I would like to begin with this poem by the Native Indian Chief of Seattle, which has been resonating powerfully the world over:-
When the Blood in your veins returns to the Sea –
And the Earth in your Bones
Returns to the ground –
Perhaps then you will
Remember that this
Land does not belong to you,
It is You who
Belong to this Land…..
~ Chief Seattle ~
Inspired by this Frijof Capra the well known Author of the Tao Of Physics uses this poem by Ted Perry to begin his book – The Web Of Life –
This we know
All things are connected
Like the blood
Which unites one Family
Whatever befalls the Earth
Befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth
Man did not weave the Web Of Life
He is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web
He does to Himself –
Even as we sit here together, there is a process going on within your body. Like a machine it functions day and night even without your help. Even though it seems like a simple process, it can cause a huge impact on you. If your digestive system is not functioning smoothly, you will feel uneasy and will not be able to sit at ease and listen to this presentation. If your mind is restless, you will not be able to sit peacefully and pay attention to what’s going on here. The first priority that we all give, is for our own personal physical and mental ease. Man’s search for basic needs for his own sustenance took him to fertile lands close to rivers. He rubbed two stones to create a fire to cook his food, he needed to use natural resources for his own convenience, need and shelter, he made sharp tools to use as weapons to kill animals, he needed water to irrigate his fields, he needed to know his body to eliminate sickness, he needed to study his mind to stay free of trouble, he had to share planet earth with other beings. Scientific enquiry thus began with a need to use nature and available resources for his own existential sustenance. Study of Pattern – form, order, quality.Study of Structure – substance, matter, quantity.Pattern of living and non-living systems and its structure. Thereby he discovered many things and put it to use. Electricity, Agriculture, Architecture, Medicine, Psychology, Consciousness, Art, Spirituality, Religion etc. Thus the tree of the world of Science grew and spread out in all directions. Today it is so vast that it has branched into endless branches of science. Science seeks certitude. It brings clear notions that are specific. It is an inductive-deductive study of the particular and the general. Science stands on its own merit and does not require faith. It can be verified. There is a hypothesis, which can be verified through experiments with an aim, an objective, a method and a result. There are many varied approaches. What we are going to focus on today is on the application and Value sense of Modern Science and how it can be practically applied, unified and integrated into our lives thereby contributing to our happiness and the happiness of all.Firstly let us go to the very plan or scheme of Truth in modern science that has been uncovered and revealed to us through decades of research that several great scientists have made. Before we proceed further, let us express our heartfelt gratitude to these great people who toiled day and night, burning the midnight oil. This microphone, the loud speakers, the lights, the fans, our cell phones, internet and computers that make life easy for us today are visible evidence of great minds of past decades. Namaskaram to them all. The first part of this presentation will be the induction or introduction through ‘the philosophy of science.’ The second part will be the deduction through the other end of the pole, ‘the science through philosophy.’ And the last concluding part will be the dialectical reasoning bringing forth the Value perspective through the teachings of our Great Gurus that unify all fields of knowledge weaving them into Life.
Even though science seeks certitude, Nataraja Guru says that modern science has brought us not to certitude, but to incertitude. The German physicist Heisenberg revealed through his ‘Uncertainty Principle’ that we can never look for certitude through our senses or through our ‘instruments’ of observation and investigation. Let us thus bear in mind at the very outset that scientific findings are constantly under change. Today it has come to a point where it is beyond any measurement or explanation. Einstein calls it ‘spooky actions’ – “Quantum metaphysics entails ‘spooky actions’ at a distance” he said in his observations of the ‘Real World’.
Going back in time to the History of Modern Science and its evolution through the ages, we come to the late 16th Century when it began with Galileo Galilee. He was the first to carry out systematic experiments and use mathematical language to formulate the laws of nature that he discovered. During his time, science was called Natural Philosophy. ‘Philosophy’ he wrote is written in that Great Book which ever lies before our eyes, but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and the characters in which it is written.’ This language is mathematics (what he meant was geometry) and the characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures. He inherited this view from the ancient Greek philosophers who tended to geometrize all mathematical problems. Several centuries later, Islamic philosophers in Persia developed a different approach of solving problems known as ‘algebra’. They in turn learnt it from the Indian mathematicians. The study of structure has been the principle approach in Western Science and Philosophy. Synthesis of two approaches – Structure and Pattern.For example the physical structure of a bicycle – the shapes, specific materials, racing bike, touring bike, mountain bike, frames, the pedal, handle bar, wheel, chain etc. The complete configuration of these functional relationships constitutes the bicycles pattern of organization. The link between Structure and Pattern is the mind of the designer. The three are different, but inseparable. All are totally interdependent. In living systems, there is growth, development and evolution. The components change continually. Each cell continuously synthesizes and dissolves structures and eliminates waste products. Tissues and organs replace their cells. The link between Pattern and Structure is the process of life, the activity involved. The three are different but inseparable perspectives on the phenomenon of life. Even Chemicals do not combine randomly, but in ordered patterned ways. The language of life is chemistry, not maths, algebra or geometry. Fritjof Capra the well-known physicist of our times says – “Microbiology teaches us the sobering lesson that technologies like genetic engineering and global communication network which we consider to be advanced achievements of the present day have been used by the planetary web of bacteria for billions of years to regulate life on earth.” It is philosophically and spiritually more satisfying to assume that the cosmos as a whole is alive, rather than thinking of life on earth as existing within a lifeless universe. Living systems are constantly open to this continuous flow of energy and matter. When the renowned astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell was asked ‘What happened before the Big Bang?’ He said – “There we reach the great barrier of thought. I feel as though I have suddenly driven into a great fog barrier where the familiar world has disappeared.”
