Thursday, April 2, 2015

SCIENCE, SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGIONS--DO THEY CONFLATE OR CONFLICT?


Science, Spirituality, and Religions-do they conflate or conflict?
(Compilation for a discourse at Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville, TN, USA, April 2015)

The scientific discoveries made by Galileo and Newton began to describe and explain the natural and physical laws by which the earth operates.  Consequently religious thoughts were focused on Natural Theology, where religion   filled the scientific gaps and God was held responsible for the orderliness of nature and responsible for these physical laws which scientists did not make but only discovered.  Although there are parallels between the methods of science and religion, there are also differences. One major difference is the same as the difference between science and history. Like history, religion is subjective due to the personal involvement required by the religion. Although there are many similarities in the methods and language of science and religion, the two subjects remain distinctly different in their purposes. Both leave behind certain unanswered questions.
Indeterminacy in the behavior of atoms can be generalized to apply to humanity as a whole. This argument rests on the unpredictability of a single person and their action.  Although physics can be used to explain human freedom to some extent, it will never produce an entirely satisfactory argument for it.   Man is simply a machine that can be broken up into respective systems and thus is completely predictable, is not a satisfactory   scientific explanation.  However it can be seen through science and the study of modern DNA, that each human has a unique identity and sense of selfhood. God's love for each human being is unique to that person and it is a personal relationship between man and God which has no scientific explanation.

Religious view holds the creation of man as a divine point in creation, well planned to start with, as perfect as  is found today with full physical and mental development (The origin of four Rishis) and therefore rejects the idea of man evolving from other life forms.  A third of Americans believe humans have existed in their present form since time began. The Avatar theology later projected by Puranas and endorsed by Bhagavad Gita embraces the theory of evolution, though emphatically does not say so, but incorporates it in Puranas to appear as a doctrine of continuing creation. The earliest avatar of Hayagreeva was discarded and Matsyaavataara was incorporated as the first avatar among Dasavataras. There are many different views on how God is related to nature. Those who hold more conservative religious views believe in God's sovereignty over nature.  Vedanta (spirituality) teaches the God that is   in everyone, has become everyone and everything.  It is a democratic God that Vedanta   (Upanishad) teaches. 

Hindu sages were the first to realize that the manifested Universe has sprung out of the Supreme spirit and that each fragment of the Universe is influenced by the rest of the Universe and vice verse. Closely watching the solar system they gave mankind a system of time measurement, by which correct time for observance of religious rites can be ascertained. That was the beginning of Astronomy and Science. The particulars of their scientific contributions to the world can be found in my detailed discourse. They were the first to realize science and religion can conflate.

When I talk about Religion I mostly talk about Vedanta.  The term Religion is more easily comprehended than Vedanta. Vedanta, the fore-runner and most ancient origin for religions of the world is considered as philosophy today as it does not fit into the concept of the definition of religion as given in the dictionary today. Swami Vivekananda delivered a lecture on “Is Vedanta the Future Religion” in San Francisco on April 8, 1900. Vedanta is not antagonistic to anything, though it does not compromise or give up the truths which it considers   fundamental. First of all it has no one book called scripture to which it clings. Secondly it does not have an embodied person to worship as Lord or as great Prophet or Guru. Not one man or woman has ever become the object of worship among the followers of this ancient religion called Vedanta. All people in the world love to be democratic and Vedanta is democratic.

Vedanta teaches about   democratic God.  God is not a monarch sitting on the throne. There is no heaven or hell. Vedanta knows no sin. There are mistakes but no sin and in the long run these mistakes can be corrected. All of us are tiny part of a great Principal and can merge with the same by our own efforts.  A human being is not only body and mind but also spirit. This spirit Vedanta calls Self or Aatman. If our body and mind can be extinct temporarily as in dream or deep sleep state, what makes it come back to life? It is the Self which is the connecting link. This Self is what science calls as Consciousness. The Self operates through mind and body it makes use of them but can also operate independent of them. All Religions talk about mystics. These are people who can live on a plane where no sense organs have any access.   We usually call that state as transcendental.

The Self sees itself as the self of everything and every   being and is the only reality.  It discovers that the diversity which had so long seen is not real. Behind that diversity, there is unity which, in fact, is the essence of all things, all beings. Science speaks of the same in different language—ultimate particle or cell. It is this essence, this self which is the common factor that binds all together. It holds together the universe. It is the support of the universe. Aldous Huxley describes it as Highest Common Factor (HCF) among all beings and among all things. Without this essence without this Self nothing can exist. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa explains this in a simple way: “First write 1 and then add zero, that would make the figure ten, add another zero, the figure would be hundred, go on adding the zero—the figure would correspondingly increase. But if you wipe out the 1, all zeros become useless”

Life without light is impossible. It is this fact that drive scientists today to discover life in Mars and Moon. Among the most abundant sources of light on Earth is Life itself.  Human body contains Jatharaagni, stomach fire (light) that is responsible for combustion and digestion of food. As you descend in the sea the sunlight disappears. Below 2000 feet the blue fades too and most of the ocean is pitching dark. An underwater glow reveals the Lightness of Being. These lights seem mysterious, but organisms generate them for practical purposes, one of the marvels of Intelligent Creation.  Bioluminescence fends off predators.  Making light   occurs most commonly in the ocean, where bioluminescence is often the only source of light. Under the right conditions, bioluminescent flash can be seen a hundred yards away. More than 90 species of fungi glow in the dark. The light from these lures insects that spread mushroom spores. Scientists probably have no explanation how these underworld Beings got luminescence but they know their existence and usefulness in defense, offense and reproduction. Vedanta has a better explanation that the light looming in them is also because of the Supreme Being, who is   impartial to all that needs an existence and procreation. Vedanta says the light that is seen in stars, Sun and Moon is because of that Supreme Being whose light alone shines in all of them including these underwater luminescent bodies –“tasya bhaasaa sarvamidam vibhaati”.

According to Vedanta cosmogony, life appears first, then sense organs and finally the gross body and matter. At first they are very subtle, fine and close to each other. As they become gross, their distinctions become marked.  According to Science, growth is from gross to fine. Vedanta contends that the process is just the reverse—from fine to gross.  In the case of cause and effect, cause is always fine while effect is gross. From one cause, the first cause, the uncaused cause, that is Self in Vedanta, the universe has emerged.  The Self has become the universe. This Self undergoes no change, it remains the same. The change is only apparent and on the surface and not real. The universe is a vast chain of cause and effect, both religion and science say, as it links. Vedanta says that cause is always present in effect. This is why the first cause, i.e. the Self or Brahman is present in everything.

