Self Organized Criticality in life

Human nature, according to the Bhagwad Gita, is controlled by three qualities: Sattva, rajas and tamas signifying goodness, passion and illusion. The soul, which is invisible and incomprehensible to materials nature, apparently manifests through these qualities. By nature, a saatvik person is active, a rajasik person is good and tamasic is an ignorant person.

The saatvik person is identified by purity, transparency, stability and calmness of mind. We associate a kind of aura with this nature, which illuminates the world by knowledge and truthfulness. A rajasik person is identified by his passion. Desire for fruits of action and addiction to the fruits thus obtained, make a rajasik person dynamic, excited and action-oriented. A tamasik person suffers illusion and this  make him lazy, drowsy and ignorant.

 In science, materials qualities can also be identified, likewise, by these natures.  Sattva stands for purity, equilibrium or stress-free state, lustre, luminosity, order and stability of matter. Motion, energy and excitations are the rajasik qualities of matter. Finally, the tamasik qualities of matter are its inertia, disorder, chaos, darkness and instability.

 Thereby, materials nature is identified by concepts borrowed from Indic philosophy, particularly the 14th chapter of the Gita. Perhaps we can apply scientific nomenclatures to describe philosophic attributes.

 Currently, multiferroics is an active branch of research in physics and materials science.  It deals with three kinds of properties, namely, ferromagnetism, ferroelectrics and ferroelasticity. The prefix “ferro” in each case represents order. Thus, these three types exhibit spontaneous order, respectively, in magnetism, electrical polarisation and mechanical strain. While different materials exhibit different kinds of order, there is a fervent search to look for all or more than one order in the same material.  In the human world, it is equivalent to finding a multifaceted personality, having multiple traits in an indiviudal.

 In the 16th chapter of the Gita, Krishna describes the classification of human nature in terms of divinity and demoniacs. Divinity in a man results in fearlessness, mental clarity, commitment to knowledge, tendency for sacrifice and meditation, simplicity, non-violence, truthfulness, free from anger, and is of peaceful mind, tolerant, kind, charitable and free from greed. He is also illumined, forgiving, soft, and with internal and external purity. Even one of these traits is enough to establish order. More than one can enhance the order by several orders of magnitude. The process is reversible. These traits in turn can establish divinity in man.

 On the other hand, the demoniac nature leads one to arrogance, pride, intolerance, anger, cruelty and ignorance. Divinity leads one to enlightenment and ultimate liberation and demoniac nature to bondage. The divine believe in a “Paramatma” or Invisible Providence and attribute everything to it. The demoniacs, devoid of faith, pronounce that the world is created out of lust. All their activities are aimed in the destruction of righteousness and order.


 Whether in mythology or history, there is always conflict between the two natures. Unrighteous and demoniac people are intolerant of sattva- inspired virtuous people and try to harm them. They create discord and chaos in society. Puranas like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata depict in detail these conflicts. The conflicts end invariably and rightly with the victory of divinity over the demoniac. It happens because, when chaos resulting from demoniac activities reaches a critical point, a mechanism emerges from within the system, which restores order. In science it is termed as self-organised criticality.


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