Is there a Relationship between Science and Spirituality or are they linked somewhere?
Many people think that science and spirituality are antagonistic. The real fact is that Science and Spirituality are not antagonistic. On the contrary, they are complimentary, co-operative, concomitant, collateral and co-operative. Both provide important pieces to form the jigsaw puzzle called life.
Why discuss the relationship of Science and Spirituality?
The scientists take the outer world as their field of investigation, and the spiritual seekers (Indians call them Rishis) take their own inner world of experiences as the field of their search for truth. Science seeks to understand ‘what is the world’ while spirituality seeks to discover ‘who or what is man’.
Intelligence is knowing others and wisdom is knowing self. Our modern society is obsessed with understanding and mastering the outside world. Through science, we have gathered a vast bank of knowledge, but we continue to be unhappy. To be happy, to live a blissful and fulfilling life, we have to understand and master the world within.
Definition of Science
Some popular definitions of science are as under:
- Science is defined as systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
- Science is the systematic and organized inquiry into the natural world and its phenomena. It is about gaining a deeper and useful understanding of the world.
- Science is the intellectual discipline encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
From the above definitions we can see that scientists across the world generally agree on a broad definition of science. The core of science includes systematic study/ inquiry/ knowledge of the world gained through observation and experimentation. Therefore concepts, theories and principles given by science are universally acceptable.
The Role of Science in our lives
Through scientific researches and experiments in laboratories, modern scientists have come to know more and more about nature. They have gained such a mastery over nature that they are able to put satellites in earth’s orbit, send unmanned as well as manned spacecrafts to Moon and Mars, generate nuclear power and do many more such things to a very high level of precision.
Definition of Spirituality
As of now we do not have a single widely agreed definition of spirituality. Spirituality has been defined by different people differently at different points of time. People have talked about spirituality differently in ancient, medieval and modern times. Some definitions of spirituality are as under:
- Spirituality is a process of personal transformation.
- Spirituality is the mental aspect of life as opposed to material or sensual aspects.
- Spirituality deals with psychological growth and subjective experiences.
- Spirituality denotes the realms of inner life and feelings.
- Spirituality is the study of inner realms of human beings and their connection with God.
- Spirituality is the personal, subjective dimension of self pertaining to liberation or salvation of the soul.
The Role of Spirituality
Spirituality guides our daily activities in all facets of life like understanding the feelings in our heart, experiencing joys and sorrows, experiencing premonitions, generating ideas, imagining things, visualizing the kind of life we want to build for ourselves etc.
The great Indian Rsis have asserted time and again that knowledge of the inner world and spiritual constitution of man will give him more mastery over his own life. Spirituality helps man to discover inner strength and vitality to face his own challenges in life.
The way Science Works for us
Science is objective. Its results are tangible and measurable in most of the cases. It is experiment oriented, easily understood and hence more easily accepted and applied. The processes and laws of science are verifiable, replicable and universally applicable. Science relates to and reveals things through anyone or a combination of the five basic senses – sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
The unique ways of Spirituality
There are realms beyond physical verification. These realms can’t be seen or experienced through physical senses. Spirituality includes these realms, it helps us to observe and experience these realms. Spirituality is highly subjective and experience oriented. To understand spiritual experiences and realizations, man has to look within, observe what is going on in his mind, and work towards achieving mental balance.
Relationship between Science and Spirituality
Objects and facts existed in the universe from time immemorial but we have understood them through scientific observation, experimentation and discoveries one by one. The principle of gravity always existed, Newton only explained it in a scientific manner. Molecules and atoms always existed, scientists only explained them in a systematic manner. Scientists like Newton, Galileo, Archimedes, Einstein etc. explained certain phenomena of the universe in such a manner that people can comprehend them easily. How could they do it? How could they observe and explain complex phenomena of the universe in such a manner that others could understand them?
Man’s total world of experience is made up of the world of objects, the world of feelings and the world of ideas. Man has his body, mind and intellect as three equipments of experience, through which he constantly experiences life. When life is working through his physical body, he perceives the world of objects. When life functions through the mind, he experiences the world of feelings. When life expresses through his intellect, he comprehends his world of ideas. The great scientists tapped the spiritual realms with their intellect, observed and experienced certain natural facts not easily observable by ordinary people, and came up with scientific theories, principles and formulae. Spirituality is a great science. It helps to achieve a balance among our three equipments of experience – body, mind and intellect.
Hence we say that science and spirituality are the two sides of the same coin. They are the two ends of the continuum.
Author’s view point
Notwithstanding the non-availability of widely accepted definition of spirituality, I am of the opinion that spiritual awareness, spiritual awakening and spiritual enlightenment are the building blocks of lasting inner peace and bliss. Spiritual awareness helps you to attain spiritual awakening. Spiritual awakening helps you to transcend within and attain spiritual enlightenment. Spiritual enlightenment helps you to let go and paves the way for lasting peace and bliss.
Science only provides physical comforts and not inner peace & bliss.
Author: Indu Wadwha
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