Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 18 Aug 2015



Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

Padanamaskarams Swamiji,

I have a question to submit at Your Lotus Feet. My intention is not criticism at all but it is to contribute in my limited way to the propagation of Your Divine Knowledge. I know that divine knowledge spreads due to divine will and not by efforts of humans like me. But I also believe that everything in my life--all the events, experiences and even thoughts--is inspired by God. Since this question and the entire discussion following the question came to my mind, I thought that I should not neglect it and that it is best to bring it to You. You may choose to do whatever You wish with it. I deeply apologize if I have crossed any lines in this and some of my previous questions.

At Your Divine Feet


Isn't a closer correlation of Your Brahma Jnana with science far more important than the correlation with the Advaita theory?

[Detailed Question] You have spent considerable time in trying to disprove the commonly (mis)understood Advaita theory and reinterpreting it more accurately. However, the Advaita theory has a very small following among all the religious philosophies world-wide. After the major arguments presented excellently by You to disprove Advaita, any further discussion on the matter is quite redundant. On the other hand, science appeals to the majority of the educated world. There are several areas where a better correlation between Your theory and science is necessary.

Question Background:

The adherents (followers) of different religions/beliefs all across the world are as follows:

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations

There are many other religions but the following of each of them is less than 1%.

We see that there are only about 1 billion Hindus in the world. Out of them, the majority belong to different dualistic sects i.e. most believe that God and man are different. A smaller fraction of Hindus have an affiliation to the Advaita philosophy of Lord Shankara, however those who explicitly understand the philosophy and follow it might be miniscule in number. In the world at large, there is no other significant philosophy or sect which believes that God and man are identical.

On the other hand, virtually any person, who has had some formal education is in general agreement with science and is convinced of the validity of the scientific method. This includes the educated people from all the world's religious/ethnic groups. Science in this context is defined as the systematic method of analysis that uses a logical process to explain and predict phenomena based on observation and experience. It does not mean any particular theory. We know that in science, theories evolve over time...old ones are replaced by newer and better theories, and the field continues to grow and improve. Thus, it is this constantly evolving and improving analysis of the universe, involving an integration of observations and logic is what is implied by the term science. Thus, the people who are in general agreement with science, form the majority in the world.

Science is silent about God. The subject of God is beyond the scope of science (by definition). Science can only explain the functioning of the universe based on certain fundamental laws. How those laws or postulates came about and Who set those laws in place and Who maintains them, is not part of the scientific inquiry. It is the domain of spiritual knowledge. So, in reality, science does not represent a threat to spirituality. But science (the integrated use of logic and experience) is an absolutely essential requirement of any knowledge (worldly or spiritual).

The frontiers of science are expanding very rapidly and some of the developments are quite fundamental in nature. Comparatively, hardly any new and significant developments in any philosophy including Advaita are taking place. As new developments in science take place, humans are able to understand and explain many phenomena that previously were unknown. Many old beliefs get challenged and even demolished. In fact most religions have a large number of such blind and erroneous beliefs. Some of them were introduced into the philosophy and traditions for a beneficial purpose in some ancient time, while others were introduced by selfish people to serve their own ends. In any case, the public (belonging to all religions) has become very sensitive to science demolishing important beliefs held by them.

So for many religious people, the only survival strategy has become to separate the scientific understanding and religious beliefs with an iron curtain in their minds. They agree with science. They cannot deny scientific facts! They cannot leave their religious beliefs either due to fear of sin or a general taboo against questioning religious beliefs. But science and spirituality appear to be conflicting and they are not able to correlate the two areas very well. So the only way is to isolate the two areas in the mind. Thus, science and spirituality/religion as it were, rest in two isolated parts of most people’s minds. Many good scientists, who are brilliant in their analysis in science, completely shut off their brilliant minds in matters of religious belief. Other people, in growing numbers, are simply adopting the wait-and-watch policy. Observing the fast expansion of science, they feel that there is no need to put blind faith in religious beliefs, since science will eventually reveal all facts.

