By Saurabh Bhattacharya December 2001 Starting with Dianetics in the 1950s, science fiction author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard developed Scientology, which claims to make enlightenment scientifically achievable The Indian connectionStrange though it may sound, but the logically and empirically sound philosophy of Scientology does share quite a few things with ancient Indian philosophy. According to Ambala-based DR Subhash Sood, one of the earliest Scientologists in India, one major similarity lies in the concept of liberation. Says DR Sood: ”The philosophical doctrine of liberation has two major interpretations. One is that God is an external agency and we are at His mercy. And the other, the Buddhist and Vedantic concept is that God or Truth, if you will, is in every human and is eminently attainable. Scientology promotes and follows this doctrine of self-determinism as much as our own ancient Vedic and Buddhist texts.” Then, Scientology postulates that most ailments are psychosomatic. So does Ayurveda, which clearly states that 90 per cent of human ailments stem from psychosomatic disorders. Ayurveda goes on to treat patients not on the basis of the ailment but on the basis of the patient’s own nature. However, Scientology is yet to make a distinct mark on Indian soil. DR Sood, who has been counseling people on the basis of Dianetics and Scientology at his Ambala center since the 1970s, rues the lack of growing interest in the doctrine. ”It is not that people have not benefited from Scientology in India,” he says. ”Impending divorces have been averted, parent -child relationships have improved, and patients have been cured of their diseases. But most people do not wish to do anything for themselves. This lack of willingness to solve one’s problems on one’s own is the greatest hurdle to the popularity of Scientology, which is essentially a self-empowering philosophy.”Another reason is the lack of sufficient Scientology literature in vernacular languages. This, however, is soon going to be rectified as translations of many of Hubbard’s books are in progress. Books in the pipeline are: The Way to Happiness, to be followed by Dianetics: Evolution of a Science and Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, first in English and then in Hindi and other languages. A Bengali edition of Dianetics is already available. Concludes DR Sood: ”In today’s globally competitive environment, it is essential that India learn and practice the process of self-determinism. And what better way to learn it than through the philosophy of Scientology!” Could there be a science of enlightenment? Centuries of philosophies, spiritual teachers, dogmas and religions later, the only thing that we humans seem to have realized is that enlightenment, or complete freedom if you will, is too much of a personal experience to be achieved systematically by all. Bottomline: you either get enlightened or you don’t. Not so, claims Scientology, a unique ‘applied religious philosophy’ that has been making waves in the USA and Europe for decades with dedicated followers like Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and is now gradually introducing its doctrines on Indian shores. The underlying principle of Scientology is that man is essentially a spiritual being, with more to him than flesh and blood. Ho-hum. Every religion has espoused the same line time and again. True. But then, how many religions really came out with a systematic process to actualize this? Apparently, Scientology has and, in the process, this spanking new religion (the first Scientology organization was established in 1954) claims to have demystified the path not only to the esoteric goal of spiritual enlightenment but also to the far more mundane and immediate goal of mental clarity. In fact, unlike most religions of the world, whose genesis can be traced to metaphysics of the soul, Scientology came into being from a science of the mind called Dianetics. A STRATEGY FOR SURVIVAL The seeds of Dianetics were planted in the mind of its creator, explorer-thinker-author L. Ron Hubbard, by a series of cytological experiments he conducted in 1937. These experiments demonstrated that the urge to survive overrode every other possible life-enhancing drive, and was actually an inherited urge that remained potent even as a learned response. This apparently academic discovery put a whole new spin to the then current (and still fairly popular) theory that life is nothing more than a game of chance. Unlike Darwin’s theory of evolution, which gave importance to survival only to the extent of natural selection, Hubbard postulated that the command to survive comes from an ‘intelligence’ behind the scheme of life. In his work Excalibur, often considered the precursor to Dianetics, Hubbard writes: ‘All life is directed by one command and one command only—SURVIVE!’ But survive how? Hubbard was not content with mere postulation; it had to be practical as well. And his first major step towards such a practicality, and consequently towards Dianetics, came about in 1945 during the Second World War. Hubbard, then a lieutenant in the US Army, came across 15 former prisoners of war (POWs) who, after near-starvation diets, were found unable to assimilate protein despite all possible treatments. Intrigued, Hubbard studied deeply the process of protein assimilation and came upon another theory—if the mind regulated the body and not the other way round, then the mind could create mental blocks that would keep the endocrine system from responding to treatment. On the other hand, if this mental block could be cleared, the problem should be resolved. Hubbard tried out this theory on the POWs, and they were saved! This incident laid the foundation of Dianetics in the form of the phrase: ‘Function monitors structure.’ The word ‘dianetics’ comes from the Greek dia (through) and nous (mind or thought). After his experience with the POWs, Hubbard began the formulation of Dianetics primarily on the premise that it is the mind that acts on the primal directive of survival and, in turn, directs life in the effort of survival. Having pinpointed the source of most problems that afflict the individual, Hubbard set upon the process of making Dianetics a noninvasive therapeutic science that could successfully handle all kinds of neuroses, psychosomatic ailments, and psychoses. However, to do so, it was imperative to understand the functioning of the subject of this science—the human mind. The results of this exploration were groundbreaking, to say the least. MIND VERSUS MIND Hubbard discovered that the human mind actually has two major segments—the analytical mind and the reactive mind. In his seminal book, Dianetics: The modern science of mental health, he describes the analytical mind as a ‘perfect computer’ that ‘cannot err in any way so long as a human being is reasonably intact’. Hubbard goes on to note: ‘While the whole being is, in an aberrant state, grossly capable of error, the analytical mind is not. For a computer is just as good as the data on which it operates and no better.’ The analytical mind gets all the data that it requires to compute from some standard memory banks, which are being consistently fed perceptions through the various sensory organs. Again, like the analytical mind, the standard memory banks are perfect data storage centers, ‘recording everything faithfully and reliably’ since the moment of birth. The only time this process of filing and recording ceases is when the human being is ‘unconscious’. By unconscious, Hubbard does not mean merely physical unconsciousness (which is a part of it) but ‘a greater or lesser reduction of awareness on the part of ‘I’—a reduction in the working of the analytical mind’. This unconsciousness is caused by perceptions involving intense pain, both emotional and physical. The analytical mind uses all the data in the memory banks to make decisions that will promote the survival of the organism. ‘Between the standard banks,’ explains Hubbard, ‘which are perfect and reliable, and the computer—the analytical mind—which is perfect and reliable, there is no irrational concourse. The answer is always as right as it can be made to be in the light of the data at hand.’ If the analytical mind is the hero of Dianetics, the reactive mind is the villain. REACTIVE MIND: THE VILLAIN Unlike the analytical mind, which gets its data from standard banks, the reactive mind bases its computations on data recorded in moments of unconsciousness. It is this mind that records the painful cause of unconsciousness and stores it in the form of a mental picture called ‘engram’—a complete recording of every perception present in a moment of unconsciousness, wherein each perception equals every other perception. The reactive mind then throws the engram back to the organism in any situation where the elements are similar to those found in the engram. In fact, according to Hubbard, the act of being born itself is so traumatic that it creates an engram. In other words, if you stumble on a rock in a hilly area and break your leg, the engram created would equal the pain of the broken leg to the rock, the hill and everything else in the surrounding. The reactive mind, according to Hubbard, works on the same primal command of survival. But the reactive mind is not refined. Although its purpose is to aid the individual’s survival by helping him avoid potentially harmful situations, its associative nature of computation almost always directs a completely wrong, and often dangerous, action. The reactive mind computes on the basis of three types of me
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