How to Realize the Ultimate Truth of Knowledge?

May - Jun 2003

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Science, as regarded today, is the discovery and reasoned expression of knowledge pertaining mainly to the laws and principles of exterior nature. What is justified or proved within its current theories and principles is supposed to be scientific truth and acceptable knowledge. But Truth can neither be confined to nor defined by specific mind-made norms, howsoever vast these may be. The approach of modern science, which stems from the study of the material existence and perception of Nature, is therefore gross and rigid vis-a-vis the limitless, ever new origin and expansion of knowledge. True knowledge is an unbounded flow in the hidden as well as sentient domains of consciousness that continues eternally in Nature, the universe and the infinite realms beyond cosmic depth. Its realization by human mind gives an expression to its subliminal existence. But this expression is only partial as per the narrow or incomplete evolution of human consciousness. Therefore, much remains unknown, undiscovered, undeciphered and beyond mental grasp. It is this inexplicable, sublime, absolute truth of knowledge that was realized by the Vedic rishis in the state of the absolute silence of trance and was referred by them as "Satyam Gyanamanantam Brahm"; "Gyana (pure knowledge) is ultimate truth, it is infinity, it is an expression of the Brahm". The approach of modern science is confined only to the derived or verified truth of knowledge. It does not consider the absoluteness and infinite dimensions of truth. The definition of truth here also remains confined to the current trends, developments and conclusions of the specific discipline. What is accepted as true at one point of time by the scientific community is negated or replaced by some new and even contradictory results later. Thus, the scientific truth or knowledge keeps reshaping and updating, while the spiritual truth and knowledge is consistent, complete and eternal. This is why the knowledge realized and expressed by the rishis of yore is still applicable today; it is universal and remains true and does not change or lose its relevance even in the midst of the gigantic tides of time. In their efforts to rationally formalize knowledge, the modern scientists seem to have enslaved themselves in the narrow confines of intellectual arguments. Their thinking and conclusions are often driven by the complexities of accepted theories, principles and recognized (as per the conventions of their times) approaches. Validity of the so-called novel approaches too needs to be proved under certain norms. In their attempts to be precise, scientifically correct and logical, they often sidetrack many untouched, unknown aspects of reality and thus lose more than what they gain in terms of knowledge. Influenced by the predominance of their sharp and analytical intellect, learned mind and specialized expertise, they tend to neglect the basic fact that the seeds of enlightenment lie dormant and germinate in the depths of the inner self, in the sublime core of pure emotions (bhava samvedana), that enable unrestrained linkage with the supreme knowledge of the Truth within. Intellect vainly tries to arrogate to itself the credit for the hazy reflections of this knowledge within its reach. If there were no inspiration, no quest, no yearning, no spirited inquisitiveness and imaginations in the inner springs of the heart (source of bhava-samvedana), what would have nurtured the intellect and motivated it to deal with knowledge? What knowledge it would have then analyzed, formulated and found within its possession? In its early days, the modern science boasted of deciphering the secrets of Nature and and its basic laws of gross operation. But which truth of Nature has it really fathomed or been able to encompass completely in its theories? Have they known its perennial gist, the absolute core element (tatva)? Or gathered only some waves of its expressive reflections taranga (e.g. in energy and matter)? It should be noted that the waves of an ocean are only superficial and can never measure its grandeur or visualize its depths. Any attempt of studying its waves to know about the ocean will prove to be ridiculous and futile. The knowledge of the modern scientists, who ignore the need to know the tatva of Nature and remain preoccupied in researching the mysteries of its superficial manifestations is wavy and hollow like these waves; the conclusion of one result is negated or rejected by the other findings. The epochal results established as scientific truth at some time lose their validity and are proved to be false, wrong or incomplete by the proceeding investigations. In the post Galleleo phase of scientific developments, a scientific truth was acceptable only if it were demonstrated physically by some visible experiment(s). These norms changed in the post Newtonian era and rigorous mathematical theory became the yardstick of proving the