India – The Cradle of Civilization

“What did the ancient Indians do? Did they build pyramids? Did they create great walls? What did they do? They were the great voyagers of discovery in human consciousness.”

Thom Knoles

Few countries match India for its vast variety of people, cultures, languages, and of course, styles of cuisine.

While most of us appreciate different aspects of this vast and colorful nation, few of us have a worthy appreciation of the role India has played in shaping civilizations outside of India. 

Many languages have an ancestral relationship with Sanskrit, the original spoken language of India. Vedic astrologers were centuries ahead of their European counterparts when it came to understanding the movement of celestial objects. 

India played a pivotal role in shaping the way we use numbers, being among the first (if not the first) to introduce zero as a number. And many modern myths and legends can be traced back to Vedic literature.

While it would take multiple series of documentaries to celebrate the ancient Indian influence on modern life, in this episode Thom celebrates the most crucial contribution India has made, and preserved, over the centuries. It’s an influence that continues to play a crucial role today, and will do so for millenia to come.

If you’d like to experience India first hand with Thom, he invites you to join him on his annual retreat, held in January each year. Visit for more information.

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Episode Highlights


Untouched for Millenia



The Pioneers of Neolithic Living



The Art of Questioning Consciousness



The Discovery of Turiya: Fourth State of Consciousness



The Veda and Vedic Civilization



The Expansion of Consciousness States



India’s Resilience Against Invasions



Global Hub for Consciousness Exploration


Jai Guru Deva


India – The Cradle of Civilization

[00:45] Untouched for Millenia

Jai Guru Deva. This is Thom Knoles and this is my podcast, The Vedic Worldview.

India, land of mysticism. India. The home of knowledge, the cradle of civilization. India.

In its own terms, by its own language. India is referred to by the name Bharata, B-H-A-R-A-T, with an a on the end, but it’s silent. Bharata.

Bharata is a very interesting place indeed. This subcontinent of India, for thousands of years was able to grow a rich civilization without interruption from outside invasions. It has a geological blessing, or a series of blessings.

The first of these is that over the roof of India, that is to say to the north of India, in far-north India, north of the borders of modern-day India, lie the Himalayan Ranges, as we know, the largest mountains on earth, impenetrable by any army.

And so, although people knew that India existed, to go down to India from the rest of Asia and invade the place was a major, major undertaking. Though India is surrounded on three sides by ocean and accessible by sea, in the years, in the millenia, during its uninterrupted building of its civilization, India was beyond the reach of navies because there was no sophisticated naval shipping of troops.

And so India, bottom line of this discussion, had this great opportunity to get to know itself free of outside influences and invasions for, arguably, thousands of years.

[03:00] The Pioneers of Neolithic Living

This gave India a rich and deep culture, and it gave Indians, who were amongst the first, anthropologically, of humans to embrace agriculture, to end the constant movement of the paleolithic population.

The commencement of neolithic living, paleo means old, and lithic means stone, so the old stone age, and neolithic, means the new stone age, where people began to settle down.

Instead of chasing the game and chasing the seasons and the fruits on the trees and other things that grew out of the earth, people settled down and began growing those things for themselves.

Growing, through husbandry, animal products, and wool, began clothing themselves with wool instead of with just animal skins. So that the same sheep who produced wool one year would be there the next year to produce wool for you again, because you didn’t have to kill it and strip it of its skin.

It was a mutual cooperative enterprise between the humans and the sheep, and the goats, and India was one of the pioneers of neolithic living. And when you have people engaging in agriculture, then production of food becomes a specialty of farmers, and it means that not everybody has to go hunting and gathering.

[04:38] The Art of Questioning Consciousness

And that means that people, certain people, are allowed to settle down and will be fed, because they can settle down and specialize in very specialized arts. And the one art that Indians are famous for having specialized in, is the art of asking the question, “What is consciousness?”

What is consciousness? This thing that we possess? The ability to be aware of being aware, the ability to be aware and to draw upon one’s inner experiences and then, through speech, to express those. And then what are the layers of consciousness? The levels of consciousness?

And so the discovery of there being seven states of consciousness. The waking state with its repertoire. The sleeping state with its relatively narrow repertoire. The dream state with its illusory repertoire and not just stopping there. Those are only the first three relative states of consciousness.

It was the Indians who discovered there is a fourth state called Turiya. Turiya, it literally means in Sanskrit, which was the ancient language of the Indian subcontinent in those times, thousands of years ago. We’re talking up to 10,000 years ago.

That Turiya, the fourth state was a wakeful, hypometabolic, meaning low-metabolic rate state, highly-rested state, but one that was accompanied by wakefulness, where the mind went beyond thought but retained consciousness. The mind was conscious without thinking, so that consciousness could experience its own nature. Consciousness could experience consciousness itself, and a great discovery was made from this.

[06:49] The Discovery of Turiya: Fourth State of Consciousness

The discovery of Turiya was the discovery of human access to the Unified Field of consciousness. That fourth state, that non-waking, non-dreaming, non-sleeping state, which we practice when we practice Vedic Meditation, gives us the ability to explore and experience, what is the nature of consciousness when it’s entirely still?

And it turns out that it’s nature is that it is unbounded. It is not merely one’s own personalized experience of Being, that means silent without thinking, but when experienced, one is experiencing the baseline of all things, the home of all the laws of Nature. One is experiencing the home of all knowledge.

One is discovering that embedded in the consciousness field is knowledge itself. Knowledge about how everything evolves, the mechanisms of evolution. What is it that makes the entire universe tick?

