When we say ‘science’, almost always we think of ‘modern science’. Rationalists and average people think that ‘science and Spirituality’ are two separate aspects. Spirituality means the knowledge of infinity, that is, knowledge of all subjects ! Then, why would Spirituality not include science? It can be said that science is a branch of Spirituality.
1. Science and Spirituality : Man has become a slave of modern technology
The influence of modern science began in the last two centuries. Technology based on science was developed for sense gratification and since man’s basic tendency is towards materialistic pleasures and enjoyment, he gradually became a slave to the technology.
2. Science and Spirituality : Creation of a wrong picture of antagonism – ‘Physical sciences versus Sanatan Hindu Dharma’
Man’s life depended on technology like a slave does. Similarly, for some other reasons, science also influenced people with spiritual bent of mind in a different way and they also began to think that science was their big enemy. Again, social reformers also began harping – ‘test various aspects of Sanatan Hindu Dharma scientifically’. Hence, the Hindu society developed an inferiority complex, wondering – ‘Is science superior to Dharma (Righteousness)?’ As a result of this inferiority complex, a picture of ‘science versus Sanatan Hindu Dharma’ was painted and antagonism began between the two.
3. Science and Spirituality : Sanatan Hindu Dharma favourable for the progress of modern science
This can be understood from the following examples.
Medical field : Āyurvēda is considered as the fifth Vēda. Now the entire world has realised the importance of Āyurvēda. India is the birthplace of plastic surgery; because in ancient times, surgical repair of a broken nose and ear, cosmetic surgery for creating a dimple on a woman’s cheek were performed.
Field of mathematics : Zero is a gift of Bharatiyas to the world. We have a counting system for numbers up to Kharva, Nikharva
Metallurgy : We have an iron pole which does not rust.
Astronomy : Bharatiya scriptures have described several constellations etc. since time immemorial.
Vāstushāstra (Science of studying a premises) and sculpture : The Kailas cave at Verul in Maharashtra is sculpted from one rock from top to bottom.
Aviation : About 100 years ago, Mr. Talapade made an aeroplane by using the knowledge in Vēdas. He himself flew the aeroplane for some time. Lokmanya Tilak was also present for this experiment.
Navigation : Bharatiyas conducted commerce and trade with islands up to Java, Sumatra, that is, today’s Indonesia by sea-route.
How can a culture which gives so much thought to so many inventions and developments be against science? Theoretically, had Sanatan Hindu Dharma been against science, we would not have seen extraordinary achievements in various fields of the science mentioned above. Despite this being the case, today’s society considers science as supreme and Spirituality as backward.
4. Science and Spirituality : Science and Bharatiya society
Due to introvert nature, the Bharatiyas ignored science and the materialistic progress of the country stagnated : The ancient Bharatiya scholars have made attempts to provide the society with both external and internal happiness, because eventually without internal happiness, external happiness proves to be futile. After the 10th century A.D., the progress of our country came to a standstill because we began to concentrate only on internal sādhanā (Spiritual practice). Plenty of discussions in the spheres of devotion and Dharma continued, but we neglected the field of physical sciences. To add to this, we even forgot the knowledge compiled by our ancient Sages.
Worldly downfall leading to decline in moral values : The citizens of the country became lazy, poor, disease-ridden and weak. Unemployment increased in the country. Hungry people cannot think of Spirituality. Moral values reached their nadir. As a result, people became corrupt, hankered for bribes and turned into hooligans.
Bharatiyas getting attracted to western culture and adhering to physical sciences : On this background, it is but natural that the young generation in Bharat is attracted to western culture. The western culture is extrovert in nature. It searched for the external world with the help of the physical sciences. Bharatiyas also, then, were attracted to physical sciences.
On getting trapped in the pleasures made available by science, Bharatiyas forgot Spirituality : Due to physical sciences, Bharatiyas became happy. Later, upon getting trapped in the pleasures made available by science, they forgot Spirituality and their downfall started in real terms.
5. Science and Spirituality : Supporters of science should forego their rigid stance and personally experience Spirituality
Supporters of science take a rigid stance that there does not exist anything whose cause-and-effect aspect cannot be proved by intellect (For example, God). The cause-and-effect aspect in all the incidents in the world cannot beunderstood merely by the intellect. That is why; supporters of science who consider that knowledge obtained with the help of sense organs is only true cannot reach the ultimate Truth. Once knowledge of the soul is obtained with the help of sādhanā, one can understand the ultimate Truth.
Reference: Sanatan Sanstha’s Holy Text on ‘Introduction to Spirituality‘ and ‘Spirituality‘