Science and religion generally pursue knowledge of the universe using different methodologies. Science acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence, while religions include revelation, faith and sacredness. Science is based on well-tested data. There is nothing speculative about it. It is based on hard facts which have been verified and which are always verifiable. Religion, particularly Vedanta is essentially a personal affair; it is something one does with one’s own mind and naturally feels shy to share with others. As a discipline it is more rigorous perhaps more exacting than science. Like science, it is clear up to a point, but beyond that point it is possible there is need for secretiveness because one does not want one’s privacy encroached upon. Despite these differences, most scientific and technological innovations prior to the scientific revolution were achieved by societies organized by religious traditions. Much of the scientific methods were pioneered first by ancient civilizations such as the Hindus, Greeks, Egyptians, and Sumerians. Later during the middle ages the Catholic church was responsible for saving much of the scientific knowledge from these civilizations, thus allowing the scientific method to develop in Europe during and after the Renaissance and through the enlightenment period. Arabs also made great contributions to areas such as Mathematics, and Astronomy while in close touch with Hindus as trading partners. Many of the most famous scientists in history were devout Christians such as Blasé Pascal, Copernicus, and the founder of modern genetics Austrian Monk Gregory Mendel. The founder of the Big bang theory was also a Jesuit priest named Georges Lemaitre. Hinduism has historically embraced reason and empiricism, holding that science brings legitimate, but incomplete knowledge of the world. Confucian thought has held different views of science over time. Most Buddhists today view science as complementary to their beliefs. Rajagopalachari, the wise statesman of India said, ‘The greatest of our inventions cannot reach the border lines of metaphysics.

Science has an objective approach whereas the approach of religion is subjective. Physical science is concerned with man’s external nature, but religion is concerned with man’s internal nature. Einstein says that “science can change the nature of an element. But it is only religion which can change human nature”. People are indebted to science for physical comforts but unless these comforts are coupled with individual’s moral lift, there is no stability in society, no peace on earth and no real progress.   What purpose will it serve gaining the whole world when you have lost your own soul? 

Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not. But that method does not come naturally to most of us. And so we run into trouble, again and again.  The scientific method leads us to truths that are less than self-evident, often mind blowing, and sometimes hard to swallow. Even when we intellectually accept these precepts of science we subconsciously cling to our intuitions what researches call belief.

Scientific results are always provisional, susceptible to being overturned by some future experiment or observation. Scientists rarely proclaim an absolute truth or absolute certainty. Uncertainty is inevitable at the frontier of knowledge. Sometimes scientists fall short of the ideals of the scientific method. Especially in biomedical research there is a disturbing trend toward result that can’t be reproduced outside the lab that found them, a trend that has prompted a push for greater transparency about how experiments are conducted. You can find similar thoughts in Vedanta, also called science or metaphysics when you go through various Upanishads struggling to find out the Universal Truth.

Science will naturally find the truth. It may get it wrong the first time and may be the second time, but ultimately it will find the truth. Science appeals to our rational brain but our beliefs are motivated largely by emotion and the biggest motivation is remaining tight with peers. It may not be an exaggeration if we say that we are all still in high school learning science. People still have a need to fit in, and that need to fit in is so strong that local values and local opinions are always trumping science. And they will continue to trump science especially when there is no clear downside to ignoring science. We believe in scientific ideas not because we have truly evaluated all the evidences but because we feel an affinity for the scientific community. Science tells us the truth rather than what we would like truth to be.

Scientists can be as dogmatic as anyone else—but their dogma is always wilting in the hot glare of new research. In science it is not a sin to change your mind when the evidence demands it. Those of us in the science-communication business are as tribal as anyone else.  Being right does matter—and the science tribe has a long track record of getting things right in the end. Modern society is built on things it got right. For some people the tribe is more important than the truth. For the best scientist the truth is more important than the tribe. Scientific method does not   come naturally; scientific thinking has to be taught and sometimes it is not taught well. The scientific method does not come naturally--but if you think about it, neither the Knowledge of Brahman. After all climate change is happening. Vaccine really does save lives as seen in Ebola. There are not really two sides to all these issues. Doubting science also has consequences. Many   great scientists   do not question the existence of God!

Hindu Philosophy says there is no creation and only manifestation. Science also says that something can never be created out of nothing. No one ever created life. Life must have been there always in its embryonic form. Every time Vedanta talks about creation it says “Yathaapoorvam akalpayat”—it was created as before. There is really no creation or destruction. There is only change of from. Vedanta says everything we see in the tree was in the seed. It is not that anything was added later.  There is only manifestation from the seed to the tree and from the tree back to the seed.   Vedanta says, Self is the gene out of which this universe has come. The Self is never created nor destroyed. It is only sometimes manifest, sometimes un-manifest, sometimes evolved and sometimes involved. When conditions became propitious it manifested itself. All our physical or mental peculiarities are from genes.   Dr.  Kennel Voss, Professor of Genetics agrees with the Upanishadic view that the Universe originated from one single source.
 
The atomic theory is the brain-child of Western mind. The Western scientist generalizes the experience that one can subdivide matter until one meets the ultimate particle.   Vedanta goes further and reduces everything to one element called Brahman; Brahman means ever expanding; Brahman, because it is everywhere--Self of everything and every being.

Physical science is concerned with people’s external nature, but Vedanta is concerned with people’s internal nature. People may be physically comfortable, but they must also be morally sound, generous and selfless.  A science scholar can be a scholar of Vedanta.  A   Vedanta scholar can be scientific in outlook. Science and religion must combine to make the perfect individual, sound in body and sound in morals.  Everyone needs sound body, mind and spirit. Rituals may help us to a point but they become a hindrance beyond a point. A true science scholar is also a Vedanta scholar as he is concerned with truth as a whole, not only the truth that is apparent, but truth that is real, the truth which is beyond the senses. No wonder the greatest scientist Albert Einstein said, “Science without Religion (Vedanta) is lame, and religion without science is blind”. We find a scientific reasoning in many of the Hinduindu H religious practices as I have often explained.
People often turn away from religion in their frustration and struggle. Often it does not yield results that you desire. May be our religious approach is wrongly designed as it happens in science also when the experiment is wrongly designed? That happened to Mother Theresa also.  Mother Teresa’s ministry with the poor won her the Nobel Prize and the admiration of a believing world.  Mother Teresa’s work can seem far removed from our daily lives. Yet in its relentless and even obsessive questioning, her life intersects with that of the modern atheist and agnostic. “If I ever become a saint,” she wrote, “I will surely be one of darkness”.  Probably vexed with growing cynicism and atheistic tendencies Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman says “Science does not make a case for God”.    

