Thanks to the shrinking of the world on account of advances in transport and communication, scientific quest and scientific knowledge are increasingly being shared universally. Advancement of science and technology is today a global phenomenon, and this globality provides to all of us a vast canvas for dialogue that transcends narrow competitiveness and aggressiveness. It is also fortunate that latest advances in science are tending to promote the unity of the microcosm and the macrocosm, and the more we probe into the quantum reality of the physical universe, the greater is our finding of unity that is diverse. During the last twenty-five years, physics, biology and psychology have been greatly bridged by the emerging concept of consciousness. And the mystery of consciousness is, as the Indian Upanishads declared long ago, and to use the modern phrase coined by Michel Talbot, omnijective, an inseparable combination of plurality of subjectivities that reflect the unity of the objective. It is as though the modern science is providing us an appropriate foundation for a dialogue among civilisations.
We transcend here the Newtonian and Cartesian world-view that was bifocal, a world-view of division, unbridgeable and permanent. We have now entered into a new world, thanks to the work of scientists like Einstein, Louise de Broglie, Schrodinger, David Bohm, Bell and others. We are once again reminded of the Vedic dictum, that diversity should not be looked upon as inimical in character; since diversity is the, very method of the learned who seek oneness and unity. Ekam sad vipra bahuda vadanti, the truth is one but the learned view it in diverse ways. This is the insight that has sustained in India a long process of dialogue and a long process of constant enlargement, and celebration of diversity and unity. This can be seen by the contemporary world as a valuable contribution of Indian culture.
Interdisciplinarity of Natural and Social Sciences
As never before, the theme of knowledge has seized the entire globe. We speak today of learning society and knowledge society, and we dream of a world free from exploitation and deprivation by increase of knowledge and growth of wisdom. This dream has resulted from multiple inquiry and critical inquiry. And while specialised knowledge is increasing, there is also a salutary movement towards interdisciplinarity, not only among physical sciences but even among human sciences. Even the physical and human sciences have now tended to act and interact upon each other. We speak today of science and spirituality; this is a positive sign that beckons us towards a shinning future. In this context, we need to knock the portals of knowledge more and more imperatively, and we shall find that the secrets of knowledge open easily through .the instrumentality of quest, interchange and dialogue.
Ethical and Spiritual Values
Ethics and spirituality are the highest peaks of culture and we are required to climb these peaks with our united efforts. In the context of the problems of today, if we ask as to what is it that can truly cleanse and transform the hearts and minds of people, we shall be obliged to admit that it is not by more and more information that the inner hearts of human beings can be purified. To be able to live in peace and harmony, we should be able to turn away from selfishness and egoism and vanity, and it is the pursuit of ethical and spiritual values that can act here as alchemy. I should like to add that if our Conference is to give a new impetus to our very theme, we should announce that dialogue among civilisations is not a dialogue for mere conversation and for exchange even of ideas, but it is a dialogue inspired by the culture of peace, inspired by ethical and spiritual values.
Pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness imparts to civilisations greater heights of culture. What unifies all civilisations is their normative nisus in this pursuit, and what diversifies them is its manifoldness of expression, and its capacity of varied emphasis and mode of synthesis. In early stages of human development, aesthetic culture may collide with ethical culture as in ancient Athens and Sparta, but as humanity matures, the culture of rationality intervenes to harmonise aesthetics and ethics; and even where rationality, aesthetics and ethics conflict with each other, humanity is now realising increasingly that there is a realm of values, — ethical, and spiritual, — in which all elements of culture can blend harmoniously without sacrificing their uniqueness and their speciality. Humanity is integral, not uniform; it tends at once towards unity and diversity. This seems to be the most valuable lesson of human history, the lesson of integral humanism. And this lesson can be a guiding line for a true dialogue, a true and sincere dialogue among civilisations.
Let us Move Forward, Let us engaged in beneficial Dialogue
Let me, at the end, greet all who have assembled here and let me make an appeal. Let us work together to create the bridges among ourselves and among our civilisations. Let us transcend the old methods of division and violence; let us embrace the truth of our underlying humanism and look upon each other with the eyes of friendship and harmonising sense of fraternity. We shall then realise the true value of Dialogue, and its power to bring us all together to march unitedly for the welfare of the entire human family.
Let me conclude with the great message that the Rigveda the most ancient record of human aspiration gives towards its great climactic close, a message addressed to the entire humanity: samgachchhadhvam, samvadadhvam, sam vo manamsi janatam - move together, conduct beneficial dialogues among yourselves, and share all your knowledge for purposes of all that is good and noble.