Higher States of Consciousness: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Vedic Psychology of Human Development

Journal of Mind and Behavior 10 (4):307-334 (1989)

This paper describes a systematic framework, derived from the Vedic tradition of India by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, for the development of higher states of consciousness. A series of three stable stages beyond currently conceived endpoints of development are described, based upon the unfoldment of "pure" or "self-referral" consciousness as a stable underlying basis of experience. Pure consciousness is consciousness aware of itself as an unbounded field independent of all mental activity such as thought and feeling. The first of the higher stages is "cosmic consciousness," in which pure consciousness is permanently maintained throughout all other experiences. A substantive body of research supports the uniqueness of the state of pure consciousness and the pattern of development predicted to occur with growth of cosmic consciousness. Development is predicted to further progress through the higher stages of "refined cosmic consciousness" to "unity consciousness," in which the individual is said to directly and permanently experience the underlying unity of the perceiver and the perceieved, the subject and object, as the field of pure consciousness. The Vedic perspective extends current conceptions of development by locating a unified foundation of cognitive and affective processes, pure consciousness, as the basis of higher stages of development
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