Occasionally on this site I’ve touched on the nature of cognition, a form of experience where all knowledge about the object of perception is known. Not just the surface of the object facing us but the entirety of its form, history, and function. While we might use the example of an apple, cognitions are more typically related to the nature of reality.
The subject came up recently in discussion and I thought it worth opening up a bit more. Consider this an evolving update. Let’s look at it from a spectrum of styles of experience. (the layers referred to)
We can start with the styles familiar to us in day-to-day life.
1) Deep Sleep – we experience nothing. The mind and senses are asleep. Even the ego sleeps.
2) Dreams – we can experience anything and everything but they are typically random noise produced by the mind and emotions digesting recent experiences. Typically brief and temporary.
3) Waking experiences of the physical world. We experience people, objects and circumstances that continue from day to day as we cycle through life. People around us also experience many of the same things but will tend to interpret them differently. The meaning something has or doesn’t, what is good or bad, what is wanted or unwanted, and so forth. But all content in this range will change. People die, objects break or are taken, circumstances change slowly or quickly.
4) Early subtle perception – with inner development, perception of the mental and emotional (energy) ranges of life may arise. This is somewhat like experiencing aspects of dream state while waking. But unlike dreams, the content is less personal and more non-local. This may bring us some insight and perhaps healing skills but this kind of knowledge can be very conditional, much like the rest of relative life. It can also be very misleading. Beings that exist in this range can have the same qualities and defects as people.
5) Intuitive understanding – when fine feelings become more conscious from deeper than mind, we’re able to pick up intuitive promptings. These are fine impulses of nature arising out of the flow that can give direction and information in life. But we have to test this in real world because it’s easy at first to confuse this with the above and get mislead.
As this becomes more clear, the discriminative intellect becomes more sharp and this can become very accurate. We’ll learn to sense shifts in the trends of time and prepare for change moving through nature. We may get solutions that just show up or creative outflows like music, architecture or science.
We also may get impulses that come as “downloads” or full sensory experiences that pop in, perhaps unpredictably. This content is far more accurate than prior experiences, depending on how much we avoid filtering it by the mind and emotions. Mind is still required to process and give meaning and words – the question is how neutrally that is done.
6) Ritam – when the bliss body becomes clear enough, we’re able to experience from the causal or celestial level. Ritam is short for Ritam Bhara Pragya, meaning that consciousness which accepts only truth. In other words, if we’re able to experience on this level without filtering it, we’ll begin to know things that are more universally true.
One key to losing the filters is reaching what is called makara, a point just above the third eye. Then the kundalini becomes stable, so the higher perception becomes more reliable. The 3rd eye may now be open as well, expanding the means of knowledge.
Another key is in unpacking the remaining junk and shadows for more reliable clarity.
Also of note, this is the level on which Sanskrit, closest to the sound of nature, functions. If we can listen to the Vedas on this level, we can share the experience of the person had who originally encoded those verses. In other words, those verses are encoded experiences that can be played back. This is not experiencing the Veda itself directly, however. That’s deeper in. This is experiencing its expression.
In a related way, as we approach Unity, what is sometimes described as the Inner Guru comes on-line. We discover we can know most everything we put our attention on. (with a few limitations related to being human)
As best I understand, all of the above is within the range of everyone. But there are more specialized forms that are not. As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi put it, everyone can realize but not everyone cognize.
This is where the Rishi comes in. Rishi is a Sanskrit word meaning seer. The word is sometimes equated with Guru or teacher but a seer is simply one who sees reality. They may not be a teacher.
I’m not sure where the line is drawn exactly. Is the ability to see beyond the ritam level into creation itself and the mind of God within everyone’s range? Or just a seer’s? Ritam still offers a doorway for everyone to experience a seers experience or for a seer to experience another seers recognitions.
This first level of cognition is where deep laws of nature that are lively in consciousness are experienced directly by the seer. In this form of experience, there is direct perception, but the perception is total, meaning it comes with a perception of the object from all angles, from all time, and with complete understanding about it. This can be a massive import that takes months to unfold to the mind and be better understood.
For example Hiranya Garbha, the golden egg or seed form of the universe. This is an experience that includes the entirety of the universe, its history and progression and how it operates. The cognition happens in a very brief time but can take months to “unpack”.
Or there there are a plethora of smaller realizations that take less time. Some of these have been described in some of the secondary books of the Veda. A larger number of people have the potential to experience the way creation becomes in specific ways, from specific perspectives.
So there can be big and little cognitions. I suspect it would be typical for all seers to begin in this range.
These are people who experience the laws enlivened by cognition above in vibratory form on the causal or Ritam level, giving direct expression to those enlivened laws. Such people may or may not be seers (seeing) in a technical sense but rather are conduits for manifesting. They are engaged in the process of becoming rather than as a seer.
This level of cognition is when laws of nature that have grown dormant are revived in consciousness, making them more accessible to others with basic cognition. It is a re-enlivenment in the current time, helping move things along that have gone stagnant in the cycles of time, taking creation to the next level.
Once awake, these laws intertwine with other awake laws, creating new synergies that further evolve life. I’ve noticed this synergy going on in the current cycle as consciousness further awakens.
From that basic reawakening, a larger number of people will re-cognize those same values in a given time, helping to enliven those principles in the environment. They may also come to embody specific combinations in their expression of the cosmic body for a unique synthesis for the need of the time. This is also taking place in the current time.
This is the initial cognition of the Veda’s themselves, unfolding what might be called cosmic or divine memory, Smriti.
But here we have a couple of ways of looking at it.
On the one hand, we have those key seers who have the primary cognitions described in the core Vedas. These cognitions structure the process of unfolding all creations. They are said to inscribe Smriti (cosmic or divine memory) with their profound experience, adding to the memory and blueprints for our creation. Those memories can then be said to be revived in later cycles.
The effect of this is to inscribe new laws of nature in creation and move forward its growth and evolution.
However, from another perspective, prior to creation there is no time so how can there be a “first” creation in which those cognitions inscribed memory? From this perspective, all cognitions are created together in a brief musing of the divine. They form the blueprint of our creation and specific seers are prescribed who will arise in time and have those cognitions that unfold the next stage of the creation.
The effect of this is the same as the above – the difference is in origins – did the seer inscribe the memory or did the divine? Is there a difference at this point in their journey? Just in perceptive.
In any case, the Vedas exist as what may look like clear acrylic blocks that contain the full experience that enlivens the law in the specific way. They are also encoded with the seer who is destined to awaken them and the law of nature involved. Read any good translation of the core Vedas and you’ll see them listed at the start of their described cognition. It’s even in the written form.
Also encoded are the sound (vibratory) values that express on the Ritam level mentioned above. This initiates the process in our universe.
We have named Vedic seers who awaken laws of nature that allow the progressive unfolding of nature.
Then you have re-cognizers who reawaken certain of those principles later in the cycles of time, re-enlivening those original cognitions during revivals (and perhaps embodying them).
Then you have a broader group of seers who spread that enlivenment in consciousness and may embody specific combinations to allow unfolding different branches of the core principle.
And you have the expressers who enliven the vibrations into form.
And then you have the broader group of seers who expand the recognitions still further and enliven various secondary aspects or unique perspectives.
This is the essence of how creation unfolds in stages, through the awakening of dormant self-knowledge by direct experience. A few key individuals have that role while others have the role of spreading it.
We live in a massive place and there are considerable significant dynamics that go on behind the scenes sustaining and evolving creation.