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Introduction Human beings have always been curious to understand reality of the universe. Reality of the universe is dual - manifest and nonmanifest. Manifest reality is known through senses or science and the nonmanifest reality is known through consciousness or spirituality. Through their senses, brain, mind and consciousness, human beings can comprehend the reality of the universe from the smallest to the biggest levels. Human beings have the finest structure of the physical elements in their body. They are also endowed with non-physical consciousness. With the two physical eyes, they see only the manifest reality. To see the nonmanifest reality, they need the inner vision of consciousness that is also called the third eye! The third eye In several spiritual traditions, the spiritual experience of higher state of consciousness is called the opening of the third eye (also known as the inner eye). In ancient Egypt the third eye was portrayed as the eye of Horus, or Ra. In Buddhism, the third eye is a well-known symbol of a higher state of consciousness and enlightenment. In Hinduism, the third eye is referred to as the teacher inside. The ancient Upanishads likened a human being to a city with ten gates. Nine gates (two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, two passages for excretion and one mouth) lead outside to the sensory world. The third eye is the tenth gate, and was said to lead to inner awareness of higher consciousness. A Hindu God, Lord Shiva, is always depicted with the third eye on his forehead. Shiva also symbolizes consciousness. The third eye is considered to be a window to experience the hidden dimensions of reality which the physical eyes cannot perceive. What is seen by the third eye transcends the limitations of the physical world and is not limited by time or space. With the third eye, one can see things in other parts of the world, things that happened in the past and things that will happen in the future. Opening of the third eye enables a person to know the higher level of consciousness and facilitate the process of evolution of his consciousness till the attainment of the cosmic consciousness. It also enables a person to view any level of consciousness from different perspectives. Human consciousness Consciousness in human beings is experienced in different ways in different situations. There are several types of experiences during the lifetime that may be considered to be the spectrum of consciousness. The main nine types of human consciousness are as follows: 1. Life consciousness starts when a person is conceived in the womb of the mother.
2. Sense consciousness commences when a person comes out of the womb of the mother and begins perceiving things with the senses. 3. Self consciousness is experienced when a person gets feelings of like and dislike to things. 4. Language consciousness is experienced when a person starts uttering meaningful sounds. 5. Rational consciousness begins when a person starts thinking of right and wrong. 6. Social consciousness begins when a person starts communicating and interacting with other people. 7. Dream consciousness is experienced when a person visualizes dreams while sleeping and fantasizes things in the mind when awake. 8. Creative consciousness is experienced when a person starts some creative activity. 9. Cosmic consciousness is realized when a person experiences spiritual dimension of reality. Cosmic consciousness Cosmic consciousness implies awareness of the cosmic order of the universe beyond the manifest reality. Along with this awareness, comes intellectual enlightenment or illumination that is followed by a state of moral exultation and a feeling of joyfulness. A person, after attaining this awareness, also realizes immortality and gets the feeling that life is eternal. The concept of cosmic consciousness was rationally examined by Richard Maurice Bucke, a Canadian doctor, in his book ―Cosmic Consciousness‖, published in 1901. In the history of humanity, there have been persons such as Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohamed and others who had attained cosmic consciousness and reached the state of enlightenment which has been described differently as the state of illumination, fulfillment, salvation, nirvana, Brahmic Splendor etc. People who have attained this state have nothing more to desire in this life. We can also say that their third eye was opened. Pineal gland and the third eye Deep in our brain is a pea size, cone shaped gland or organ called the pineal gland. Its existence has been known from the ancient times. It resides between the two hemispheres of the brain. Many mystics referred to this gland as the third eye. More and more is now being learned of its functions by medical scientists and others. The pineal gland's location deep in the brain may be seen in the following picture:
The pineal gland is a photosensitive organ and is considered as an important timekeeper for the human body. Some people claim that, in addition to regulating the basic functions of the body (such as respiration and heartbeat), it offers the inter-dimensional awareness of the inner Self and spiritual reality. It is also considered to be the Seat of the Soul by many people. The true function of the pineal gland was contemplated by philosophers and spiritual adepts in the past. The ancient Greeks believed the pineal gland to be our connection to the universal ―Realms of Thought‖ or Plato‘s ―World of Ideas‖. The famous philosopher Rene Descartes referred to it as the ―Seat of the Soul.‖ Pineal gland and the chemicals In order to know the function of the Pineal gland, it may help to have some understanding of the three chemicals - serotonin, melatonin and DMT. Serotonin works mostly during the waking hours. It is associated with happiness and contentment. Melatonin production takes place in response to darkness. It encourages sleep. Many health food shops sell Melatonin capsules to assist insomniacs. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in tiny amounts. The pineal gland also excretes dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is considered to induce dreams, near-death experiences and visions. Several medical experts have suggested that the pineal gland secretes DMT which is chemically similar to melatonin and serotonin. It may be noted that the pineal gland is located in the center of the brain at the confluence of the main ventricles that carry cerebral-spinal fluid throughout the brain and nervous system. When melatonin is secreted
there, it immediately passes directly into the brain through the blood brain barrier. Dreams and the pineal gland Dreams are the most common example of visualizing realities without the two physical eyes. This could be due to the similarity of the cells in the pineal gland and the retina in the eye. The cells within the pineal gland may be detecting photons and sending them to the brain—by a process called phototransduction. Visual phototransduction is a process by which light is converted into electrical signals in the rod cells, cone cells and photosensitive ganglion cells of the retina of the eye. It is interesting that nature has gone to the extent of making the pineal gland, or a third eye, with the same tissues and light-sensing mechanisms as the retina. There has to be some meaning to it. In a study published in 2002 in the Bioelectromagnetics journal, S. S. Baconnier and Associate (medical experts) mentioned some interesting facts. They dissected twenty different human pineal glands and found one hundred to three hundred microcrystals per cubic millimeter that were floating inside—largely composed of a common mineral called calcite. Each of these crystals was between two and twenty micrometers in length, basically hexagonal in shape. These crystals are similar to the crystals in the retina of the eye. Baconnier‘s pineal gland studies helped to understand the idea of how the third eye could actually be ―seeing‖ photons of light.
