On reading DMRSekhar’s ‘Genopsych’

28 Sep

 My friend Dr. DMR Sekhar, sometime back, wrote a learned paper on genopsych. It was a term coined by him (I presume). Genopsych, as I understand, is a hypothetical property that causes disturbance, propels evolution and directs variations in the genome. It has its roots in second law of thermodynamics. It is a rather an unusual interpretation as it involves physics, genetics and philosophy. It is a very daring exploration. Let me admit, I don’t pretend to understand all that has been said in his paper. My academic background is, to say the least, is wafer-thin. Yet I admire it.

What I have written under is neither a comment nor a direct response to the concept of genopsych. It is just a short note of my thoughts on reading Dr.  Sekhar’s article. It is based in my understanding of the concept, as I read the paper. I could be wrong in my understanding.

I am not sure if my note serves any purpose. Yet, I hope it might spur Shri Sekhar to look at the other dimensions of the issue.

A. I read with great interest the article crowded with ideas and concepts. I tried to be focused on Genopsych.

Genopsych, as I understand from Shri Sekhar’s article is that:

  • Genopsych is not physical
  • Genopsych may directly control/operate our behaviour.
  • Our behaviour and many things we do may be attributed to genopsych.
  • Genopsych of all individuals is similar.
  • All living things at genetic level are same.
  • Genopsych undergoes updating and development due to evolutionary reasons.
  • Soul is described to exist without physical body whereas genopsych may not exist unattached to genes.
  • Meditation, it appears , is the advertent way of communication of mind with genopsych.

 As he says, genopsych is not the soul, in the sense it is not the absolute, immutable pure consciousness; nor is it the individual soul jiva either, because the concept of genopsych probably may not allow reincarnation. Yet Genopsych is not dying. There is no death to genopsych along with the body because Genopsych is not physical .And, it continues to survive along the gene flow firmly attached to it; and it controls/operates our behavioural patterns in the next phase of existence too.

Genopsych is not mind, either. What is called as mind is a bunch of thoughts; and has no independent existence. The mind always exists in relation to something gross; it cannot stay alone. When the mind becomes quiet, the world disappears. Sri Ramana says when one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind; the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue).


B. That reminds me of a much discussed concept in Indian thought – both Hindu and Buddhist.

Vasanas are subconscious inclinations, likes and dislikes, which drive habit-patterns or direct ones attitudes. It emanates from every thought, every feeling or every deed that one has done or does. The Vasanas are ego-centric in the sense they are centred on “I”.

In a way of speaking, vasanas are ‘fragrance’ of past experiences, lingering memories.(It is just as a waft of air that  flows over a flower-bed carries along it  the delicate fragrances).  They are the subtle impressions; and their effects are long lasting. When Vasanas manifest as desires, they cause agitations in the mind, and the mind becomes restless until those desires are fulfilled. It is thus the other-side of entropy; it causes disturbance and propels evolution.

It is explained that when the individual jiva departs it takes with it the casual body that is the accumulated vasanas, and gravitate towards a field that is conducive to ones experiences and inclinations (vasanas).

The Buddhist texts say that vasanas are stored in a latent form in “Alaya”, a sort of storehouse, ready to be set in motion. Alaya, impressions stored as a kind of seed, is sometimes known as Bija (memory/sowing seeds). Lankavatara sutra, a renowned Buddhist text, says the world starts from seed-memory retained in the Alaya universal mind. The text asks one to be rid of false memories that impede true perception.

It appears Vasanas are not merely individual memories; they are also collective, experienced by all conscious beings. (I am not quite clear on this)

C. Sri Sankara in his most erudite introduction to Brahma- sutra–bhashya also talks about memories that impede the understanding of the true nature of things. He examines the nature of error that prevents us from experiencing things as they really are; and explains it through the concept of Adhyasa, which means superimposing ones memory previously gained in another place and another time. We tend to recognize or interpret our experiences, sometimes incorrectly, by superimposing our past memories.

