Authored by Suresh Govindarajan, Founder, SIV-G and Published recently in 'Direct Path', a magazine published by the Ramana Kendra, New Delhi
A virtuous cycle is the one where one good thing leads to another good thing and the cyclic process goes on producing positive good effects all the time. In a vicious cycle, on the contrary, one bad thing leads to another bad thing and here also the cyclic process goes on making its own effect. It is very interesting to see how science, religion, spirituality and God form a virtuous cycle, perhaps that is the way they have been designed by the Almighty.
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”, says the epigram of Einstein. Objective scientific knowledge helps us to reach certain ends. But there is something, which inspires us for moving towards the ends. And definitely, it comes from some other source, which Einstein believed to be from the religion.
The interdependence of science and religion has always been strongly felt. Bertrand Russell puts this point clearly when he says, “…science can tell him how certain ends might be reached. What it cannot tell him that he should pursue one end rather than the other”.
In fact, science helps human being to a greater extent in fulfilling the materialistic needs. Whereas, religion goes beyond time-space-causality. There are beautiful examples available to understand science and religion. Take a Motor Car for instance. Science can make a car. But it cannot train the emotion of the driver so that he will stop it before a crawling baby and not run over. Religion, on the other hand, cannot make a car but it can train the emotion of the driver so that he will not run it over the baby.
It would be interesting to see that the same science could also provide insights for understanding religion and more so, spirituality. Perhaps, that is the reason why it is believed that in today’s world, self realization or realisation of God would happen through science or scientific religion, may we call it ‘sciencism’!!!!!!
Take for instance, the computers. Just an analogy between computers and human being is a wonderful and meaningful exercise to derive valuable realisation. The computer hardware and software when compared with human being, makes one understand and realise something interesting. The hardware of the computers can be matched to the human body. The computer software can be matched to the human mind. The interface between the software and hardware, which is the most crucial element, which makes both work, is the binary pulse (electrical signal). In the case of human being, it is the soul, which connects the mind and the body and operates not only the human beings but also the whole world in turn. From this analogy, a realisation comes just as the binary pulse (electrical signal) which is the same in all computers, irrespective of their make and model all over the world, the soul in all human beings is also the same, with body and mind constituted differently.
In a similar way, ‘Religion’ can also be understood clearly through Science with yet another analogy. Here the analogy should be made with the Satellite and its launching vehicle. The purpose of a launching vehicle is to launch the satellite in the desired orbit and then to detach itself from it. Imagine a situation wherein the satellite or the launching vehicle does not detach from each other after the launch. It would create a chaos. This is what exactly is happening with human being when it comes to religion. The satellite-launching vehicle model is the perfect analogy for understanding the concept of religion and its purpose. If the soul (jeevatma) is the satellite which has to be launched in to the orbit (spiritual path) to further progress and be merged with the paramathma, then the Religion is the launching vehicle. The religion must take the soul up to the spiritual path (orbit). After reaching the orbit, the religion seizes to exist. In fact, during the journey of the launching vehicle, carrying the satellite, the launching vehicle is burnt out in phases and by the time the satellite is put in to the orbit, the launching vehicle does not exist at all! Similarly, the purpose of a religion is only to act like a launching vehicle – to vanish after completion of mission.
Every launching vehicle (religion) is meant for the same purpose. Let us see to ourselves, how different launching vehicles (religions) speak of definite attainable goal in more or less specific terms:
Launching vehicle 1 - Islam
O ye who believe! If ye fear God,
He will make good your deliverance,
And will put away your sins from you,
And will forgive you,
God is of great bounteousness
Launching vehicle 2 - Christianity
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
(New Testament : St. Matthew V.8)
Launching vehicle 3 - Judaism
The Lord hath made known His salvation
His righteousness hath He openly showed
In the sight of the nations.
(Old Testament : Psalms XCVIII.2)
Launching vehicle 4 - Taoism
The Supreme is the Sanctuary where all things find refuge;
The good man’s priceless treasures,
The Guardian and Savior of him who is not good.
(Tao The Ching, LXII.1,4.)
Launching vehicle 5 - Zoroastrianism
O ye mortals! Mark these commandments
Which the wise Lord has given
For happiness and for pain;
Long punishment for evil doers,
Bliss for followers of truth,
Joy of salvation ever afterwards for the
Launching vehicle 6 - Buddhism
By complete destruction of lust, hatred and
Delusion devout men are no longer liable
To suffering, and are assured of final
(Mahaparinibbana sutta II.27_
Launching vehicle 7 - Hinduism
The Knower of Brahman attains the highest
(Taittiriya Upanishad, II.1.I)
The difference exists only in their externals. The world must now recognise that either there should be a universal ‘launching vehicle’ (religion) so that there is no difference and quarrels on externals or there should be a way to take the mass to go beyond the externals and get in to the internal.
But unfathomably, the bondage (mind being the binding force) between the satellite (soul) and the launching vehicle (religion) is so strong that even after the launch into the orbit, the satellite (soul) continues to attach itself with the launching vehicle (religion). This leads to a situation where the satellite is not able to advance in the orbit (spiritual path) to merge with the eternity. This also becomes the cause for all the differences and quarrels. Such quarrels have become a universal phenomenon.
The realisation must come now that all these launching vehicles (religion) take us through different paths, but to a same destination - destination of liberation, salvation or merging of jivathma with paramathma or attaining the highest order, or in whatever way one wants to call it. The end of the religion is the starting point of spirituality and the launching vehicles (religion) are no longer required after this point. Thus, where the religion ends, the spirituality begins, and where the spirituality begins, the process of realising one’s identity with the Supreme Spirit gets activated. When one continuously thinks, act and grow with a progressive sense of relationship with this realisation, one becomes more and more spiritual and ultimately, the God realisation or self-realisation is attained. It is at this stage the awareness of knowing the known begins. To put it in the words of Sir Arthur Eddington, a scientist, ‘We have found strange foot-prints on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origin. At last, we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the foot-print; and lo! It is our own!”. After all, the bible also says, ‘The kingdom of heaven is within”.
Ultimately, all these give us a clue that the path to God is not through religion, but through spirituality after crossing the religion or even bye-passing religion. Bagwan, in his own way observed, “Relative knowledge pertains to the mind and not to the Self. It is therefore illusory and not permanent. Take a scientist, for instance. He formulates a theory that the Earth is round and goes on to prove it on an incontrovertible basis. When he falls asleep the whole idea vanishes; his mind is left a blank. What does it matter whether the world remains round or flat when he is asleep? So you see the futility of all such relative knowledge. One should go beyond relative knowledge and abide in the Self. Real knowledge is such experience, and not apprehension by the mind”. This virtuous cycle of science, religion, spirituality and God in the given order is the perfect design towards self - realisation.
- Govindarajan Suresh
Founder, Self Imposed Vigilance for Good Governance (SIV-G)