What is the role of logic on the spiritual path?
Question: What is the role of logic on the spiritual path? Can we use our logical faculty or do we have to give it up?
Answer: On the spiritual path, we can and should use our logical faculty, but we should not stay stuck at logic; we should also progress from logic to experience.
The Vedic texts of ancient India explain that presently all of us are spiritually sick. When we are spiritually healthy, we experience the peace, power and pleasure that are natural to us as eternal souls, beloved children of the Supreme Lord. Just as the proper medical treatment can restore our bodily health, the proper spiritual process of chanting the holy names can restore our spiritual health.
Using the treatment analogy, let’s see what logic can do and cannot do:
What logic can do….
- Just as with logic, we can evaluate the various treatment options available and choose the best treatment, similarly with logic we can to evaluate the various spiritual paths available and chose the practice of chanting as the easiest, safest and fastest path to spiritual recovery.
- Just as logic can help us to systematically observe the effects of the treatment and notice when the promised results appear, similarly, logic can help us to observe the effects of chanting on our consciousness and notice our mind becoming peaceful, pure and positive and pleasant. Indeed, the logically faculty, when applied to analyzing the chanting experience, can enable us to become spiritual scientists. In this spiritual science, our consciousness becomes the laboratory; chanting, the procedure; and inner peace and pleasure, the expected result.
What logic cannot do….
- Just as one’s health cannot be restored merely by logically analyzing the diagnosis, similarly, our spiritual health cannot be restored merely by logically analyzing the Vedic philosophy.
- Just as logic cannot substitute for the treatment, similarly, mere expertise in logical gymnastics cannot substitute for the actual experience of chanting.
Thus, logic will enable us to recognize that chanting is a profound and practical science – provided we are open-minded enough to experiment. Unfortunately, many people refuse to conduct the experiment, claiming in advance that it is illogical. Aren’t they like judges who declare the defendant to be a criminal without even hearing the case? They may claim to be champions of logic, but aren’t they themselves being illogical? Logic is precious tool for discerning the truth, but sadly, for such people, logic becomes a trap that keeps them in self-imposed and self-righteous misunderstanding.
To summarize, on the spiritual path, logic is necessary but not sufficient. Therefore, let’s combine our head‘s logic with our heart’s experience to examine spirituality.