FROM SPIRITUALITY TO SCIENCE

Philosopher Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara to Dr. Albert Einstein By
Prof. Dr. Vishwanath Karad

Philosopher Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara to Dr. Albert Einstein is a long journey in time and space. For that matter we can travel back to the period, prior to Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara, to Ramayana or even earlier, but considering the fact that Pune is very close to Alandi, which is a holy place associated with the presiding saint of Maharashtra, we restrict our reflections to Philosopher Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara. Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara can be taken to be symbolic of the saintly men of India, with their culture and glorious past.

To a layman these two personalities may appear to be the two extremes in thought and time, with practically nothing in common. But a closer look would reveal how their theories and philosophies tend to merge into each other. This is true of all the highly revered spiritual/religious leaders and the eminent scientists of modern era.

Our country has been the cradle of harmony and civilization, and has produced the greatest of saints, seers and sages, teachers, scholars and philosophers who have devoted their life time to the cause of love, affection, harmony, brotherhood, peace and welfare of the entire humanity. Their teachings show their purity of mind and thought. These thoughts reflect scientific thinking and universal laws of life and nature.

In my humble way I feel, as I understand, the great masterly commentary on GEETA i.e. DNYANESHWARI written by Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara, or for that matter, the various other scriptures which are generally considered to be purely religious, are the most scientific and philosophical narrations of the principles or the universal laws of life and nature. Every line, written in most beautiful and lucid manner, in poetic form is full of tenderness, love and wisdom, enunciating the scientific laws of the Nature, including physics, chemistry and other areas, in a simple language which can be understood even by a common man on the street.

I may mention here that Dnyaneshwari propounds the theory of relativity, laws of thermodynamics, forms of energy and their transformations from one form into the other. It also deals with the nature of ultimate state of matter which has been discussed by modern scientists like Einstein and others in the form of mathematical theories and equations pertaining to physics, which have been deduced after physical confirmation and proof. Of course, these very theories and equations have found their applications in the various areas of developments for variety of purposes. The correspondence between the teachings and scriptures of the great saints of the past and theories and mathematical expressions of the great scientists of the present generation is really astonishing. One gets really perplexed, by the fact that quite a few of these saints of the past had no formal education except possibly the ability to read and write. Possibly, it is their wisdom; their capacity to analyze, their ability to think in the right direction based on logic and reasoning and the intense feeling for the good of the human race and mother nature that gave them insight and vision to put forth the scientific principles in a philosophic way but in a simplified and lucid manner in words and not in the form of equations and formulae of mathematics or physics.

Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara speaks about the ultimate state of matter in the very first lines of his masterly treatise, ‘Dnyaneshwari’. The atomic structure and the minutest form of particle, neutron, proton, and electron are the discoveries of modern science. Further, smaller the size of such particles, more powerful it is, and is the Ultimate Reality, the God. Saint Tukaram’s Gatha highlights the power of a minutest particle and equates it with the all powerful, the Supreme – the Almighty.

The word “Science” is not new to Indian heritage and culture. It is as old as the civilization, and in the Hindu Mythology, Lord Krishna has given subtle definition of it, as well as brought out the difference between science and knowledge. According to Lord Krishna, ‘n«n§M kmZ Vo {dkmZ’, knowledge about the life is science. What one tries to know and does to lead a happy life, right from satisfying one’s physical needs and comforts to seeking new avenues in furtherance of one’s knowledge and searching the things around is science. On the other hand, ‘ñdê$n kmZ Vo kmZ’, by which the Lord says that knowledge about the self, inner conscience, the soul and understanding the ultimate objective and aim of the life, is the real knowledge. Possibly such a beautiful, apt and at the same time realistic analysis of science and knowledge has not been given by any one else.

Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara, much before Galileo Galilei concluded that the motion of sun as observed is illusion, sun is stationary and the earth is moving round it. Possibly, he is the first environmentalist also with concern for preserving the environment and the proponent of proper urban planning when he speaks about ‘ZJaoMr aMmdr _hmdZo bmdmdr ZmZm{dY’.

Geeta and Dnyaneshwari also propound the scientific principle of life cycle when they state ‘what grows will perish and again will grow and the cycle goes on’.

How scientific were the concepts and writings of these great religions/spiritual leaders becomes clear if we look at the concept of “dS>dmZ” meaning fire resides in the belly of water. This concept is based on the fact that water comprises of Hydrogen and Oxygen. The former is highly inflammable and explosive and the latter helps the combustion.

During the last couple of years, a lot of research work is being carried out in the field of human genome. It involves study of the genes involving DNA, RNA etc. The genome is related with the history of an individual and in the long run will help in the genetic engineering as regards one’s inheritance, possible ailments, cures etc. This would enable one to lead a long comfortable and healthy life.

Similar to genome of the scientific world, we have OM in India. As mentioned earlier, according to our ancient scientists whom we identify as Rishis, OM is the ultimate basis of everything. They tread the same path as the modern day scientists, and, in fact, even further. They knew a lot about our stars and planetary system, using their own methods from crude space shuttles to mental motion, but unfortunately there are no records. Later the ancient Indian scientists turned inwards and studied human bodies, aging process and medicines. They discovered sanjivani plant and used ‘KAYAKALPA’ to rejuvenate the body.

The Indian scientists found that the imbalance in ‘Prana’ is at the base and the cause of all illnesses. Prana is the vital life force, which fills every part of the body. Any change in its balance, causes illness. ‘Kayakalpa’ can be mastered by various methods, including meditation and Yoga. Hathayoga, Yoga and Ayurveda, which make the body strong and agile, are the gifts of these ancient scientists of India.

