Science and Spirituality - Introduction

Introduction

Introduction

I

We may begin with a story. The story is symbolic and in­structive. This story has been composed by The Mother in he form of a drama meant for meditation. The drama is entitled "The Great Secret". It depicts the situation of the world of today through a story of a symbolic journey in a boat which is occu­pied by six passengers each one of whom represents leadership in one of the domains of world's life,— particularly, Science, Art, Athletics, Politics, Industry, Literature. Each one of them has striven his best in his field and attained considerable accomplishment. The dialogue is actually a monologue of each one of them meant for others in the boat, including one very important character, who is the seventh traveler, who is described as the Unknown Man.

They have been brought together, apparently by chance, in a life­boat in which they have taken refuge when the ship that was carrying them to a world conference on human progress sank in mid-ocean. It is realized that water in the boat is running out; provisions have come to an end; death is approaching. To take their minds off their present miseries, each one of them tells the story of his life.

Symbolically, the drama wants to convey that the entire world is like that boat which is deadly perilous, and that all of us who are traveling in this world, are heading towards a complete ruin.

But

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There is an Unknown Man, — man of wisdom, man of vision and a man who possesses the knowledge of the Supreme Secret. He is unshaken and he finds this situation to be opportune for re­vealing the Secret Knowledge. The Knowledge that he possesses is not merely theoretical; he knows that this world is not a chance, and there are inscrutable ways and means by which the destiny of man­kind is bound to be saved. He expounds briefly the secret knowledge and provides illumination to the passengers of the boat. At a critical point, he formulates a prayer, and all join in the prayer.

Suddenly,

Lo! Behold, a ship is seen on the horizon, — as it were from no­where. And it reaches the boat closer and closer. The Unknown Man says slowly: " Here is salvation, here is new life !"

Of all the monologues, the most relevant monologue for our pur­pose is that of the Scientist (the full text of the monologue and of the full drama is given in the Appendix). But let us note down here the main points which he underlines in the monologue.

The Scientist recalls his early days, when he was full of enthu­siasm for Science, and was inspired by what he calls the Postulates of Science, — Postulates that the world is knowable, that the world can be known with certainty, and that Science, by the power of its knowledge, can bring about the highest good of the world.

Gradually, however, the Scientist witnesses the progress of Science and one by one he finds that his postulates are shattered in the very process of the Progression of Science. A very interesting anecdote that he mentions in passing is connected with his inventiveness. He narrates his invention of producing atomic energy, not from Thorium, Uranium or Plutonium, but from the ordinary easily available metal, like aluminium and copper.

Let us quote his own words:

"I discovered the way to free atomic energy not only from uranium, thorium and some other rare metals, but from most of the common metals such as copper and aluminium. But then I was faced with a stupendous problem that strained me almost to breaking-point. Should I make known my discovery? To this

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day, no one knows this secret except me.. .

All of you know the story of the atom bomb. You know that it has been succeeded by an infinitely more destructive weapon, the hydrogen bomb. You also know as well as I do that humanity is staggering under the impact of these discoveries, which have placed in its hands an unequalled power of destruction. But if I now revealed my new discovery, if I unveiled my secret, I would place a diabolical power in the hands of just anybody.

And without any control or restriction... Uranium and tho­rium were easily monopolised by the governments, first on ac­count of their relative scarcity, but mostly because of the diffi­culty of activating them in atomic piles. But you can well imagine what would happen if any criminal or crank or fanatic could in any make-shift laboratory put together a weapon capable of blowing up Paris, London or New York! Would that not be the finishing blow for humanity? I too have reeled under the weight of my discovery. I hesitated a long time and have not yet been able to come to any decision which satisfies both my reason and my heart."

The above symbolic story is instructive, considering that the present world situation can be compared to that of the boat pro­ceeding on its journey without any hope of survival or fulfillment of the dreams and aspirations of passengers like ourselves who are as inefficiently equipped as passengers in the symbolic story. But while the story avoids a tragic end on account of the appearance of a new ship of rescue, shall we be able to forecast a similar possibility of the rescue of the passengers of the sinking world-boat? Yes, if a Divine Body can come to be projected, that ship can rescue 'us' and fulfill our aspiration.

