Advaitam and Science

OM, Purnamata purnamitam purnat purnamutachyate, purnasya purnamataye purnamevavasishyate – Bri.Up V.i.1




Science has advanced to a remarkable level; but spirituality is ancient.  The most important and basic thing for humanity to survive in peace is to understand the emotion of others and adjust with others accordingly.  Today’s scientific development questions this basic human attitude.  Our understanding and knowledge about the world helps us to lead our life successfully.  It is true that in today’s scientific world, one cannot survive without a few electrical and electronic gadgets.  Our life is so dependent of science that a person not using a latest available scientific product is considered as uneducated and illiterate.  It is true, for well being science is absolutely needed; it gives maximum physical comforts.  Even to tell these points to the world, science is needed.  Science has made remarkable advancement – no doubt in it.  The question is – can we survive only with physical comforts?  –  Absolutely not.  We crave for psychological comforts too, which only spirituality can give.  If science advances without spirituality then large percentage of the people who use the modern technology, use it in a twisted way for their personal and material gains.


The atrocities happening in our society and the world over prove that spirituality has not gone far into people’s life as science has gone.  Science has taken major part of our life leaving no space for spiritual development.  Instruments and machines dominate our life style.  Even when science advances to a far level its attitude is NOT towards peace.  Science has changed our attitude towards life.  Competition and winning attitude without understanding human emotions distort the image of science.  If human emotions and values are ignored then every competition is a rat race and there will be no real winner.  One of the main reason for this is science is not taking spirituality into its hold; and spirituality cannot hold science because science need instrumental proofs with mathematical precision.  In the absence of spirituality, every individual uses the comforts provided by science ignoring the discomfort it cause for the fellow beings and the surroundings.  It is a serious issue, and it is to be addressed in a proper way; else peace in the future world will be a question.  It is humanity which develops, uses, and benefits from technology.  Humanity’s attitude must be towards peace; else technology destroys humanity itself.  It is the attitude which makes the difference.  If science and spirituality are pursued together, it widens the human knowledge and wisdom and this in turn brings peace to the world.

Science has made the world so busy.  Science has gone deep rooted in people’s mind, and so people will not believe in spirituality alone.  Therefore, to a certain level spiritual facts have to be explained using science; else, spirituality will be completely ignored by people.  Of course, advanced spirituality cannot be perceived by science, because spirituality is beyond mind and brain.  Science helps to understand life to a certain extent.  Ancient scriptures and Rishis have also explained many scientific facts, which are little known to the world.  Science is not alien to Vedas.  However, science alone cannot move the world forward in peace.

At present science is misused to a large extent.  Science needs spiritual guidance.  Mentality of the people who use science must be fine tuned with spirituality, to make them use science for peace and good will.  It is the mentality and attitude of the people which determines what to do with the instrument at hand.


Definitely, in the absence of science, world would not have developed beyond Stone Age.  At the same time, any scientific advancement will definitely disturb the nature to an extent.  To a certain extent nature also adjusts with it.  However, if the disturbances of science cross a limit then nature retaliates.  If the harmonious nature of the atmosphere is disturbed the nature retaliates.  The recent nature’s fury like floods, typhoons, repeated storms and cyclones, land erosion, landslides, etc are the proof for it.  When nature retaliates science cannot stop it.  This inability results in destruction of valuable life and their life time belongings.

Science view human beings only as a biological creature.  It deals only with the physical aspect of life.  Science does not care for emotions, values, soul, etc.  This attitude results in arrogance, hatred, comparison, revenge, jealousy etc.

Spirituality gives a different dimension for human life.  It makes people view oneself as the one in all.  This attitude brings compassion and unity.  There are subtle layers in a being which science cannot measure or see by its gross instruments.  Man is more than a mere physical body.  He is the Supreme Being, not different from the supreme nature of his fellow beings.  Science fails to understand this concept of spirituality.  Spirituality converge the world to a point rather than having diverse views.  There must be some compatibility between science and spirituality to move the world in peace.

Spirituality needs to be spread in the manner as science has spread all over.  Only then the true nature of man is understood.  This also helps one to use science in the way it is to be used.  Science is very important for survival; however, there is a priority where it should be kept.  Science can be used as a very good tool.  It helps to understand the external nature of the world to a remarkable level.


Spirituality is based on refined attention, contemplative investigation and it is purely based on inner experience.  Scientific investigations are based on external data and external observations.  Spirituality and science both proceed in different directions.  However, a spiritual scientist can find out the point where they both converge.  Spirituality and science are searching for truth in their own manner.  Science is limited.  It studies the physical world.  Our experiences make us feel that each object in the world is independent.  Nevertheless, spirituality proves that the entire universe is dependent on the non-dual reality, which Vedanta says as “Brahman”, and it is commonly said as Consciousness.  In this way, we all are divine with different expressions and there is unity among all of us.  This is the main point in which science differs from spirituality.

