Modern science based on logical 9asoning has made human life a wonderful experience. We have almost conquered time and space with almost everything that exists within it. Humans should have been the happiest beings, but that is not the case. Something is missing in our pursuit of happiness. We need to take a deep breath and think over it.
Spiritualists are the happiest persons. They command both respect and reverence from us. Let us not confuse spiritualist with an ascetic or a religious practitioner. It is all about the control of mind where all thoughts originate. Vedic knowledge, the repository for development of human life, states that the mind is all about consciousness. Consciousness is 'the perception of what passes in the mind.' Modern science looks differently at a mind. Though it considers mind as a repository of all consciousness but it considers the mind as a physical process only. There is nothing spiritual about it. That makes the starting point of our search for connecting science with spirituality.
The Vedic philosophy is developed around these thoughts. Yog Sutra credited to Patanjali, is a repository of yogic practices which recommend developing mental awareness through sense control, while another tradition called Tantra says that senses have no role in controlling the mind. It provides alternative practices.
Piyaray Raina (pen name Saddhak) was born in a god fearing family in Kashmir, India in 1936. He got his Post Graduate Degree in Geology from Lucknow University in 1959. He worked as a Professional Geologist for about 30 years, and has travelled all over India. He is married and lives with his wife and son in U.S.A. and in India at Gurgaon Haryana. He can be reached by email on: [email protected] He maintains a Facebook page and has a blog: kp-pooza.blogspot.com.
He was invited to read a paper on Kashmir Shaivism at the International Vedic Conference held at the University of Massachusetts USA in 2002. He published his first book, titled Socio-Cultural and Religious Traditions of Kashmiri Pandits in 2006. His write-ups and commentaries have appeared on YouTube and were published in many community journals both in India and abroad.
Modern science branched off from philosophy in the 19th CE. Philosophy incorporates all that concerns knowledge (logic/wisdom) through which one can understand all physical and non-physical existence in the Universe. The invention of telescope and microscope in the early years of 17th Century CE disrupted the conventional way in which classical science described the physical matter and its extent in the space. Telescopes extended the extent of the horizon of the Universe from our solar system to billions of large galaxies with billions of suns. Similarly under the microscope lens scientists studied matter that fills the Universe to its minutest details. The invention of printing press around the same time helped in the spread of this knowledge much faster than was hitherto possible. As the volume of scientific knowledge accumulated involving different aspects of manifestation, it was argued that this knowledge should be given a different status of modern science.
The concept of spirituality is still nascent. Although very ancient and bed rock of religious philosophies, it lies buried under religious traditions. People confuse it with these traditions. Just as technology is the expression of the basic scientific principles, religious traditions are the manifestation of the philosophy behind the religious thoughts. Many people do not care to know the principle behind the working of a microwave oven so far it serves the purpose of heating the contents placed inside it, the religious practitioners do the same. Spirituality needs a push like science received after renaissance.
Spirituality is all about awareness also recognized as consciousness. It is all mental. Thus, while science is physical awareness of gross objects and their structure; spirituality is awareness of the power behind all manifestation which one gains through the process of contemplation by mind at subtle level. An anology will make be helpful'. While driving an automobile which is combination of all machine parts, the driver has to be mentally alert. He has to be conscious of the act of driving and also of the rules set up by authorities for safe driving. Non awareness will he a disaster. When taken on a higher level awareness leads to understand the forces of nature which also operate at subtle level. Like science it is universal knowledge. "The human mind has devised alternative strategies-scientific and spiritual-to search for our origin. The two are distinct, but complimentary. Science enables us to probe infinitesimal particles of matter and unimaginable depths of outer space, understanding each in the light of the other. Spirituality guides us through inner space, challenging us to retrace our path to oneness and to live in the light of what we discover." (Daniel C Matt - God & the Big Bang).
There is a misconception that modern science developed in Europe in the 15th CE which heralded in Renaissance. That is not true. Scientific thought has been the ancient heritage of humanity. Humans did not evolve overnight in some remote corner of the world. There were many centers where human knowledge developed which gave rise to different civilizations. Greek and Vedic civilizations are noteworthy. Greek civilization developed around 7000 BCE on both sides of modern day Aegean Sea which separates Asian and European continent in the West. Vedic civilization developed around the same time in the south western parts of Indian sub continent, knows as Sind (now part of Pakistan).
It is an irony of fate that the great contributions of the scholars from both these civilizations remained in obscurity for about 2000 centuries. Socrates (469-399 BCE), Plato (427-347), Aristotle (384-322 BCE) along with host of other scholars made significant contributions in understanding modern science. Similarly Vedic scholars like Gautama (2' CE), Kanad (2nd CE) and Kapila (5th CE) are noteworthy. As we shall see in the following pages, it was revival of Greek science (called Aristotelian's physics in modern terminology) that laid the foundation of modern science during of Renaissance in 16th CE. Vedic Science got its exposure much later in the 18/19th CE.
Modern science relies on logical reasoning as defined by Aristotle. Gautama of Vedic period has equally defined logic as nyaya. Both have stressed upon correct reasoning for valid knowledge and have laid elabore rules for differentiating valid knowledge fron invalid knowledge called fallacy.
Aristotle divided knowledge into two categories: Priori and Posteriori. He defined priori Knowledge as that knowledge which is known independent of experience (it is non-empirical). It is arrived beforehand and does not need experimentation to gain it. It relies on intuitions and the nature of these intuitions. There are no formal rules for gaining it other than through deep contemplation. Spiritual persons rely on it. Posteriori knowledge on the other hand is that knowledge, which is known by experience. That means it is empirical or arrived at afterwards. Rules have been set for defining this knowledge. In modern terminology it is called Scientific Reasoning. In the Vedic terminology Priori knowledge is spiritual knowledge jnana and Posteriori knowledge is Nyaya. Gautama (not Gautama Buddha) the Vedic scholar wrote Nyaaya- Sutra in 2nd CE which is all about logic. It is predominantly intellectualistic and analytical. Nyaya system also divides knowledge into two categories: Valid knowledge (pramana) and Invalid knowledge (apramana).
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