The scientist in the story is of course greatly justified in attrib­uting to science a great disability as far as the cause of the good of the human kind is concerned. Should we not have a more equitable and impartial or cogent balance-sheet of Science ? Let us, then, note that Science is an assertion of anti-obscurantism; it is the assertion of that higher part of the human being, which we call mental intel-

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ligence which can claim to have created such an edifice of Science that it can for the first time in human history defeat barbarism. In the earlier periods of history, whenever there was efflorescence of the rational, ethical or aesthetic cultures, there was victorious invasion of barbarism, as a result of which the great labour that had produced those cultures was reduced to dust. But, today, Science has equipped the civilized world, with such organizations of aggression and self-defense that they cannot be successfully utilized by any barbarous people unless they acquire Knowledge which only Science can give and the moment they acquire that knowledge, the barbarians can no more remain barbarians. The danger today therefore cannot be expected from any invasion of the barbarian people. For this Science merits to be applauded.

Again, let us affirm that two great qualities of the attainment of true knowledge — scientific or otherwise, — have been greatly af­firmed and cultivated among larger portions of humanity. These two qualities are: impartiality in search of knowledge and ever-widening quest of knowledge. Science has taught that ignorance must be removed wherever it is found. It has thus enhanced the cause of education. If today, education is being promoted among nations for their own renewal, the reason must be found in the nur­ture of Science. It can truly be said that Science has enlarged the intellectual horizon of the human race; it has also contributed to the sharpening of the intellectual capacity of human kind.

Science may be regarded as the shining crest of this ignorant world; although human means of knowledge are limited and even though most work of the mind is accomplished through human senses, yet Science has loosened the chords of mind. Science has mapped the heavens and analysed the stars; it has even brought Space and Time in one continuum; it has sophisticated the concept of measure and measured the miles between suns in terms of light years; it has even probed into the length of time and wondered how and why time moves forward like an arrow; it has attempted to bring heaven nearer to the earth; it has even dug into the depths of the earth and extracted rich harvests from the dull brown soil. It has rendered Nature an open book for education for all, and it has sketched the

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tree of evolution placing each branch and twig and leaf in its own place. It has gone farther. Having detected plasm and cell and gene, the ancestry of man has been traced to its most ancient antiquity. The processes of birth and death have been delineated, even though one has yet to find out why one is born, and why one dies. It has even studied the idea of purpose and questioned whether 'purpose' is a purposeful quest. As a result of such advances in science, huge ma­chinery has been erected, and having caught cosmic energy, engines have been made to pulsate. The seeming infinity and the seeming infinitesimal of the entire realm of matter has been studied as in a vast volume of innumerable pages. It is true that a few pages are still left, but science can have the privilege of presuming that even these last pages will not remain unread for long.

Science has studied Reason, not from the book of logic but from the operations of facts and processes; consequently it has both de­veloped and questioned Reason, and by questioning Reason, it has opened the gates, although reluctantly, of that which lies below Reason and above Reason. It has reached the borderline where Science is obliged to run faster than what it has done so far.

A close study of the development of Science shows that Science is a manifestation of the dual operation of Reason. While one opera­tion of Reason is dispassionate, the other is interested. In its dispas­sionate movement, Science pursues Truth for the sake of Truth and Knowledge for the sake of Knowledge. Through this operation, all that has been done is beyond reproach and this is the positive aspect of the balance-sheet. Difficulties arise when Science turns to its in­terested operations and tries to apply its discoveries and inventions to life-situations. There, it becomes a plaything of forces over which it has little control. That is why the balance-sheet of Science is a mixed one and in many respects, the negative aspects outweigh the positive ones. We can even tabulate the positives and the negatives as follows:

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The balance-sheet of Science

-I-

  1. Science has made discoveries which have served a practical humanitarianism.
  2. It has made a gigantic efficiency of organization utilizable for the economic and social amelioration of the nations.
  3. It has given rise to a large rationalistic altruism.
  4. It has drawn mankind together and given it a new hope.
  5. It has reduced or eliminated drudgery, pain and several dis­eases. It has advanced the causes of longevity. It has also encouraged the dream of practical immortality.
  1. It has supplied monstrous weapons to egoism and mutual destruction.
  2. It has placed the same efficiency of organization in the hands of national rivalries for mutual aggression, ruin and slaughter.
  3. It has justified a Godless egoism, vitalism, and vulgar will to power and success.
  4. It has crushed humankind with the burden of monstrous commercialism.
  5. It has rendered human slavery to Machines and it has pro­duced great fright of biological wars and ruin of environ­mental balance and extinction of several species including human species.