Our sages thought about astrology based on astronomy and they worked wonderfully well, a concept of religion conflating science.  Our Solar Year has 365.25 days a year like Gregorian calendar.   Probably Gregorian calendar is based on Hindu Solar Calendar as our sages only taught the world what astronomy is.   Makara Sankranti and Tamil New Year Day fall more or less on the same day of Gregorian calendar every year as we all know. Our Solar calendar is out of harmony with natural seasons on earth because of the  difference  of 0.0165656 days  in  the  actual  and  the  assumed lengths of  a solar year which remained uncorrected over fourteen centuries. The result is we are now celebrating our fasts and festivals after over 23 days of their actual happening or Saastric prescribed time. All our Panchangas require   accommodating this change. The present Niryana system is not accurate. Our calendar is based on seasons, Ayanas, and equinoxes etc. Moreover the 27 Stars are not placed evenly in heavens and the view of them through ecliptic does not yield 2.25 stars per Zodiac to make for 27 stars. Stars are of unequal span. No one is prepared to bell the cat to make changes in the Panchangas as   done systematically in Gregorian calendar.  Gregorian calendar makes leap year correction every four years and also leap-century correction to set right the calendar over a period. We therefore wonder all the time why our festivals and rituals do not coincide with the Gregorian calendar. Further India has adopted Chandramana calendar of 354 days per year based on majority opinion and not based on scientific compatibility with Gregorian calendar. Today religious observations do not follow astronomical basis and base it on miscalculated astrology. This is thus a man created difference between science and religion. Yet another factor is Hindu astrologers thought only about India which lies in northern Hemisphere. They did not think of Southern Hemisphere where winter in Northern Hemisphere is summer for them. These cannot be viewed as science not conflating with religion.

We have therefore the confusion within the religion itself.  Winter solstice day in the Northern Hemisphere (a scientific fact) should be the day of Makara   Sankranti in India as per the definition of Uttarayana Punyakaala. But we celebrate it after 23 days on January 14 instead of December 22.  Hindus settled in Northern Hemisphere and also in Southern Hemisphere blindly follow this most sacred Utaarayana Punyakaala day on the day dictated by Indian astrologers. This conflict between science and religion is human made. Further no two Panchangams agree. Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated in the North India in April while South India celebrates it in December. Hanuman is not born on different days nor there be one South Indian Hanuman and the other North Indian Hanuman. Similarly many festivals are differently celebrated depending on their following of Solar calendar or Lunar calendar both of which are faulty having neglected to make necessary astronomical corrections as and when warranted.  We dedicate Asthami Tithi   prior to Bheeshma Ekadasi as the day on which Bheeshma died. Yet on Bheeshma Ekadasi Day   we believe Bheeshma recited Vishnu Sahasranama while lying on the bed of arrows. Are we to believe he got resurrected then? Here the ego of Hindu astrologers from various schools of thoughts stands in the way to come to an understanding. Common man therefore thinks science and religion are two different things where they could be one at least in celebrating all festivals and ritual on one day as per scriptural injunctions.

There are thirty different calendars in India. Indian National Calendar Committee in 1957 brought out a National calendar aligning it with the Gregorian calendar basing it on Salivahana Saka Era and Chandramana Calendar which was in use by majority.   Their task was complicated by the fact that with calendar reform religion and local sentiments were involved.  There were thirty different calendars. The task was further complicated by the fact that with calendar religion and local sentiments were involved.  India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in his preface to the Report of the Committee, which was published in 1955, wrote: “They (different calendars) represent past political divisions in the country…now that we have attained Independence, it is obviously desirable that there should be a certain uniformity in the calendar for our civic, social and other purposes and this should be done on a scientific approach to this problem.” This National   calendar was brought in line with Gregorian calendar after scientific thinking without upsetting religion. Unfortunately no one followed it and party Government in power was afraid to enforce it!
Karunanidhi while he was   Chief Minister went further ahead in making Makara Sankranti, January 14 as the New Year day beginning with Tamil Month Thai which was close to January 1. Jayalalita his political rival killed the Ordinance when she came to power playing with the religious sentiments of the people saying that April 14 was a very religious and holier day for Tamils.  Politics plays in India and not religious accuracy and National unity without upsetting sacred days. Anyhow Indian Solar calendar is totally dependent on the sun and is more scientific and convenient than the Gregorian calendar used all over the world. But any attempt in trying to bring science and religion close becomes a political issue in India and fought tooth and nail to kill such initiative for many believe science and religion are always at war.

I have been mainly focusing points of agreement and disagreement between science and religion. But our sages did develop high spirituality resulting in Upanishad Teachings and great scientific discoveries benefitting the world concentrating on both at the same time. They gave science particularly astronomy,   mathematics, medicine and weaponry to the world. But a recent article in Huff-post says keep them apart, treat them apart and don’t conflate them. Its views are as follows:

Rabbi Geoffrey writes in Huff-post: “A fine-tuned universe is a compelling argument for God. It's also deeply problematic. Science is in constant flux. New discoveries are made. New insights arise. New paradigms overturn previous ways of thinking. So if we base our religious outlook on scientific findings, what will happen to our theology when the science changes?  [We can also argue did not our philosophies change? Over a period we changed from Advaita to Vishishatadvaita and from Vishishtadvaita to Dvaita?]

Think about what happened to religion when the Copernican revolution occurred, or when Darwin's On the Origin of Species was published. They upset the apple cart, and forced religion to change. Most people either denied these findings and held onto their deeply-held beliefs, or used these findings to reject religion entirely. [He is talking about Christian religion and is not aware of scientific contributions of our Rishis which concurred with the then emerging scientific findings. He does not know our Avatar concept agrees with Darwin.]
So what would happen if, say, we discover that the parameters for life are not quite as amazing as they seemed? Or if we discovered that humanity was not unique in the universe? If you were using science to support your religious outlook, unless you have a very sophisticated theology, you'd be in deep trouble, and would need to do quite a bit of mental gymnastics. [Hindus believe Vedanta is a sophisticated theology and often scientific in its thinking and not like the faith-based religions]
That's why scientists and Christians Francis Collins and Karl Giberson warn about using fine-tuning as an argument for God.   It truly is amazing that all of the needed requirements for life on Earth are so precise. But science is a search for an accurate understanding of our world, which means that it can change. And if we're basing our view of God on the latest scientific research, we're going to have a very fragile theology.
Science and religion are two different ways of thinking. Don't conflate them. Using science to prove God's existence confuses two very different ways of thinking. Science progresses as new hypotheses get tested, questioned, refuted, expanded upon, discarded, and revised. Religion, on the other hand, is a way to make sense of the world. It is an appreciation of awe and mystery, justice and compassion. In other words, science is a search for truth, while religion is a search for meaning. Religion doesn't need science to prove God's existence, because the question of God is not a scientific one.

Science is the best method we have for understanding how we got here. But religion isn't science. It is not (or at least should not be) about provable or disprovable claims, because that's not its purpose. Instead, it should be designed to help us improve ourselves and our world, here and now”.

