Science & Spirituality|Jul 11, 2008 10:41 AM| by:

Search and Research (III)


The qualitative dimension

A new science and new approach is needed.
We find luminous hints of it in the ancient Indian sciences such as that of the Vedic period, including Ayurveda. This is the science of the Self, not the self in isolation cut off from the world, but a self-knowledge which expands, includes and eventually integrates and becomes world-knowledge. In this new science, whose seeds are already sown in the great Indian past in the many systems of yoga and tantra, we rediscover the world by finding the Self. The premise is that we perceive the world through the Self and its instruments. As is the Self and the instruments, so does the world accordingly appear. The yogic systems teach us how to dehypnotise ourselves from millennia of habitual subjection to a small and narrow sense of self, to disengage from the clouding mesh of the senses and the net of mind; they liberate us from this conditioned perception of the phenomenal world. Aspiration, concentration and surrender bring us in contact with the great Self. Finally, we have to re-engage and reintegrate with the world based on the discovery of this new and great Self in us, which indeed is the ancient of ancients, though the newest of new. Ancient, since it existed at the dawn of civilisation. New, because man, as a collectivity, has to still discover it and grow into it and reshape his life by it.

In other words, there is a science of appearances and there is a science of reality. The science of appearances deals with the world as it presents itself to us through our gross and limited senses. Here, we try to make sense by looking for links of cause and effect through the medium of our divisive mind and its inadequate instrument of analysis. We call our findings ‘laws’ and then bind ourselves through a belief in their fixity and in our littleness. But as we grow out of the smaller box and its discovered laws into a slightly bigger box, a new set of laws and formulas await our discovery. And it goes on and on from one box to another, from one space-time continuum to another, from one universe to another, from one set of laws and processes to another, from one type of cause-effect to another—in essence, from one level of consciousness to another in this huge many-tiered, many-layered, many-levelled mansion of a multiverse. We begin to wonder whom or what is it for? Who dwells in this vast and complex world or system of worlds whose delicate and intricate tapestry speaks of a perfect consciousness everywhere and in everything? Who is the explorer? Who was shut in the box and who is emerging out of it?

This is the supreme search and research done in the living laboratory of man, the mental being, who is at best a terribly mixed and imperfect product, from which nature seeks to create perfection. All seekers in this journey of human ascension are researchers in the deepest and truest sense. Their life and existence are their proof, their luminous and inspiring words, deep intuitive wisdom and calm strength a testimony; the large legacy of truth that they leave behind for others to follow their research document which has no references except from similar travellers on the highways of eternity. The science of the small self cramps us, trapping us in a heap of outer means that we carry around more as an encumbrance upon our shrunken self. It reduces us to mere dust and chemicals, genes and plasm and builds its psychology on our animal parts. The science of the great Self liberates us from outer forces by an inner conquest in an ever-developing ever-expanding light and power. It helps man recover his diviner parts by discovering his spiritual being. If this is not search and research, then what is? So is it not the duty of the state, especially in a country alive to such truths, to assist such institutions as centres of research? Of course there should be a note of caution here. Just as authentic science can be imitated by quacks, so too one must be careful not to confuse spiritual search and discovery with ritualistic religions polished in fixed formulas, which only bind the soul to the iron walls of rigid dogma.

A reconciliation

Let us close with a reconciling truth for the supreme truth lies in harmony and integration, not in division and mutual opposition. The poles of our existence are two, the material below as a basis for all else to evolve, the spiritual above and within as the secret power and support. So far there has been a sense of mutual antagonism and opposition between the two. The material and worldly life and its exploration and organisation have been recognised as a state activity, aided and funded by the government and its institutions. The spiritual life and its exploration and organisation are left to individuals and institutions created by them. As mentioned, the religious institutions are a different category as they have lost the zeal for breaking ground in fresh search and research. They have in fact become themselves tools for division, for the perpetuation and prolongation of ignorance which the state and political machinery often uses for its selfish gains and narrow interests. The spiritual paths are different, more of the nature of an inner exploration, search and research into nature’s most complex and living laboratory called man. There is a third meeting-point where the two, the spiritual and material, meet in a new science of consciousness. Hints of this higher reconciling science exists in India in the Vedic experience through human embodiments of a higher consciousness whom we call yogis.