Can we stop at this stage? On the contrary, this is the appropriate place to begin the discussion of the issue more squarely. For, our aim is not to make balance-sheet of Science and its impact on Society. The issue may be stated as follows:

The advancement of Science is inevitable. Even the bombard­ment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has not been able to prevent the

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advancement of Science. In any case, prevention of advancement of Science will be more injurious than we can think of it today. For, if Barbarism has resulted in the form of commercialism, prevention of scientific development will advance the cause of the invasion of barbarism. Therefore we must confront the issue of the contradic­tion between the actual and the ideal much more stringently.

The issue can be discussed on two alternative assumptions: (1) either the world is a chaos and anything can happen in the world without the necessity of explanation; but in that case, we warn that the concept of contradiction has no force in it or (2) the world can be examined rationally. In that case, a deeper question or explana­tion arises. A deeper question is: why is there or should there be a contradiction between the actual and the ideal?

And if we pursue this question, we shall find that Nature's pro­foundest method of the development of its workings has as its part the direct opposition of the actual and ideal.

Is it not a fact that there is a direct opposition between Matter and Life? The character of Matter is that of inertia. The condition of its activity is inertia, while the very condition of activity of Life is pulsation and constant self-organized growth. Nature, in its devel­opment has accorded active life in the very Matter which is its direct opposite. Similarly, we find that Mind has developed in Life , and both Life and Mind appear to be in direct opposition to each other; for Mind has Consciousness and Conscious Will and Life is not overtly self conscious at all. If this is the case, then, as Sri Aurobindo points out, the upward impulse of man towards the accordance of still higher opposites, Mind and Supermind, is not only rational in itself but it is the only logical completion of a rule and an effort that seems to be a fundamental question of Nature and the very sense of our universal strivings.

Fortunately, Science itself has discovered evolution of Life in Matter and the evolution of Mind in Matter. And here, again, if we ask a question as to why Life should evolve in Matter, and Mind should evolve in Material Life, the only logical answer could be that Life must be already involved in Matter and Mind must be already involved in Life. If this reasoning is questioned, the only alternative

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would be that even out of nothing, anything and everything can be­come manifest, and we shall again go back to the irrational proposi­tion that the world is a Chaos and that there could be anything in the world emerging out of whatever there may be or there may not be, and in that case, there could be no objection to the expectation of the fulfillment of the ideals which are so characteristic of human as­piration in human history. But the same expectation could be much more easily sustained, if the law of involution and evolution is ac­cepted. We can then expect emergence of Supermind in the Mind.

Let us, then, come back to the question of the advancement of Science and resultant barbarism in the form of commercialism and ask as to how we can combat this consequence and work out actualization of the ideals that are imperative ideals of human aspiration.

Apart from the peril of commercialism, the essential knot of the contemporary crisis rests in the disequilibrium of its evolutionary development. In certain directions the human mind has acquired enormous development, but in others it stands arrested and bewil­dered. External life has been provided with huge structures, but in­ternal life has remained depressed and deprived of its nourishment. The system of civilization has become too big for the limited mental capacity, and the moral and spiritual capacities are found inade­quate for dealing with the immense complexity and huge problems of management. Globality of structure demands globality in human consciousness. Comprehensiveness of vision and capacity is impera­tively needed, and the petty human egoism does not know how to abdicate its rule and give way to whole-being, whole-knowledge and whole-power.

The solutions that have been suggested have not worked, since they have relied upon machinery by which collectivity can control the individual. Even when freedom of the individual is sought to be ensured, still methods such as better information, and education are contemplated in terms of mechanization and externalization. We are witnessing their failure.

