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The Biological Basis of Spirituality


From the beginning of human history, the ideas and concepts about Spiritualism and Spirituality included a desire to find Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility in the living human experience and it is concerned about the experience of Happiness, Joy, and Bliss which is described as ‘ANANDA’ in Sanskrit language. Thinkers have contemplated that Spiritualism or Spirituality may involve a potency that is associated with an intelligent, immaterial substance called Spirit. The term Soul is often used to describe the immortal, immutable aspect of man who is separate from his body. The term Spirit is used to describe a thing that may have an independent existence of its own apart from the physical body and it may survive after the death of the body. The ideas or concepts about Soul or Spirit appear to be valid and upon verification, I seek the existence of Soul or Spirit in a substance that is basic to life activities, and in a material that is responsible for all living processes. I, therefore, propose that the understanding of the true or real nature of this ground substance of all living matter will help man to discover Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility in all of his internal and external relationships while man exists in a physical environment as a member of a social group, social community, and Society. In this blog post, I would like to pay my respectful tribute to Jan Evangelista Purkinje and Hugo Von Mohl for their great contribution to the scientific understanding of the living substance, living material, and living matter.


Biological Basis of Spirituality. Professor Purkinje in 1835 invented the scientific term Protoplasm.

Purkinje conducted his research on human vision at the University of Prague and later on, he served there as a Professor of Physiology(1850-69). He went to Germany and was appointed the Chair of Physiology and Pathology(1823-50) at the University of Breslau, Prussia. There Purkinje created the world’s first independent Department of Physiology(1839) and the first Physiological Laboratory(Physiological Institute, 1842). He is best known for his discovery of large nerve cells with many branching extensions found in the cortex of Cerebellum of the brain(Purkinje Cells, 1837). He discovered the fibrous tissue that conducts electrical impulses from the ‘pacemaker’ called Atrioventricular node or A-V node along the inside walls of the ventricles to all parts of the heart to help in Cardiac contractile function(Purkinje Fibers, 1839). In 1835, he invented and introduced the scientific term ‘Protoplasm’ to describe the ground substance found inside young animal embryo cells. He discovered the sweat glands of the skin(1833); he discovered the nine configuration groups of Fingerprints used in biometric identification of man(1823); he described the germinal vesicle or nucleus of the unripe ovum that now bears his name(1825), and he noted the protein digesting power of pancreatic extracts(1836).

The Biological Basis of Spirituality.
The Biological Basis of Spirituality.

Purkinje Nerve Cells or neurons found in Cerebellum of brain.Protoplasm is a spiritual substance that brings functional unity between the cells, tissues, and organ systems of the human body.

The Biological Basis of Spirituality.

Fingerprint Identification: By using the current biometric identification technologies, each human being including identical twins could be known as specific individuals. Protoplasm is a spiritual substance that establishes the Individuality while the genome presents the morphological appearance and physical identity of man.


The Biological Basis of Spirituality.

Hugo Von Mohl, b. April 08, 1805, d. April 01, 1872, German Botanist noted for his research on the anatomy and physiology of plant cells.

Hugo Von Mohl named the granular, colloidal material that made up the main substance of the plant cell as “Protoplasm” in 1846. Purkinje had invented the word, but Hugo gave more clarity, understanding, and knowing the nature of this ground substance. He viewed cell as an “elementary organ” and in Physiology he explained Protoplasm as an organ of Motion or Movement, Nutrition, and Reproduction. It is the preliminary material in cellular generation. He was the first to propose that new cells are formed by division of preexisting cells and he had observed this process of Cell Division in the algal cells of Conferva glomerata. His observations are very important to understand the Cell Theory that explains cells as the basic building blocks of Life. He was the first to investigate the phenomenon of the stomatal openings in leaves.


The Biological Basis of Spirituality.

The Ground Substance of Spiritualism and Spirituality. The vital characteristics, the animating principles of Protoplasm could be known by observing Amoeba proteus. The Living Substance works as an organ of Motion or Movement, as an organ of Nutrition, and as an organ of Reproduction to generate new cells which have a life span of their own. In these physiological functions, I describe the characteristics such as Cognition, Consciousness, Memory, and Intelligence which have a Spiritual role as they bring functional unity and harmony in the interactions between different parts of the same individual organism while it exists in an environment as a member of a biological community.

Protoplasm is a complex, viscous, translucent solution of such materials as salts and simple sugars with other molecules, mostly proteins and fats, in a colloidal state, that is dispersed but not dissolved in one another. Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen constitute more than 90 percent of Protoplasm. It exhibits properties such as Protoplasmic Streaming or Cytoplasmic Streaming or Motion that is called “Amoeboid Movement.” It has the intrinsic power to change its shape and position. It has the power of Nutrition by which it can attract and obtain the materials necessary for its growth and maintenance from surrounding matter/environment. These functions involve acquiring, processing, retaining, and using information to perform tasks in a sequential manner for a predetermined purpose and hence describe Consciousness, Memory, and Intelligence. The terms Soul and Spirit belong to the materialistic realm where the Physical Reality of man’s biological existence is established. I have not yet discovered any good reason to use the terms Soul and Spirit as a metaphysical or transcendental Reality.

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.

Published by WholeDude

Whole Man - Whole Theory: I intentionally combined the words Whole and Dude to describe the Unity of Body, Mind, and Soul to establish the singularity called Man.

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