It's commonly argued that science and spirituality are not compatible. Science is considered our reliable way forward, while spirituality often regarded as a sentimental relic of our past we can't quite let go of. So to say it is necessary for the two to work together may seem unrealistic. For centuries, science has led our progress; spirituality, as indicated through participation in orthodox religion has been in steady decline. But the unorganized, personal aspect of spirituality is the subjective pursuit of value, reality, and understanding through individual experience or consciousness. This aspect of spirituality has not declined. Instead, the drive to find external solutions to global problems that have value to our interior world is more powerful than ever. The scale of our planet's problems is too great to be solved without an integrated approach of science and spirituality. The power of consciousness needs the systematization of the scientific method, and the tools of science depend on the wisdom and creativity of individual consciousness to guide it in a meaningful direction.

More and more scientists are recognizing this need -- in part because fundamental science has come to a place where the ultimate questions of matter and creation cannot be understood unless consciousness is accounted for and factored in. Consciousness may well be the common ground on which the objective and subjective worlds are derived and united. With this vision, scientists and spiritualists have begun to meet and discuss solutions to global issues of health, hunger, conflict resolution, climate change, global conflicts and economic injustice from a perspective that joins science and spirituality.  Do we want to call in Scientific terms Brahman as Consciousness?
My question remains if religion and science in unison led the world in ancient times why not to-day? Philosopher Statesman Rajagopalachari said “Greatest of our inventions cannot reach the borderline of Metaphysics”.  Should we not go by the advice of the renowned world famous scientist Albert Einstein who had an insight to Hindu Upanishads: “The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge”. That way he has addressed both Science and Religion equally. It appears neither science nor religion has ready answers to all our questions. That is why the contradictions and confusion often results. We need both to make a meaning   of our life on earth. This makes the origin of life or soul outside the purview of the scientific theory or philosophic explanation and for our existence.
It is heartening to note how the most religious and conservative Vatican is concerned with science today. St. Peter’s Basilica joined more than 1,400 of the world’s iconic landmarks in   March 2015 to take a stand for stronger climate action. In the past, Francis has called the exploitation of nature a grave sin.

"This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation," he said while addressing students at a university in southern Italy last year.

"When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land ... that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to her give us what she has within her." Thus Pope Francis is drawing our attention that both religion and science should conflate and not conflict in addressing world problems.

In this context it is worth recalling the Vedic Hymn of Peace that focuses on science with which Hindus conclude all prayers:
“….. Prithvee santih Aapah santih Oshadhayah santih Vanaspatayah santih Sarvam santih….”—May   peace reign on Earth! May there be coolness in water! May the medicinal herbs be soothing! May the plants be peace giving! May everything in the Universe be peaceful! May peace pervade everywhere! May that peace come to  me  also!”

 EPILOGUE
There is a War on Science going on to-day as we come across many head line news on science and technology. These are: Climate   change  does not exist; Evolution never happened; The Moon landing was fake;  Vaccination can lead to autism; Genetically modified food is evil; Fluoride could be harmful to health which has gone to the extent of  few major American cities don’t fluoridate the water. Does a group of scientists going skeptic among themselves or atheists have joined hands with religious protagonists to question well established and proven scientific discoveries and inventions, it is hard to tell! It only shows that the world crackles with real and imaginary hazards and distinguishing the former from the latter is not easy for ordinary man or the religiously devoted to have faith in science! Is the religion going strong once again or the science getting weaker?


Science cannot grasp powers of the unending cosmos without the positive spiritual thinking. People become inspired and creative by our inner capacity to transform. Our world awakens the positive spiritual relevance of both the external and internal consciousness which transforms the spiritual God  that awaits, without being perceptible  or awakening where there is matter. Will science have answers to all riddles of life one day?  Even the great scientists cannot answer this question. Each time science discovers something, it opens up another thousand questions.

Today we know that the nucleus of every human cell contains twenty three pairs of chromosomes, each of which is a thread-like structure made up of about eighty thousand genes.  Look at what Upanishads said several thousand years ago.  Upanishad   states that from the spiritual heart 101 nerves or Naadees branch off. These nerves are not to be confused with the nerves of doctor’s Physiology conception or the heart with physical heart. It is the cavity in which the Self or Atman resides. These are subtler than the finest capillaries in the circulatory systems in the body and they are therefore often designated as Astral Tubes.  From the mind 101 different astral tubes emerge out and each one of these primary nerves (Mukhya) divides into 100 subdivisions as Saakha Naadees   forming themselves ten thousand and one hundred (10100) secondary Naadees. Now each one of these secondary Naadees again multiplies into seventy-two thousand branches, thus together forming a system of seventy-two crores, seventy two lakhs, ten thousand two hundred and one in all (72,72,10,201). All these are constantly working in the human body and take part in human functioning.  It is hoped understanding the genetic codes well will   lay the ground work for conquering most of the diseases and also solving many of the riddles of life.   Even Vedanta that has gone so deep into body, mind and spirit does not have answers to all   our questions.    How did the first-ever soul acquired Karma is not answered by Upanishads. It starts with the assumption that Brahman is the ultimate cause of this universe and everything else is dependent on him. Its whole discussion is based on that assumption Brahman who cannot be questioned?
Science cannot answer questions about life’s purpose or the existence of God. Scientist must recognize that it will never completely answer the ‘“why” question, Vedanta or spirituality deals with. Science can only tell us how the world is, but not the reasons or purpose for why it is that way. Inquiring minds of Rishis of Upanishads have not only served to advance scientific discoveries in many cases but also exert a significant influence on the practical application of scientific discoveries. 
Closely watching the solar system to which the earth belongs, Hindu sages   observed that apparent path covered by the Sun in relation to earth called ecliptic, recurred periodically with rhythmic precision. Likewise they noticed that the Moon’s path in relation to earth also recurred at regular intervals. Through their keen observation of sky above and their Yogic powers (Consciousness) the sages perceived perfect harmony and order in the movements of the heavenly bodies. They had no modern telescopes. This gave birth to astronomy and the early scientific discoveries by them which they gave to the world.

Science can only tell us how the world is, never the reasons or purpose for why it is that way like Vedanta which can’t explain why and how the first ever soul acquired Karma. At the same time imagine how the first cell organisms began.  Science has no answer. It is all the handy-work of that unknown being who so finely tuned it. If any of the physical constants of nature like gravity, the speed of light, the mass of the electron, and the electromagnetic force differed even slightly the result would be chaos and the result would have been a universe incapable of hosting of life or sustaining it. The theory of evolution does not deal with origin of life. Upanishads say it was the will of God. Science says   Evolution is a theory of how life forms have changed over time, not about how first life appeared. The Theory of   Evolution deals with the development of life, not the origin of life from non-life.  How Ahalya turned into   stone still lived with her soul and later brought back to life by Rama is not explained in Vedanta. Science says stones are made up of chemicals as humans are, where ultimate particles are in constant motion thus postulating some sort of a life or activity within. An atheist has an escapism explanation dismissing all as myth!