The age of reason which has dominated the contemporary world has worked itself out in great amplitude, complexity and subtlety,

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and in all its branches of its movements, — in science, philosophy, ethics, economics, politics, — there is now a clear acknowledgement of the inexplicable rule of Uncontrollable Unreason. When the ra­tional ideal of Liberty is sought to be realised, the rational ideal of Equality gets strangulated, and when Equality is sought to be established, Liberty is required to be sacrificed; and the rational ideal of Fraternity or Harmony has not been given the requisite opportunity of experimentation. Indeed, it is clearly realised that Fraternity is much deeper for any system and mechanical device. It issues directly from Spirit, and it is only by Spiritual means and by inward change of human consciousness that Fraternity and its cognate ideals of Unity and Harmony can be realised.

In this context, however, there is a great possibility of the human mind to seek refuge in a return to the rule of religion. But although religion, in its higher flights arrives at Spirituality, it collides sharply in its initial steps with Science and Freedom of critical thought, and it fails to answer the variety of spiritual needs when it is sought to be applied to collective life.

As Sri Aurobindo points out, it is only by transcending bar­riers of Religions and even of exclusive Spiritual systems that the needed change and transformation of human consciousness can be attained. In His own words: " It is only the full emergence of the soul, the full descent of the native light and power of the Spirit and the consequent replacement or transformation and uplifting of our insufficient mental and vital nature by a spiritual and supramental Supernature that can effect this evolutionary miracle."

Fortunately, today, the highest dreams of Science echo the very achievements that the Supramental consciousness can fructify.  It is this meeting of Science and Supramental Spirituality that can en­sure the highest welfare of humanity.

II

During the long period of scientific development, there have been several variations in the concept of Science. The Greeks looked

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upon the universe out of curiosity and sense of wonder. The ancient Greek Scientists found that there is some kind of inner order, har­mony and system in the universe. It is that harmony which they tried to capture in their scientific account of the universe. Aristotle refined this Greek view and provided to the human thought a first system of logical thought, and based upon his own studies of var­ious branches of Knowledge, formulated a system of derivation of particulars from the universals and of universals from particulars. Certain rules of logic were illustrated in the mathematical sciences; Syllogistic reasoning was described by him in detail, and what he formulated remained unchallenged until symbolic logic was devel­oped in the 20th century.

As distinguished from deductive logic, empirical observation of particular instances was the basis of empirical sciences, — like Physics & Biology. A great importance was assigned to the unifor­mity of Nature and law of causation. In due course of time, when Renaissance began to sweep over Europe, induction came to be de­veloped in detail. The distinguishing mark of inductive logic, which provides a structure to scientific inquiry has three important ele­ments :

  1. accurate, impartial observation of particular instances, de­void of fallacies of Non-observation and mal-observation;
  2. inductive leap leading to the formulation of a hypothesis which could explain in the scheme of universality the occurrences of the observed empirical instances;
  3. arrival at a general conclusion by reference to crucial instances which alone could be explained by the hypothesis and which would satisfy the law of universality of Nature and the law of causation.

What was of great significance in regard to the Greek scientific thought was that it endeavoured to discover order, harmony and beauty in the world that is spread out before us. Of greater signifi­cance was the tacit view that there is meaning and purpose in the world. This is what we see in Aristotle's view of causation, where he

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conceived of causation as fourfold. It not only underlines the rela­tionship of antecedent and the consequent, but it requires us to look for material causation, formal causation, efficient causation and final causation. By final causation, Aristotle brings in the Greek concept of Teleology. To the Greeks, the ultimate cause of the order and system in the world is the purpose or goal which is sought after by all that is.

Another important point that Aristotle underlines is the idea of necessity. The Greek science looked for necessary connections. In other words, logical connections came to be considered as necessary connections. And the Greek sense of wonder of the world was to watch and witness the necessary connections in logical thought cor­responding to factual connections in the empirical world. Hence, there arose in Greek Science the concept of Universal Laws, where a law implies necessary and inevitable universality of movements of phenomena.

