13.09 – Understanding comes by going beyond visible specifics to invisible universals
The fall of a fruit. Millions of people had seen this specific event that Newton saw. They accepted the visible, unquestioningly assuming that the falling of fruits was a part of the natural order of things. What made Newton different was that he went beyond this visible specific event to the invisible universal principle: gravity. All scientific insights result from the search for the invisible universals that underlie the visible specifics.
This same search can help us arrive at Gita wisdom. Millions have seen the specific event called death. What makes Gita students different is that they go beyond the specifics by asking the underlying universal questions: “What is death? Why does it exist? Will we end with death or will we live on beyond death?” The Bhagavad-gita (13.9) indicates that such contemplation is the springboard to authentic spiritual understanding.
Thus, both science and Gita wisdom center on going beyond the visible to the invisible, a task that needs sophisticated intellectual ability. What differentiates them is the scope of the invisible: science assumes that the invisible has to be material, whereas Gita wisdom acknowledges that the invisible incorporates the material and the spiritual. In fact, the Gita considers matter, visible and invisible, as a takeoff point for the exploration of invisible spirit.
Due to their different scopes, science and Gita wisdom have different methods of verification and end-results.
Scientific postulates being connected primarily with the external material world can be verified by outer experiments. The Gita’s postulates being connected primarily with the internal spiritual world can be verified by inner experiments or experiences.
As matter is temporary, the end-result of science is temporary: technologically-improved living conditions till death strikes. As spirit is eternal, the end-result of Gita wisdom is eternal: devotionally-inspired return to the eternal spiritual world.