Recent research findings say our ancestor was a fungus. It might surprise many people that they are even to a small degree part bacterium, part fungus and part alga. Genome Biology suggests human beings have at least 145 genes picked up from other species by their forbears.  On an average flies had 40 and primates had 109. Humans thus had more than the primates.   We find today a bacterial insecticide in a genetically modified maize plant or herbicide-resistance gene in a soya been. It is fair to point out that bacteria, fungus, and alga are doing a good job in humans. There was once a time they were just as alien as bacterial insecticide or herbal resistance gene in crops.  Compare this to what Vedanta says the same soul pervades in all living and nonliving entities or life started when Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas entities started intermingling which is explained below.
Some of our Puranic beliefs make us look stupid and ignorant in the light of scientific facts. The story of Rahu and Ketu devouring Sun and Moon, thinking of Sun, Moon, Rahu and Ketu also as planets among Navagrahas while only Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn are planets   and  thinking of Sun changing his direction and traveling towards North on Makara Sankranti Day while technically the Sun does not move and earth travels round the Sun with its tilted axis,        are some of the topics hotly discussed as myths by  science protagonists.  Of course the scientific findings are also progressively changing: According to the latest findings the Sun in fact our whole solar system orbits around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. We are moving at an average velocity of 828,000 km/hr. But even at this speed it will take 230 million years to make a complete orbit around Milky Way but who knows this path might as well change also! In Panchangam (or in Astrology) Nakshatra (or star) is only one of the 27 segments of the Zodiac Belt whereas in astronomy or science stars are heavenly bodies twinkling in the sky. I wonder whether I could translate Navagrahas as Astral Deities instead of nine planets but then no one will understand grown with reputed  religious and spiritual  writers.

Vedanta seems to have an edge over science as far as evolution is concerned as it has held its views for several thousands of years whereas science has come a long way progressively revising and basing it on cell theory.  The latest thinking is our ancestor was a fungus! In a way it agrees with Vedanta that the cell is the basis, may be one day fungus is the basis  of all creation like Self that pervades all sentient beings. Vedanta goes further to say this Self extends to all non-sentient. Prakriti or nature is composed of three extremely subtle and intangible substances called Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The spiritual domain however contains innumerable sentient entities, each one infinite and perfect called Purusha may be the uni-cell of science which the religious people call soul. Before creation of the world, these three subtle substances Sattva, Rajas and Tamas remained in a state of perfect equilibrium. When they start intermingling and overlapping the state of harmony is lost, the creation starts. This also explains as to the varieties found in creation depending on the mix based on time also.  One may wonder how these three extremely subtle gunas can become this gross and tangible world. Physics also says that something as subtle as energy can be transformed into solid matter. Some physicists are also of the opinion that the primary building blocks of this manifold universe are most probably three types of extremely subtle quarks. Vedanta says Purusha (Self) is the same that manifests in all beings.

Sankhya philosophy differs from Vedanta and postulates Purusha of plurality. If there had been only one Purusha, then birth and death of one conscious being would also cause the birth and death of all other conscious beings. This being not the case there must be many Purushas. Sankhya school says also Prakriti is composed of three extremely subtle substances as stated above. The process of creation starts when Prakriti borrows consciousness from Purusha and starts acting like a conscious entity. The first sign of Prakriti’s conscious activity is seen in its tendency to change itself.  It undergoes a process of gradual transformation, the final outcome of which is this manifold world. In other words the primordial matter becomes the world through a process of   evolution which is further explained as detailed in my discourse on the subject Trigunas. Science has not yet come with an explanation as to how matter has changed to cell, the first signs of life. Like science Hindu cosmogony is not sure about the origin of this world.  It presents more than one theory. It can be said that in science as well as Hinduism either all theories are wrong, or only one is correct!
Large number of Scientists across the world, particularly Indian Scientists like Sir C.V. Raman, Abul Kalam Azad, Hari Gobind Khurana and others firmly believe in God, their faith being fortified, rather than hindered by their scientific investigation. Among world’s scientists, other than from India, stands Einstein of Abrahamic Faith foremost who believed in the compatibility of Science and Religion. In this regard it is worth   mentioning about the book, “The Language of Science and the Faith” by Karl W. Giberson (professor of Physics and science writer) and Francis S. Collins, a world renowned geneticist. Those who argue science and religion do not conflate quote them too.  But both of these authors challenge the widespread belief that science and religion do not conflate. Without referring to God in their book they adduce evidence from the natural world that the universe indeed has a Creator God agreeing with the Upanishadic thoughts which calls that as Brahman.
76 percent of scientists in the general population identify with a religious tradition. Astrophysicist and evangelical Christian Deborah Haarsma, president of BioLogos, which recognizes “God as Creator of all life over billions of years,” said what she sees in the cosmos is “a scientific description of the universe God created.” Overall, 85 percent of Americans and 84 percent of evangelicals say modern science is doing well   in the world. The greatest areas of accord were on the pragmatic side of science such as technology and medical discoveries that can alleviate suffering. Here, said Ecklund, most Americans see science and faith collaborating for the common good.

A complete understanding of our existence will probably be never developed by the finite and limited human mind, or how the first cell developed or   first ever soul got tainted with Karma. We may never know what happened before the Big Bang. Upanishads often say “Yathaapoorvam akalpyat’’-- the world was created as before.  When and what that before is nobody knows. The Creation Hymn of the Rigveda beautifully expresses that: “This world—whence it came into being, whether it was made or whether not—He who is the overseer in the highest heavens surely knows--or perhaps He knows not”.  They say the chapter of Light in Physics begins with what is light and ends with what is light! Being neither a scientist of repute nor an enlightened Guru let me close the subject with few quotes as given in the Appendix from great thinkers.  I draw my support from S Kelly Harrell who said “I don't argue things being spiritual vs scientific, because I've never met anyone who knows enough about either to be convincing--including myself.” My focus had been on quotes from the greatest scientist on Earth Albert Einstein whose philosophy on Science and spirituality impressed me most.

Skepticism about science is on the rise, and polarization is the order of the day. We are passing through an age of disbelief, the war on science and atheism. Skepticism   is a phenomenon as old as Galileo. The Scientists state truths and offer evidence, yet many of us remain unconvinced. We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious   opposition. A third of Americans believe humans have existed in their present form since time began agreeing with Vedanta. Less than half of all Americans believe earth is warming because humans are burning fossil fuels. In this bewildering world we have to decide what to believe and how to act on that.    The news media give abundant attention to naysayers, professional conversationalists, blog contributors and table trumpeters. The media would also make us believe that science is full of shocking discoveries made by lone geniuses.       Our lives are permeated by science and technology as never before and atheism is growing. For many of us this new world is wondrous, comfortable, and rich in rewards—but also more complicated and sometimes unnerving. We now face risks we can’t easily analyse. A spiritually inclined while enjoying the benefits of science seeks solace in the unknown in his helpless situation.
Questioning is a human nature whether it is Vedanta or Science. But we should use scientific method, or trust people using the scientific method to decide which way they fall on those questions. Vedanta also uses scientific methods to explain Truth and we often seek the help of a Vedantin (Guru). We need to get a lot better finding answers, because it is certain the questions won’t be getting any simpler. 