When after the eclipse of science in Europe during the middle ages where faith and religious belief reigned supreme, a new phase in Western history swept over the entire Europe by the Renaissance, the Greek concept of Science came to be studied, acknowledged and pursued. However, even though in the beginning, scientists endeav­oured to look for system and chain of causality in the world, and the rule of necessity and sweep of inevitable working of laws, there came about a fundamental drift towards empiricism and questioning of the rationalist view of Reason. It was in the philosophy of Hume that empiricism arrived at a climactical point. He questioned the law of causality and he questioned also the view that truth of log­ical thought and truth of empirical world is governed by necessary connections.

From the time of Hume onwards, science seems to have taken a decisive turning-point. Induction, which is the very heart of em­pirical sciences has come to be afflicted with the question of its very foundations. Can induction be empirically proved? And even till today, this question has been perplexing the entire realm of scientific thought. How is it possible to make inductive leap from particulars to universals, if the law of causation is empirically not verifiable?

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Bertrand Russell had attempted to find the logic of empirical at­omism, but could never find it. He had hoped to find empirical proof of empiricism, but he could never find it.

Modern science is still a rippling wave, and one is not yet sure whether to support the law of necessity or to acknowledge freak and fantasy in the world. Is the world Chaos and work of Chance, or else what is to be done in regard to the necessary connections and mechanical necessity that are found so impelling in the world?

Sri Aurobindo has summarized this hesitation of modern sci­ence by formulating what Science of today could put forward as a theory of explanation in terms of a self-organizing chance, — indeed, a paradox but it is necessitated by the appearance of the inevitable order on one side and of unaccountable freak and fantasy on the other side of the cosmic phenomenon, we call Nature.

He expounds this explanation as follows :

"An inconscient and inconsequent Force, we may say, that acts at random and creates this or that by a general chance without any determining principle — determinations coming in only as the result of a persistent repetition of the same rhythm of action and succeeding because only this repetitive rhythm could suc­ceed in keeping things in being, — this is the energy of Nature. But this implies that somewhere in the origin of things there is a boundless Possibility or a womb of innumerable possibilities that are manifested out of it by the original Energy, — an incalcu­lable Inconscient which we find some embarrassment in calling either an Existence or a Non-Existence; for without some such origin and basis the appearance and the action of the Energy is unintelligible. Yet an opposite aspect of the nature as the cosmic phenomenon as we see it appears to forbid the theory of a random action generating a persistent order. There is too much of an iron insistence on order, on a law basing the possi­bilities. One would be justified rather in supposing that there is an inherent Imperative Truth of things unseen by us, but a Truth capable of manifold manifestation, throwing out a multitude of possibilities and variants of itself which the creative Energy by

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its action turns into so many realised actualities. This brings us to a second explanation, — a mechanical necessity in things, its workings recognizable by us as so many mechanical laws of Nature; — the necessity, we might say, of some such Secret in­herent Truth of things as we have supposed, governing auto­matically the processes we observe in action in the universe. But a theory of mechanical Necessity by itself does not elucidate the free play of the endless unaccountable variations which are vis­ible in the evolution: there must be behind the Necessity or in it a law of unity associated with a co-existent but dependent law of multiplicity, both insisting on manifestation; ...."

It is obvious that when the argument is explicitly stated this way, one would wonder if that argument can properly be called an ex­planation... For Chance itself admits its own irrationality and if Science is to be rational, it cannot take recourse to irrationality.

But it may be argued that Science does not aim at explanation but only at description. This is the reason why several modern Scientists describe Science and even Philosophy as descriptive. This is obvi­ously a path of escape. For the demand for explanation is inherent in Reason and the existence of Reason is irrefutable, since refutation itself would require the process of reasoning.

It may, however, be argued that there is nothing surprising if in a chaotic world of Chance, Reason can arise, simply, by Chance. But that does not affect the consistency of the theory of Chance. The only argument against this entire edifice is that there could be several al­ternative reasonable and rational explanations of the universe, and therefore Chance theory is not the only and inevitable theory of ex­planation or of description.

It is clear that Science has to confront its own underlying limita­tions which lead us to unacceptable and irrational situations which are fortunately being combated in recent times by the theory of crit­ical rationality. However, the post-modernist tendency is to over­pass the demands of critical rationality and to conclude that there is, in fact, no such thing as Truth or meaning. This, we may say, is the negation of Science. To start with Science, and to come to a conclu-

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sion to deny Science is the absurdity of the Post-modernist thought.