People also generally appreciate the openness that is associated with science, where if you develop a new theory or explanation, you are appreciated and honored. In the field of religion, however, a new theory is generally not welcome because one is not allowed to questions beliefs and anyone who dares to do so is branded as a traitor to his religion. A new theory, a better explanation represents growth of the field and should be welcomed; not criticized or silenced.

In this context, it makes excellent sense to align religious and spiritual philosophies more accurately with science. This means that matters pertaining to the imaginable creation, should be analyzed using the best-available scientific theories rather than through ancient logic and theories. Ex. Generation of awareness by neuronal activity, different states of consciousness and sleep, are all the subject-matters of neuroscience and psychology. A number of theories already exist that are able to explain practically observed phenomena. Under these circumstances, if a spiritual philosophy uses only old logic and theories, to explain these imaginable phenomena, it reduces the effectiveness of the spiritual philosophy. Even students of the relevant scientific fields, are equipped with better theories. So the public feels that the spiritual philosophy is out-dated. Explaining detailed mechanisms and processes in the imaginable universe, is actually not the subject-matter of spiritual knowledge. It is the subject-matter of science and scientists are already busy doing that job. But the scientists are not capable of correlating those theories with spiritual concepts and God. That is actually the role of a spiritual philosophy.

Explaining detailed mechanisms of processes and phenomena can and should be left to science. Science, as we have seen before, is dynamic and keeps improving. The spiritual philosopher should merely connect the outcomes (or conclusions) of the scientific understanding with the purely spiritual concepts related to God. It is important to connect the latest outcomes of science to the spiritual concepts and not some ancient concepts. In both cases, the spiritual concepts remain unharmed, but in the latter case, the public can perceive the spiritual philosophy to be outdated.

For instance, in all phenomena that we observe in the universe and attempt to explain through science, the Divine Will is very much involved. But it is involved in the form of the physical and metaphysical laws that govern creation. It can also be involved in rare cases of miracles when the laws are overruled. When the spiritual philosophy is thus better aligned with the latest scientific theories, it means that the philosophy is more firmly grounded in experience and logic. As a result, it becomes more acceptable to the wider public irrespective of their beliefs.

Some specific areas in which a better alignment between the spiritual philosophy and science is necessary in current times are:

  •  Physics and cosmology (in proving that matter energy and space are ultimately energy; explaining the nature of time).
  •  Neuroscience and psychology (neural activity and manifestation of various states of consciousness, learning and memory, habit formation and formation of samskaras, self-identity, transmigration (leaving one body and going into another)].

Differentiate Divine Debate from Egoistic Debate

Shri Swami Replied:

1) I appreciate you very much since you are responsible for the elaborate analysis of the concepts-precious stones (Ratnams or diamonds), which are hidden in Me in My brain, which is a ocean of spiritual knowledge. This ocean is the component of God by name Dattatreya. I am only a human-being component like you, a metallic wire before electrification. The only difference between Me and you is that today I am pervaded by the electricity (God) in this life and I do not know that whether this state continuous till tomorrow or not. Tomorrow, this electricity may pervade you throughout your rest of life. The entry of the electricity in to Me is not only incidental but also accidental. The poet picks up a pen from the pen stand containing a bunch of pens to write something. That pen may not be properly working and in such case, the poet will pick up another pen from the stand. Up to this common point only (God picking up Myself as pen) is the point of comparison. Simile should be limited to one common point only and should not be extended to all the points. The difference between poet and God comes is the next point in which even the defective pen starts writing by the touch of God and that is not the case with the poet. Actually, you are the correct pen and I am a defective pen. But, I came to His hand accidentally. Any pen in the service of God functions well irrespective of its personal merits and defects. During this work of spiritual knowledge, the Lord enters you also to put the question and enters Me to answer it. Hence, the single God is questioning from one side and is answering from the other side. In such case, where lies the context of excuse? The same God asked through Arjuna and also answered through Krishna. Therefore, during the context of preaching the Gita, God is both Arjuna and Krishna. This is exactly told in the Gita by God that He is Arjuna among the five brothers since Arjuna alone participated in the spiritual discussion (Pandavanam Dhanamjayah). The question and answer are the two poles of the electrolytic cell in which the transfer (complete circuit) of knowledge-current takes place. There is no space for excuses since both poles are essential for the current circuit. The benefit for the spiritual aspirants in this world is the ultimate goal of this spiritual knowledge. You can differentiate yourself from Me externally as two human beings, but, you cannot differentiate both of us internally since the same God is the speaker on both sides. Opposing a point from the other side does not mean opposing the speaker of the other side since speaker and spoken point are not one and the same. The speaker can never identify himself with his point. After some time, the speaker may change his point due to realization of truth on the other side and by this speaker is not changed. There may be a black spot on your shirt and this does not mean that the black spot is in you. When somebody points out the black spot on your shirt, you will observe your shirt keenly, confirm the black spot and then remove it if it is true. If there is no black spot, you must argue with the observer and prove that his eye is defective. In such case, the observer should go to the eye-specialist for the rectification of his eye. The right and wrong or the defeat and success of the arguments is not related to the speakers in any way since the speakers are never identified with what they speak. Both the speakers put common effort, which is the spiritual discussion, to bring out the truth. The out coming truth also does not identify with the speaker whose argument won. The truth belongs to both and also to the entire humanity so that every human being including both the speakers can use it and get benefited.