Chakras and the third eye In the spiritual traditions related to Kundalini (psychic energy) awaking through Chakras (psychic centers), opening of the third eye is associated with the Ajna chakra. This Chakra is considered to be linked to intuition and increased psychic awareness through which Kundalini ascends to higher levels of consciousness. The Ajna chakra is usually depicted in the following Form
Ajna translates as 'command', and is considered to be the eye of intuition. When something is seen in the mind's eye, or in a dream, it is being 'seen' by Ajna. A circle with two petals and a triangle represent the Ajna chakra. The triangle is the symbol of consciousness and the two petals represent the Ida and Pingala Nadis or moon and sun nerves. The two petals of the Ajna Chakra could also be considered to be the symbols of science and spirituality. The circle and triangle symbolize the unity of science and spirituality. The Ajna chakra relates to our awareness and is the chakra that inspires the awakening of higher consciousness. The Ajna chakra is sometimes mentioned as the sixth chakra. In reality, it is the seventh chakra. It may be noted that there is difference of views about the number of Chakras. The total number of Chakras is given differently as six or seven or eight or nine. The authentic number is nine given in the Vedic literature (Upanishad). Accordingly, the nine Chakras are as follows: 1. Brahm Chakra also known as Muladhar Chakra. 2. Svadhisthana Chakra. 3. Manipuraka Chakra. 4. Anahata Chakra. 5. Kantha (throat) Chakra. 6. Taluka (palate) Chakra. 7. Ajna or Bhru (brow) Chakra. 8. Brahmrandhra also known as Sahasrar Chakra. 9. Vyom (space) Chakra. The Chakras located at palate and space areas are usually not mentioned but they are important from language and cosmic perspectives respectively. Detailed description of the nine Chakras may be seen in Saubhagyalakshmi Upanishad at the following webpage: http://www.astrojyoti.com/saubhagyalakshmiupanishad-2.htm Techniques of opening The third eye Meditation, Kundalini awakening, Shaktipat (transmission of energy), Pranayam (breath control), visualization, prayer, recitation of Mantras and singing devotional songs are all considered to be good techniques for opening the third eye. Sometimes drugs are used to get the experience of altered state of consciousness but this can have harmful effect and is not recommended. To activate the third eye is to move into higher consciousness till we attain cosmic consciousness. To activate the opening of the third eye and perceive higher dimensions of consciousness, the body must vibrate in
unison with the brain. This is achieved through meditation. When a correct vibration is established between the body and brain, a magnetic field is created that leads to higher dimensions of consciousness. Awakening of the Kundalini and Shaktipat both lead to higher level of consciousness. In Shaktipat, the transmission of energy to an aspirant is accomplished by touch, gaze, sound or thought of a Yogi master. The process of Shaktipat can be performed only by advanced yogis who have gained complete control over their life force called Prana in Sanskrit. After Shaktipat, the psychic energy travels through Sushumna Nadi (in the spinal chord) from the base of the spinal cord (Muladhara Chakra) towards Sahasrara Chakra. When it passes through Ajna Chakre, the third eye is opened. It is felt by the initiated person who also starts getting various spiritual experiences. Another effective method to open the third eye is Pranayam or breath control. There are several techniques of breath control. The simple technique of ―So-Ham‖ breathing is very common and effective. In this technique, inhaling is mentally identified with the sound of ―So‖ and exhaling is identified with the sound of ―Ham‖. Other techniques of Pranayam are rhythmic breathing, diaphragm breathing, alternate nostril breathing, body Chakra breathing, circular breathing etc. Inhaling and exhaling in all these techniques are regulated according to the method followed. All breathing techniques are conducive to the supply of oxygen to all parts of the body specially the brain. Most medical experts maintain that regulated and deep breathing is conducive to the health of body and brain. Third eye experiences When the third eye is opened, a person starts getting unusual experiences. He may suddenly see different kinds of images despite the fact that the physical eyes are closed. Some of them may not make any sense, some of them may be very vivid while others may be blurred. There are many dimensions beyond the senses and with the third eye opened, one should be able to reach some of them. Remote viewing can be facilitated by opening the third eye. A remote viewer is expected to give information about an object that is hidden from physical view and separated at some distance. The term was coined by parapsychologist Russell Targ and physicist Harold Puthoff, while running the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) team, to distinguish it from clairvoyance. Among some of the ideas that Puthoff supported regarding remote viewing was the claim made in the book ‗Occult Chemistry‘ according to which two followers of Madame Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy, were able to remoteview the inner structure of atoms. Creative visualization, which is the technique to visualize specific behaviors or events occurring in one's life, can be achieved through opening the third eye. Advocates of this technique suggest that creating a detailed
