Dr. Vasant Lad: The Meaning of Life… and the 7 Stages of Consciousness

Vasant Lad, BAM&S, MAScOur life is our daily existence. It is made up of our daily living, the unity of the body, mind and consciousness.

An Ayurvedic sutra says: Sattvam Atma Sharirancha tryam etat tridandavat

Sattva is the mind, Atma is the conscious principles, and sharira is the physical body. This trinity is the unity of life. Of course, there is a life before birth and there is a life after death, but that life before birth and after death is not conceivable. We cannot observe it or see it, but what we can experience, every moment, is our own life, which is living in the unified field in body, mind and consciousness.

Our life is a constant river of experiences. It is a flow of awareness. It is a constant, continuous flow of the mind, of our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Daily living is a series of experiences. We are, every moment, experiencing something. We are experiencing happiness, unhappiness, joy, sorrow. We are experiencing dullness, tiredness, anxiety, insecurity, and a little moment of pleasure here and there. Even in a deep sleep, we are experiencing the soundlessness, the quietness of sleep.

But this is the experiencing of things. It is the flow of awareness and the flow of awareness accumulates, settling at the bottom of the river of life. That accumulation is the crystallization of experiences. Unfortunately, whatever we experience, we embrace it, we cling to it. Because of this, we always live in the dead past and create our own sufferings.

The dead past is our crystalized experiences. They are recorded in memory and that becomes the small enclosure of our lives. However, life is vast. It is immense. Life is eternity and there is no end to life. Life is endless, boundless, and timeless; it is the movement of awareness.


ConsciousnessWe are living on one level of consciousness. Our life is a big, beautiful building with seven levels of consciousness. The middle storage is our consciousness. And, many people, they are born in this consciousness, they live in this consciousness and one day they die in this consciousness. They live in only the one floor of consciousness, which is consciousness level. They don’t know there are seven stages of consciousness.

Just as there are three levels of storage: the ground floor storage, then the unconscious, collective unconscious and deep cosmic unconscious, Similarly, above the conscious is super consciousness, then collective consciousness, and cosmic consciousness. However, we do not know about these. They are also a part of our life but we only live in a small enclosure of our consciousness.

Sigmund Freud, the Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, talked about the unconscious. Except that was his inference, not his experience. Yoga is experience. Scientific achievement is experimentation based upon inference. So Freud’s thinking about the subconscious was based upon his observation and inference. But yogic understanding of the unconscious and the super conscious is based upon self-experience. This experience comes from one’s spiritual discipline through meditation and contemplation. You can walk into the deeper layers.

The beauty of these practices is that as we go deeper, we also start ascending. Thus, meditation is an inquiry into the deepest layers of our existence, and, as you go deeply into the unconscious, you ascend. Your awareness ascends into the super consciousness. As you dive into the collective or cosmic unconsciousness, you will ascend to the collective consciousness. When you reach into the deep cosmic unconsciousness, then you will reach the super cosmic conscious awareness. This is the beauty of meditation.

Life has two dimensions. We exist simultaneously in these two dimensions. One is the observer and the second is the observed. To become aware of these two dimensions, practice double-arrowed attention. This is when the observer is observing the observed. One arrow goes outside to look at the object and, at the same time, a second arrow of attention goes into the deepest recesses of the observer. At this point, witnessing awareness will take place. That is the third dimension of life. So we exist in the two dimensions, which is observer and observed, yet we do not know the third dimension, which is witnessing awareness. Discover your own unconsciousness, your collective unconscious and cosmic unconscious. If you go one level down, your life goes up one level. That is why it is double-arrowed. When we practice witnessing awareness, then the tripod of life becomes complete.

Our life is vast. Whatever we know about our life is a limited little affair. Life is divine. Life is immeasurable. Life is incredible when we understand the seven levels of our existence.


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~Dr. Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Physician, graduated with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.) from the University of Pune, India, in 1968 and received a Master of Ayurvedic Science (M.A.Sc.) in 1980 from Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, also in Pune. Dr. Lad brings a wealth of classroom and practical experience to the United States. A native of India, he served for three years as Medical Director of the Ayurveda Hospital in Pune and was Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Pune University College of Ayurvedic Medicine where he was an instructor for more than a decade. Dr. Lad’s training includes the study of allopathic medicine and surgery.

Vasant Lad is the author of 11 books on Ayurveda as well as hundreds of articles and other writings. With over 500,000 copies of his books in print in the US, his work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He founded The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1984 and currently serves as its Director and principal instructor. He is respected throughout the world for his knowledge of Ayurveda.

Excellence Reporter 2017

Copyright © 2017 Vassant Lad, BAM&S, MASc, and the The Ayurvedic Institute, Albuquerque, NM.

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