Mandana Mishra was the human incarnation of God Brahma. His wife was the human incarnation of Goddess Sarswati, the deity of knowledge. Shankara was the human incarnation of God Shiva. Mandana Mishra abused Shankara before the debate. If you analyse, Brahma and Shiva are one and the same, who are the aspects of creation and destruction of the same ultimate God. If Brahma abuses Shiva, does it not mean that the ultimate God abused Himself? Here, the speakers not identified with their concepts are not abusing each other. Only the concepts abuse each other. The abuse here indicates that both the sets of human beings in this world identified with the opposing concepts are abusing each other due to their ignorance. The abuse indicates here the serious difference between the two opposing concepts only and not the speakers. The wife of Mandana Mishra was made the judge. Naturally, she should favour her husband by declaring him as winner. She declared Shankara as the winner without any biased partiality. If you analyse this debate and its outcome, following questions arise: Is Brahma ignorant and is Shiva the scholar of right knowledge? How is this possible since Brahma and Shiva are one and the same? Did the judge insult her own husband by this judgment? All these questions are meaningless since all the three are one and the same God, who took the three different forms of roles to enact this whole scene just to show the fight of ignorant people due to the identification with the concepts. The judge knows that her husband has taken one side only to represent that side (since somebody has to represent that side) and that her husband is not identified with the concept represented by him. The judgment contradicts his concept and not him personally. Hence, the speaker of the concept is not contradicted and insulted. Even before the debate, her husband knows already that the concept of the other side is correct and also knows that the judgment of the judge is correct. This drama of one actor appearing in three roles (as we see today in a cinema) is showing the existence of erroneous concept, the process of opposing that wrong concept and the existence of out coming right concept for the welfare of the entire humanity. The Gita says that God can simultaneously exist in different roles without any division in Himself (Avibhaktam...). If you say that Brahma is wrong, Shiva is also wrong since both are one and the same God. Therefore, you must differentiate the divine debate from the egoistic debate of the human beings, who identify themselves with the concepts and feel personal defeat or personal success whenever one concept is condemned by the other concept. The divine debate involves the divine personalities acting in the debate without identifying themselves with the concepts. Our debate is certainly a divine debate for the welfare of humanity only.

