Consciousness is the energy that enables us to experience all energies
Some people ask, “Consciousness is an energy. Why can’t it be considered another material energy, like heat or electricity? Why consider it spiritual?”
Because consciousness is categorically different from all material energies – it enables us to experience all energies.
Suppose heat energy in the form of afternoon sunrays falls on a person’s head. That person experiences the heat as a scorching sensation. But the heat doesn’t experience anything – neither its own temperature, nor the burning sensation it has triggered in the person. The energy of consciousness flowing through that person’s body makes them experience the heat.
To illustrate further, suppose a short circuit causes electricity to flow through a person, rendering them unconscious due to electric shock. Initially, as long as they are conscious, they experience horror, fear and pain at the sensation of the electricity running through their body. Subsequently, even though electricity may still keep running through their body, they won’t experience anything because consciousness is no longer present in their body. Thus, consciousness’ presence enables them to experience electricity, whereas consciousness’ absence disables that experience.
Where does this consciousness come from? It can’t come from matter, which is unconscious being made of unconscious fundamental particles. No matter what form it takes, matter doesn’t have the capacity to experience matter. The Bhagavad-gita explains that consciousness comes from the soul.
The Gita (13.34) indicates that just as the sun illuminates the universe with light, the soul illuminates the body with consciousness. Thus, consciousness is energy, but as it comes from the spiritual soul, it is spiritual energy.
When we understand that our consciousness is non-material, we get the intellectual conviction to look beyond matter in our quest for pleasure. Bhakti-yoga trains us to fix our consciousness on the highest spiritual reality, Krishna, thereby granting the supreme non-material fulfillment.
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