Abstract of Two Important Talks by Rajiv Malhotra This Month

Rajiv Malhotra is currently in India addressing more than thirty talks, workshops, and discussions of various kinds. Given below is the abstract of two talks this month that is being delivered to extremely important audiences.


Rajiv Malhotra is a US based researcher and author on the subject of Indian civilization and its place in the world, especially as seen through the lenses of history, politics, religion and philosophy. Prior to this, he was in IT and telecom industries where he held positions as corporate executive, management consultant, and finally as entrepreneur owning companies in over 20 countries. He took early retirement in 1995 at age 44 and established Infinity Foundation in Princeton, USA, which is a think tank focused on the representation of Indian civilization in academics, media, education and public affairs. He has authored the following three books recently:

Breaking India (Amaryllis, 2011)
Being Different (Harpercollins, 2011)
Indra's Net (Harpercollins, 2014)

Additionally, he has been the chief protagonist in several other books, and is actively blogging on Huffington Post among other forums. He has a prominent presence in social media, and he frequently goes on lecture tours of USA and India.

The Philosophical Unity of India

I will draw on my three books to discuss the issues of India's unity in the context of the geopolitical encounter of civilizations. A country's unity could be based on many kinds of glues. Japan, for instance, has a homogeneous racial/ethnic foundation; China has Mandarin as a common language (though it was imposed over a previously diverse linguistic geography some centuries back); France considers French an important asset in creating the sense of nationhood. USA has a powerful belief in its "exceptionalism" rooted in a deep sense of history. Major nations invest hugely in nurturing a grand narrative of their history as the bond among citizens. Given the immense diversity among Indians in their regional histories and languages, what are the major bonds that can hold the nation together? Indian leaders have often tended to define pragmatic interests such as economic development as sufficient for such a grand narrative of nation. Secularism (itself an import from Europe where it emerged as an antidote to heavy handed Christian exclusivity in governance) is seen as the defining Indian narrative. But secularism is not specific to any particular people and nor is economic prosperity. The national narrative needs pride, a shared sense of historical greatness, and philosophical ideals that under-grid the diverse cultures on the surface. My research proposes that while many factors are important, India must better appreciate its deep rooted philosophy as a core unifying factor. The book "Breaking India" explained threats to the unity of Indian identity stemming from certain powerful foreign nexuses in league with their supporters inside India. The next book, "Being Different" showed why our distinction from other civilizations matters, and what some of the key elements of difference are. My most recent book, "Indra's Net", being released during my visit this month, takes the threats and my solutions to them further. It explains how the philosophical unity of Indian thought is being attacked in a very sophisticated manner and how this has taken root within India's own intellectual circles. It provides a rejoinder to claims that India had no pre-British sense of a common philosophical base. It argues systematically against allegations that a spiritual/dharmic sense of unity was artificially created by Swami Vivekananda under British influence. This book links philosophy, history and contemporary politics. Hence this argument is relevant in today's public debates on who we Indians are, though I have not seen the media take up these ideas in the same way. Many of my ideas are disruptive of the prevailing discourse on the nation, the intent being to influence the future trajectory.

Why are Hindus Celebrating the Digestion of Hinduism? - Part 2

This is the latest in our series of blogs dealing with the problem of digestion of Hinduism, which is quite different from both inclusivism and conversion to Abrahamic faiths. For example, in Kerala, the digestion of many aspects of Hinduism in general, and the festival of Onam, in particular have been covered in the last few days. This post is part of the discussion on Phil Goldberg's 'American Veda' has been shown to be an example of this problem. You can find Part-1 of the current discussion here. However, many Hindus live in denial for a variety of reasons. You can find the first set of posts in 2012 on Goldberg's American Veda: Analysis-2 that summarizes the first set of feedback on AV is here, and Analysis-1, is the very first summary, where AV was introduced to the forum, and shows Goldberg's attempted defence of his work.

There are several other dicussions of 'digestion' in the forum that can be accessed by clicking the keyword. Another external blog that was among the very first to comment on AV is the 'Digesting Veda blog'. 

For those who want to get the full details on digestion of Hinduism, the links (total of 9 posts) provided above can be traversed in the following order:
1. Familiarize yourself with digestion activities in Kerala
2. Understand how digestion differs from both inclusivism and conversion  
3. American Veda: start with the DigestingVeda blog 
4. Then read Analysis-1 and Analysis-2
5. Read Part-1 and Part-2 of the current discussion on how American Veda is being supported by Hindu intellectuals (this one and the previous one)
6. Examine other discussions of digestion in the forum. 
7. Don't stop there! Blog, discuss and educate others about this serious problem.

