This post discusses the relevance of the idea of “gross” and “subtle” matter in Sāńkhya to the problems of prediction in quantum theory, highlighting the solution using everyday examples. I also discuss how the attempts to divorce “gross” and “subtle” matter, or reduce “subtle” matter to “gross” matter, lead to the widespread proliferation of alternate “spiritualities”, which are thriving on the misconceptions about the quantum problem: wherever you look, you can find impersonalistic or voidistic “spirituality” based on a flawed interpretation of the quantum phenomena. The post discusses why a solution to this problem based on Sāńkhya would not only produce a scientific theory and advance science to a newer understanding of matter, but also show why such alternative “spiritualities” are nothing but flawed conceptions about consciousness.
Descartes created the mind-body divide and claimed these to be two different substances—the extended substance (res extensa) and the thinking substance (res cogitans). However, with the progress in science (and attempts to subsume thinking under matter), the distinction between mind and body gets hazier by the day. What is the difference between matter and spirit, if any at all?
In the Srimad Bhagavatam, a Vedic literature widely regarded as the culmination of Vedanta (which is in itself considered the conclusion of all knowledge), Sage Kapila elaborates the Sankhya theory of material nature to his mother Devahuti and concludes (SB 3.32.32):
Philosophical research culminates in understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After achieving this understanding, when one becomes free from the material modes of nature, he attains the stage of devotional service. Either by devotional service directly or by philosophical research, one has to find the same destination, which is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.