Science and spiritualism

Sri Aurobindo, the great sage, writing in the dominant materialist age, says with a strikingly penetrating depth of mental inquiry:  “By that hunger mysticism profits and new religions arise to replace the old that have been destroyed or stripped of significance by skepticism which itself could not satisfy because, although its business was inquiry, it was unwilling sufficiently to inquire. In the corollary of things we are dealing here, the most profound question that has ever been asked and will ever be asked is who, why and when initiated this universal evolution? And, mind’s Inquisitiveness logically further asks how the universe stood before this initiation?

  “Answers to these questions are the most sacred secrets of Nature.

  “We speak of the evolution of Life in Matter, the evolution of Mind in Matter; but evolution is a word, which merely states the phenomenon without explaining it. For there seems to be no reason why Life should evolve out of material elements or Mind out of living form, unless we accept the Vedantic solution that Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness.

  “And then there seems to be little objection to a farther step in the series and the admission that mental consciousness may itself be only a form and a veil of higher states which are beyond Mind. In that case, the unconquerable impulse of man towards God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, Immortality presents itself in its right place in the chain as simply the imperative impulse by which Nature is seeking to evolve beyond Mind, and appears to be as natural, true and just as the impulse towards Life which she has planted in certain forms of Matter or the impulse towards Mind which she has planted in certain forms of Life. As there, so here, the impulse exists more or less obscurely in her different vessels with an ever-ascending series in the power of its will-to-be; as there, so here, it is gradually evolving and bound fully to evolve the necessary organs and faculties.”

  We all know the transformation of classical physics into the physics of relativity and then of qantum mechanics. It was a leap forward in the unknown domain of knowledge. When one looks back today, he gets the uncomfortable feeling of the slow pace of our march forward on the path of knowledge. It seems really long for our physics to come out from the beliefs steeped in the simplistic Newtonian mechanical notions of Nature to astonishingly fresh concepts of Einsteinium Relativity universally operating in Nature. But, then, humanity took an incalculable span of time to put her knowledge that was mere of a speculative nature than a science onto a firm pedestal of Newtonian mechanics. It seemed obvious that on the part of humankind there is geometric progression in the rate of uncovering mysteries of Nature.

  Our science once more seems to be on the verge of a new and further transformation. What could be the nature of this lurking transformation? We may get a glimpse of this new understanding of Nature by comparing the essence of our modern concepts of unified field of energy with the old and outmoded Newtonian concepts. By this comparison, we find that matter and its properties are not absolute in quantum of content and their behavior as was once thought. The impending transformation should bring a further new freshness to our understanding of Nature. In which way and on what front of our knowledge, it could happen? There is a great probability that this time it should relate to the operating universe of human mind and brain, which is its biological seat. It may commence with the labor, management, motive and enabling environment neno-scale investigation of biological brain. It may commence with establishing the co-relation of mind’s specific functions with brain’s specific chemical structure of neurons, the neurons’ synaptic connections between its various regions, the significance of transmitting of electric impulses therein etc.

  If what we have been maintaining all along here is correct, then one thing is certain to be established one day by science by such investigation. It is not only the brain’s biological structure at nanoscale that determines the mind’s thoughts – and other mental functions – but, equally, it is the mind’s thoughts and other functions that determine, change and rearrange the brain’s nano-scale structure. And, this mutual interrelation is not confined to brain and mind. It goes much beyond that. It covers the whole physical body. And, this interrelation of biological and life’s functions is not limited to human beings alone. It operates universally wherever the duality of biology and life exist. It is much like wave and particle duality of quantum mechanics. You observe life only where it is bound to biology but it can exist sans biology also.

  We have already indicated elsewhere on these pages, biology – and for that matter, all Matter – is pure energy, the amount of which is equivalent to mass multiplied by a number obtained by squaring the speed of light, as we all know. However, as we have said earlier the fundamental energy is not only the ultimate truth but also conscious and blissful.

  The transformation of science, which is being hastened by its rapid progress today, would not confine its scope to subjective feelings of mind alone. It would transcend human mind and relate itself to the reality existing there in Nature in an objective and verifiable manner. Here, at this point the essence of all religions condensed into a neat spiritualism may meet science and form a new confluence of two diverse streams of knowledge.

  One such connecting common point for study between science and spiritualism could be the interrelation between nano-scale structure of biological brain and spiritual exercise of faith and prayer. Faith in Divine and a sincere prayer to Him are the commonest phenomenon in religions and spiritualism, and their impact on human brain at the molecular level may be conveniently studied by science today. The material consequences that might be brought into existence by these spiritual exercises not only in biological brain but also in in the surrounding material hard world may also be studied today.

  There are already signs that science is moving towards establishing some link between biological brain and the way we think, remember and deal with our surroundings. If we further find, with the progress of science, that religious or spiritual faith and prayer bring about a biological change in human brain at the nano-scale and a predictable “divination” takes place in the surrounding material world, what would it show? If it is repeated that yields the same consequences again and again, what would it show? Can one conclude that there is a force that is real and that is canalized by altered biological brain and reflected in one’s changed mind, the change which is always brought in one’s personality by religious or spiritual faith and prayer? And, if a predictable “divination” also takes place in the material hard world by the force of faith and prayer, what would it amount to? If the progress of science brings forth these interelations between “faith” and “Matter: in a positive direction, then one can truthfully say that the force is there, it is real, it is energy and it is conscious also. It would be a meeting place of two diverse disciplines of knowledge. It would be a confluence of two separate streams of knowledge.

   Today, there is necessity to shift our focus, in taking decisions and planning things, from this our one life to the one that is spread over many such lives. The happening of rebirth cases has to be studied, in the interest of human beings, by our science, the science whose scope and reach are enriched by its transformation from the present monolithic form to an elastic multidiscipline vibrant one.

  There is the realization today on the part of science that there are some facts that exist there but are not scientific in nature. Its very movement, that is, the rapid progress of science, is hastening the moment of their admission. The more science uncovers the secret mysteries of Nature, the nearer would be the moment of dawning of a new civilization.

  One such truth that exists there but is not admitted by science is the survival (of human beings) after death. One encounters almost daily across the globe cases of children who claim to remember the past life. We are not concerned here with any explanation of this phenomenon. It is the truth of the existence of such cases that is relevant here. Science realizes that they exist as hard facts but does not admit their existence. Or, it saves its face by ignoring their existence. It brings no credit to science. Nobody expects science to explain each and every thing existing in Nature. But one surely expects science to be honest in its commitment to truth. We all know today, science is developed enough to investigate “scientifically” and certify the existence of such cases.

  How “survival after death” cases are relevant to the culture of a new civilization? It is this way. We hold that there is this single life of us that we have at our disposal in this vast world and, logically, our priorities in life are determined by this fact – or, belief that is augmented by science’s silence on the subject. We focus on this present life, plan for this life and take this life’s interests as the ultimate interests. What would happen if tomorrow science admits that there is survival after death? What would happen if such survival is taught in science classes in schools and a new generation steeped in such conviction takes over us?

  It is apparent the focus of human society would then shift from the interests of a single present life of individuals to the interests that may be there to be cared by them for a continued life after death. This dawning of the reality augmented by the scientific aura would lay the foundation of a new culture – the culture of a new civilization. The culture of the new civilization would be qualitatively different from our present – the old – civilization. The habits, priorities and ends of our life would be different in the new civilization from our present one.

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