The knowledge and information explosion in the
recent times has made human life and affairs
almost unmanageable. Ecological influences of
knowledge has therefore become a matter of
investigation. In recent times Woijeichowsky,
Herman, Wigner, Pribram, Delgado, Weizsacker
have been active in this field the need for which
was already implied by one of the founders of
quantum physics. The latter made the assertion
that like position and momentum, life and
‘knowledge of life’ constitute canonical
conjugates; to the extent we know of one we are
uncertain of the other. More and more we know
of mechanisms of living organisms, life slips out
and we deal with the deader and deader objects.
This certainly follows from [Vedantic Concept]
which emphasises the concept that the doer must
eventually become pure existence immersed in
ultimate bliss. This idea is not only perennial but
in various ways of expression, ubiquitous as we
saw in the writing of Valery.
It is rather remarkable that each of the words
used in this context is bristling with difficulties
and begging much, even a definition. The
scientist, the philosopher, the musician, the
mystic all use them in somewhat private sense.
But the spectra of ideas enshrined in these
concepts are vital. These are not only vital for
mere being, mere working, but to get out of
thraldom of banality to become a whole man
in the context of Nature. Doubtless these have
been investigated since man mimicked the sounds
of Nature to express the leaves of ideas aflutter
in the winds within, but now in this year of
revolution, face-to-face with the challenges of the
21st century, the terrible, these must
need to be looked into by all, the humble and the
Themes relevant to this objective are discussed in
The Indian Institute of Advanced Study organised a seminar on "Knowledge,
Reality and Happiness" in March, 1986. A number of scholars participated
in the. seminar by contributing papers on different dimensions of the subject.
For some unavoidable reasons it took a little longer than the usual time taken
in preparing the volume for publication. Nevertheless, the subject is important
in itself and the contributions made by the scholars make its discussion also
meaningful. I have every hope that this volume would be as much welcome
to the enlightened reader as to the formal philosopher.
A seminar on ‘"‘Knowledge, Reality and Happiness" was organised at Indian
Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, from 22 to 27 March 1986. A number of
scholars from India and abroad were invited to participate in it. The papers
they presented there have now been collected in the present volume.
The papers present a rich variety of ideas on the subject, though one notices
a common thread running through most of them. D.P. Chattopadhyaya
believes that happiness comes through freedom from ill-health, poverty,
misery and through living virtuously. But the best happiness lies in creativity
that comes from fullness of being. Therefore, knowledge resulting in power
needs to be supplemented by knowledge as virtue and goodness and knowledge
as a way of being and living, so that we may get over our physical and social
problems and lead richer and happier lives.
K. Chaitanya argues that modern knowledge, ignoring the self, cannot lead
us to happiness.
S.A. Paramhans argues that whereas secular knowledge contributes to
human welfare it is the spiritual knowledge that ends sorrows and gives peace
D. Conrad gives a succinct account of how consciousness has been ignored
as a phenomenon worthy of scientific investigation because of its being purely
subjective, rather than inter-subjective, and advocates scientific study of
qualitative conscious experience. So remarkable is this view that we soon had
a seminar in Temple University on the subjectivity of scientific investigations
Abasama believes that meditation on "AUM" will result in harmony
between the individual and the universe, which will result in happiness.
H. Skolimowski advocates a synthesis of the Yoga of subjectivity and the
Yoga of participation. He believes that, whereas the scientific mind rejects the
self in the interest of objectivity and becomes destructive, the participatory
mind re-establishes our presence in the unitary universe and becomes the
healing mind, giving us happiness as the co-creator of things. Skolimowski
seeks a method of science based on this paradigm.
R.K. Mishra argues for the rejection of the anthropomorphic perception of
Nature in order to be happy in a truer understanding of reality.
C.R. Sankaran points out that there is no division between the consonant
and the vowel on the time continuum that can be experimentally determined,
vowel — consonant distinction being an out-of-the-time contribution. He seems
to suggest that there may be similar interactions between time and timelessness
in Yogic meditation.
A.K. Gangadean rejects the mind based on the principle of identity because
it fragments reality into a multitude of binary opposites and would like to
replace it by the holistic mind based on meditation that experiences the
continuum of reality.
S. Dube lists states of mind from consciousness to sleep and their alterations.
She examines the relationship of body and mind and discusses the Upanishadic
thought on consciousness and its later explications.
A.K. Jha deplores the neglect of durable values in contemporary life and
believes that a life focused on firm values will find fulfilment in a meaningful
A. Vidyalankar argues that our feelings are supra-personal manifestations
of the same undivided consciousness, which though normally directed towards
objects and actions are contentless when intense and can lead us to happiness.
S.C. Malik believes that replacement of polarities like you vs. me, conflict
vs. consensus, domination vs. subordination, identity vs. alienation, science
vs. art by the concept of continuum, as in the eastern world view, will result
in complementarity of opposites, or balance, harmony, cooperation and
happiness based on true reality instead of the false reality of the present binary
D. Lohiya questions the very basis of the theme of the seminar by arguing that
if the theme of ‘‘Knowledge, Reality and Happiness"’ is thought of as a system
in the sense of "Knowledge of Reality results in Happiness", it cannot be
understood in terms of itself because within a logical mathematical system
propositions cannot be proved or disproved on the basis of axiom within that
system, something from outside the system being necessary.
W. Shukla argues that all rational inquiry produces only an illusion because
it is true or false only within its own field and not outside of it and therefore
necessarily requires another rational inquiry. In this way Shukla suggests the
impossibility of acquiring complete knowledge of complete reality.
M.R. Delgado proposes research into neurobiological mechanisms of
happiness. He would like to define happiness, understand its causality,
investigate its biological mechanism and behavioural consequences. Based’‘on.
this information, he would like to plan environment to engineer happiness.
K. Sundaram attempts to substantiate, with the help of evidence from
microelectronics, the view that the universe is evolving towards a highly
organised arrangement of living beings, where egoism will disappear, resulting
in a state in which an individual is one, or at peace, with all other individuals.
G. Mathur would like to unite disparate economies and societies into one
world economy and society in which brain power is utilised not for creation of
instruments of destruction but for resolving problems to create equalitarian
society all over the world.
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