truth. What was acclaimed as the unshakable principle of scientific foundation by Newton was disapproved by the greater, more rigorous, scientific discoveries of Einstein in less than a century. The latters theory seems to be smiling at that of Newton as though pointing: "dear friend, do a little modification; your law of gravity is fine with our earth but not universally; that way, even our nearest satellite uncle moon does not obey the force of earths gravity!". In the modern era of ultra-fast technological advancement, the phase, craze, trends and norms and hence the methods of scientific knowledge are also cropping up and vanishing like bubbles in boiling water; their foundations are sandy, that could be wiped out with a single splash of water or a squall of breeze. The scientific world is caught up in a whirlpool of uncertainty; every one appears to be in pathetic haste to prove and establish himself in this race There is no doubt that the scientific research and developments have bestowed enormous comforts and technological empowerment upon manhood. It has brought magical changes in the modes of communication, transportation, medical treatment, etc. At the same time, it has gifted dreaded weapons and equipment to destroy this grand human civilization and the mother earth itself in a matter of moments. The achievements of science and technology are fascinating and mind-boggling on the one hand, and horrifying and calamitous on the other! There seems to be everything in the world of science except the unalloyed peace of truth. We cant expect anything better from a superficial approach confined to the waves that also has an added compulsion of proving the ultimate validity of the knowledge gained within their own set norms conceding no scope for the unlimited breadth and depth of supreme knowledge. Who would convince the scientific community that what they know as true knowledge which keeps changing in the flow of time is not true knowledge. The foundation of their knowledge shakes and diminishes with the tremors of new investigations in the uncertainties of time. What has attracted the quest of science so far is only a tarang a quivering shadow of the multiple reflections and manifestations of the tatva of knowledge. It is the nature of a tarang, a wave to disappear after a while, it is bound to be momentary. Then how could anything created on the wavy base sustain for long? How could the knowledge gained on such shaky foundations testify to the eternity of truth? It is only in the infinite ocean of the tatva (the ultimate Truth) that the grand ships of true knowledge could sail forever In order to reach the depth of tatva, our search will have to cross the barriers of the gross (physical) existence and the perceivable or the theoretically derived and defined space of truth. It will have to enter the subliminal, limitless expansion of consciousness. Several eminent scientists of our times have begun to realize this fact and envisaged that if science has to attain true knowledge, it will have to expand the scope of its investigation and broaden its vision. Drs. Brooner and Postman have suggested incorporation of psychological aspects in this context. They argue that the state of mind plays a pivotal role in any analysis or judgment; therefore all investigations/research should also encompass the psychological realms of our existence. Noted scientific thinker, Dr. J. K. Feebleman has written an unparalleled book in this regard. In this book entitled "The Scientific Philosophy", he writes that the basis of scientific research needs to be expanded to include the philosophical aspects and feel of the inner realms of pure emotions too. The scientific methods and tools of today help in gaining deep and accurate analysis of gross as well as subtle forms of matter and the laws governing its functions. But these methods are inapplicable for research in the fields of thoughts or emotions. Because of its rather materialistic foundation and restricted approach, material science often backtracks from its own scientific propositions or theories and annuls what it once was proud to have achieved. Many of its conclusions continue to be further researched without any end in sight and remain incomplete or inconclusive. Thus, despite being known for its rigor, precision and innovation, the research in scientific disciplines till date has largely been conventional in terms of the contemporary norms and traditions of science in a particular time period. If it were not so and science had adopted the non-prejudiced, prudent, comprehensive approach of the rishis, then the Physica of Aristotle, Almagest of Tolmy, Lavechiers Chemistry, Newtons Principia, Loyels Geology, etc would not have faced such great difficulties and delays in their recognition. Tolmeys theory was quite successful in analyzing the dynamic states of stars and planetary arrangements, but it was discarded or considered with suspicion until full recognition of Copernicuss system. The reason was simple. The theory was