Rene Descartes said – “All philosophy is like a tree. The roots are metaphysics, the trunk is physics and the branches are all other sciences.” Today, the paradigm shift in science, at its deepest level, implies a shift from physics to the ‘Life Sciences’. The word ‘Paradigm’ used in science refers to the entire constellation of Perception, Action, Value, in one word. Erwin Schrodinger the Austrian Physicist’s daunting quest about – What is Life? Led to the unraveling of the Genetic code. The molecular structure of genes. This opened up a new edge in science – Molecular Biology. Yet several questions remain unanswered that have puzzled scientists and philosophers for hundreds of years. How did complex structures evolve out of a random collection of molecules? What is the relationship between Mind & Brain? What is consciousness? This view of reality was by no means easy to accept for physicists at the beginning of the century. Exploration of atomic and sub atomic world brought them in contact with unexpected reality. The new paradigm may be called ‘Holistic View’, seeing the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts. Holistic view and Ecological view are the two new terms which differ slightly in the meaning. Holistic view of a bicycle means to see the bicycle as a functional whole and to understand the interdependence of its parts accordingly. An Ecological view of the bicycle includes that, but it adds to it the perception of how it is placed in its natural and social environment. Where the raw materials came from, how it was manufactured, how its use affects the natural environment, and the community by which it is used etc. Deep ecology does not separate humans or anything else from natural environment. Sees the world not as a collection of isolated objects, but as a network of phenomena that are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent.
The Hellenistic Philosophy founded by Zeno, 3rd century BC – Stoicism followed Nature Philosophy. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment and the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will that is in accord with Nature. They presented their Philosophy as a way of life and they thought that the best indication of an individual’s philosophy was not what a person said, but how that person behaved. Virtue is sufficient for happiness. A sage was immune to misfortune. This belief is similar to the phrase – ‘Stoic Calm’. Virtue consists in a will that is in agreement with Nature. This was popular in Roman Greece throughout the Roman Empire. Their radical and ethical views started to be at odds with the Christian Faith. For example a Stoic would change his will to suit the world and remain sick and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in disgrace and happy, in exile and happy. Fatalistic in nature. Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle would compare imperfect virtue to Pagan Virtue. Later it was described as Classical pantheism which was adopted by Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza who imparted order and unity to the tradition of radical thought. Pantheism meaning – All is God. According to Spinoza – ‘Reality is perfection.’ “Everything that exists in Nature, everything in the Universe is one Reality Substance and that there is only one set of Rules governing the whole of Reality which surrounds us and of which we are part. God and Nature are two names of same Reality.
Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus taught that – Pleasure and pain are measures of what is good and evil. Death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared. Gods neither reward nor punish humans. Universe is eternal and infinite. Events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of Atoms moving in empty space. Epicurean belief in Path of Atoms came in line with contemporary thought on Quantum Mechanics. Epicurus emphasized friendship as an important ingredient of happiness. His school resembled in many ways a community of friends living together. He also instituted a hierarchical system of levels among his student and had them swear an oath on core tenets.
Empiricism dates back to Aristotle. Experience of sense perceptions and soul. The meaning of the word itself is derived from ‘experience’ or ‘experiment’. Aristotle and Theophrastus together formulated the new science of Biology. Aristotle considers sense perception only as a vehicle for knowledge. Then came John Locke, a leading 17th century British philosopher. His epistemological idea was that individuals are born without built in mental content and that knowledge comes from experience or perception – Tabula Rasa (Blank slate). This denies that humans have innate qualities. A central concept in science and scientific method is that it must be empirically based on the evidence of the senses. Both Natural and social sciences use working hypothesis that are testable by observation and experiment.
This view is commonly contrasted with Rationalism which states that knowledge may be derived from ‘Reason’ independent on the senses.
