May 24, 2022, Tuesday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

The fuel behind human speech and thought

2. Kenopanishad - I

The Nepal Weekly
February 1, 2022

What is it that stimulates humans to speak, work and think? The question, a serious one, constituted themes for philosophical discourse centuries ago, prior to the modern study and practice of psychoanalysis, in Kenopanishad, an ancient book of wisdom, logic and explanation of Vedic traditions. 

Getting hold of the insight into ultimate cause, purpose and procedures of sense organs, consciousness, mind, intellect and act was a great exercise indeed. Sages tried it, experienced it and got their feelings and findings texted in standard Sanskrit language – mostly in verses -in the form of books.

The quest for stimulants of mind, intellect, act and sense organs is not easy. According to the Vedanta philosophy, human sense organs do not get activated on their own. They need external fuel to enliven and re-energize them. Soul, the only conscious entity in  human body is conscious and sense organs, their acts and procedures depend on soul for being active. The point could be better understood by the example of the Moon which does not produce light but shines. It gets light from the sun and shines. Similarly sense organs get consciousness from the soul and get activated.

The opening reference of Kenopanishad mentions serious questions about the stimulants behind the sense organs of humans. How does mind get activated and begin its work? What is it that stimulates the human speech? What after all is consciousness? Where does it reside and what is the process that should be followed to understand it?

The Kenopanishad tries to explain the phenomenon through the dialogue between a disciple and a teacher. Questions are raised by the student and the answers given by a teacher. Searching responses to serious questions related to soul, sense organs and their acts appears to have engaged the philosophers and researchers of Upanishad-times.

Perhaps what modern psychologists want to solve could be addressed in a clear manner through the sincere study of Kenopanishad. Maybe, modern consumerists the ardent followers of dictates of sense organs and champions of materialism could find something substantial in Bramhagyan-lessons of the Kenopanishad. – story related to it will be discussed in the next issue.

By Shirish B. Pradhan

(See for Nepali version)