schema of what one desires and then visualizing it over and over again with all of the senses increases the power of intuition. Extrasensory perception (ESP) involves reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind or through the third eye. ESP is sometimes casually referred to as the sixth sense, gut instinct or hunch. It implies acquisition of information by means beyond the basic limiting assumptions of science, such as those organisms can only receive information from the past to the present. Benefits of opening the Third Eye There are many physical benefits. With the inner eye is opened, a person can get understanding of functioning of different organs of the body and, if required, can take corrective measured through medication or meditation. Regulated and deep breathing are also conducive to good health. It enables proper understanding of dreams. In view of relationship of the pineal gland with dreams, it is possible to interpret their meaning and know their significance. It is also possible to control dreams and experience lucid dreaming. There can be no other way to explore dream consciousness except through the third eye. Control of mind is facilitated by accessing the different domains of consciousness. When the third eye is opened, the mind is sharpened and a person becomes more sensitive to what is happening in reality. He becomes more present in the daily activities to facilitate their completion in a much more effective way. The third eye enables the exploration of many unknown areas in the consciousness and gets insight into higher creative ideas. Access to the source field and cosmic consciousness helps in getting better perspective and acquire more knowledge in areas not understood previously. The third eye promotes spiritual enlightenment. It enables the full comprehension of a situation that is beyond the scope of existing mind. It also implies spiritual revelation or deep insight into the meaning and purpose of all things including our lives. Understanding the source of creation and attaining the cosmic consciousness helps in realizing that everything in the universe is united and interconnected. Conclusion More than one century ago, Robert Maurice Bucke wrote that the advent of cosmic consciousness will change the religious (spiritual) life of human beings. He visualized that instead of waiting for the immortality and glories after death, human beings will experience all glory and immortality in the existing life itself. He predicted that religion (spirituality) would govern every minute of every day of the life. All intermediaries between the individual and God will be replaced by direct unmistakable intercourse between human beings and God.
It is not only Bucke, the spiritualist, who visualized a better future for the humanity. Around the same time, the founder of Quantum Theory, Max Planck, also realized that all human beings are part of one universe and one cosmic conscious reality. He wrote: ―Behind the existence of all matter is a conscious and intelligent mind—this mind is the matrix of all matter‖. The famous scientist, Albert Einstein, who transformed scientific perspective in the beginning of the last century, also emphasized the unity of the universe and humanity. He wrote: ―A human being is a part of the whole called by us ―the universe,‖ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical illusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.‖ How can we rectify the optical illusion of consciousness mentioned by Albert Einstein? This is possible only through opening of the third eye or realization of the cosmic consciousness. So far this has not happened and the humanity continues to suffer. This could be due to the fact that there was no scientific support for the pursuit of spiritual activities. Recent discoveries in the field of quantum physics, biology, consciousness and other areas have revealed the unity of the universe. Connection between the pineal gland, an important part of the brain, and the opening of the third eye suggested by several medical and psychological authorities is also significant. Many scientists have now accepted that at the fundamental level, there is some wisdom and power that created the universe and the human beings. That wisdom cannot be without consciousness. One of the most interesting concepts of modern Field Theory is that the universe exists as a single unified consciousness field – an interwoven consciousness in which each part affects the whole at every moment. Joint efforts of science and spirituality can provide a new vision (the third eye) to create awareness of higher levels of consciousness and resolve the problems faced by humanity on the earth. (Virendra Singh)
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