In Part-2 of our current discussion below, we examine the foreword and contents of Phil Goldberg's book 'American Veda' shared in this blog, and then see how Hindu intellectuals respond to it.

Inside the 'American Veda' - celebration of uturners
Subra shares: "...  Just the first 25 pages. We can see the shoddy scholarship, the Sanskrit mistranslations being used to set the stage for digestion, the reductionism, and the justification for digestion. Once this is done, the remaining chapters celebrates one u-turner after another..."

Rajiv responds:
"Thanks for a good analysis. People who are in doubt should read the analysis:

It is sad how many so-called supporters of our cause failed to understand digestion at work, and went around proudly promoting the author. One such man called me... to say: "What if we get him to state he is against the Aryan theory and against missionaries"? I told this man he does not understand digestion. It is not about being against missionaries, being against Aryan theory, and so forth.

If a thief is taking your assets and digesting them by characterizing them as belonging to others, does it help you because he praises your home, expresses anger at some of your opponents, etc and other unrelated things.


These people among us are so STUPID and ignorant of our own history where we have seen so many westerners support us, praise us, etc precisely to dupe such IDIOTS. By now we ought to have no more fools but sadly we do.

I am confident I can get a statement from Witzel opposing missionaries. In fact he told me as such in person many years ago. But is that the issue???

Can Hinduism be rescued by a bandwagon of fools, who are easily swayed, lazy to read and understand issues, and in awe of someone supporting them with glamor.

I hope people who have promoted his works will now do penance by promoting the link above with greater enthusiasm."
Aditya has a useful suggestion:
"... Does anyone want in this group want to write an "alternative" review for AV on Amazon with a mention of "Being Different" as a book to read?

...  for someone who has [read the book], this would be one small step in the right direction."

css shares feedback from another person who disagreed that 'American Veda is digestion'. Please read the details in the forum. We only provide a gist of the arguments here:
1. He acknowledges the impact of Indian spirituality on America
2. He is not working on behalf of missionaries
3. He is not a practitioner in the Ken Wilber mould
4. Sloppy scholarship does not prove digestion

Rajiv comment: The above looks at DIRECT digestion only. Does not understand the subtlety and multi layered processes at work. This simplistic view is quiet common and hence I know my work is cut out for me.

PhilG valorizes digesters - he himself does not have to be one. Every digester has a coterie of cheerleaders supporting him, building is brand value, legitimizing him. These cheerleaders might not be smart enough to do the heavy thinking like a digester. They are his support team. PhilG is such a cheerleader. Wilber and Keating are examples of top tier digesters that PhilG celebrates. Good analogies are:

- most sepoys merely suck up to another thinker and hence build brand credibility for a major thinker and are not capable of doing this thinking themselves.

- People in Indian media are supporting X but not doing the nasty things personally that X does. Yet we oppose such media persons. They are part of the entourage of X that makes X important.

The problem .... is that he has not read Keating or Wilber, for example...What he sees is PhilG praising these folks in ways that seem reasonable. This is why incomplete knowledge is dangerous... I have separate volumes in the pipeline on each of these men, along with many others.

The history of PhilG work with me... (Read the original and complete information in the forum).

5) When the book came out I was shocked. He took all my info on the uturners and made them look like heroes. This inverts my thesis. He celebrates the process that I consider a problem...

6) ...PG's book has a couple of pages on me. I am depicted as someone who complains about uturns. He is dismissive of my complaint. He includes me to be able to say "I have already factored what Malhotra has to say". This is a tactic to dispose of a serious issue without properly dealing with it.

....point on PG criticizing missionaries is simply irrelevant. It further shows shallowness of understanding this theater. ...Witzel also opposes proselytizers, and so do most western scholars we fight - Doniger, et al. By the standards of sophisticated western scholars, proselytizing is crude, old fashion, meant for extreme right wing christianity. These folks are liberal left wing and hence anti-proselytizing.

....As I said before: People who digest from the liberal left wing side are not proselytizers or in support of them. For instance, Wilber is too sophisticated to operate at the evangelism level. Nor are any of the neuro-scientists and cognitive scientists appropriating Hindu and Buddhist ideas and practices. ... understand the complexity of liberal/leftist ideas of dharma and not try to collapse all western approaches as proselytizing. (For one thing Jews are not christians or proselytizers and yet many of them are digesters!)

