Vimal, R. L. P. (2015). Meanings attributed to the term ‘Spirituality’ and Science underlying it: extended Dual-Aspect Monism.


Spirituality (आध्यात्मिकता: Ādhyayātmiktā), as self-transcendence (self-forgetfulness, transpersonal identification, and mysticism), started in northwest Indian subcontinent during the Indus Valley Civilization since Rig-Vedic period (astronomical-sky-view 8000-4000 BC).

There are over 55 meanings attributed to the term ‘spirituality’, which were categorized in two groups: religion-based and science-based spirituality. Any person (theists, atheists, agnostics, humanists, hedonists, and so on) can be spiritual.

Science is based on materialism metaphysics (foundation): non-mental matter is fundamental and mind somehow emerges from it, which is close to eastern Cārvāka/Lokāyata view. However, religion is based on (a) idealism: non-material mind is fundamental and matter-in-itself somehow congeals from it, which is close to eastern Advaita, and/or (b) interactive substance dualism: both matter and mind are fundamental but they can interact, which is close to eastern Prakti (matter) and Purua (mind) of khya metaphysics.

Thus, the metaphysics of (a) science and science-based spirituality and (b) religion and religion-based spirituality seem to contradict each other. In addition, these three metaphysics have serious problems, such as an explanatory gap problem in materialism and idealism, and thee association problem in interactive substance dualism. We propose the least problematic five-component extended dual-aspect monism (eDAM, Dvi-Paka Advaita) framework, which addresses the contradiction, addresses the problems of other metaphysics, and brings science, religion, and spirituality closer.

Spirituality is defined as an experiential sub-aspect of consciousness, which is the mental-aspect of a transcendental (spiritual) state of a mind-brain system or that of a brain-process (interacting with its environment), from the first-person perspective (1pp). The environment can include other mind-brain systems, and living and non-living systems. The spirituality or self-transcendence has three components: self-forgetfulness, transpersonal identification, and mysticism. Spirituality can be measured subjectively using a self-transcendence scale. Its inseparable physical aspect from third person perspective (3pp) is related neural-network and its activities, which can be measured using objective method such as functional MRI.

Furthermore, religion has health benefits but also has problems; spirituality has mostly benefits but also has some concerns for those spirituals who believe in problematic metaphysics.

The western/scientific term ‘mind’ is different from eastern term ‘manas’ or ‘mana’, which is a subtle matter, the central processor, and is liaison between Purua and Prakti. As per Rao (1998), “The manas is the central processor which selectively reflects on the material provided by the senses and determines its character by assimilation and discrimination” (p.319).


[1] Vimal, R. L. P. (2015). Meanings attributed to the term ‘Spirituality’ and Science underlying it: extended Dual-Aspect Monism. Vision Research Institute: Living Vision and Consciousness Research  [Available: updated version:] Added to Research Gate: 2015-10-04; DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3689.0326, 7(5), 1-36.


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