Science and spirituality have been two pillars of the human race since time immemorial. These two aspects of human thought have a lot in common but its equally important to respect their differences. Science and spirituality are like two sisters who share very similar genes yet are very different in their personality. In this webinar, we will try to understand various facets of the intricate and interesting relationship between science and spirituality from a very practical point of view.

“When religion was strong and science weak, man mistook magic for medicine; now when science is strong and religion weak, man mistakes medicine for magic”--Thomas Szasz. (Times of India)

APPENDIX 1
Quotes on Religion and Science
Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of lightyears and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.” 

“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.”
― 
Richard P. Feynman

“They say that Caliph Omar, when consulted about what had to be done with the library of Alexandria, answered as follows: 'If the books of this library contain matters opposed to the Koran, they are bad and must be burned. If they contain only the doctrine of the Koran, burn them anyway, for they are superfluous.' Our learned men have cited this reasoning as the height of absurdity. However, suppose Gregory the Great was there instead of Omar and the Gospel instead of the Koran. The library would still have been burned, and that might well have been the finest moment in the life of this illustrious pontiff.” 

“The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification.”
― 
Thomas Henry Huxley.

 “In our country religion is not different from philosophy and religion & philosophy don’t differ from science.” ― Virchand Gandhi

“There isn't anything to worry about between science and religion, because the contradictions are just in your own mind. Of course they are there, but they are not in the Lord's mind because He made the whole thing, so there is a way, if we are smart enough, to understand them so that we will not have any contradictions.” 

Quotes from Albert Einstein

1.   Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.
2.   My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
3.      The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.
4.      Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-- spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.
5.      The scientists’ religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.
6.      There is no logical way to the discovery of elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.
7.      The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
8.      We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.
9.      Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.
10.  When the solution is simple, God is answering.
11.  God does not play dice with the universe.
12.  God is subtle but he is not malicious.
13.  A human being is a part of the whole, called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest--a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty.
14.  The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child   entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books—-a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.
15.  The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
16.  What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.
17.  The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lays the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear, is a dead man. To know that what is impenetrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties - this knowledge, this feeling ... that is the core of the true religious sentiment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself among profoundly religious men.
18.  The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.
19.  True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.
20.  Intelligence makes clear to us the interrelationship of means and ends. But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate and fundamental ends. To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to form in the social life of man.
21.   “You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn around,
 and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.”
 



Appendix 2
American Sociological research Study on Science vs. Religion—Timothy O’Brien

Post-Seculars one in five Americans who no one seems to have noticed before in endless rounds of debates pitting science vs. religion. This pretty big group (21 percent is pretty knowledgeable and appreciative about science and technology but   are also very religious and who reject certain scientific theories.  These Americans are moving away from religion to become more secular.

Many findings fit the usual way the science-religion divide is viewed:
Moderns--who stand on reason, scored high on scientific knowledge and scored lowest on religion questions regarding biblical authority and the strength of their religious ties.
Traditionals--who lean toward religion, scored lower on science facts and were least likely to agree that “the benefits of scientific research outweigh the harmful results.”
But when it comes to three main areas where science and Christian-centric religious views conflict — on human evolution, the Big Bang origin of the universe and the age of the Earth — Post-Seculars break away from the pack with very significantly different views from Traditionals and Moderns.

The universe began with a huge explosion
Traditional: 21 percent
Modern: 68 percent
Post Secular: 6 percent
Human beings developed from earlier species of animals
Traditional: 33 percent
Modern: 88 percent
Post-Secular: 3 percent
The continents have been moving for millions of years and will move in the future
Traditional: 66 percent
Modern: 98 percent
Post-Secular: 80 percent
When the authors looked at views on the authority of the Bible and how strongly people said they were affiliated with their religion, Post-Seculars put the most faith in Scripture and were much more inclined to say they were strongly religious. And where science and faith conflict on hot-button issues, they side with the religious perspective.
For example, Moderns are the most supportive of embryonic stem cell research and abortion rights for women, but Post-Seculars, who are nonetheless largely positive about science and society, are more skeptical in both areas, O’Brien said.

