Someone may ask, ‘What is wrong with artificially altering consciousness?’ By itself there is nothing wrong with an altered state of consciousness. Sleepwalking, hypnosis, hallucination, even madness are all ‘altered’ states of consciousness. There is nothing wrong with them in a moral sense, even if some of them are deemed undesirable states of consciousness. The problem is philosophical. Is your altered state of consciousness God? If it is not, then does it matter if you consider your own altered state of consciousness God? Is it harmless to call yourself the President of your nation if in fact you are not the President? If your inner self is not God then when you look within could you be looking for God in the wrong place? Is it right to call something spiritual which is in fact physical or psychological? Does it matter if you are mistaken in your beliefs? Well, does it matter if you go on the longest and the most important journey of your life with a map drawn by a person who mistook East for West or North for South?
The monistic idea that the human self is the same as the divine self and that everything is one, makes our individuality illusory, thereby destroying the very foundation for affirming the unique value of every individual. It should not surprise us that the Indian philosophical tradition, in spite of all its brilliance, could not produce a culture that recognized human rights and the intrinsic worth of the individual. Nor could yogic monism give to Indian society a framework for moral absolutes, a strong sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair. Yogic exercises indeed gave flexibility to our bodies but unfortunately the yogic philosophy gave too much flexibility to our morals – making us one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
Mangalwadi's answer for these problems is biblical. He believes that our problem is moral, not physical or metaphysical.
God is holy – morally pure. We are sinful, not merely ignorant. We have done what we know to be wrong and failed to do what we know to be right. A holy God must judge and punish our sin. God and sin cannot co-exist anymore than light and darkness. Our need is not altered consciousness, but transformed hearts, for the heart is the real core of our being and our character...Our central problem, according to the Bible is that we are sinners. We need a divine Savior who will forgive our sins and transform our hearts – the core of our being.
I found this article informative and sort of a fun read. It also made me appreciate the worldview that has shaped our country and the benefits we enjoy because of it.