This is an excerpt from Maharishi’s answer to this intriguing question. For his complete response, watch the video. ►
Question: Most scientists today hold that consciousness is purely a by-product of electrochemical processes in the brain and that without the body, there is no consciousness, no awareness, no life. On the other hand, the scientific conclusion of Dr. Tony Nader is that consciousness is primary and that physiology is secondary—that the human body is made of consciousness. Would Maharishi please explain how consciousness is primary and how, in fact, consciousness can actually create the human body?
Maharishi: One word would be the answer to it. The word is “unmanifest.” There is the manifest, and the other thing is unmanifest. It’s manifest and unmanifest, diversity and unity. Together they are the reality. Together. Not one, or not the other.
“Those who are practicing Transcendental Meditation know that there are moments in their awareness where consciousness is the only thing that there is.” —Maharishi
Now those who are practicing Transcendental Meditation® know that there are moments in their awareness where consciousness is the only thing that there is. This is Transcendental Consciousness. There is no awareness of the body. So in that state, one is the other. It’s a matter of where one’s awareness is.
The Lamp at the Door
This is very beautifully explained in the Vedic Literature. There is a section of Vedic Literature called Nyaya. Nyaya is the lamp at the door. You have a lamp at the door. What it does? It lights the inside, and it lights the outside. So there is light outside and light inside. And there is a point of balance where outside and inside both meet together, and that is the reality.
So your argument is brilliant when you say one needs the other. Absolutely, one needs the other. One is the other. And that gets settled in one word: “unmanifest.” This unmanifest is that level where silence and dynamism, both, are in harmony. It’s not only the body or not only consciousness.
Consciousness Is Unbounded
How to get to this level? When one is not meditating, then only the body is primary. When only the body is primary, the other part—which is more quiet, more silent, more fluid—is more basic, because consciousness is boundary-less. There are no space-time boundaries.
The body has boundaries. Consciousness is unbounded. So when the boundaries are there, you can move from boundary to boundary to boundary. Then you can come to the point value of the boundary. There you will have the boundary and the unboundedness, both, together. So in this case, one is the other.
When only one is important—either the body is important or consciousness is important—you can’t function. It’s not life.
“Unity Consciousness means consciousness in multiple ways and consciousness in its unified state, both together.” —Maharishi
Life Is Unity Consciousness
So we say, “What is life?” It is Unity Consciousness. Unity Consciousness means consciousness in multiple ways and consciousness in its unified state, both together. So one cannot unglue one from the other because in the ultimate reality, the ultimate analysis, both are together. And that is total life. Consciousness and physiology together is total life.
But in the world when the body is seen to be primary, we have to explain to the people that it is consciousness which is primary. And then give them the experience of consciousness. From there one comes to the place where consciousness is physiology.