At another level, it is said; those memories or impressions, formed are the subtle traces or vasanas of events- not only of the present life but also of events of multiple past lives. They condition our sense and experiences.

Another explanation is that Vasanas are born out of samskaras, the accumulated experiential impressions formed out of our actions. The vasanas (tendencies) in turn, give rise to thought patterns which again lead to attitudes and mental dispositions. These inherent inclinations of the mind are called vritti. The vrittis in their turn influence our actions.

That is, we act as directed by our mind (chitta vritti) to satisfy our desires or inclinations (vasanas) which arose out of the impressions (samskaras) gained out of previous experiences or acts (karma). It is a cycle.

Karma (action) — samskara (impressions)— vasana (tendencies)— chitta vritti (thought patterns) — karma (action)

D. The concept of vasana is also of importance in Yoga psychology. In Patanjali’s text, the term appears to have the meaning ‘Specific subconscious sensations.’ Mircea Eliade in his book Yoga: immortality and freedom interprets the term as ‘states of consciousnesses.

Yoga is the restriction or control of the ‘citta vrittis’, Yogah chittavritti nirodhaha. The chitta vritti perhaps refers to the various modifications or thought-forms. The methods prescribed for evading the grip of the vasanas and to be thought-free, is complex.

E. As I understand, genopsych is a property (vastu-vishesha) and its attributes can be auspicious or otherwise; while Soul is said to be beyond all attributes.  It, therefore, seems to me, the concept of genopsych is closer to that of the casual body (karana-sarira) the carrier of vasanas the accumulated subconscious inclinations, tendencies, rather than to the immutable Soul.

[Please read: Yoga, Immortality and Freedom by Mircea Eliade; Translated by Willard R. Trask; published by Princeton University Press. And, please also check ]


F. Dr. Sekhar also talked about meditation and control of mind; and said meditation appears to be an advertent way of communication of mind with genopsych.

The texts believe that breath is the gross form of mind. And, the exercise of breath-control is regarded an aid to render the mind quiet (mano-nigraha).The practice of breath control or watching over the breath therefore somehow became a part of meditation.

When the breath is controlled the mind becomes quiet; and when the mind becomes quiet the breath is controlled. But mind will be quiet only so long as the breath remains controlled; otherwise, the mind will wander as impelled by residual impressions (vasanas).

That is because the mind is influenced by residual impressions (vasanas).Mind could , therefore, be better directed or controlled by moving away from vasanas – attachments, eschewing  desire and hatred. The real freedom is being free from vasanas the self-centred desires; and, when that happens one could be free from thoughts. That is reversing the trend of vasanas towards low entropy.

One has to move away from vasanas – attachments; and realize ones true nature.

Sri Ramana said, Self is the residue when there is no ego, no attachments (vasanas) and no mind. That is when there is no “I” thought. That is “Silence”.


Posted by on September 28, 2012 in General Interest, Speculation


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17 responses to “On reading DMRSekhar’s ‘Genopsych’

  1. DMR Sekhar

    July 13, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Dear Sreenivasa Rao Sb,

    I am honored by your exploration of genopsych. Genopsych is to genome is as mind to brain. I understand that “genopsych” (self programmability) is one of the primary emergent, properties of the matter in the “living state” while the other two properties are “consciousness” and “internal will/ freewill”. May kindly see this link: and

    DMR Sekhar

  2. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    are vasanas conditioning us all the time.. geno psyche is the preconditioning of the psyche..perhaps
    liked your exprosition,

    • sreenivasaraos

      March 19, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Dear Shri sampath,Thank you for the qucik response.You could be right , I do not know.Shri Sekhar says “genopsych undergoes updating and development due to evolutionary reasons”.That again begs the question.At the end , lets get back to the author.Warm Regards.

  3. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Dear sreenivasarao sb,

    I am honored by this blog of yours. I wish to post a detailed comment some time later. Coming to the evolution of genopsych it is like this. My son is carrying my genes and hence my genopsych at the same time he is carrying the genes and genopsych of his mother also. Hence the genopsych of my son is an evolved version of my genopsych.