The time has perhaps come to generalise this. It needs a reciprocal goodwill and readiness on the part of the collectivity which would naturally stand to gain since a few individuals do the work for the many and share their discoveries, wisdom and power with the rest. Only then can these few individuals go into unexplored territories of research, say into the field of developing new paradigms and alternate models for man, into alternative healing systems with stress on self-healing, alternate principles of management, experiments at collective living along spiritual lines, experiments at a futuristic soul-centred education. It also needs a genuineness on the part of spiritual institutions that they do not simply perpetuate the old story under a new name, i.e. the theme of individual escape as the ultimate goal; an engagement with the world with an ignorant motive of social commitment through humanitarian services, such as opening free hospitals, schools, feeding the poor, etc. Such activities can be left to social activists and philanthropists. The real work of authentic spirituality is to open man’s progressive mind to new and unconquered areas of search into his soul and being. It throws new ideas and opens new doors to our spiritual self-adventure so that the treasures found on these inner summits can be used for the betterment of the earth. Spiritual wisdom must show the path and direction of search, even perhaps the roadmap and means to it. The progressive mind can follow in its trail.


In conclusion, we may say that:

(i) Present-day research is focused almost exclusively on the material side of life, with its preoccupation on man as a physical-biochemical entity. It leads humanity to an increasing depravity of inner life while continuing to amass outer means of manipulating our world-existence.

(ii) If the trend is not balanced, we may find ourselves in a precarious situation similar to certain civilisations before that have been wiped out despite material advances.

(iii) India is one of those rare civilisations which has preserved a certain continuity right from the Vedic era to modern times, because it has not ignored the spiritual and subjective side of life. Some of its ancient sciences, Ayurveda and yoga, have survived the vagaries of time and are still found to be useful and effective.

(iv) India is therefore in a unique position to avert the world from the dangerous brink on which it now stands, pushed by its own blindness. But to be able to play this role usefully, India must search for its own soul. It must recover the lost Veda, not only in the manuscripts but also the Veda hidden in her heart.

(v) This hidden Veda is locked in the inner being of man, in his now hidden powers and latent faculties, in the intimations of his soul to which he is presently deaf and blind.

(vi) The recovery of the inner Veda needs a twofold process: a research into the ancient texts not merely as philosophical but also as spiritual, psychological and scientific treatise. This work has already begun but needs to pick up pace and needs recognition and aid from the state.

(vii) Simultaneously, there should be a research into the subjective aspect of our existence, the experiential and qualitative side. The means of such a research would naturally be different from the current statistical method. It is not a certain number of people having a certain experience that validates it; the ‘experience’ is in itself an ‘observable’ data. Even if one person experiences it, it has validity. One should then observe the conditions under which it arises, the various movements of consciousness that precipitate certain states and vice versa in order to discover the inner links and thereby build the inner hierarchy of the ladder of consciousness.

(viii) It is not easy to observe the movements of our inner being and its complex psychology. It needs a certain inner orientation, a psychological sensitivity and subtle intelligence that can observe deeper things. Such individuals and institutions should be discovered and their observations, discoveries, reflections, introspection, intuitive insights and wisdom treated as authentic pointers and invaluable data giving us the lead for further research.

(ix) Right now, search follows research. The data collected by the average majority becomes the road for all. This is fallacious sheep-logic, so to speak. In humanity, it is invariably the individual who spearheads the masses. The individual searches, observes, discovers; the rest of humanity researches and replicates. The abnormal, anomalous and supernormal are the doors to a greater discovery. Our present statistical model simply discards it much as a hen would discard a pearl if it found one amidst grains, since it would have no use for it.

(x) Such individuals and institutions experimenting upon their inner being and subtler psychology, creating new paradigms and throwing new ideas for the masses, should be recognised as institutions of spiritual research and not religious bodies or sects which should be kept reserved for the formal religions.

(xi) Finally, this search and research should be extended to the objective and material field, a conquest of physical and material forces and their laws by an increasing conquest of man’s inner being over the outer, his soul over the body, spirit over matter and not vice versa as happens now.

A new light is emerging over the world, carrying in its folds splendours of a future dawn. It is now up to us whether we turn towards the light or turn our backs upon it. It is a difficult choice but one that presses upon us: one that we can ignore only at our peril. India has the wisdom to make the choice for the rest of the world to follow. But will India wake up and open the roads to its own and the world’s greater destiny? It is for her to decide.

May we have the wisdom and see the light.