non-conventional or was not in tune with the then popular beliefs. Same rigidity of convictions had vehemently opposed Newtons principles of light spectrum. The Theory of Quantum Mechanics, too, had to face lots of criticism, opposition and denunciations before attaining a prominent place in modern science. Because his contemporary and senior scientists had incomplete and contradictory knowledge about the nature of the cathode rays, Maxwell could not get scientific approval for his now well known principle of electromagnetism for a longtime. Similar was the fate of the discovery of X-rays. The scientific authorities of that time, like Lord Kelvin, even rejected it labeling Runtgens experiment as a tactful fraud. But the world later witnessed the great boons of this discovery and continues to benefit from X-rays in varieties of ways. The experimental results and explanations on fission of Uranium atom could not be accepted by the scientific experts for a long time because they were ignorant of the atomic reactions and none of the then available methods and theories were able to understand the complexities and possibilities of atomic energy. The last decade of the 19th century saw extensive scientific research towards filling the gaps in Mandeleafs Table. It was a difficult task because, even when some new chemical element was found and analyzed, it used to remain unacceptable to the scientific community of their times due to the latters prejudices and rigidity. The epochal truth of the modern science the theory of relativity, too had faced stiff criticism and scorn mainly owing to the inability of the then popular scientific norms and convictions to explain or understand its rigor. These historic examples continue to recur in newer forms even today. These illustrate the fact that the scientific findings, howsoever great, accomplished and true they might have seemed at one point of time, largely tend to obstruct the scope of future search of truth by trying to judge it within the narrow peripheries as per their own methodologies. This is what generates rigidity and prejudices in scientific research and hinders the advent of the pure light of truth Where is the flaw? Where are the difficulties in refining the otherwise innovative approach of modern science? This perennial question should be addressed first and the foundation and purpose of research should also be reviewed along with the methods of investigation in this context. It is time all of us accept the fact that it is the truth, the knowledge, which is important and not the method or approach of its search. The latter need to be open-ended and compatible with the infinite dimensional expressions of knowledge rather than attempting to bind knowledge in the framework of specific notions of what is "scientific". The truth and unlimited expansion of knowledge cannot be encompassed in the laboratories and theories of modern science alone. What is discovered or invented there is only a negligible fraction, a blurred reflection of what still remains to be known. Knowledge is immeasurably beyond the reach of the reasoning and the analytical power of the intellect. The inner realms of consciousness and deeper emotions and the spirituality activated by sadhana enable unconditional, liberal and natural realization of the inner roots of knowledge and eternal truth. This gradually leads to awareness of absolute knowledge. There remains nothing to be known thereafter. This is what is cited in the Upanishads as "Tasmin Vigyate Sarvam Vijanat" (Knowing "That" known, all is known). Great yogi Sri Aurobindo also reiterates this fact in his noted treatise "The Human Cycle". He elucidates that without knowing the subliminal, the supramental Nature, we cannot decipher even the physical aspects and laws of Nature. A comprehensive, integrated approach of scientific spirituality is the dire need of the present times. For this, both these streams of search (science and spirituality) will have to be more open and acceptable to each other. Along with scientific investigations and intellectual perceptions we will also have to strive for inner enlightenment through spiritual sadhana and experience and learn from the inner inspirations and divine sentiments aroused thereby. This is how we could know the tarang as well as the tatva in every dimension of knowledge. Realization and adoption of the eternal truth and applications of the scientific knowledge and results in its light this motivation of Scientific Spirituality would integrate the search for true knowledge. Bertrand Russell eloquently conveys it as "Informative knowledge and pure discerning intellect should both go together". The scientific spirituality practiced and guided by Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya in the recent times raises the hope towards realization of "Satyam Gyanam Brahm" and grasping the infinite streams of the ultimate truth of knowledge in the realms of the inner, cosmic and supreme consciousness.

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