It is sad that while I must invest years of rigor to get one book at a time out, there are "supporters" who cant wait. .... On limited knowledge they align themselves with the very same digesters I spend all my time investigating."


Why are Hindus Celebrating the Digestion of Hinduism? - Part 1

This post was triggered by promotion material for a Phil Goldberg talk that was found on twitter.

Phil Goldberg promotion in India
subra shared a link. 

"...flyer promoted on twitter by a RSS representative

..promotes Mr. Goldberg's 'American Veda', which has been clearly exposed as an attempt to digest Hinduism in this very forum, and \summarized here in two parts: 1, and 2.

Rajiv comment: The sad fact is that most Hindu leaders continue to see digestion as something good happening to Hinduism. This is the next frontier of encounter we must have. It wont be easy as the "good cops" have done a great job winning over large numbers of confused Hindu leaders - political, spiritual, community, etc. I am glad yo brought this up. I am only one voice and others are needed to teach about digestion.
Arora disagrees:
"Phil Goldberg is working in a really positive way and does not at all come across as alarming to an american or western audience. Also, he does not use words like "digestion", as his concern is simply to say what's true without delving into the more controversial areas.

Rajiv comment: Above post does not understand meaning of digestion at all.
(1) Obviously a digestor speaks positively - did you not watch the thread on jesus digestion of dance, yoga, Zee TV video etc? All very positive views on dharma. Did you ever read on good cops?
(2) one not have to use the word "digestion: to be a digestor, any more than a crook does not have to say "crook" to be one.
What ignorance our folks have??? And these are supposed to be shining the light on others. "

Maria adds:
"...Rajivji himself had explained in the beingdifferent forum..:

"WHERE do I stand and gaze at them? How am I different? This is how I got started, and then begins the quest to understand one's difference in a way that is not causing anxiety.

Once difference is clearly anchored (with mutual respect), then the resistance becomes a possibility."

Therefore the NEED of having an indian/hindu or dharmic identity to use as our framework, or even shield for the kurushetra. The lack of this identity is what, IMHO is favoring the different digestión processes. All of us need to ask these questions to ourselves, and get answers that will conform that identity, which has to be strong, firm and self-secure. We have to know who we are and what is our role in this world as hindus/dharmics. "
Rajiv responds:
"An immensely big paradigm is shift required for digestion to be seen as
something harmful

This is why most of our well meaning leaders have difficulty
understanding what digestion means and why its a problem

Only a fraction of the members here understand it deeply, as it obvious
from many posts we find. You can imagine how uninformed most other
persons are.

A big issue is that Hindu leaders imagine they are well informed because
they hang around other "like minded people" and they reinforce each
other into a sense of false reassurance. Actually, these are "like
minded ignorant folks". Very few of them read enough. Most knowledge is
hearsay, old pravachans re-re-re-repeated in every event they go to. The
chelas are blind followers and afraid to point out when the emperor has
no clothes on.

This situation is also why the leaders dont think they need to actually
read what I write, because they are programmed to think that they have
learned everything worthwhile knowing
. They assume some thesis I must be
writing about which is not at all my message in a given book. Also,
those who read one thing I wrote a long time ago assume that everything
I ever write must be a mere restatement of that. As if I am one-track in
my knowledge and interests just as they are.

I never came across a larger number of such ill-informed leaders on the
subject matter that they are leading in. So the task ahead is immense.
But rather than blaming them, its more productive to see them as simply

Notice how many awards, recognitions, grants are being given to scholars
whose work has not been adequately studied by the groups giving these
awards. They base their evaluation on personality and superficial things
like: he talks well and positively about us, does not show any
negativity, means well,better than many others, etc. Leaders are
supposed to be extremely well informed and at a much higher standard.
Sadly, not only the leaders, even their "experts" who brief them are
lazy and un-read...
... They BETTER take the time and get educated thoroughly. This includes anyone who makes decisions on who and what to support with funds, patronage, etc. Most persons supporting such lecture tours and scholars by digesters have NOT read enough about the nature of the digestion problem. Contrast this with seminaries where a minimum Masters Degree is given to any leader employed by a Christian group. In other words, we the civilization of learning have forgotten leadership training - not about slogans and parroting the netas to get ahead."