  4. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    sreenivasarao Sb,

    your ideas on ” Meditation and Entropy” are picked up by Libb Thims an American Chemical Engineer and the proponent of Human Thermodynamics. Here is the link.


    DMR Sekhar.

  5. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 4:23 pm


    I have to say that:

    [1] Genopsych controls our behavior via brain/mind in other words indirectly. However there are at least two instances where genopsych may be directly controlling our behavior [a] intuition and [b] instinctual behavior.

    [2] As I explained to Ratan Datta Sb, genome [particularly of higher organism] contains more unstable AT nucleotide pairs than stable GC pairs. The situation is similar to water flowing from ground floor to the over head tank upstairs. As you know water flows from over head tank to the ground floor spontaneously where as water can flow from ground floor to over head tank only through a pump or we have to carry it up that is there should be a conscious effort to lift water to the over head tank. Thus there is a conscious effort within the genome that maintains more AT pairs. And it is this genomic consciousness that drove evolution.

    Unfortunately all the western scientists studying consciousness attribute consciousness to the brain processes. Where as the model of genopsych instructs us to think that the origin of consciousness is genome. Genome is present in each cell of our body. Thus consciousness is not local. I think that Jiddu Krishna Murty told that there is no single body part [including the brain] that is responsible for our consciousness.


    DMR Sekhar.

  6. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Dear Sreenivasarao,

    Shri. Sekhar’s genopsych is an interesting idea. There appears to be a non-material cause behind evolution, but it is tough to see this point because of the limitations inherent in discussing non-material concepts. The following line of thought appears promising to establish the reality of ‘genopsych’ or ‘mind’ at the level of genes or even atoms.

    1) We must start with measurable aspects of nature – things that science deal with, because these are things people can agree up on. Subjective experiences, however real they appear, are not very useful to convince the sceptic. Science has helped us to understand evolution of life. This must be the starting point to understand the subjective. Words such as soul, consciousness and mind should not be used to begin with.

    2) Life evolved. How? Why? Standard answers from materialistic science are not acceptable. Why is science suggesting that life is a meaningless accident? Could science be wrong here? I believe it is impossible to answer these questions by taking them head -on (because neodarwinist explanation is a logical black hole), rather we should ask why is the materialist constrained to think this way.

    3) What is science? How did we come to look at nature objectively? After all, no other species on earth do so. How come humans alone have learned this trick? Science (objectivity) must be understood as something that evolved from a primitive, participatory form of existence.

    4) It is useful consider the ‘knower’ as a black box at this point (we cannot talk about mind yet). The knower is something that evolved in nature and its function is to know (objectively). Sir Karl Popper compares human activity of generating objective knowledge to bees producing honey. Knowledge doesn’t ooze out of reality. Human beings work to produce knowledge – like bees producing honey. Sensory inputs goes in, knowledge comes out. We may stick a label ‘knower’ or ‘observer’ on the black box. This will help us to do away with words such as mind and consciousness. Material reality and the observer looking at it – that is all we have to begin with.

    5) Where did the knower come from? Extremely unlikely that it appeared all of a sudden. It must have evolved from something pre-existing. Let us call it ‘Creativity in nature’. Let us see if the whole thing make sense now. The key point is that ‘objective knowing’ became possible only after the ‘knower’ appeared on the scene.

    6) The word ‘I’ in common usage stands for the knower. The real ‘I’ am not a unified whole, but a conglomeration of many entities, with the ‘knower’ leading the pack. Objective thinking has become so dominant in the past 350 years that ‘I’ has become synonymous with its rational part.

    7) Most crucial point in this whole argument is the relationship between ‘knower’ and its source, ‘Creativity in nature’. The very fact that ‘knower’ evolved from ‘creativity’ makes this ‘creativity in nature’ unknowable. It becomes something that cannot be objectively known.

    8) Man fears and distrusts God (or Creativity) because of this fundamental unknowability. Man cannot approach God without ceasing to be himself, without extinguishing the fire of reason burning within him.

