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Science & spirituality, reason & faith
November 18, 2017, 2:00 AM IST Speaking Tree in TOI Edit Page | Edit Page, India, Spirituality | TOI
By Kirpa Sagar
Science flourishes on reasoning while spirituality is a matter of faith. Science, whether we speak of physics, chemistry or biology, deals with matter. It studies its properties and arrives at certain conclusions after making necessary experiments.
A research scientist works on the cause and effect principle. If he observes a phenomenon occurring with regular frequency, he draws certain conclusions. A stage arrives when such a conclusion is described as a law or as a universal principle.
Science makes discoveries that may lead to inventions. The so-called new matter is ‘new’ only because it was not known earlier. That is why it is described as a discovery, not invention. What is invention? Suppose a scientist in the field of agriculture finds two plants of the same family. He tries to combine the seeds or use graft of the one on the other, experiments and develops a new variety, a new plant of the same family. The scientist may call it an invention. But where did the original seeds or saplings come from? They were already there.
The scientist picks up matter and studies its origin, and how it attained its existence. Recently it was concluded that the whole universe is a matter of evolution from what is described as a ‘sub-atomic particle’. It was claimed to be a discovery consistent with the long sought Higgs Boson – popularly known as the “God Particle” – that explained what gives all the matter in the universe its size and shape. The universe, in this way, was described as a matter of self-evolution. Who created this ‘sub-atomic particle’ or ‘God Particle’? It has been only discovered – not invented or created.
This brings us to faith, the cornerstone of spirituality. Here, it is a matter of belief. There is no intention to dispute, deny or disprove it. The spiritual master tells us all about the Creator and Creation along with its purpose and we believe him, trust him.
The question arises as to when this stage of belief, trust or faith arrives. We describe what is written in scriptures as the outcome of the lifelong experience of the great spiritual masters who wrote them. We trust them simply because we do not want to make any more experiments or apply our own reasoning to arrive at the same conclusions.
True faith must be based on Truth. And Truth does not admit plurality. It implies that we have exhausted all other concepts, options and alternatives. We may love many but faith can be reposed only in one. Here, all our arguments are at their end. In fact this kind of stage exists in the field of science also. There are certain principles like Newton’s Law of Gravitation that nobody would venture to challenge even today. It’s accepted as final. In spirituality, too, we are convinced that ‘faith’ has arrived only after exhausting all the processes of reasoning.
It is said that even if God did not exist, we would have invented one because there is so much happening in Nature and in our own lives that we fail to understand. Spiritual masters, however, do explain with due justification God, His existence and His ways of working.
The writer is follower, Nirankari Mission. (The 70th annual Nirankari Sant Samagam will be held in Delhi, from November 18 to 20.)
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.