Science and Spiritualism

sciencespiritualityad

The above invitation was published by the Haryana State Council for Science and Technology, Kurukshetra in the Times of India sometime in June 2006. The following was my response to the invitation.

Science is an understanding of matter

This is a definition. This is something which is generally accepted. Science is a word that stands for something, which is defined as ‘understanding of matter’. Matter is also a word referring to something.

whereas spiritualism is related to the consciousness of the soul.

Consciousness is a word which refers to the quality of being conscious. Soul is a sound/word which refers to the actual entity (Never seen, felt, touched, tasted or smelt) called soul.

If we begin by defining both science and spiritualism in different terms, how can we ever reconcile them? Can we say that science is related to the consciousness of the soul, whereas spiritualism is an understanding of matter? Only if the definitions can be interchanged can both science and spiritualism be linked.

Usually, we analyze them as separate entities, whereas in reality, they are indeed inter-dependent and inalienable parts of each other.

If we are sure of this, then there is nothing to discuss. But we are not. There is a certain sense, a certain feeling that they are inter-dependent and parts of each other but every now & then we separate the two and then struggle to bring them together. If they are inter-dependent, there is nothing to talk, nothing to argue and no puzzle to solve. But if they are seemingly separate, then there is a puzzle. So we come together to resolve.

​Trying to solve the puzzle without knowing how the solution will look is like looking for something without knowing what but only knowing that something is lost.

Understanding life, the creation and its creator has been the biggest challenge before the human mind and has been the unresolved puzzle so far.

Why does the puzzle exist? When did it first appear? Was the puzzle existent before the humans appeared on the earth?

What happens if the puzzle is not resolved? What will go wrong? What will happen if the puzzle is resolved? How do we expect the puzzle to be resolved? What will the solution look like? Will it be a scientific discovery or invention? Will it be something which an individual will realize while meditating? Will the solution be a formula (mathematical or chemical) or a set of instructions to arrive at the solution? Will a human find it or a computer? Will the person finding the solution be able to show it to another? Will the solution be another entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica?

​It is assumed that the solution will help us resolve the problems faced by humans in this world. Will it be a pill to be taken after dinner? Will it be a program to watch on television? Will it be a site on the Internet?

What will be the form of the solution to the puzzle of life, creation and creator? Any serious individual, who reflects on this question, without jumping to try finding out the solution through various means, will see that any solution in a worldly form will not make sense.

Science and spiritualism have both tried to solve this puzzle in their own way and have not been completely successful.

If both have been unsuccessful, then what will succeed? Prayer? Blind Faith? We must investigate this deeper.

It is assumed that both science and spiritualism use different methods. Superficially, they do look poles apart. The scientist is busy dissecting matter, studying its qualities, making records and making hypotheses and building theories. On the other hand, the sage (practitioner of spiritualism) sits and meditates. It looks as if he is doing nothing.

There is a misconception that these two methods are different. On a little investigation, a perceptive individual will see the similarity. Fundamentally, the approach is the same that of setting up an experiment, making observation and drawing inferences. Whereas the scientist sets up the experiment with external objects, the sage sets up the experiment with internal mental states. Whereas the scientist observes the objects of his experiment interact, the sage observes whatever mental states his mind produces.

​The difference is that the scientist is in a hurry to reach a conclusion, so he draws inferences based on a few experiments. This is generalized and becomes knowledge. But the perceptive individual will see that this knowledge is limited. He sees the need for further observation. He also sees that any amount of knowledge is limited. Today, science has reached its limits. Even those scientists at the frontier of experimentation and research are unable to explain matter, let alone understand it. Spiritualism is in a certain sense an extension of science. It starts where science finds its limits. The observation of external objects and events gives way to the observation of the instruments of observation i.e. the senses and the mind. The sage realizes the need for continuous observation. He is not in a hurry to reach a conclusion, a solution to the puzzle. He continues to observe.

However, if the efforts are made to combine the two approaches, some acceptable and convincing solution can be achieved.

Trying to combine the two approaches will lead us to a blind alley, a dead end because there are no two approaches. The solution to the ‘puzzle’ cannot be something which can be decided by vote. Does it have to be convincing?

​The solution will most probably be obvious. Something which is right in front of our eyes but we cannot see it. Continuous observation of the observer eventually dissolves the puzzle. We then see that that it was the question that was blocking the answer. The moment the question dissolved, the answer is right there shining brightly.

In order to bring experts from both fields on a single platform and to discuss all the issues in a new perspective threadbare, HSCST invites knowledgeable persons…

More discussion may not help. Knowledge always leads to more discussion. It is vital to see that it is knowledge which is blocking the solution. More knowledge and more discussion will create more clouds before the sun of truth.

…inviting the most impressive entries.

I do wish that the discussions are fruitful.


My response was shortlisted and I was invited to address the conference, which was held in the campus of Kurukshetra University in Nov 2006.

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