According to extreme empiricist theory known as phenomenalism by the arguments of Hume and Berkeley, a physical object is a kind of construction out of experiences. Their view is that physical objects are reducible to mental objects – Subjective idealism.
Then came the Pragmatic philosophy. This integrates basic insights of empirical (experience based) and rational (concept based) thinking. Inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning in a complimentary rather than competitive mode.The conclusions of science are always tentative. The rationality of the scientific method, does not depend on the certainty of its conclusions, but on its self-correction character. By continued application of the method, science can detect and correct its own mistakes and eventually lead to the discovery of Truth.
In 1922, on Apr 6th there was a debate between Albert Einstein the renowned Physicist and Henri Bergson the Philosopher. This public debate in Paris, changed our understanding of Time. This was a turning point when science overtook philosophy.* Today there is a revival of Bergson’s ideas, especially after the findings of Quantum Mechanics which disagrees with the theory of relativity which was Einstein’s great edifice to dislodge philosophy. Bergson’s notion of Élan Vital and Pure Duration challenged both Darwin’s evolution and Einstein’s theory of Time. Nataraja Guru was perceptive enough to recognize the importance of Bergson and included his arguments in the Integrated science of the Absolute at a time when Einstein’s ideas were dominating the arena of science and Bergson was almost forgotten.
We have now looked at Modern Science from two opposite poles. The Philosophy of Science and Science through Philosophy. We can see clearly that Modern Science does not stand alone. It is rooted in all of time.Technical evolution and Theoretical evolution of thoughts and ideas that have been growing alongside. Even though it looks contradictory, today we find that scientists and philosophers have arrived at a meeting point of Relativistic science and Absolute science. Now let us look at a Unified field, where both can meet. And for this, we turn towards the Pramanas and towards our great Rishis. The solar system and the atom reveal a togetherness of macrocosm and microcosm. The Centripetal and the Centrifugal. The a-priori assertion and the a-posteriori experiments. The believer and the skeptic stand on the same platform. Ultimately what are we looking for? We are looking for ways and means to face life effortlessly, seeking happiness to make life easy. An art of living life. The Upanishadic Rishi sits quiet and his Degree is the Degree of satisfaction or contentment. They too have known all there is to know without conducting extensive laboratory experiments. Looking inward into the very source of knowledge they have figured out the Truth. They say – “By a taste of water, you can know all about water. There is no need to empty the seven seas.” Physics deals with the phenomenal; metaphysics deals with the noumenal. Physics gives primacy to space, while metaphysics gives primacy to time. What does time mean?
Quantum cosmology tells us that Time is a perspective. Ultimately there is no Evolution or Time. There’s just the eternal ‘Now’. The entire universe existing in this moment. Past, present and future collapsed to the present. Within that grand reality, emergence or dissolution of time is experienced according to the state of consciousness – Wakeful, dream, deep-sleep, meditative consciousness, unitive consciousness. Time emerges from Timeless Quantum Universal Unified field. The Moon in a Dew Drop as Zen Master DogenZenji puts it in his GenjoKoan– The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.
Nataraja Guru recognizes the possibility of a unitive or non-dual vision of the two aspects of Truth – the phenomenal and the noumenal which we experience as two. The frame of reference that can bring us to a neutral point is in the very structure of human thought. GaudapadaShankara’s Guru had the ability to see the togetherness of the four states of human consciousness – the objective, the subjective, the causal and the transcendental, ie the wakeful, the dream, the deep-sleep and the transcendental. The Mandukhya Upanishad gives us this universal scheme based on the word ‘AUM’ – ‘A’ ‘U’ ‘M’ and silence. This corresponds with Descartes great contribution of the so called Cartesian co-ordinates. Temperature and time belong to two different orders, but using these coordinates, a doctor can correlate these two realms and arrive at a third notion, which in this case is the nature of a patient’s disease. For this the doctor uses only one quadrant. The Mandukhya Upanishad shows us how we can use all four quadrants to understand the whole of human experience, the gross, the subtle, the physical andthe metaphysical.Siva the unmoved mover like the catalyst in Chemistry while acting, is not really acting at all. Devi is like the hidden roots of a tree, continuously supplying nourishing sap to the branches and leaves though their presence is hidden. Siva shaktyaukto….In the words of Richard Feynman – “Quantum mechanics deals with Nature as she is – ‘Absurd’.” For example, the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics means that the more closely one pins down one measurement (such as the position of a particle), the less precise another measurement pertaining to the same particle (such as its momentum) must become.Light behaves in some respects like particles and in other respects like waves. Matter—particles such as electrons and atoms—exhibits wavelike behavior too. Entire universe is “One single wave function of the Universe.” It is the approach that leaves open the door for claims that “Everything is connected”, which often gets manipulated.AzhiyumThirayumkattum…The ocean has a vertical depth as well as a horizontal extension. We should know the calm of the depths and also how the surface storms come. Not in the physical ocean, but in the ocean of our consciousness – MoolaSamvitkadal.
