the reading my favorite Indian writer, Abhinavagupta. There’s some very suggestive evidence that this line of reasoning is probably accurate. So Abhinavagupta, that his works, he ranked all the various bodily senses in a hierarchy and of course for him, like the hierarchy means the best is to be like closest to pure consciousness. So, he says the inner touch is the most subtle of all the senses and in India like if it’s more subtle is very good. If it’s gross cool like, it’s okay, but like you want to be very special, it needs to be very subtle. So he says the inner touch is the most subtle of all the senses and he says it’s the closest to pure consciousness, which is, what is like, his kind of goal of all this practice was go to pure consciousness and this is a map of something called the Brainstem, which is kind of, in the back of the brain. It is the most important part of the brain, kind of called the lizard brain, is very old, and that’s where all the structures which support consciousness live.
So what’s interesting here is that I actually load a review paper on the brainstem, like how it works and emotions, what’s interesting here is that the interoceptive system which is like the sensations from the internal organs and heart and all that, they actually project very closely to the structures in the brainstem which support consciousness and arousal and this is not true for other senses like vision or hearing. They are all traveled through that area, but they don’t project as much to those consciousness supporting structures, which is a very fascinating. Did Abhinavagupta at that time through his internal perception kind of, work out this close relationship between these two-part, kind of structures? It could be, and off course Abhinavagupta that as you know is not just a Philosopher, he is also a very big aesthetics guy. He is like written a lot of stuff on art or art of appreciation and his big idea of course that we still talk about is Rasa, which is basically he, he termed it like the way you appreciate an artistic experience and this was an article from several years ago, which is like very prominent in the humanities literature, the aesthetic and the religious Rasasvada and Brahma svada and Kashmir Saivism.
So, for Abhinavagupta the rasa was the taste of an experience, he specifically used this term Rasa, and he says it was at the border between the conceptual world and the concept free ultimate reality or pure consciousness; that was the border – Rasa. That’s why it was so important to him and he says if you went to a show an art exhibition, unless that experience of rasa was felt and legacy got the taste of that art, it wasn’t really like you hadn’t really like experienced it. It wasn’t enough you just went there and kind of went through the motions. It’s something had to happen which you felt like, you were tasting it and again another very fascinating aspect in terms of the inner touch and taste is that, there is this area in the back of the brain called the nucleus of the Tracts solitary or the NTS, where sensory inputs are integrated. The two major sensory inputs are from the body and taste. So it’s very strange like, these sensory inputs of all the various ones could be vision, could be hearing, could be smell., none of those are involved, but taste, and the bodily inputs, the inner touch and taste he rasa and the inner touch are kind of concentrated here, and it’s not just here, from this point onwards everywhere the body maps the internal sensations. It also maps tastes.