Some people argue that science and spirituality are antithetical and do not make any connection with each other. Science has always been associated with the study on matter using statistical methods, analytical observations, and direct evidence. Many people have different views on spirituality. Some think of it as an inner inspiration while others take it as a serious subject to search for questions that are otherwise not answered by common people.
विज्ञान और आध्यात्मिकता- Science and Spirituality
“The more I work with the powers of nature, the more I feel God’s benevolence to man; The closer I am to the great truth that everything is dependent on the eternal creator and sustainer.”
(Guglielmo Marconi (1874 – 1937)| Nobel Laureate In Physics)
Science opens up the door to unleash the deeper aspects of this universe, to know beyond the external attractions of the world. At times, science and spirituality seem to go hand-in-hand, however, there comes a point when either of them contradicts the other. Many scientists in history did not believe in God, but there have been many who did. Let us try to understand these aspects profoundly.
Spirituality as the name suggests talks about the “Spirit” or the “Spirit soul”. It teaches the science of self-realization. Spiritual seekers especially visit India and the Indian Subcontinent to enquire about the Absolute Truth. The various questions that are dealt with in spirituality are - Who am I? What and who is God? What is my relationship with God? What is the purpose behind this world? What is my ultimate goal? In Sanatan Dharma, the word “Yog” is used to describe the union of the self with God or the divine, which is considered the ultimate goal of human life. Thus, spirituality is the higher science that deals with soul research and offers solutions to problems that are otherwise impossible to solve through the systematic approach of modern science.
Spirituality: Science of Obtaining Eternal Bliss
The Vedic scriptures thoroughly describe our identity. We consider the body made up of five elements (air, water, fire, ether, and earth) as the “self”. In reality, we are not the body that has been given to us, but we are the spirit soul which is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss. What we call death is just the death of the body which is only an outer covering of the soul. The Vedas teach us, not only humans but essentially all living entities are spirit souls by nature. Therefore, spirituality is not a subject on the platform of the mind. It goes beyond bodily limitations. It is a transcendental knowledge that offers practical solutions to all our problems.
Modern science seems to be a big boon to human society. But unfortunately, there are many questions that modern science has not been able to answer clearly to date. Modern scientists are trying to know the secrets behind the manifestation of this world. Whereas, many truths about this world have been extracted from several Vedic texts that are in themselves a masterpiece. Let us look at some of the limitations of modern science over spiritual science:
Knowledge means “to know” and when we think of receiving any knowledge, its source is never overlooked. According to Vedic literature, the knowledge of humans is subjected to many deficiencies. There are four kinds of defects found in every living entity:
1. We have imperfect senses
2. We are subject to illusion – To accept something which is not
3. We make mistakes
4. We have the propensity to cheat others.
Trying to receive information based on sense perception will always give wrong results. Whereas, if the source of information is authorized, the knowledge can be trusted but any Knowledge based on our blunt senses can never be trusted.
Most of the theories and laws that we study in modern science are based solely on assumptions and have several limitations. The Big Bang Theory is considered the most credible explanation of how this universe was created. According to it, the creation of life resulted as a result of a big explosion followed by expansion. Eventually, it propagates atheism which goes against spiritual science.
We find that everything in this world is being carried out perfectly; the sun rises every morning and sets every evening, the planet earth is carrying huge mountains, hills, and deep oceans yet it is floating in space without any disturbance, and a small seed which has no fragrance, in the beginning, gives rise to a plant which bears beautiful flowers with a pleasant aroma, etc. If we speculate, we will realize that to maintain everything flawlessly and without any fault, a higher intelligence must be there who controls all this, and behind such an enormous world, there must be some purpose. Eventually, the Big Bang Theory is nothing but a vague philosophy that does not explain anything clearly.
However, in Srimad Bhagavatam or the Bhagavat Purana, the universal planetary systems are explicitly explained. One may find the descriptions of the lower, middle, and upper planetary systems. It also gives evidence of where these planets are and indicates how far they are from other planets and most importantly, who is governing and maintaining them.