    9) Creative evolution manifests as new ways of joyful participation. Physical survival is the most basic creative expression. A range of tools evolved as aids in the journey of creativity. The ‘knower’ is the latest of such tools. It evolved because ‘objective knowing’ is an expression of creativity. God (creativity in nature) made man (knower) to know Itself.

    10) Knowledge has now grown powerful enough to see its own limitation. This is the most urgent task facing man today – realize the true nature of evolution and direct his life based on the principle of creativity that breaths life into this universe.

    Sorry about the length of this comment. I am still struggling to make sense of life and evolution.


    • sreenivasaraos

      March 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Dear Shajan,
      I am aware that the issue being discussed is not simple. One thing is clear to me that evolution is not a spontaneous process as many scientists try to tell. Within next two years I wish to organize a seminar on the non spontaneity of evolution. In the mean time kindly refine your line of thought. Let us hope for a clear answer.
      DMR Sekhar.

    • sreenivasaraos

      March 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Dear Shri shajanm , Thank you for your detailed comment. I appreciate your concern and the line of argument. I am grateful for your considered opinions. Yes, as you said, the genopsych is an interesting idea. It touches upon a number of overlapping areas in physics, psychiatry, genetics and philosophy. There is therefore little chance of a unified theory on this nascent idea. I can, on my part, view the issue from the little I know of Indian thought.

      You referred to the nature of evolution, ‘Creativity in nature’; and mentioned “the most crucial point in this whole argument is the relationship between ‘knower’ and its source, ‘Creativity in nature’. The very fact that ‘knower’ evolved from ‘creativity’ makes this ‘creativity in nature’ unknowable. It becomes something that cannot be objectively known”. I wish you were a bit more articulate on the issue.

      The Indian view tries to explain the cycle of emanation, evolution, sustenance and re-absorption as an infinite process.These are regarded as modes of expression of the universal consciousness. The creative impulse or the impetus for its evolution or expansion is said to be the power of its will (Icccha shakthi).As regards the jnatra (the knower), jnana (the knowledge) and jneya (the known) , it is One, in the ultimate analysis.

      Coming to genopsych, I tend to feel that the idea of genopsych is closer to the concept of vasanas, as I explained. It appears to answer a number of questions relating to genopsych. I understand, Martha McClintock who is engaged in research on the evolutionary basis of human behavior, employs the term ‘vasana’ to explain the subtle unconscious signals ‘pheromones ‘ that regulate human emotions , fertility etc. I am not certain in what context she employed the term and what it actually implies. I think I have consult Shri Sekhar on this.

      Kindly also see the other comments of Shri Sekhar.

      I am aware this debate will remain inconclusive; yet I am glad this issue has generated some discussion, a rare event on Sulekha. Please keep talking. Warm Regards.

      • sreenivasaraos

        March 19, 2015 at 4:26 pm

        Dear Sreenivasarao,

        Thanks for raising this question. Let me try to explain. Kindly point out any flaw in my thought.

        What is this ‘knower’? I believe it is futile to go into the structure of mind or chemical processes in the neurons. We do not know what exactly is ‘mind’ or how chemistry of brain cells translate into something known as ‘mind’. Perhaps the most promising way to understand the ‘knower’ is to study its evolutionary history.

        Evolution is the central fact. Of all forms of life, man alone is capable of objective knowledge (knowledge that can be written down and communicated unambiguously). Subjective knowledge that cannot be written down or represented unambiguously is of little
        value, atleast to begin with. Apes had no knowledge but man, separated only by few hundred thousand years on evolutionary
        timescale, survives on knowledge. ‘Knower’ is a tool, an organ like the eye that evolved in self aware humans with the funcion of acquiring objetive knowledge.

        How did the knower evolve? Life existed for 3.5 billion years without an observer. Novel and creative ways of dealing with external reality evolved in different branches of the tree of life. Movement, vision, hearing, touch, and taste – the latest such tool is the ‘knower’ in human beings. An organ such as the eye has an evolutionary history – from primitive light sensitive cells to complex human eye. How about the ‘knower’ ? It appears natural to assume that ‘knower’ evolved from something more fundamental, something that goes back to the earliest life, even beyond. We could call it ‘Mind’ or Creativity inherent in the universe.

