When you once get a correct scientific conception of the real nature of the five ordinary senses, you will be able to intelligently grasp the nature of the higher psychic faculties or senses, and thus be better fitted to use them. So, let us take a few moments time in order to get this fundamental knowledge well fixed in our minds.
What are the five senses, anyway. Your first answer will be: “Feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling.” But that is merely a recital of the different forms of sensing. What is a “sense,” when you get right down to it? Well, you will find that the dictionary tells us that a sense is a “faculty, possessed by animals, of perceiving external objects by means of impressions made upon certain organs of the body.”
Getting right down to the roots of the matter, we find that the five senses of man are the channels through which he becomes aware or conscious of information concerning objects outside of himself. But, these senses are not the sense-organs alone. Back of the organs there is a peculiar arrangement of the nervous system, or brain centres, which take up the messages received through the organs; and back of this, again, is the ego, or soul, or mind, which, at the last, is the real KNOWER.
The eye is merely a camera; the ear, merely a receiver of sound-waves; the nose, merely an arrangement of sensitive mucous membrane; the mouth and tongue, simply a container of taste-buds; the nervous system, merely a sensitive apparatus designed to transmit messages to the brain and other centres— all being but part of the physical machinery, and liable to impairment or destruction.
Back of all this apparatus is the real Knower who makes use of it.
By Swami Panchadasi – Courtesy of Project Gutenberg