Science and Spirituality - preface

preface

Preface

The task of preparing teaching-learning material for value-oriented education is enormous. There is, first, the idea that value-oriented education should be exploratory rather than prescriptive, and that the teaching-learning material should provide to the learners a growing experience of exploration.

Secondly, it is rightly contended that the proper inspiration to turn to value-orientation is provided by biographies, autobio­graphical accounts, personal anecdotes, epistles, short poems, stories of humour, stories of human interest, brief passages filled with pregnant meanings, reflective short essays written in well-chiselled language, plays, powerful accounts of historical events, statements of personal experiences of values in actual situations of life, and similar other statements of scientific, philosophical, artistic and literary expression.

Thirdly, we may take into account the contemporary fact that the entire world is moving rapidly towards the synthesis of the East and the West, and in that context, it seems obvious that our teaching-learning material should foster the gradual familiarisa­tion of students with global themes of universal significance as also those that underline the importance of diversity in unity. This implies that the material should bring the students nearer to their cultural heritage, but also to the highest that is available

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in the cultural experiences of the world at large.

Fourthly, an attempt should be made to select from Indian and world history such examples that could illustrate the theme of the upward progress of humankind. The selected research ma­terial could be multi-sided, and it should be presented in such a way that teachers can make use of it in the manner and in the context that they need in specific situations that might obtain or that can be created in respect of the students.

The research team at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (sAHER) has attempted the creation of the relevant teaching-learning material, and they have decided to present the same in the form of monographs. The total number of these monographs will be around eighty to eighty-five.

It appears that there are three major powers that uplift life to higher and higher normative levels, and the value of these powers, if well illustrated, could be effectively conveyed to the learners for their upliftment. These powers are those of illumi­nation, heroism and harmony.

It may be useful to explore the meanings of these terms — illu­mination, heroism and harmony — since the aim of these mono­graphs is to provide material for a study of what is sought to be conveyed through these three terms. We offer here exploratory statements in regard to these three terms.

Illumination is that ignition of inner light in which meaning and value of substance and life-movement are seized, under­stood, comprehended, held, and possessed, stimulating and in­spiring guided action and application and creativity culminating in joy, delight, even ecstasy. The width, depth and height of the light and vision determine the degrees of illumination, and when they reach the splendour and glory of synthesis and harmony, illumination ripens into wisdom. Wisdom, too, has varying de­grees that can uncover powers of knowledge and action, which reveal unsuspected secrets and unimagined skills of art and craft of creativity and effectiveness.

Heroism is, essentially, inspired force and self-giving and sacrifice in the operations of will that is applied to the quest,

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realisation and triumph of meaning and value against the resis­tance of limitations and obstacles by means of courage, battle and adventure. There are degrees and heights of heroism determined by the intensity, persistence and vastness of sacrifice. Heroism attains the highest states of greatness and refinement when it is guided by the highest wisdom and inspired by the sense of ser­vice to the ends of justice and harmony, as well as when tasks are executed with consummate skill.

Harmony is a progressive stare and action of synthesis and equilibrium generated by the creative force of joy and beauty and delight that combines and unites knowledge and peace and stability with will and action and growth and development. Without harmony, there is no perfection, even though there could be maximisation of one or more elements of our nature. When illumination and heroism join and engender relations of mutuality and unity, each is perfected by the other and creativity is endless.

To synthesize Science and Spirituality is a difficult task, al­though human heroism strives towards it, and as Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have shown, Spirit and Matter are in their es­sence one and can, in manifestation, be united and will be united. This synthesis is a journey of widening illumination, and their unity will be a supreme harmony, not only in the realm of knowl­edge but also in the realm of human fulfillment. The aim of this publication is to present citations from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on the theme of Science and Spirituality, and it is hoped they will bring to the readers a fresh journey in the theme of unity of illumination, heroism and harmony.

Science and Materialism have come to be associated or even identified with each other; and even though Materialism as a philosophical system has largely come to be exiled, the method­ology of Science which is invariably associated with measure and measurability imposes on Science dependence on knowledge

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derivable from physical senses; hence there is insistence on the physicality of the object of Scientific observation, experimen­tation and criteria of verifiability, repeatability and validity of knowledge.

Thus, to reconcile or synthesize Science with Spirituality ap­pears to be an impossible task. However, the ideals of Spirituality, which are also ideals of human aspiration, are echoed by the recent dreams of Science. This coincidence provides a sound ground to consider whether as an interdisciplinary subject, sci­entists need to undertake an enquiry into or study the possible meeting point of Science and Spirituality, and whether the two need to meet each other as complements or in some degree of their complementarity.

Just as in Science, the theme of Superconductivity has come to be explored, even so, in the field of spirituality, the theme of Supramentality has come to be explored and it has even been sug­gested that with the increasing development of the Supramental Consciousness, and, consequently, with the development and projection of Supramental body, Science (with its demand for physical proof) can be synthesized with Spirituality or rather with Supramental Spirituality. Hence, it can be expected that Science and Spirituality can meet in a large system of a more comprehensive Science.

As a matter of fact, as a part of the experiment of human his­tory, we stand today in the presence of the results of two great experiments, both in Europe and in India, which are both unsat­isfactory and therefore in much need of uniting both of them together for existence for the individual and for the human race. As Sri Aurobindo states : "In Europe and in India, respectively, the negation of the materialist and the refusal of the ascetic have sought to assert themselves as the sole truth and to dominate the conception of Life. In India, if the result has been a great heaping up of the treasures of the Spirit,—or of some of them,—it has also been a great bankruptcy of Life; in Europe, the fullness of riches and the triumphant mastery of this world's powers and possessions have progressed towards an equal bankruptcy in the

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things of the Spirit. Nor has the intellect, which sought the solu­tion of all problems in the one term of Matter, found satisfaction in the answer that it has received.

Therefore the time grows ripe and the tendency of the world moves towards a new and comprehensive affirmation in thought and in inner and outer experience and to its corollary, a new and rich self-fulfilment in an. integral human existence for the indi­vidual and for the race."i-i

 

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