Ultimately what we are seeking for is not merely factual, speculative or dealing with closed creeds but an integration of all disciplines. A total assessment, judgment and a total appreciation – Sat Chit and Ananda. Scientist turns towards external factors. He is very factual. His senses are turned outward. He sees similarities between species and composition going into the whole of the physical world. Its immaterial to him how beautiful this bird is, or how cruel that man is. They are all protein products of molecules. The wife is a quantum of energy, and the distant star is a quantum of energy. Just one universal existentiality devoid of love, hatred, poetry, politics etc. The gas chambers of the Nazi regime, the world’s first Hydrogen Bomb in the mass destruction at Hiroshima are valid testimony to such Human insensitivity and blunder.
The philosopher on the other hand looks at the smiles, frowns and appetites in the world and can relate them only to his own smiles, frowns and appetites. His own reason is the center of the world. His mind is the standard, and the vast cosmos flows into him, gets transformed in his mind, and then restated and projected. He would say – “We experience time and space and hence we project it.” Or “This is a world created by me” There may be a world outside, but we don’t know how valid or correct is the correspondence between our image of the world and the world which exists independently.
Nataraja Guru points out a two-way process – Normalization and Renormalization. Normalization refers to seeing the highest speculative value or abstraction of a given percept from the formal side. But in addition to this normalization, there is a necessity for renormalization, which is a ‘Bringing Back down to Earth’, so to speak the fruits of normalization. Yoga is not achieved by entering a silent chamber cut off from the world of objects and going into a self-induced state of hypnosis. You have to walk in the streets, greet your friends, recognize the wrath of evil deeds, wipe a sufferer’s tear. At the same time see how all this arises from one neutral point. A continuous witnessing of everything bubbling up from the neutral pulsating center of the heart of consciousness. Nitya Guru talks of a Swami he met in the Himalayas. This is what he says in his own words – “I met a Swami whose disciples would lift, wash and clothe him in the morning, and sit him in a chair. After some time, they feed some food into him and lay him down. This drama went on for 12 years. This shows the limit to which one’s nirvana can be pushed, but it need not be thought of as superior. Anyway this extreme is for the ‘old fellow’, not the ‘little bouncing ball’. Let us be true to who we are and live completely. We are not a RamanaMaharshi or a Jesus Christ. We learn from their lives and absorb many things, but let us not get into spiritual ignorance of imitating them. Spiritual ignorance can lead us to depression and even madness. Let us approach life through our own Swadharma,which is unique and real. The science of the Absolute or the science of sciences must cover the whole range of human experience and enquiry. There is a wide spectrum of wisdom around us in all fields of knowledge. Let us pick up the strings that is unique to us and converge into the universal wave of oneness that brings us to the eternal silence from where it all began with no beginning and no end, just a pulsation of “That Alone, the core of Wisdom”. Then the ocean becomes an ocean of great joy and an ocean of great value says Narayana Guru. Finally we ourselves merge gently and slowly into that ocean and become difference-less with it:- Adhumidhumallasadarthamallaham
Man as a thinking being, has three areas where he can contribute towards harmony in the world. One is individually bringing harmony to his own physical and mental being. Two, Socially towards interdependent harmony and Three, Universally harmonizing the spirit of the times (In German spirit of the times is expressed through just one word – Zeitgeist). So is all this talk just ‘Dead Words’ or just ‘arm chair philosophy’? No, our Guru’s and the immortal Masters and Thinkers of the world have clearly brought forth a need for Universal harmony or Brotherhood. If one string is displaced, it brings disharmony to the entire system. The 1922 debate between Einstein and Bergson towards the end of their lives (Einstein was in his 70’s and Bergson in his 80’s) is a very prominent time in history where the world witnessed science and philosophy coming to a merging point. Even though Science won over philosophy at that time, that was also the time of the bombing of Hiroshima.Narayana Guru, Nataraja Guru and Guru Nitya were well informed about the change and clime of the times and applied their wisdom by revaluing and restating accordingly. Today we are standing in front of an emerging ‘Group Dynamic’. Religious fundamentalism is on the rise. According to Carl Gustav Jung, ‘Hell’ represents, among every culture, the disturbing aspect of the ‘Collective Unconscious’. We are heading towards strong dynamic religious fundamentalism. Collective Mind is Blind. If the labeling of ‘Them’ and ‘Us’ is removed, then the eternal oneness remains in the midst of the many. There will be harmony in difference.
~ A U M ~