        Imagine the formation of a volcanic island due to under sea tectonic activity. Ocean surface rises through water, cross water surface and an island appears. What lies beneath the surface is unknown. One can look at the island formation as a continuous process of emergence. Island is separated from the larger land mass by water surface, yet its separation is an illusion.

        Creativity inherent in the primary substance evolved into self-awareness in our species. ‘Knower’ is this creative awareness. That makes quantifying creativity an impossible task, like measuring the length of a meter rod. One can think of such a measurement only if there is another standard to measure with. If the universe has only one standard of length, it would be absurd to consider measuring this standard. Precisely that is the case with creativity. We know everything else through the measuring rod of the ‘knower’, consequence being the immesurability of creativity itself. The ‘knower’ attempting to to know its source is like the eye trying to see itself.


  7. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Dear Shajan,

    This refers to your point [1] about measurable quantity. As you might have noticed that I define genopsych as the self programming property which is applicable only to biological systems. The code within the genome can be at least roughly measured using methods such as Shannon Entropy.


    DMR Sekhar.

    • sreenivasaraos

      March 19, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Dear Sekhar,

      I tend to believe that what we measure is the outward expression, not the Cause. If there is a self-organizing property in living systems we could measure the extent of self-organization, but not the property iteslf. Please share your thoughts on this.

      The best we could hope is to find a logical explanation why this property is unquantifiable, and why ‘human mind’ is never satisfied with the unquantifiable.


      • sreenivasaraos

        March 19, 2015 at 4:28 pm

        Dear Shajan,

        Thank you for your continued interest in genpsy. When we say that genpsy is a property then the immediate question that arises is if genpsy is measurable? As discussed, the percent AT pairs in the genome is the measure of self programmability as the more number of AT pairs means the more deviation from the tendency of genome to get more stable or more disordered. Alternatively Shannon entropy which is used to find the order in a script may give an idea of the order in the genome.

        May see this link on Shannon Entropy.

        Thanks, DMR Sekhar.

  8. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Sreenivasa Rao Saab,

    Much before [during 1921-26] Sir JC Bose, FRS the renowned Indian scientist talked about “the internal stimulus of will’ of living organism an idea that appears similar to genopsych. Thanks for bringing the “will” into the discussion.


    DMR Sekhar.

  9. sreenivasaraos

    March 19, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Dear Srinivasa Rao Saab,

    What is the definition of consciousness according to Buddhism? I defined it as “A system is conscious if it can self preserve / procreate.” Here:

    As you know that Sigmund Freud postulated that all living things have two basic instincts viz self preservation and procreation. I presume that a system can try to preserve itself only if it is conscious of its own existence. Thus all living things are conscious as all living things self preserve.

    Will you be able to comment from the stand point of Buddhism on the definition that “ all living things are conscious.”


    DMR Sekhar.

    • sreenivasaraos

      March 19, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Dear Shri Sekhar, I am sorry. I was away for awhile and had not checked my mail. I could not reply you sooner.

      I reckon, Buddhism does not “define” consciousness; perhaps, because it becomes very nebulous; and difficult to pinpoint. But in principle, Buddhism maintains that it is possible to recognize experientially what consciousness is and identify it.

      The classical western theory (among other theories) appears to be that consciousness is an emergent property of a complex organization or of the matter called brain. The science thinks of consciousness as arising out of matter because no other explanation seems plausible. It rightly argues that the human emotions, visual perceptions or psyche cannot arise in the absence of the brain or the appropriate faculty. They all arise because of a certain level of brain and nerve-cell complexity. In other words, the nerve cell complexity of the brain is the seat of consciousness. And, when the brain is dead, when it decomposes or when it is no longer capable of functioning as brain, the properties of the brain-based consciousness also vanishes. That is the end.