And so the ability to actually become knowledgeable on a basis of pure subjectivity, to be in possession of the answer book, that encyclopedic knowledge that can emerge from the consciousness state itself without having to read an encyclopedia first.

With the discovery of the fourth state, the practice of Vedic Meditation began.

In fact, the discovery of the Veda itself, by humans, first happened in India. Veda means the knowledge that’s embedded in the silent consciousness field. This was first discovered in India and this then gave rise to a Vedic civilization.

[08:59] The Veda and Vedic Civilization

A civilization that was in orbit around experiences of ecstasy, experiences of consciousness in its least-excited state, experiences of going to the field of solutions, of the answers, rather than dwelling in the world of problems, and being able to pull out those solutions, those innovations, those realizations, those inventions and those innovations that could be applied successfully in interaction with the demands of the world.

As the Vedic civilization grew, the word Veda came to be that knowledge which is vibrant inside the Field itself.

And three more consciousness states were discovered. Nitya Samadhi. Samadhi means that state of consciousness, in the fourth state, where you can go beyond thought. Nitya, N-I-T-Y-A means eternal.

It turns out that with regular application of Vedic Meditation, which was discovered in India, the mind can teach the brain how to maintain a fourth state of consciousness simultaneous with waking state, wherein meditation no longer is the sole delivery vehicle of that fourth state.

The fourth state is able to persist with eyes opened outside of meditation during regular meeting of demands of regular waking life. And so a fifth state of consciousness was discovered that, when translated to English, would be Cosmic Consciousness.

Then was discovered another state of consciousness in India, which is India’s great gift to the world. And that is that state of consciousness wherein, living in the fifth state, living in Cosmic Consciousness, one can develop intentionally, amazing super acuity, super-acute sensory perception.

[11:27] The Expansion of Consciousness States

To develop the ability to experience the subtlest in all relative objects. To be able to experience the thematic nature of that which is the first thing to issue forth from the Unified Field. The Unified Field is an unmanifest field at its baseline, and it’s constantly issuing forth all of the objects, forms and phenomena of the world.

Right at the cusp of moving from unmanifest into manifest is a layer that, when experienced sufficiently regularly, one begins to experience as personified. This is the world of beings whose nature is associated with the functioning of the laws of Nature. And so this state is called God Consciousness, the sixth consciousness state.

And then the discovery by the Indians of the ultimate consciousness state, Unity, the seventh state. With further refinement of sensory perception, the ability now, knowing that one, as the Knower, is the Unified Field of consciousness.

Being able to see beyond even the subtlest into the transcendental field of unmanifest nature, in every form and in every phenomenon. Every object and every force is experienced as an extension of one’s own consciousness state. This is called Unity Consciousness and is considered to be the pinnacle of human development.

So when asked, what did the ancient Indians do? Did they build pyramids? Did they create great walls? What did they do? They were the great voyagers of discovery in human consciousness.

[13:45] India’s Resilience Against Invasions

It was ancient Indians who really memorialized and made into a profession, the research into consciousness as a field of all possibilities, made that into a highly-respected profession. And still today in India, there is a hierarchy of people of learning and people of heightened experience.

Someone who has developed the capacity of Unity Consciousness is referred to as a Rishi, R-I-S-H-I. Rishi means a seer. Someone who can see the reality at both ends of it, both extremes of it. Knowledge of the Knower, so, knowledge of what I am in my ultimate status, and knowledge of the Known at its supreme level. Knower and Known both being experienced to their highest level of reality.

This is a Rishi, and in India still today, even after eventually hoards broke through from the northern regions, north of the Himalayas, and made their way through the Khyber Pass, in Afghanistan, and then made their way from there across into India and invaded the place and took over and attempted to destroy the Vedic worldview and the Vedic way of civilization, the Moghul invasion, and India managed to digest all of that.

It managed to metabolize it, managed to assimilate and still retain, and with a greater richness of that outside spice, managed to retain its Vedic structure.

Next came the great invasion by the British, and for about 247 years, the British had attempted to turn India into one of its major assets of its empire.

[16:00] Global Hub for Consciousness Exploration

And then India demonstrated to the world that it’s possible to create a revolution in consciousness, in which those who are your colonizers volunteer to leave you, and do so without you having to fight a war to achieve it. This was another of India’s great gifts to the world; knowledge of how to shake off an oppressive colonial force without having to go into battle to do so, to have them actually volunteer to leave.

And this happened in the 1940s, but it took decades for it to graduate to that, but led by great people. Among them, Mahatma Gandhi, a great subscriber to the Vedic worldview, and his followers, most of whom were also followers of my teacher’s teacher, Guru Deva. Guru Deva, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who was the King of the Yogis of North India, the master of all the rishis of India, was a mentor to most of Mahatma Gandhi’s advisors and workers.

So India. A very unique country in many respects, still in a learning curve of its emergence from colonialism. In this particular case, the colonialism of the United Kingdom, which divided the country into three countries; Bangladesh, originally known as East Pakistan, and Pakistan, originally known as West Pakistan, and now India, in the center of it.

Nonetheless, even with all of the challenges of its post-colonial period, India is still today emerging as a leader in the field of consciousness and investigation into consciousness as a field of all possibilities, so that life can be lived in fulfillment by all of those who learn the technologies of consciousness.

Those technologies of consciousness include and have as their crest jewel, Vedic Meditation, the greatest product that ever came out of India, Vedic Meditation.

Jai Guru Deva..

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