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Science and Spirituality

Beautiful-pink-Mandala

There is a spiritual seeking in Science and there is a science in spirituality.

This world is a manifestation of the Spirit that contains and yet transcends this very world, says the Yogin. This world presents itself as the façade of a vast cosmic Intelligence that seems to be active behind every phenomenon, from the smallest particle that builds the material basis of the physical universe to the movement of galaxies in the cosmos. There are laws that govern the random motion of the stars. Science is an attempt to discover these laws and processes and put them to applied use in the form of technology. It leaves us free to derive whatever metaphysical or other conclusions one may derive from the observations about the nature of things.

The yogin dives deeper. He too discovers that behind this insentient universe there is a science and an Intelligence active everywhere. This ‘Intelligence’ if we may say so in the language of the scientist presents itself to the inner experience of the yogin as having a double appearance or twin aspect so to say. Seen from the side of the phenomenon or prakriti of which we are a part, it assumes the appearance of a dividing Intelligence that creates a myriad of sensible and suprasensible forms, each with its own uniqueness, separate laws and properties and action. The Intelligence is the same everywhere just as the atomic constituents are the same in all material substances, yet the objects as they present themselves to our senses and cognition are different! A strange paradox. Seen from the other side of the boundless when we have crossed the frontiers of all forms, this Intelligence appears as a living Oneness, an indivisible Unity, an Imperishable integer, the sole Reality. To these twin aspects of the One Reality, one in essence, differentiated in manifestation, the spiritual scientist or explorer gives the name of Maya – the two aspects being avidya and vidya, the power of division and the power of oneness.

But is not science already peeping through the doors of the separative Maya and into the unitive experience? The discovery of a common atomic void upholding the material universe, the equally remarkable discovery that each creature is interlinked in a biological chain of oneness wherein manipulating one link of the chain affects everything else is a pointer in this direction. Sooner or later science shall also discover this at the level of speech and language, and find here too, the same oneness. The ancient seers had not only realized it but used it effectively through the mantra born out of seed sounds. Similarly we are already discovering that the distinctions of human beings on the basis of race and colour are merely outward distinctions, or at best, only different modes through which the same cosmic Intelligence works, now in a poet and an author, now in a hero and a warrior. The same Intelligence works in the business tycoon just as it works in the efficient craftsman dealing with forms. It uses different modes and degrees for its self-expression. We may even go as far as to say without any error that the differences of gender are also merely outer, largely a conditioning of prakriti. Every man conceals a woman in his soul, nay it is even the cause of his attraction towards the eternal feminine and the thing he has to finally discover or uncover within himself. The same is true of woman who conceals the masculine within her and is ever attracted to search for him, first outside and then within herself. In the field of medicine we already see a turn towards holism and integration, though each system is still a long way from discovering that systems and methods can be resolved into simply so many different means that Nature uses to activate the one healing mechanism.

The closer we get to the seed state of things the more the doors of possibilities open before us. Stem cell research is one such example. The power of changing and manipulation increases as we reach closer and closer to the secret of oneness behind everything. And the trends are obvious. Vidya is gradually but surely growing and winning over avidya. These are yet but hints and symbols thrown by Nature towards the turn she has taken at the call of the Time-Spirit. We are still in the domain of avidya and though she is partly revealing from afar, as through a translucent glass, something of the oneness that she hides behind the differentiations, she will not easily set us free. The question therefore arising before us is as to how we are going to cross the interminable line that divides the two experiences as if two different worlds or hemispheres. For, the power of avidya is also infinite. Does it not create an infinity of forms and appearances and forces at play in the universe? How deep does one have to dig before we come to the end? How many objects and things and phenomenon do we have to explore before we reach that meeting point of all phenomenon? Most importantly, can we arrive at the final reconciling truth through the means and methods of the divided and dividing mental consciousness? Or to put it simply, is it possible to know of anything truly and fully till we have known the All or God or That which is the origin, support, sustainer and end of all? This is the real question that determines the direction of our efforts, – the direction that we should take individually or collectively in the search for Truth and Knowledge.

On one side is the road that amasses inventions and puts a powerful technology at the disposal of a primitive and commercially driven man. The other road is that which evolves man himself and his instruments of knowledge commensurate with the ascending scale of powers and leads him beyond the dividing avidya to the unifying vidya and its much greater magic and marvels. The truth of things is hidden in the subtlest of states in their deepest depths, in the very core as a living Oneness. Go beyond the core of the physical body and you shall find the vital force turning into matter and material objects. Go into the core of this vital energy and you shall see the idea from behind supporting the force and the form. Go deeper still, beyond the idea itself and you shall find the All-Knowing Spirit that is the source and master clue of all. To know That is to know truly and completely. Not knowing That one knows not truly about anything even though one may get enormous power of control over the object. Such is the wisdom that the sages bring to us. Such is the wisdom that Science may choose to follow.

Or it may not! Amassing one invention after another, introducing one more drug, one more surgery, one more comfort, one more luxury, it may actually increase the burden of life rather than making it lighter, end up making us greater slaves in the process of setting us free, Or perhaps tie our minds and souls to a lifeless machinery filling our lungs with artificial air yet freeing the body from the stress of momentary suffering, though this too can be debated. Or satisfied with the transient riches and gains of the power of avidya, humanity may become fossilised in a limited perfection like the encrusted mummies in big tombs buried along with their riches and comforts and servants in a small and sunless space. For nothing essential has changed if man has not changed. Nothing permanent has been achieved if man continues to be simply yet another animal but with the much larger appetites and vital hungers of a titan. No comfort can comfort us and no security secure us if we continue to be inwardly bound by the chains of desire in the prison of the ego. Such a security and comfort if purchased at the expense of our soul and a machinery that enslaves our limbs is a life of inner imprisonment.

Science naturally cannot take this leap if the scientist does not. It is the mind of man that must take the leap from its limited science of avidya to the infinite scope of vidya. It is our hearts that no more enamoured of the transient must turn towards the eternal. For at the end we may have everything at our disposal, all the knowledge and all the power that man or the gods can command and yet Love and Delight may elude us. Our brain may be stuffed with ideas and our hands stunted with disuse, our homes may be filled with equipments and technology but our hearts devoid of peace and joy, drowned in the blood of our neighbours. For, Science even at its best is only a seeking for impersonal knowledge of the becoming and not the Being. Even if it becomes a seeking for the highest knowledge or Brahmavidya, it cannot of itself fulfill life unless man too possesses within his consciousness and not outside him the oneness with Brahman, Brahmabhoot so to say. Science cannot help us there nor technology reach us to that shoreless beyond, to that Being whose eyes burn like watch-fires of the night and before the glory of His face the sun itself is a darkness. Science cannot bring us that vision for vision does not reach there and mind and speech return unattended.