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Author Topic: SCIENCE AND VEDANTA  (Read 5110 times)

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Offline JR

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« on: February 19, 2007, 07:51:07 AM »
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  • Swami Vivekananda years ago deplored that '"in our country we go down on our knees before the man who reads the Vedas and do not care for the man who studies Physics. This is superstition." Time and again he declared in ringing tones "that Science and Religion will meet and join hands in it, so with poetry and philosophy; such is to be the religion of the future and if we can work it out, we may be sure that it is for all ages and profession."

    What do we witness now? Science had made tremendous strides in the unification of concepts. Among other things, it has revolutionized the concepts of 'Space' Time' 'Matter' and 'Energy' and ulti¬mately of the physical universe. Time and space hitherto considered-absolutely eternal have been reduced to relativity. Matter at one end and Energy at the other has been resolved to one basic qua¬ntity. What is further remarkable, let us hear the plaintive note of Eddington "We have chased the solid substance, from the con¬tinuous liquid to the atom, from the atom to the electron and there we have lost it. Somewhere in the quantum of light, the corpuscular and the non-corpuscular meet and confuse and exasperate the investigator of truth. Mathematics, the tool of science, works into equations and has yielded us nothing but equations plus the new knowledge of the essential emptiness of matter" The last vestiges of the solid matter have melted away and matter has become as ghostly as anything in a spiritual séance.

    Einstein elaborating his theory of Relativity has observed that it is futile to look for anything absolute or a stationary frame of reference in the universe of flux. Shall we say then the absolute is transcendent? In any case, admittedly the warp and woof of the phenomenal world is Relativity, Duality and Multiplicity. The Vedic Seers had visualized this and long ago pronounced in unequivocal terms that the plurality constituting the phenomenal world is a superimposition upon Truth and they have intrinsically no reality and tried to impress the truth through the all too familiar example of a person mistaking a post for a ghost in the darkness. Fortunately for us modern physics provides us with a more effective example of appearance vis-a vis reality for our rationalists.

    Take for example a table .We feel the solid matter when we press on it. Modern physics describes the table as an assembly of molecules and atoms in constant motion and that the average dista¬nces between molecule and molecule and atom and atom are so great in relation to the size of the molecule, atoms and elementary particles that in reality the table consists of more of empty space than solid matter. Why then one is not able to pierce through the table? Phy¬sical science tells us that the table comprises of energy fields which give the property of solidity and impenetrability.

    Physicists in their drive to probe the hidden secrets in the phy¬sical world appear to have reached a dead-end and have now turned inwardly towards the subtle working of universal movements. They begin to realize that behind the physical universe a subtle realm seems to exist which is not entirely mechanical or predictable.

    In the decades following Einstein, scientists are of the view that not only atom is energy rather than matter but that Atomic Energy itself is 'mind stuff'. Sir James Jeans in the 'Mysterious Universe' writes that, "the stress of knowledge is leading towards a non-mechanical Reality and the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine" In this context, he pleaded for a "New Background of Science" one in which matter is complet¬ely eliminated and mind reigns supreme and alone.

    In fact Sir Arther Stanley Eddington writes in his The Nature of Physical World', "In the world of Physics we watch a shadow graph performance of the drama of familiar life. The shadow of my elbow rests on the shadow table as the shadow ink flows over the shadow paper. It is all symbolic and as a symbol the Physicists leave it. Then comes the alchemist mind who transmutes the symbols. To put the conclusion crudely the stuff of the world is 'mind stuff'."
    It would appear, in order to correlate the separate entities, the 'Physical', the life principle, the 'mind stuff' into a co-ordinated unit of Reality the investigations have to be transferred from the test tube and laboratories to the field of consciousness, from Phy¬sics to Metaphysics.
    Charles Robert Richet, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology, wrote as follows:
    "   Metaphysics is not yet officially a science recognised as such. But it is going to be...... At Edinburgh I was able to affirm before 100 Physiologists that our  five senses are not our only means of knowledge and that a fragment of reality sometimes reaches the intelligence in other ways........ Because a fact is rare, is no reason that it does not exist. Because a study is difficult, is that a reason for not understanding it?.... Those who have railed at metaphysics as an occult science will be ashamed of themselves as those who railed at Chemistry on the ground that pursuit of the philosopher's stone was illusory.......Greetings then to the new science which is going to change the orientation of human thought."
    How prophetic are the words of Swami Vivekananda pro¬nounced nearly a century ago? He thundered, "Why believe when you can't reason it? Religion is a question of being and becoming and not of believing." That is the Vedanta coming down to us to posterity from the Ancient Seers. It is not sophistry.
    By Shri V. S. Pandurangam
    The so-called saints of today
    Feel happy and gay
    In performing magician's tricks
    Which they Call miracles
    To exploit the religious sentiment
    Of the people, ignorant and intelligent
    And by their sweet talk and outward show
    Of spirituality attract people, behold and lo!
    Alas! many learned judges and doctors
    Fall a prey to these things, what a wonder!
    During day they weep and pine
    For God but it's woman and wine
    They enjoy best at night
    Feeling happy and bright!
    They Collect money in plenty
    Not for Social work or charity,
    But spend it on shameful acts of life,
    Little caring for degradation and strife!
    Now a dada is arrested for forgery
    In Calcutta very recently,
    About whom we used to read frequently
    As the master of spirituality!
    So, beware of these things, dear reader,
    Though they appear to have charm and wonder!
    Bakht N. Moolchandani
    सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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