power. Japan has already requested
additional electricity from Russia, but the rolling blackouts introduced today
will continue throughout the country.

The immediate alternative source of power will be an accelerated
usage of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Japan had traditionally been
one of the two primary users of LNG (the other being South Korea).

More recently, LNG has been increasing in transport volume throughout
the world, even establishing a northern European spot market to challenge
long-term conventional pipeline prices from Russia and prompting Canada
to revise the terminal under construction at Kitimat on the British Columbia
coast to move LNG to Asia.

In the U.S., a similar move to turn excess shale gas into LNG for export
is also afoot (see “A Solution for North America’s Natural Gas Surplus,”
November 2, 2010).

Closer to Japan, the Gorgon and other northwestern Australian projects,
along with those in Papua New Guinea and on Sakhalin Island off of the
Pacific coast of Russia, are gearing up a rising volume of LNG for export.

Much of that increase is bound for China, where five receiving terminals are right now at various stages of completion, and three additional ones are in planning.
Still, there is more volume that can be brought to market, and Japanese utilities have been actively locking in additional LNG consignments governed by multi-year contract agreements.

Japanese energy needs are tailor-made for a transition to LNG as a
rising fuel source for power generation. The country had already embarked
on a robust project to expand existing LNG terminals and build new ones
well before the earthquake occurred.

These are not coming on-line in short order…
But neither are the problems with the Japanese nuclear network
going away anytime soon.

Sincerely,
Kent