Unity in diversity changes the attitude of life.  Dependence is seen as a disgrace by today’s world.  Independent thoughts have lead to racism, nationalism, terrorism and so on.  People think that independence means they can pursue their ambitions without any concern for others, disturb anyone who do not agree with their own mindset and somehow attain material and social status.  This is a wrong attitude.  Every major religion tells about the unity in all beings.  Moreover, it is clearly, profoundly and strongly explained in Vedas.  In spite of all this, people who lack social ethics misuse science for their benefits.  Science aims at comfortable life style and social ethics take back position.  If you disturb a single object at one point, it will bounce back at another point at another time.  This world is not independent, as it appears to be.  It has a very deep connection which is not explicit.


Quantum mechanics gave new interpretation to spirituality and it made the world realize that there is something beyond the world of so called “reality”.  Quantum mechanics accepted the concept of Consciousness to an extent.  It made the world realize that the world is not as it appears to be.  It says that all the objects have a subtle existence beyond its gross physical form.  Some of its lab experiments like the famous double slit experiment prove that life depends on the way we observe the world.

Quantum mechanics says that an electron exists as a particle or a wave; it depends on the observer.  An observer is an active participant in the movement of an electron.  It shows that matter and mind are dependent.  It shows that anything when given attention turns in to matter or events.  It also proves, which Vedanta was telling for centuries, everything in this universe exists in a potential form, when given attention it takes form.  It also accepts unity in diversity.  However, theoretical physics is far away from this concept.  World is a network of complex inter relations.  Each one has their own independent views and stand point about reality and targets others from their stand point.  There is a great disparity in our understanding of the world and the reality.


Spiritualist and scientist have their respective views on creation and dissolution.  In the spiritualist view, the five basic elements namely space, air, fire, water and earth and the three gunas namely sattva, rajas and tamas are important in the formation of this universe.  In contrast, scientist explains evolution from the view point of atoms and their different combinations.  However, they both accept dissolution of this universe after a period of time.  Scientist takes this world as real and spiritualist consider this world as relative existence, and the world is an illusion.  Spiritualist further say that there is an intelligent principle behind this creation and it is transcendent of laws of cause and effect.  After dissolution the universe exists in that intelligent principle, Consciousness, in the potential form till the beginning of the next cycle.  For science, the reason behind the creation is not the intelligent principle; it is just a chain of cause and effect.  In this context spiritualist question that, if there is no intelligent principle behind the creation, then how can this vast universe with such order and intelligence emerge out of a non-sentient base.  Therefore, there must be some intelligent principle from which all these sentient beings spring out.  This is the strong point of spirituality.

According to Vedanta the whole process went from subtleness to grossness.  The order of creation is, first space was formed, then air, then fire, then water and then earth.  They roll back in the same reverse order at the time of dissolution; that is earth – water – fire – air- -space.  After dissolution the whole universe remains in an unmanifested form in the intelligent principle for millions of years.

According to science the initial moments after big bang was too dense and hot for any formation.  It took millions of years for the dust particles to settle down.  After that the sub-atomic and atomic particles were formed and gradually the present form of the universe took its shape.  Spirituality does not reject the presence of sub-atomic and atomic particles; it only argues about the presence of a Conscious principle behind the creation.


Scientist question that if intelligence is the base of creation, then why is such a disparity in creation.  Spiritualists say that the disparity is due to the accumulated impressions in the mind.  Mind is ignored by science.  Its counterpart brain, which is physical, is taken for analysis.  Spirituality says brain is only an instrument of mind to execute its desires in the physical realm.  Every being vibrates in a certain way according to their mental impression, which also gives their physical form.  Even plants and rocks vibrate in their own way.  The only thing is their vibrations are very weak and subtle, they do not have their counterpart, the brain, and so they cannot express in the way we express.

Science gives a different identity for every individual.  Science accepts physical identity, skills and talents.  It does not identify the real person.  Spirituality identifies the real person which is love, purity and compassion.  Consciousness is subjective.  It cannot be explained with material paradigms.  It is metaphysical, cannot be proved by science.  Without understanding Consciousness, the totality of life cannot be understood.


Science has been spectacular in exploring reality.  It has opened new avenues to know about humanity, creation and existence.  The question is – whether science can provide a comprehensive understanding of the entire spectrum of reality and human existence with its limited vision and more importantly ignoring spirituality.  Science accepts knowledge derived through empirical method by using observation, inference and experimental verification.  It accepts data only if a group of people accepts their findings.  Can science observe Consciousness externally and verify it?  In this context, how far can science go in understanding the totality of existence?

If science integrates with spirituality, science can go heights and help people to a large extent by using spiritual knowledge.  Our attitude and relationship depends on how we view ourselves and how we view others through our mind.  Misuse of electronic and social media, using poisonous chemicals in agriculture, high atmosphere pollution caused  by industries, degrade in the field of medicine, inhuman truth finding methods used by police, free use of arms by common people, disgrace caused by education system, use of poisonous chemical and weapons by terrorist to mow down society etc – all these question the real development of science.  Science must not degrade human values in the name of development.  Science and spirituality must work together for the betterment of humanity.  Spirituality is indispensable in this scientific age.


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