Category Archives: Science

Worldly Knowledge vs. Ultimate Knowledge


Human beings have the unique privilege of being born with the capacity to learn. Using signs, symbols, language and science, we have gathered a lot of knowledge over the centuries. This knowledge has transformed our lives through its application in technology, medicine and engineering.

​As we know more and more, we realize there is always something more to know. In every theoretical discipline – physics, chemistry, mathematics and so on – the search for more knowledge continues. There does not seem to be an end to knowledge. Although many scientists are diligently seeking a unified theory which will be the mother of all theories and will answer all the questions, their quest has not been successful so far. This does not mean that one day they will be successful. Scientific discoveries in the field of Quantum dynamics tend to point to the conclusion that there might be fundamental limits to knowledge.

Despite such limits, knowledge can always increase endlessly. Such is the nature of worldly knowledge. The increase in the amount of this worldly knowledge has also increased the number of years young human beings have to spend in school. There is ever increasing amount of knowledge we need to imbibe before we are ready for working in the world. Beyond a point, one must choose a specialization and literally know a lot about very little.

One must observe this carefully in the world.

Realizing this some people go in search of spiritual knowledge – the knowledge of God. The case is the same in this field also. There is endless knowledge of meditation, consciousness, soul, higher energy and so on. It is crucial for one to realize that such knowledge is equally worldly. It has the same nature of being never ending.

​As one understands this, one begins to investigate how knowledge is created. One sees clearly how simple sensory inputs are concretized, symbolized, given a name and then woven to form the fabric of knowledge. Much of this is done by one person and then later just informed to others through the process of education, without the actual sensory experience.

By investigating deeper into this, the grip of knowledge on oneself weakens. Everything one knows is put under the microscope of the mind, questioned and understood in its entirety. Knowledge literally falls away and there is freedom from all that is known. All that remains is bare experience – the experience of the air on the skin, the sound on the ear, the object on the eye, and the taste on the tongue. The mind will still name the experience but not in the same way as before. There is a certain knowing of the knowing – a constant moving knowing state not an accumulating process. This is ultimate knowledge.

Seeing Clearly vs. Clear Seeing


There is a difference between Seeing Clearly and Clear Seeing.

Seeing clearly means being able to see the differences between things, being able to distinguish between one and the other. This depends on sensory inputs. If your eyes have cataract, you will not be able to see clearly. What is true of the eye is true of the other sense organs including the ears, nose, tongue, skin and brain. When you understand a concept well, you can say that you see clearly.

Clear seeing is seeing the sameness in everything, despite apparent differences. This does not depend on sensory input. While sense organs provide you information to the contrary, there is the knowing that it is not as it appears to be. It is possible that a person with cataract may not be able to see clearly but he may be able to clearly see.

Clear seeing is an insight into the nature of things, into the nature of senses, into the differences, into the nature of seeing clearly.

What is better? Seeing clearly or Clear seeing? That depends.

In day to day life, people, schools, organizations and society gives more importance to seeing clearly. However, it need not be so always.

A close analogy is like the Necker cube which can be seen in two ways. There are some people who have difficulty in seeing the other perspective.


Seeing clearly can mean being able to see one or both of the perspectives. This may sometimes lead to arguments between those those who see one perspective and those who see the other.

​Clear seeing can mean being able to flip between the two at will and empathize with the person who is unable to see the other perspective.

What Is It That Exists?

One of the best ways I have found to understand what exists is from the Tibetan Buddhist teachings. Any object can be considered in 3 ways

The object is made of its components

For instance, the laptop is made up of the screen, the keyboard, the CPU, the memory, the casing and so on. Even a solid object like a stone can be considered to be made of up of atoms and molecules.

The source from where the object originates

To take the same example, the screen of the laptop might be manufactured in China, the CPU in Malaysia and other components in different places and the final assembly would have happened in USA. Similarly, the stone that you see on the road has come there from somewhere. Maybe it broke off a mountain, got carried in a truck and fell down there.

It is an object because we give it a name

This is easier to see for things which are changing rapidly. For instance, we give the name Katrina to the hurricane that swept across the US. But what is a hurricane but the movement of air in a certain pattern. The hurricane is no longer there but the air which was part of the hurricane is still around. By giving a name we create an object. This way of thinking is radically different from the normal way of thinking that we give a name to an object.

​If you really want to see the world as it is, then learn to see everything from these 3 perspectives. Take a leather shoe for instance. See that it is made up of the sole, the upper portion and the lace. Then see that the leather would have originated from some animal, processed and then made in to a shoe. Finally, it is a shoe because you think it is. This point might need some insight but try to see it. Can you see the object without giving it a name?

Science and Spiritualism


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.