A further enquiry and research by these Indian scientists led to the theory of rebirth or reincarnation which explains many things pertaining to many congenital defects, illnesses etc. Apart from Prana, they said that there is some thing more which is astounding i.e. the mind, and after diving deep, discovered the unconscious. This unconscious is just like a store house replete with a huge library of all records. These records are not merely the stored information but are active synthesizer of life itself. This library is an amazing record, reflecting the action we perform – Kama and its photo image in the mind called impression – ‘sanskara’. Based on this the soul is reborn with a past history (Karma), which affects the new life. That is, everything in a way is pre-destined.

These scientists of bygone era, also discovered the Truth behind all truths – ‘the Supreme Reality’. In the process of one birth to next birth, they found self or Atman, which dons the new body and mind.

The Indian scientists of old era, discovered three states or dimensions of existence, the physical or gross, the mental or subtle and the spiritual or subtlest, OM – Aum is the single source – a) stands for the gross universe or creation, b) for the subtle universe and c) for causal universe or annihilation. Today’s science, associated with GENomE world needs to transform to OM by dropping GENE which goes for genes. This will help in reaching the Truth.Of course, the great modern scientists like Einstein and others, tend to be philosophical and propagate the ideas, virtues and values similar to those of great spiritual masters of the past.

Einstein and other great scientists of modern era, who have given us various scientific theories, concepts and laws like Theory of Relativity, Energy equation like E = mc2, Forms of Energy, nature of Ultimate State of Matter etc., have done so for the comfort and welfare of mankind, as reflected by various developments, discoveries and inventions in various areas like atomic energy, space programmes, Information Technology etc. These were also the very aims and objectives of the great saints of the bygone era. This clearly indicates that men of wisdom, whether they belong to saintly order or scientific world think alike, teach alike and have the same goal, though their paths may be different. An understanding of the two great traditions, which have more in common than what one can think of will certainly help in making of a complete man.

In fact the journey from Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara to Einstein and beyond is replete with spirituality and closely linked to the scientific realities and scientific enquiries whose ultimate goal is the search of Truth. As is well known, most of the religions assert that God is the ultimate Truth, whereas science, without accepting the existence of personal God, professes that its objective is the quest for Truth.

There cannot be and should not be any clash of ideology or conflict between the spiritual pursuits and scientific enquiry. Science is essentially amoral in character. It is the purpose for which it is used which gives it the relevant tinge, good or bad. Atomic energy can be used for peaceful purpose by providing it to the consumers to illuminate the houses, supply water or run the industry, on the other hand its destructive power, used as a bomb, can wipe out the nations and damage the environment.

Science, as a tool for acquiring knowledge can be intellectually profound and can equally justify the existence of an intelligent creative principle in the universe. A right thinking scientist who marvels and eulogizes the planetary system and the intricate laws of their motion, cannot just ignore or reject the concept, rather the reality, of an Intelligent Cosmic Creator – the Almighty. In fact, some of the leading scientists have been devout and humble believers. They include Galileo Galilei, Issac Newton, Albert Einstein and others. Use of science merely for creating the worldly comforts and material gains brings down its value as an instrument for acquiring knowledge. If, on the other hand, it is regarded as a device to probe how the external and internal world work, and if it helps us in understanding our existence, and the whole cosmos, and can bring closer to probing the unfathomable mind of God, then it would really fulfill its role – that is illuminating the human mind and guiding it to righteous path.

In such a situation, science would also be an instrument that invokes and inspires faith in God. Thus, science can actually strengthen rather than diminish our faith in God. In fact, it can enhance our faith in the Supreme Being. Science has the same strength to elevate us as much as religion. It is, therefore, often said that a truly pious and devoted person loves God with his heart and a highly dedicated scientist loves God with his mind.

Yoga is a highly useful, scientifically devised gift of our rich traditions dating back to Patanjali. The yoga sutras teach us about how a person practising yoga can gain control over the nature including the Self. The science and technology also help one to achieve the same.

For a successful and rewarding life, what is required is a blissful state of mind and body, which alone will lead a person on right path. The education, the spirituality and the science should help an individual to achieve this so that there is all-round development covering, spiritual, emotional and intellectual aspects. The human resource development programmes should focus on the real source of humanity that is spirit. Yoga and Meditation may be helpful in this regard, but may not be adequate. Equally important one is the determination to realize our spiritual self or the soul and going in for soul-centric pursuits rather than more egoistic ones. Here again science, spirituality and education can help.

Gaining control over the nature helps one to tread the pathway to the spiritual growth. Science and technology, by providing comforts and fulfilling the needs, enable one to concentrate on larger and more important issues, which include the spiritual matters, as the basic needs are largely satisfied. Apart from this, recent developments and innovations in technology, allow rapid dissemination of information due to things like internet, and generate a dialogue and discussion facilitating spiritual communion.

Science will actually strengthen rather than weakening our faith in God and His Creative Power. Mother nature is the creation of the Great Lord, the Almighty. The present day technological developments are based on the things, which are natural or known to have been there in the mythological past, without any recorded history, be it fiber optics, telecommunications or the medical advances. This leads one to conjecture that possibly the days are not far off, when by understanding the laws of nature through science and technology, we might be able to reach closer to understanding and realizing the God, who is in fact Nature personified.

As scientific and technological progress will continue to take place, in the same way the spiritual progress will continue unabated. Physics and metaphysics are the two sides of the same coin.

“Union of Science and Religion / Spirituality alone will bring peace to the mankind” said Swami Vivekananda. The foregoing paras illustrate this very axiom of Swami Vivekananda. One should not look at our great scriptures like Vedas, Geeta, Upnishads, Dnyaneshwari or Gatha as mere religious scriptures, but as the divine principles and laws of life and scientific realities of the nature barring the ritualistic part.