RS adds:
"The inability of The RSS intelligentsia towards any kind of intellectually rigorous and sophisticated reasoning in countering and responding to leftist-missionary-Marxist propaganda has been nicely unravelled and exposed in [Koenraad Elst's] book "Decolonising The Hindu Mind". 
[picture link is Amazon.com]
I believe multiple copies of BD/Vibhinnata need to be distributed to every RSS shakha along the length and breadth of this country so the next generation of RSS leadership acquires the conviction of RM's position, arguments and stance on these matters." 
Aditya adds:
"... an extremely important point that all Hindus should be aware of. Digesters are not going to admit to digesting, not going to admit to appropriating another culture, not going to admit to do anything "bad." To them, there simply isn't a problem. In fact, digesters actually think that not "digesting" (they won't use this term obviously) is a bad thing since they believe they are promoting various principles found in Hinduism.

If Hindus also do not think there is a problem, they are implicitly aiding the digesters.

This attitude of not thinking there is a problem must stop. The sooner, the better. Hindus need to stop allowing themselves be duped by all the "nice" and "polite" forms this digestion takes form and to recognize it for what it is.

Once Hindus start acknowledging the problem, then this itself is a lot of progress (though not enough). The next logical step is then to begin counter-efforts against the digestion and the digesters."
[at this point, there are some comments from folks still utterly clueless about digestion. We'll leave those out since I'm blowing a couple of valves myself reading that]
Rajiv Malhotra who discovered and coined the word 'digestion' has the final word in this post.
"...My sense is that Indians are addicted to a dependency to "feel good" about themselves in order to counteract some deep complex/self doubt. Hence there is refusal to acknowledge a problem, because that disrupts the "feel good" zone - almost like some intoxicant.

Such people not only fail to engage in constructive problem solving, they also are vulnerable to being easily manipulated by someone who knows how to push their "feel good" buttons. This is why a crowd throngs to hear a white scholar who will tell them great things about themselves. There is some sort of psychological condition here.

This discussion continues into Part-2.

What are the differences between Digestion and Conversion?

This is another very important post in the series on 'digestion. Here we examine the difference between the differences between digesting Hinduism versus converting Hindus to some Abrahamic religion.
November 2013
None in US will support Missionaries' conversions in India
Raghav started this thread by sharing a link and commenting:
The following was posted on an another e-group (Hindu Civilization). The good cop's assurance is what I see here. Mr. Goldberg might have overlooked Rajiv Ji's 'Breaking India'

'None in US will support Missionaries' conversion activities in India', says Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda

Rajiv comment: Jews are active digesters though they dont convert. Most Christian digesters are liberal, left wingers who hate missionaries. They reject Christianity and the digestion is into WESTERN SECULARISM/SCIENCE.
Will I see the day when our folks do not think of every problematic person as christian missionary? On the one hand our folks are seriously troubled by the LEFT and yet they confuse them all as missionaries. If YOU read BI (forget whether Goldberg read it; did YOU read it?) you ought to notice the clear emphasis that leftwing and rightwing threats are DIFFERENT. If so, why is it a big deal for a leftwing to certify that he hates missionaries???

...All that someone has to do to get certified by morons is to decry missionaries.

To make it simple again: If you want to eat and digest food you do not reject it, do you? You LOVE it. Thats digestor mindset = love for Hinduism as food to be digested.

On the contrary, if you are a missionary you propagate REJECTING it. Can you please see these are OPPOSITES and yet each is harming us?

Another attempt: Missionary teaches repulsion for it. Digestor teaches love for it as food. The Christian Yoga promoters LOVE yoga, not hate it."

Neeraj asks:
"... when the digester is assimilating [Yoga], he is branding it as Christian Yoga and not something neutral like holistic yoga or secular yoga. If the digester is leftist, then his/her hatred for christianity would push him to do so. Wouldn't it?

Rajiv comment: The digester will repackage it (i.e. digest) into whatever western framework he subscribes to. This means there are as many varieties of digestion as there are varieties of predators..Specifically, the following is a partial list of western digesters:

1) Christians who will turn it into a part of christianity.

2) Hard material scientists turn it into secular science.

3) Post-modernists will show that it is generic and same in every culture.

4) Indians into Dalitstan/Dravidstan will show that whatever is good about it belonged to pre-Aryan people who are now the dalits/dravidians. Whatever is wrong with it was a contamination by later aryans turned into brahmins.

5) Islamic scholars will show it was always part of islam.

I am aghast at the trivial/superficial capacity of our so-called thought leaders. They have still not understood the following:

- the difference between hinduism haters and hinduism digesters (and some who combine both).

- the difference between several kinds of digesters, as illustrated above.