There is something fundamentally wrong in one of the basic premises of empiricism, and that is, we might suggest, the rigid and dogmatic underpinning of the theory of materialism.

III

Materialism as a tendency of thought or as a system of Philosophy, is as ancient as ancient India and ancient Greece. It is, in any case, inherent in a layer of intellect, — the layer of material intellect, — and therefore its appeal is immediate, and it is capable of immediate success. The evidence on which Materialism thrives is as easy as kicking of a football, — so concrete, so palpable, and seemingly self-evident or naturally obvious.

Even in modern times, Materialism has played a role even when rationalistic idealism was prominent. But with the great success of physical Science, Materialism has become dominant, and al­though as a system of philosophy, it has survived mainly in dialec­tical Materialism of Marx, yet, it has occupied both Philosophy of Science and Philosophy in general on the strength of its premise of epistemology.

The epistemological premise is that our sense organs are the only instruments of knowledge and that Reason, even in its highest flights cannot escape the hold of sense organs. This premise, if examined properly, will be found to be arbitrary, since, while it is true that sense organs are means of Knowledge, there is no proof that they are the only means of Knowledge. The argument that is put forward is that sense organs are the only means because Matter is the only reality. This reasoning will be seen to be circular, since the proof that Matter is the only reality is sought to be supported by its episte­mology, and the epistemology is sought to be proved by the sweeping philosophical statement that Matter is the only reality. The argu­ment is therefore fallacious. and commits the fallacy of petitio prin­cipii . The statement that matter is reality can easily be established

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by appeal to the evidence of Matter that we see, but in no empirical perception can we affirm that Matter is the only reality. In any case, as soon as we begin to examine the phenomena of mental and supra-mental operations, the entire edifice of Materialism collapses.

Nonetheless, Materialism has played a salutary role in combating, exaggerated claims of many who claimed to have supraphysical ex­periences but who are only wandering in cloudy regions of imagina­tion. The insistence of Materialism and its epistemology to test every claim on rigorous evidence of experience is a sound preparation for establishing the claims of supraphysical and spiritual experiences. In our times, therefore, spirituality is required to establish itself on the grounds not only of philosophical thought but also on the evidence of renewable and verifiable experience.

It has, however, been claimed by critical rationalism that even evidence of spiritual experience needs to be interpreted and that this interpretation will have to satisfy a number of conditions such as objectivity, universality and its power of explanation. Actually, even this argument of critical rationalism is combated by a number of philosophers of Science who reject the concept of Universality and advocate that the concept of explanation is unnecessary for phi­losophy and science.

In fact, we find that epistemology of modern science has continued to put forward such paradigms that ultimately only the Knowledge gained through sense experience can stand as a legitimate item for consideration of the claim of Knowledge. The most recent paradigm which has been put forward by Karl Popper is that of falsifiability which makes all claims of Knowledge extremely vulnerable, and it is in that context that the claims of spiritual knowledge are made to stand in an apologetic position. But this need not be necessary, if we study Spirituality scientifically — that is, through the Science of Yoga, which has its own accumulated experience and criteria of verifiability and repeatability, as also of objectivity.

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IV

The underlying argument of this compilation of citations from the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother may be formulated as follows:

(a) The world as we see it, and as it has been revealed by Science, presents a number of perplexities, and in an attempt to explain it we are led to develop a possible theory of "Self-Organizing Dynamic Chance". This is evidently a paradox, but it is necessitated by the rule of Necessity and order that we see so insistently in the world, even though there is undeniably a play of freak and fantasy and random action.

At the present level of the advancement of Science, this theory is unable to explain two important issues :

  1. What is Mind, which is radically different from the Energy that produced it? Again, why is Mind able to impose its idea of order on the world and why is it that that idea of order is able to be responded to a large extent?
  2. How has the original Energy which is Inconscient been able to produce Mind with its conscious power of Reason?

It may, of course be replied that all this has happened by Chance, but this reply can have no obligatory force, since by definition Chance eliminates any necessity or obligation.

