1). How did the thoughts, feelings and emotions evolved over time ?
Feeling : Imagine a single celled organism called Amoeba in the beginning of evolution. The single celled organism has only two responses to external stimuli – like and dislike (raga, dvesha). If it is food, feeling called like (raga) will be generated. On the other hand if there is threat a feeling called dislike (dvesha) will be generated. This is the basic evolutionary instinct in life. Over a period of time many “like” feelings amoeba like organisms grouped together as “amoeba community”. They developed basic nervous system which consisted of “amoeba cells” specialized in communication. Basic nervous system converted feeling of like and dislike ( raga, dvesha) of the group into communication response and instinct for action – food, sex and sleep for the community. This is how reptilian brain – spinal cord developed. Reptilian brain takes care of primary instincts of survival.
Feelings form the first level of response to environment – like-dislike (raga, dvesha)
Emotions : Gradually as the group organisms developed with spinal cord, they need to form communities like community of snake, lizards. Now the next level organization took place where emotions came into picture. Limbic brain developed – which is quick emotional response to environment. Thus survival instincts further developed. From like-dislike feeling – fight-flight response gradually developed into emotional brain or limbic brain providing fear, jealousy, hatred, anger all basic emotions related to dislike (dvesha) and love, peace, empathy .. all basic emotions related to like (raga). Emotions means energy in motion. A quick response for situations on hand – for example a deer sees tiger. Fear is immediate reaction from limbic brain (emotional brain). Immediate response is to increase blood pressure, heart beat to prepare deer to run. The response from limbic brain creates a feeling of unpleasantness in the cellular level ( body). While seeing another deer, creates a emotion of love, feeling of like (raga) in the cellular level leading to bonding as community.
Thinking : As evolution progressed, thinking brain developed (Neo cortex). Thinking is based on knowledge gained. Thinking is based on data gathered during experience. Say a deer encounters a tiger. Immediate response is fear as emotion, unpleasant feeling in the body and flight from the scene. However this experience is recorded in memory for future. Thinking is processing of data in memory and address future scenarios as and when it arises. For example deer may avoid certain route where tiger is passing through.
Basic force of evolution : – Like and Dislike (raga, dvesha) are the basic forces of evolution.
2). Shri Ramana Maharshi says there is no free will. What does it mean in the context of thinking, feeling and emotions.
We human beings are driven by basic instinct of like-dislike (attraction-repulsion). Human body is organization of billions of cells each having primitive instinct of raga-dvesha
This is the fundamental mechanism of nature. Nature operates like a machine based on raga-dvesha translated into feelings-emotions-thoughts-actions-experience. Our ability to analyse, think is all directed to satisfy this basic instinct. In reality our free will is subservient to basic instinct of life – raga, dvesha. Genuine freedom can come only when we come out of the basic instinct of raga-dvesha.
We are like machines working for nature. Male-female relationship, society, country … all organizations are fulfilling this basic instinct of life. The individual nervous system has developed into complex global nervous system of Internet and communication for this very purpose. It is like a rats race. Survival of the fittest. In a rats race whether you win or lose, still you are a rat.
3). What is enlightenment ?
Understanding the basic forces of nature and coming out of the forces of nature (raga-dvesha) is real freedom – liberation. At the level of thinking, all our actions are defined by self identity stored in memory. The “ego” thought is basis for organization of our memory for thinking. By enquiring “who am I ? ” we can transcend the thinking ability to be established in consciousness.
Prabhuji – 28th August