- the public postures of good cop and bad cop, which can hide the private agendas of hater or digester.
I got calls and private emails from Hindus claiming victory that a digester touring India was speaking against missionaries, hence he is good for us!!!  
What a bunch of murukha (idiots).
Harish summarizes: "...digestion means "loving" and conversion means "rejecting". I really appreciate Rajiv ji's clarity of thought."

Rajiv comment: "Digesting is deadly love. I love you in such a way that you turn into my property and lose your self existence. When I see a delicious dish I appreciate it and praise it. A stupid deer would go around saying "he loves me and invited me to his dinner table".
What makes digestion far more dangerous is that it occurs over a long time. The digestion tract takes time to suck out the nutrients and expel what's waste. So fools being digested go around dancing with glee that the predator is being so nice to them."
Srinath makes an interesting observation:
"Aren't both digestion and conversion observed in varying degrees across the WU power spectrum...  Missionaries reject, convert, and subjugate for the most part but also engage in stealth digestion.  Examples from pagan Europe abound. The Scientists on the other hand while being "uber" predators - also negate other sources of intelligence, suppress independence with groupism, etc.  For sure digestion is the killer app because it can be resorted to with subterfuge when heavy handedness isn't yielding the highest return.  I see this mix of digest/convert between let's say, Akbar and Aurangzeb.  Neither of them were 100% in one area but even within their lifetimes the pendulum swung slightly this way or that depending on the political landscape."

Rajiv comment: "Yes. This is how I have explained these. Its about time our members got beyond the basics and started going further. We cannot afford to come back to ground zero every few weeks and repeat the same basics."

Can the Yogic experience be replicated using psychedelics?

Commentators debate this interesting question. The answer is a 'no' from every commentator, but each offers slightly different reasons. What do you think?
November 2013
Spiritual experience due to psychedelics
Vijaya comments:
"there was a discussion in this forum (why mantra cannot be performed by a machine) regarding the attempt to replace living pandits with devices like Ipod to chant sanskrit mantras. Similarly, isn't there a possibility to reduce the spiritual experience gained through meditation/Yoga to the experience due to psychedelics and eventually replace meditation/sadhana with psychedelics?
Sam Harris in his Huffpost blog seem to equate the experience due to the ingestion of psychedelics like LSD and spiritual experience gained through meditation, although he is cautious about the former.


"...it cannot be denied that psychedelics are a uniquely potent means of altering consciousness. If a person learns to meditate, pray, chant, do yoga, etc., there is no guarantee that anything will happen. Depending on his aptitude, interest, etc., boredom could be the only reward for his efforts. If, however, a person ingests 100 micrograms of LSD, what will happen next will depend on a variety of factors, but there is absolutely no question that something will happen. And boredom is simply not in the cards. ...It is, however, a difference that brings with it certain liabilities."

This approach presupposes the material nature of our consciousness as opposed to the dharmic position of many layers of reality. Also, it separates the metaphysics of objective outer cosmos and the subjective inner consciousness, which is antithetical to integral unity."

Maria responds:
"Very interesting post, specially your conclusion. Many of these western scientifics, whose scientific knowledge I don´t doubt, but have a very limited vision influenced by subtle abrahamic ideas like only one life. Their potential as researchers is very much limited, provided that they cannot help but associating mind to the brain, and the end of everything with the death. If they could go further, see the implications into the world of samskaras and vasanas brought from life to life, how would they explain it? There would be a revolution in their own minds. Like they cannot afford going further, they end up relating every spiritual experience as provided by the brain. As a material effect of a material cause, that´s all. Instead of seeing that the brain could be a material tool in the hands of an spiritual consciousness. I think that is why many western scientific become atheists..."

Prasad responds to the previous two posts:
"... the dharmic position of many layers of reality is nothing more than another "unfalsifiable presupposition" from a scientific point of view. I am not aware of any evidence through neuroscience which requires any neuroscientist to consider a Dharmic view of many layers of reality as a scientific theory or position. Thus, there is no reason also for scientists to presuppose anything of the sort of a divide between what is the cosmos and what is inner consciousness. The duality between mind and body(brain) is not a chief concern for neuroscience as far as I know, since there is no scientific evidence as such for any mind separate from a body.

...Guys like Sam Harris have spent a llllong time trying to study Dharmic positions like those in Buddhism and also Advaita Vedanta. It is not their influence by subtle abrahamic ideas that they stick they to their claims. Please try to understand the methodology of science before commenting on scientists and their "biased" worldviews. Science does not proceed by handwaving or by unfalsifiable theories. It proceeds by rigorous evidence. So in order for a neuroscientist to seriously consider the dualistic claim (i.e. there is a body separate from a mind), an experiment has to be first described which can show whether the claim is true or not. In other words, see what Harris says - 
- So I would opine that the scientific community (which now includes almost all of humanity) would not be doing science by assuming a duality between a body and mind and then working from such an assumption to discover truths about the mind.