Therefore, it is possible to explore alternative explanations which regard consciousness as the originating force of creation. The dif­ficulty of this hypothesis is that it is often put forward as that of an extra-cosmic God as the creator of this world. And the retort is that God could have thought of creating a better world, and the best thought of all would have been to refrain from creating an unhappy and unintelligible world.

But this argument could have no ground, if the creator is con-

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ceived not only as extra-cosmic but also as immanent in the world casting himself in the finite possibilities and in the form of an evolving cosmic order. Under this new hypothesis, it is possible, as suggested by Sri Aurobindo, to explain all the perplexing and un­explained phenomena of the world including those of physiological functioning of the body.

But even then, it may be argued that the explanation is only speculative and what is needed further is experiential evidence for furnishing scientific proof of this hypothesis.

This experiential proof can be obtained from the Science of Yoga, which is the Science of Consciousness and Spirituality. Sri Aurobindo takes us, therefore, through the journey of develop­ment of yogic consciousness rising from the experience of the silent mind to the witness self, and then to the overmind where, too, final proof of the creative process remains undecided. It is, as pointed out by Sri Aurobindo, in a Supramental Cognition that we are left to seek for the answer. Sri Aurobindo defines Supermind as Truth — Consciousness which is at once the self-awareness of the infinite and the eternal and a power of self-determination inherent in that self-awareness. Sri Aurobindo traces the entire world creation to the original self-determining operations of the Supermind and provides an experiential proof of Supramental consciousness as the creator of the Universe and of all its diverse phenomena.

(b) It will be seen that the novelty of Sri Aurobindo's approach to the problem of perplexing phenomena of the universe is not only to detect the operations of consciousness in some of the material phe­nomena, including those at their quantum level as is done often by a number of contemporary thinkers, scientists and philosophers, but to explore various faculties of knowledge as also various grades of consciousness, by means of yogic methods that satisfy the condi­tions of verifiability, repeatability and even of falsifiability. This approach shows not only rigor of disciplined methodology but also scrupulous thoroughness. And in doing so, Sri Aurobindo has pro­vided a clear distinction between spirituality and religion and shows that the issue is not that of the synthesis of Science and Religion,

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but that of Science and Spirituality. Further, he has also shown that the synthesis in order to be satisfying can be accomplished only if in the yogic process we overpass various levels of mind including Overmind and arrive at Supermind.

Indeed, mind, Overmind, Supermind and the operations of these levels of consciousness as of the still higher levels of consciousness are Supraphysical, and Sri Aurobindo presents us detailed arguments that enable us to surpass the hold of the world of matter and enter with the required vigour of the strictness of verifiable knowledge of the realms of the Supraphysical worlds.

  1. But Sri Aurobindo goes farther. Not only do we have in the works of Sri Aurobindo and also in those of the Mother, the rigorous drive toward the synthesis of Science and Supramental Spirituality in speculative terms and in experiential terms. There is also a fur­ther drive towards experimental inventiveness. And this is what we see in a conversation of the Mother that is reported in an extract given in the compilation on the problem of Science and Spirituality. She points out refreshingly that the synthesis lies in a third position, — above Science and Spirituality, and for that purpose, there is a need to MAKE something, that She was engaged in MAKING or FABRICATING. For Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are seen as the pioneers of evolution as a result of which the Divine Body can be projected on the earth, — a body in which Spirit and Matter are synthesized under the primacy and authority of the Spirit.
  2. In this compilation, therefore, we find relevant portions of Sri Aurobindo's breath-taking concept of the Divine Body as also a glimpse of the experiments made by the Mother to fix the Supermind in the cells of the human body. The Mother had two visions of the Divine Body in the process of its formation.

Actualization of the Divine Body would be the final and concrete proof of the synthesis of Science and Spirituality, but, as can been seen through passages cited in the compilation, enough work has been accomplished and we can all feel invited to collaborate in

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the endeavour that can lead to the projection of the Divine Body.

As in every Scientific endeavour, progress is achieved by accu­mulation of experience and knowledge by collaborative efforts of the groups of collectivity, even so here in the task of the projection of the Divine Body, collective participation is indispensable, and we can look forward to a veritable synthesis of Science and Spirituality or rather of Supramental Spirituality by means of greater collabora­tion from all forward looking Scientists of Matter and Scientists of Spirit.


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