vande guru-paramparAm
The lesson of all this is that Science and Spirituality have to live together as two fundamental pursuits not to compete with each other but to complement each other. Science and Spirituality have to coexist in each person. The highest happiness of a rational being is to have explored what is explorable and quietly to revere what is inexplicable. Man does not progress by Science and Technology alone. It may be possible because of science and technology to talk across the vast emptiness of space but it is important to know and decide what to talk. It is here that the humane lessons of religion and spirituality come into the picture. At present the entire humanity is having only a half education, namely, education in the mundane pursuits of life and living. The quantity of communication has increased enormously but the quality has not done so, and it is not fashionable or acceptable to mention this. When the intellectual realm was not divided into sovereign territories, till a century ago, every 'educated' man had at least some exposure to lessons and literature on the intangibles of life. But today we are all specialists of this or that and so we have no time to think of any holistic aspects of the human personality; those who have the time to do it are considered as 'specialists' of that kind and so are isolated as any other 'specialist' is, to live in his own world. Spirituality is considered to be one such specialisation that should be left only to the 'braahmanas' of the world, if there be enough left. The first lesson therefore of all that we have discussed, is to put an end to this quarantining of the spiritual values of life as if they don't belong to the generality and if they do, they would vitiate them. In addition, we all think that the lessons in Spirituality are pretty complicated. This is because we approach the concepts of Spirituality totally unprepared. We spend twelve years of schooling all the time learning science bit by bit and tuning ourselves to it step by step. We are exposed to it in numerous ways and even then we find the deep ideas of Science incomprehensible. How then do we expect to comprehend the ideas of Spirituality without at least an equal time spent on it in our school days? As of now almost no time is spent on exposure to, much less a training in, any version of spirituality, either at home or school. An occasional small prayer or a small congregation like bhajan or religious service or a class on yoga off and on does not do the trick; because the youngster, unless he voluntarily opts for it, treats it as an imposition on his time and therefore avoids it with lame excuses. This is the reason, the major reason, why Spirituality is appears to be only a distant objective, intended only for Sadhus. This situation can be corrected, at least in the developing countries where there is comparatively less freedom and flexibility in the educational set-up, only by invading into school time. The lessons of Spirituality have to be incorporated as compulsory parts of the curriculum of every student of the twenty-first century.
At this point we have to mention the advantageous position that India has in this problem which faces all mankind. The myth that Science and Religion are opposed to each other might have been true in the medieval world in reference to the religion of Christendom. The ancient Christian world was always afraid of the progress of Science because they scented through Science a danger to the opinions professed in the Bible. But this was never true of Hindu India with its roots going back to the Vedantic view of the Upanishads. Today the world is not averse to recommend the Indian Vedanta for serious study by students of Science. This is because of the after-effects of the shock that Physics received in the thirties regarding its fundamentals. Since anyway the objective reality of the world is so much intertwined with the Subject that observes, scientists are now prepared to give credence to the view, that perhaps as Vedanta would have it, it is only the Subject that is pervading the whole of the Object. This is actually the Advaita point of view very much present in the Upanishads. Indian spirituality leans very heavily on this viewpoint.
February 20, 1999
Copyright V. Krishnamurthy
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