APPENDIX III


Ancient Rishis vs Modern Science
Posted by Maria Wirth | Sep 07, 2015 |  



Modern science has come to the conclusion that all is one energy.  Long ago, India’s wisdom came to the conclusion that all is one awareness/consciousness, i.e. the one energy of science ‘knows itself’. It is not inert, not dead. So far, science either does not know about the claim of the Indian rishis or fights shy to investigate it.
Suppose there is a scientist whose theories have always turned out to be right. Other scientists have validated his theories, sometimes after a long time gap and after they had to discard their own theories. Now, this scientist comes up with yet another theory that is different from the theory that the scientific community holds. So far, the scientists have tried, but could not prove their own theory. Would it not be worthwhile to test the theory of that scientist who so far has had an amazing success rate?
Well, this scientist refers to the rishis of ancient India. Most western scientists have never heard of those rishis. They don’t know what they had postulated and it may also not interest them as science has made amazing progress in the last century and theories that are several thousand years old have no role to play today. Or have they? Most scientists are engaged in tedious work in their labs. Their field of research is highly specialized and path breaking technology has come out of it. Yet there are also scientists who look at the big picture, who, like Einstein or Hawking, want to find the explanation for everything in this universe, a unified theory. They try to push the frontiers of knowledge to reach the absolute. It has eluded them so far.
Maybe they should turn for inspiration to the Indian rishis whose track record is amazing. Thousands of years ago they had claimed that the age of our present (according to them it is not the first) universe is mind boggling, whereas the west maintained till a few hundred years ago, that it was created only around 4000 BC. They knew that the earth orbits the sun and not the other way round – a fact that also only a few hundred years ago came to be known in the west. The Rishis knew that there are many suns, that atoms make up matter  and at the same time, that the whole universe is one, that this world is maya, an appearance or superimposition on that what is really true, like a pot on mud or a bangle on gold – not really true, only relatively true. They even knew that the best symbol for the Whole is a lingam. Does it surprise that the ‘big picture of the entire universe’ which was released by the Max Planck Institute has an oval shape?
All this and much more has turned out to be correct, even though some insights, for example ‘the world is maya’ had actually been ridiculed in the west, till modern science, too, came to the conclusion that nothing is as it appears to be. Science has reached a point where ultimately nothing can be said with certainty, where, so to speak, matter contains no matter. On the relative realm and in our perception, an apple is still an apple and still falls to the ground. Yet if one inquire into what the apple truly is one ends up with nothing in one’s hand, as it were. Not even the hand is there as a hand. In short: The senses deceive. Truth is something else.
Now, here is the point where ancient India could help science to make a decisive step or rather, a decisive turnaround towards finding the truth. Nuclear physics has come to the conclusion that all is single energy. This insight was hailed as coming together of ‘ancient wisdom and modern science’ at international conferences already over 30 years ago. India’s wisdom says: all is one and modern science also says: all is one. Yet there is still a big difference and it may be frustrating for some individual scientists who are ready to bridge this gap, yet the scientific community as a whole is opposed to it.
The difference is this: Rishis claim that this one energy is aware or conscious of itself. Awareness means knowing, being alive. Whatever seems to exist, comes out of one absolute awareness. It follows that the universe is alive. There is a presence present in it and this one presence appears as many and expresses itself for example through the human brains. The brain can be seen as the adequate instrument to manifest pure, thought free awareness as thoughts, feelings, memory, imagination, etc., like the  light bulb manifests electricity as light. The bulb does not generate electricity, nor does the brain generate awareness.
Here mainstream science refuses to go along. It holds that the energy that is making up our universe is ‘dead’. It does not know itself. Yet there is also the obvious fact that humans on earth are aware and science declares this awareness as being produced by the brain. According to modern science, it developed sort of accidentally as a by-product of chemical activity in inert brain cells. If one manipulates the brain cells, the human mind undergoes changes. This fact is considered as vindication of their theory. Yet, does not the light look red, if one paints the light bulb red? The output changes if the equipment is manipulated but the input, the electricity, is the same.
Science further holds that conditions have to be agreeable for this awareness by-product to happen and these favorable conditions are extremely rare, but on our earth these conditions were just right and life and awareness had a chance to develop from matter. These conditions may also be there in some other planets among the billions of planets in space. Otherwise, the universe is inert, dead, and chance and time are ruling it. There is no knowledge of what is happening in the cosmos apart from those few exceptions, like on our earth. As a natural consequence of this theory, human awareness dies when the brain dies – like a flicker of light that dies with the firefly. Awareness does not find a place in equations that try to explain cosmic laws.
There may be two reasons why western scientists avoid giving a place to awareness. One, in the west, the Church had been the sole keeper of the ‘truth’ and had severely crippled scientific ventures for over thousand years. Only a few hundred years ago and with great difficulty, men of great courage had overcome the oppressive hold of the Church. Ever since, science not only ignores religion, but is opposed to it because, in the west ‘religion’ promotes as the ‘Highest Truth’ a personal god, who watches over all humans and loves some and hates others. This of course is anathema to scientists. Almost with a vengeance, they are out to prove that there is no god and terms like awareness or intelligence might bring in god through the back door.
There is another reason why scientists overlook awareness, even though, if they only would look, it gazes them into the face or rather, out of the face. Awareness cannot be objectified, because it is the subject. Traditionally, science was focused on objects, i.e. on the observed. Only lately it had to include the observer after it became evident that the observer influences the observed. Yet it treats the observer basically as just another object. The scientist does not dive into his own living awareness to find out about the observer, but places the ‘observing system’ in one line with the objects under observation. He does not realize that his subjective, living awareness is a completely different category and requires an inner exploration.
For anyone who is interested in finding out the truth, and scientists certainly are, the most obvious and crucial factor in any research, the living intelligence that can be felt by anyone and without which there would be no scientific research at all, surely cannot be done away with the improvable assumption that it is a sort of secretion of the inert brain. That would be unscientific, more so, since there is vast literature regarding awareness/consciousness in India.
This literature gives valuable clues. For example the scriptures have two major terms – Atman and Brahman. Atman refers to the seemingly individualized awareness (often translated as ‘Self’) and Brahman to the infinite, absolute awareness. Brahman cannot be spoken or thought of, the scriptures claim. Brahman is that by which thoughts and speech are made possible. It is the independent, absolute truth that eludes objectification, as it is the one subject. Brahman alone is the truth, is stated.
Now if we look at Atman, we are on more familiar ground. It shows up as the capacity to know and feel and this capacity is right within us. It is what makes us feel to be  alive right now. The scriptures have analyzed our inner make up in great detail. There are efforts on to compile this knowledge into textbooks and teach it in psychology courses at university level.
Coming back to the big picture, there are intriguing statements in the Vedas. They are called Mahavakyas, the great utterances. Those claim that “this Atman is Brahman” or “You are That”. It means that our own, individual awareness or self is basically the great, all pervading Brahman. Atman and Brahman are one. It means further, the great one Brahman is right here. How can that be? Is our human awareness not rather ordinary? It is my direct experience that I am Maria, and certainly not Brahman, isn’t it? On the other hand, it is also my direct experience that the world is real and it has been proven to be illusory. Could this feeling that I am Maria also be illusionary? It would need an enquiry.
“Who am I?” is the big and ultimate question in Indian philosophy. Its answer may throw up the unified theory and more worthwhile, fulfilment. Yet the answer cannot be put into research papers. The scientist needs to turn around and dive deep within, beyond the thoughts and feelings right down to the pure, thoughtless awareness.
The Indian scriptures offer another approach: Everything in the universe according to them has five ‘components’. The first two, i.e. name and form, are changing. They belong to the world of maya. Yet beneath those two, there is Satchitananda: sat = being, chit = awareness, ananda = bliss. Those three are basically one and unchanging. Science takes note only of name and form and of sat (being). Something is there. Yet chit, the awareness aspect and ananda, the bliss that comes with awareness, are missing.
Modern science presents us with a rather bleak scenario, where there is basically no meaning in living, all is chance and with the death of the body everything is finished. It is still the in-thing to believe among the so called intellectual elite in the west. The bleakness is not so much due to the fact that science considers the human mind as just a temporary flicker. Even the Indian rishis consider the mind as just thoughts, modifications in pure awareness that are ultimately as unreal as the solidity in matter. The bleakness is rather due to the fact that scientists don’t figure in the big (the word Brahman comes from big, expanding) living, blissful Presence, Intelligence, Awareness, Absolute or whatever name we want to give to the Unnamable.
The rishis claim that it is here, right beneath the individual awareness full of thoughts and feelings that prevent the experience of the underlying pure awareness. They encourage stilling thoughts with the help of meditation. When thoughts are stilled, it will become obvious that there is no separate individual awareness. Brahman is all there is.
In all likelihood, the rishis have the deeper insights. The Chandogya Upanishad describes how the sage Uddalaka prodded his son Svetaketu to know “That by knowing which everything is known” and how he helped him along with valuable questions and metaphors. Today, scientists like Hawking, also search for ‘That by knowing which everything is known’ but they still have a blind spot. They don’t search where it is to be found: Within their own awareness. Eventually, they may realize that the rishis were right, but before this happens, they will have to learn to ‘look’ or rather ‘sink’ inside. Then, sacredness and wonder might overwhelm them.