      The Buddhist theory, which follows the theories that preceded it, believes that subtle consciousness does not arise from matter; and is not dependent on matter. It accepts that human visual perceptions do not arise in the absence of brain. But it goes along to say that our subjective awareness is not brain-based awareness, but rather brain-conditioned awareness.

      It further says that consciousness cannot be called a property, or even a phenomenon. Because, it explains, a property is something objective, something detached from us, whereas consciousness is not detached from itself. Similarly, consciousness is not something that can be considered as a phenomenon. For these reasons Buddhist think that consciousness must be considered primary, and not derived from anything else.

      It holds the view that human consciousness emerges not from the brain or from matter;but from a deeper level of consciousness. And, as the brain ceases that consciousness will dissolve back into the substrate and carries on from lifetime to lifetime. The continuum of consciousness will carry on; and it is a beginning- less continuum. All the Indian texts speak of stream of consciousness- one that flows like a stream ceaselessly.They argue, the being that is reborn is different from the previous one that died; but its identity remains as before because of the continuity in the flow of consciousness. [The Buddhist texts do not, however, accept the concept of a psyche or a soul.]

      One way of experiencing pure consciousness, according to Buddhism, is to practice meditation.As per the concept developed by Vajrayana Buddhism , Bhodhi-Chitta “that which is conscious” resides in all of us in its twin aspect :(1) as ordinary consciousness soiled by actions and agitated by thoughts, and (2) as a hidden pool of tranquility, unaffected, “ever washed bright”, beyond the phenomenal involvements. The object of the Tantra is to transform the former (characterized by Stress – Klesha) into the latter (experienced as Bliss – Sukha).

      To illustrate the Bhodhi – Chitta, the mind is compared to a pool of water. The agitated water has to become still before what lies beneath (consciousness) becomes visible. Beating or stirring the water does not help; it is not therefore a mental effort. The pool should be left undisturbed .The art of letting the mind alone (“let go”, “open hand”) to allow it to settle naturally into silence and tranquility is at the core of meditation. The instruction is to “cast aside all clinging and the essence will at once emerge”. Losing the self does not mean becoming nothing; you simply untie the knots of solidified phenomena and gain inner freedom (chiddathe hrudaya granthi, biddathe china samshayaha).

      As regards your last question, in the Buddhist view, the difference between the plant, animal and the humans is in the level of intelligence; and all possess subtle consciousness. Any sentient being that can experience pain and pleasure is thought to possess subtle consciousness.Therefore, the subtle consciousness is not uniquely human.

      This leads us to another question: What is it that distinguishes organic from inorganic matter? Within the organic world, what differentiates the organization of the cells that provide the basis for consciousness from those that do not have or have faintly, such as plant life?’

      I do not know the answer. But, it may take you, particularly you, to a very familiar ground: Darwin’s evolution, which says ‘Once you have life, it evolves in very different directions depending upon environment and accidents of contingency…’

      When this question was discussed, HH the Dalai Lama explained:

      ‘If we compare a plant, for example, with the human body, there is a great deal of common ground in terms of how the cells are organized, as you well know. But does a plant have any recognition or experience of good and bad, of pleasure and pain? Does a plant have conscious experience? You won’t find an explanation for that, simply by understanding the processes within the cells. Consciousness doesn’t emerge from the cells. Consciousness only arises from consciousness. It does not arise from matter.”

      I am not sure if all that was of any use to you.


      • sreenivasaraos

        March 19, 2015 at 4:30 pm

        Dear Srinivasa rao Sb,

        Your comment itself is a blog. It appears that Buddhists are clearer about consciousness than the present day scientists. I understand from your reply as follows.

        [1] Buddhism does not define consciousness.

        [2] Consciousness arises only from consciousness and is independent of matter [and also energy?].

        [3] Consciousness is a stream and a continuum that has neither beginning nor an end. [Which can be interpreted or defined as Consciousness is neither created nor destroyed]

        [4] Plants, animals and humans have consciousness [though in different states?]


        DMR Sekhar.


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