Now let me come to how a response can still be made in the lines of Rajivji's ideas of "being different".

First of all, it is simply a narrow view to treat mind-altering drugs and meditation (which I will now call dhyAnA, identifying it as a step in Patanjali's ashtAnga yoga scheme) on the same lines, i.e., as a means to effect changes in the mental states (I am purposefully not calling these "states of consciousness" because of my Advaitic leaning that the mind is different from the Atman, which is the Original Consciousness). Sam Harris' claim is that both can effect changes in the mental states. According to my understanding, in Yoga/VedAntA and other indian darshaNAs, the purpose of dhyAnA is not just about altering your mind-states during the time of meditation. Instead, the main purpose of dhyAna is to effect the triumph of one's will over the constantly drifting/changing mind...

In the same way, a yogi who practises dhyAna according to the Indian traditional darshana's need not have all the kinds of experiences or mental states that Harris is talking about. However, over time, he/she will gain the strength of mental will to concentrate on any particular object. This one-pointedness of mind which one gains is called "chitta-ekAgrata" in some traditions. The supporting factors to doing proper dhyAna and achieving its intended results include living a life of ethical and moral values and having devotional mindset (roughly, yamA and niyamA - the first two steps of ashtAnga yogA), sitting for dhyAna in correct physical posture (Asana - 3rd stage), prANAyamA (the 4th stage, learning to breathe properly prior to dhyAnA), restricting one's diet to saatvic food and restricting one's mental diet to saatvic imagery/sounds/ etc (pratyAhArA). Only after all these stages can dhyAnA be done properly and will bear the appropriate fruit. This is what the Indian Yogic traditions say, as far as I know. This is why the so-called meditation does NOT work for everyone and anyone. It is like taking a medicine without observing the appropriate dietary restrictions for it to work, and then claiming that the medicine doesn't work!..."
Vijaya responds:
"...My point is that science has a reductive approach to consciousness as BD explains (Page 104),

"...the Western scientific tradition has been reductionist rather than integral. Reductionism attempts to explain wholes in terms of their parts. This works, to a large extent, in ways that are practical, and hence modern science has made major contribtions to our lives using this principle.

The unity assumed in most of the dharmic traditions is a unity of consciousness. Western scientists and philosophers often ask how consciousness can arise from the chemistry of the brain. In the Indian tradition, we find the reverse problem. Absolute consciousness is understood to be the source of everything. The challenge is to understand the ordinary world of multiplicity."

Even your definition of dhyana "to effect the triumph of one's will over the constantly drifting/changing mind",  is also another mental state with a different/dynamic biochemical composition, according to neuroscience. So why to do all the tough sadhanas? We can put our efforts in producing drugs that will give an 'enlightened state' and distribute them to all?

This is not philosophically possible from the viewpoint of vedanta. The 'turiya' state which is the self and the pure consciousness is not a state of mind but is the whole essence of other three states, waking (jågrat), dream (svapna) and deep sleep (susupti). So the self transcends the other three states. The knowledge of neuroscience(and even the world) which is in realm of the waking state is limited and it cant find ways to reach a state that transcends it.

Another important point neuroscientists like Sam Harris make is that such altered mental states of mind do not represents reality by any means. This is in line with the basic axiom of science, the objective existence of the universe.

A Sadhaka in dharma religions does not need to start with such an axiom. That's why realised sages from Ashtavakra to Ramana maharishi describe enlightenment with analogy of 'waking up from the dream'. So a sage indeed perceives a different reality. That's why I mentioned different layers of reality.

Finally, there is more to dharma than the reductionist scientific methods. Dharma traditions take a nuanced approach to one of the pramana (epistemic tool), Sabda, the verbal testimony. The words of a realised Yogi which becomes smriti, is accepted and followed if it agrees with Sruti. This is why we have guru sishya traditions which help seekers in their spiritual quest. "  
This discussion is not over. If you have addition insights on this topic to share, please join the discussion group and contribute.

Rajiv Malhotra Resource Repository

We will try to summarize the links to Rajiv Malhotra's works here. This is a work in progress. Feel free to submit new links via comments and I will add to this repository.

Last update: February 26, 2014.