 APPENDIX IV



Bermuda Triangle Mystery Revealed in Rig Veda & Atharva Veda
Posted by The Editor | Jan 20, 2016  | IndiaDivine.Org
Bermuda Triangle or the Devil’s Triangle, is a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Even though the US Navy says that Bermuda Triangle does not exist, many have attributed various disappearances to the paranormal or activity by extraterrestrial beings. But till date, nobody could find out actual reason behind this mystery.
Many believe that there is a hidden pyramid inside the Atlantic Ocean, which pulls everything towards it like a magnet. It was named as “danger region” for about 500 years after disappearance of ships & planes. In 1492 during journey to America, Columbus saw some glitterness in this region and his magnetic compass got disturbed.
 Bermuda Triangle Mystery Revealed in Rig Veda
Although there is a similar demon described in first ever poem, Ramayana, it does not match with the geographical location.Simhika, the gigantic demon had the power to attract anything’s shadow flying over ocean and pull it into the waters.
However, that was on the way to Lanka. Brahmanda Purana (composed more than 5000 years ago) and Rig Veda (written more than 23000 years ago) clearly state that the planet Mars was born out of Earth. That is why he is called as Bhauma (‘son of Bhumi’) or Kuja (Ku = Earth + Ja = Born out of) in Sanskrit.
Asya Vamasya Sukta in Rig Veda states :”When Earth gave birth to Mars, and Mars seperated from his mother, her thigh got injured and she became imbalanced (Earth rotated in its axis) and to stop it Godly doctors, Aswini Kumars poured iron into the triangular shaped injury and Earth got fixed in her current position.
That is why Earth’s axis is bent at a particular angle. That  triangular shaped injury on our planet which was filled with iron went onto become Bermuda Triangle. Iron stored inside earth for years becomes natural magnet and Bermuda disappearances, fog, high and low temperature water streams colliding are a result of this.
Moon was also born out of churning of milky ocean and when it rocketed out from Earth at latitude of about 23½ a huge bump created by its ejection came in line with Sun. So, Earth has tilted axis at 23½. Modern science could not explain this phenomenon and also the strange coincidence that Earth is titled at 23½ degrees and Bermuda Triangle is also at 23½!
In 1909, a fishing boat got disappeared. On 5th Dec 1945, a flight started from Florida (USA), when went about 120 miles east, its contact was broken from base station and plane disappeared.
In 1948, a ship carrying 27 travelers disappeared in Bermuda region. In 1951 another ship carrying 53 travelers disappeared in this region. Due to safety and precautionary reasons, all routes for ships & planes have been made out of this triangle.
Bermuda Triangle Mystery Revealed in Atharva Veda
Atharva Veda has description of several gems. One of them is Darbha gem, which is described in Sukta 28, 29 & 30, by Darbha gem. So, electro-magnetic waves going from wireless system or coming to system are disturbed and wireless system fails.
Darbha gem is like a very short form of neutron star, which has high density. Similarly, Darbha gem also has high density so there is high gravitation due to Darbha gem. There is emission of high energetic electro-magnetic waves due to Darbha gem, probably due to nuclear reactions happening in it. Intensities of electric & magnetic field associated with electro-magnetic waves are very high.
This gem could be a powerful and dangerous weapon. Khanda 19 of Atharva Veda, Mantra 4 of Sukta 28, states: “As the Sun brings down clouds on earth in the same way oh! Darbha gem you fall down the rising enemies.” It means that there is gravitational force due to Darbha gem inside water. Mantra 5 of Sukta 29, says, “As the curd is stirred in the same way oh! Darbha gem you stir enemies.” It means to stir the bodies is a property of Darbha gem. In Mantra 7 of Sukta 29, says, “to burn the bodies”;
It means there is emission of high energetic rays like laser rays by Darbha gem, which destroy bodies. So properties of Darbha gem are:
1) High gravitational field.
2) Stir bodies coming near to it.
3) Emission of high energetic rays.
All these properties of Darbha gem, explain the phenomena of Bermuda Triangle. Mars (Mangala / Kuja) has Triangle shaped Yantra in Vedic Astrology. In Vedic Astrology, Mars (Mangala or Kuja) is red in color (similar to what modern scientists discovered), had water bodies on it (dried river beds found by NASA).
Coral, the gemstone related to Mars is also red in color and found only under sea waters.
What is even more astonishing is that, Yantra in Mars is triangle (tilted) shaped. In that way, Mars is brother of all humans born on planet Earth. Mars also controls all land related issues in human lives like Real Estate Business, Agriculture, Sibling  etc. in astrology.
Modern scientists assume presence of methane hydrates, which indicates enormous eruptions of methane bubbles that would swamp a ship and projected high into the air- take out flying airplanes, as well. Any ship caught within the methane mega-bubble immediately loses all buoyancy and sink to the bottom of the ocean. If the bubbles are big enough and possess a high enough density they can also knock aircraft out of the sky with little or no warning.
Aircraft falling victim to these methane bubbles will lose their engines-perhaps igniting the methane surrounding them-and immediately lose their lift as well, ending their flights by diving into the ocean and swiftly plummeting.




REFERENCES:
1.      Swami Lokeswarananda, Science and Religion,   Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture,   Kolkata, India.
2.      Vedanta-Future Religion, Swami Vivekananda, Advaita Ashrma, Kolkata, India.
3.      Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman, Huff-post, Internet
4.      James Martin, A Saint’s dark Night, Internet
5.      Various Internet sources
6.      Thoughts from Deepak Chopra on Spirituality and Religion from his various writings.
7.      Roshan Shah, A review of Languagenge of Science and Faith, Mother, April 2015, India
8.      Ed.  Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu? Rupa & Co., New Delhi, India.
9.      Swami Bhaskarananda,   Essentials of Hinduism, Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, India.
10.  Srinivasan N.R.,  Can Hindu Scriptures and Science Co-exist on Theory of Evolution, Hindu    Reflections, Internet Blog, <nrsrini.blogspot.com>
11.  Joel Achenbach, War on Science, National Geographic Magazine, March 2015.
12.  Olivia Judson, Luminous Life, National Geographic magazine, March 2015.
13.    Your Ancestor was a   Fungus, Economist, Science  & Technology, March 2015

[This discourse material is a compilation from the reference above    as well as other sources for a prepared lecture for delivering at Vedanta Class of Sri Ganesha Temple which is gratefully acknowledged. I do not claim anything as original though I have included my explanations and comments elaborately suitably editing. Anybody is free to download partly or fully this discourse, modify and redistribute this as well as other  discourses from the blog Hindu Reflections <nrsrini.blogspot.com> for spreading the wisdom of Vedas and scriptures further.  These  lectures are  posted on the blog for the benefit of those who are not able to attend my lectures  due to personal reasons or due to not living in Nashville or able to go through the various sources as I have done.]