The logic of materialist science fails when observers are considered. How can inanimate matter, governed by fixed laws, lead to mind? To bring in consciousness as a separate category like space, time, matter, as suggested by many physicists and neuroscientists, leads to further paradox. This very issue was considered with great subtlety in the Vedic tradition of India. Here we consider one of the late classics of this tradition that deals with the question of consciousness, laws, and freedom—the justly famous Siva Sutras (c. 800 C.E.). We present a new translation of the Siva Sutras along with a commentary.
Our knowledge of the physical world is based on empirical associations. These associations reveal the laws of the physical world. But how do we study the nature of consciousness? There is no way to observe one’s own awareness because we are aware through the associations with the phenomenal world. The Vedas deal precisely with this central question of the nature of knowledge. The consciousness aspect of the Vedas was emphasized most emphatically by Dayananda (1824-1883) and Aurobindo (1872-1950). It is seen with directness in the Upanishads. For an overview of the Vedic tradition see the recent book coauthored by me (Feuerstein et al, 1995); this book summarizes new insights from archaeology and history of science.