Human beings have a tendency to cling to comforting and satisfying conclusions rather than be bold enough to acknowledge the truth. This attitude thwarts the journey of discovery in any field and, especially, in the realm of spirituality. A good historical example of this may be called the Copernican Paradigm. This is the item in connection with the discovery of the solar system’s heliocentric characteristic. The Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus is usually credited with providing a systematic proof of the heliocentricity based on the retrograde motion of the outer planets. At that time (16th century AD), the religious people in Europe, numbering several thousands, if not millions, became his antagonists because their pet conclusions arising from interpreting the Bible insisted on the geocentric theory; it turned out to be an egocentric theory too (!) because they called Copernicus an idiot publicly. And yet, in due course, all those thousands of people were proved wrong and one Copernicus was right. This establishes the fact of how attachment to pet conclusions can take one away from the truth even though a multitude of people believe in those conclusions. Thus, truth does not depend on the opinion of the majority but on the perspicacity of the few who are bold enough to respect the truth.

“They are slaves who dare not be
in the right with two or three"

. . . those are the relevant lines from a poem by the American poet James Russell Lowell.

The Robot
Slavery to a system, religious or otherwise, implies giving oneself over to group psychology. That way each member of a group gives the same answers as the others to all philosophical or theological questions. It means that the members are functioning like a robot – just like a computer whose response is pre-programed. So they allow their minds to be completely controlled by the group psychology and they cannot be themselves. This is like being a soldier in an army. Such a mental disposition can only produce callousness and violence. Even though simple common sense can vouchsafe for all these, millions and millions of people get pulled into the slavery movement. It is indeed an unfortunate situation. People who sense the truth as above will have the courage to stay out of the conditioning influences and the resulting robotic neurology; in that very process, they provide an opposing force to the movement of slavery by sectarian religious practices.

Athma Vichara
Slavery to a system destroys the inner freedom necessary to take a journey of discovery into any realm and, especially, into the spiritual realm. Then, the system beliefs become more important than accepting the truth that may go against the beliefs. One would rather remain with the beliefs than respect one’s native intelligence and insightful awareness. Many sages have pointed out that Athma Vichara – the soul search – is the way to understanding the primal source from which all thoughts arise and push people into illusion. Athma Vichara rides on pure self-awareness, uninfluenced by the conditioning forces around one. Consequently, there would be the inner freedom from slavery to psychological systems and one would not fall prey to the ‘preferred- conclusion’ syndrome. Such a freedom would help us glide into the zone of Natural Spirituality.

An unfortunate spin-off of the above mentioned slavery is that the mind has a tendency to get involved in a number of outward activities sponsored by the belief system. This is necessary for it to feel secure in the system by getting lost in it. By the same token, there is no time or energy for such a mind to care for self-awareness or to question the beliefs by open-minded investigations. As a result, their minds revolve within a limited cocoon looking for ego satisfaction and security. It becomes impossible for them to move from the myopic mind into the vast consciousness of which the mind is a small part. Many paranormal experiences [such as the Near Death Experience (NDE)] reveal the fantastic nature of that consciousness. The NDEers are able to free themselves from the ego-hold and observe life from a vast perspective after that experience. The following lines from Victor Solow, a NDEer, give a glimpse of that transformation:

“A recurrent nostalgia remains for that other reality, that condition of indescribable stillness and quiet where the ‘I’ is part of a harmonious whole. The memory softens the old drives for possession, approval and success.

Related matters are covered in the book “In Quest of the Deeper Self” details of which can be found in the website .

Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.

Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.

Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy. Blog: