A fresh Worldview
Question: Does spirituality provide anything that science cannot provide?
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there,” sang Beatle George Harrison in one his popular songs. The life’s journey of most modern people is often characterized by ultra-high speed and ultra-low clarity of purpose. This peculiar, even dangerous, combination is like a car-driver going superfast without knowing his destination.
Our impressive progress in technology is like providing the car-driver a faster car and a smoother expressway. Most modern people delight in driving as fast as they can, as luxuriously as they can and as long as they can. They are almost fanatical in claiming that anyone who doesn’t “progress” their way is primitive, regressive and unscientific.
But why does their “progress” make them addicted to sleeping pills, anti-depressant medicines, even cigarettes, liquor, drugs? Why has their “progress” brought our world on the brink of ecological breakdown?
Insightful thinkers have already seen through the façade of “progress”. Nobel Laureate physicist Erwin Schrodinger pointed out, “I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” Martin Luther King, Jr, stated, “The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”
To help us guide men, the Vedic texts offer a delightfully different understanding of progress. Real progress comes not by finding newer ways to manipulate matter, but by finding ways to realize the spiritual essence of life. Spiritual realization makes us aware that we are not destructible lumps of matter, but are indestructible sparks of consciousness; that we are not lonely survivors in an impersonal, cold cosmos, but are beloved children of a benevolent almighty in a purposeful cosmos; that we are not doomed to mortality, but are destined for immortality. By thus liberating us from the bleak worldview of scientific atheism, spirituality brings clarity, purpose, meaning, joy and love into our lives.