Modern Scientists propagate multiple branches of knowledge such as Chemistry, Medicine, Psychology, Mathematics, Astronomy, etc. But they do not accept the information about the atomic soul. Some of them assert that there is no soul because they cannot perceive it directly through material senses. Medical science accepts the importance of the heart but it cannot ascertain that the source energy is the spirit soul.
The science of the soul is explicitly described in the Mundaka Upanishad:
Mundaka Upanisad: With the Commentary of Sankaracarya (Shankaracharya)
śatadhā kalpitasya ca
bhāgo jīvaḥ sa vijñeyaḥ
sa cānantyāya kalpate
“When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul.”
The symptom of the soul within a body is its consciousness. Any sane man can differentiate between a dead body and a living body by knowing whether it is conscious of its surroundings. Whether one follows Vedic Knowledge or Modern Science, one cannot deny the existence of the spirit soul in the body. Modern scientists claim that the source of life is but a mere interaction of chemicals and gasses. Here, one question arises. If life was created only by the interaction of some chemicals, then why do some people go through Outer Body Experience (OTE)? There have been many cases of near-death experiences too. The famous Psychiatrist Professor Ian Stevenson investigated over 3,000 proven cases of people who claimed to have memories of their past lives. If the subtle aspect of the soul, which cannot be perceived through our naked eyes, is neglected, then concepts such as Reincarnation will be considered false ideologies.
No vision beyond matter
As mentioned earlier, whatever knowledge is obtained through our imperfect senses will also be imperfect. The first aphorism of the Vedanta Sutra states that now that you have got the human form of life, enquire about the Absolute Truth – “Athato brahma jigyasa”. The main source of knowledge about the evolutionary process has been the fossil record and DNA analysis. Scientists, therefore, have been able to assume how the different species came into being. This means that modern evolutionists ultimately base their theories on the existence of chance variations; “It may have been like that”. The Vedic scriptures, however, do not provide speculative or incomplete knowledge. The Padma Purana, for instance, says that there are 84,00,000 species of life categorized based on the level of consciousness and that the soul transmigrates from one body to another.
Shrimad Bhagavad Gita- Through the Eyes of a Scientist
The Bhagavad Gita opens up the secret of the original creator and proprietor of all the living entities: mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah (15.7) – ”The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts.” Every creation has a creator behind it and as far as the creation of different species having different natures is concerned, how would it have been possible without the divine creator?
Spiritual science or spirituality provides us the way to build a loving relationship with God, the divine being, which seems to be fanaticism to some people. There is no visible path or a road that leads us to God, but the instructions and teachings of Vedic scriptures allow us to achieve this goal. Thus, the immediate vision of modern science on matter is limited to some extent.
The real problems of material existence – birth, old age, disease, and death – cannot be counteracted by the accumulation of wealth and economic development. In many parts of the world, there are states which are replete with all facilities of life, which are full of wealth and economically developed, yet the problems of material existence are still present. People are seeking peace in different ways, but they can achieve real happiness only if they consult Vedic scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam– which constitute the science of God – through the bona fide representative of God.
If economic development, technological advancement, and material comforts, could drive away one’s lamentations for family, social, national, or international inebriation, then, material science which is presently at its peak in these aspects, would have been able to make people happy and blissful in their lives. Therefore, taking refuge in spirituality, or higher consciousness, is the right path to peace and harmony. Economic development or supremacy over the world can be finished at any moment by the cataclysms of material nature. Modern science is purely based on the bodily conception of life. However, spirituality aims to solve problems on the level of the spirit soul. It gives us the gift of liberation; to come out of the cycle of repeated births and deaths. Thus, modern science certainly fails to solve the real distresses of this material world.
Scientific Aspects of Vedic Knowledge
Back to the beginning now. Is it true that science and spirituality will always be at odds? No. Real knowledge is always supported by science and not imagination. Vedic knowledge is the science of eternality, which applies to everyone and is not based on sense perception. Both modern science and spirituality are valid because both are sources of knowledge. Spirituality without having a scientific approach becomes a mental concoction, and modern science not supported by the foundation of spirituality is only an imagination. It is only the people misinterpreting the Vedic scriptures, who will always be questioning the validity of the other. We only need to see and analyze everything around us not through our material eyes but through the eyes of Vedic knowledge and everything will be revealed to us as it is.
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