No Need to Accept Scripture Without Scientific Analysis

2) The scripture and science are not different since both are based on the perfect and intensive logical analysis. The two names differ based on the difference in the time as old and present. Whenever the scripture is explained, the logical analysis runs side by side. Nobody needs to accept the scripture without the scientific analysis as a mark of respect for the old time. You can condemn even the scripture if it is scientifically wrong. There is no need of any favour from you to the scripture in terms of respect to the ancient time. The sage Charvaka was an atheist in the ancient time. Are you not condemning him? Do you respect him since he is an ancient sage? Similarly, in the scripture, if you find any concept wrong by sharp logical analysis, it can be rejected. Somebody might have introduced the concept in the scripture. You can give some weightage to the scripture Veda, since it is from God and was preserved through recitation from generation to generation avoiding any pollution of introduction of external statements. The sages are the medium through whom God spoke the Veda. It is an accepted fact that the Veda alone is the final authority and other scriptures (Smrutis) are also accepted if they are in the line of the Veda. Any other scripture contradicting the Veda should be mercilessly rejected (Shrutireva gariyasi). But, in doing the sharp analysis, you need not spare even the Veda and you have every right to doubt even the Vedic statement as an external injection. But, your doubt should be based on repeated patient analysis in the case of the Veda since there is every probability of error in human analysis. Very deep and sharp analysis was done by sages from a long time and the final conclusion is that the Veda is perfect knowledge, which passes successfully through the acid test or fire test of analysis. The Veda is the subject on God and science is the subject on the world, which is the creation of God. Thus, science is also indirectly related to the subject of God only. The importance of science raises in the spiritual knowledge especially in the point that the systematic analysis of world (science) establishes that God is unimaginable in two ways: i) The acceptance of the infinite world leads to the point that the boundary of the world is unimaginable, which is the unimaginable God (direct proof) ii) The sharp analysis of every item of the world establishes that it is imaginable item only and hence not the unimaginable God (indirect proof). Hence, we cannot separate science from the spiritual knowledge. For example: awareness was thought to be God. But, science proves that the awareness is only a specific work form of the inert energy and the conversion of inert energy in to awareness takes place in the specific nervous system. This perfect analysis proves that awareness is not God. Whatever is not God is perfectly analysed by science and is established as the imaginable component of the world there by concluding that no component of the world is the unimaginable God. This established conclusion is exactly found in the ultimate scripture (Veda) as ‘not this....not this....is God’ (Neti Neti). Hence, the final conclusion of every systematic analysis is appearing in the Veda. How can you isolate science from the Veda or the ultimate perfect knowledge? The Gita is the perfect elaboration of the Veda and hence you can find the same conclusion in it also as ‘none can know Me, the unimaginable God’ (Mamtuvedana...).

We need not worry about the religion since it is full of erroneous people also along with right scholars. It is mixture of both good and bad. Spiritual knowledge is related to the right scholars present in every religion. There will be certainly unity in the concepts of the right scholars present in every religion and hence Universal Spirituality is possible and not the universal religion. Science is Universal because the systematic analysis of any concept and its conclusion should be the same throughout the world. The nature of the analysis is same everywhere whether the subject is about the creator or His creation. God is unimaginable and hence is beyond the analysis. Hence, in the spiritual knowledge also, you can do the analysis of creation only to conclude that no item of the imaginable creation is the unimaginable God. Therefore, where is the difference between science and spiritual knowledge? We need not say that science is silent about God. Science speaks about God in the context of its acceptance of infinite space. This same point is explained in the Gita also by showing the infinite cosmos in the exhibition of Vishwarupam. In that context, the only concluding comment made by the Lord is that this cosmos is infinite (Naantosti...). The unimaginable boundary of cosmos indicates the acceptance of the unimaginable God. The silence of science about the God indicates that God is unimaginable and this point is also indicated in the spiritual knowledge that God is indicated through silence. Therefore, science is the Gita and the Gita is science. Both science and philosophy project two points: i) God is unimaginable existing as the unimaginable boundary of the universe. ii) This creation is not God because every component of it can be analyzed and proved to be the imaginable item of the imaginable creation. Hence, I do not find even a trace of difference between science and spiritual knowledge. The top most scientist is the top most philosopher. The top most philosopher is the top most scientist. Both philosophy and science represent the two semi-spheres due to distinction between ancient time and modern time. Otherwise, the entire circle of the knowledge resulting from the sharp systematic analysis is one and the same. A scientist with little knowledge in science and a philosopher with little knowledge of the scripture only feel the difference between them. God is the originator of scripture (Veda), systematic analysis (Shastra) and science (Vijnana) as said “Vedah Shastrani Vijnanam, etat sarvam Janardanat”.

3) Universality of the knowledge means dealing with different types of people so that all people can realize the diversity in unity and vice-versa. The spiritual knowledge represents the unity. Diversity exists in the ways of explanation of the same concept to the liking of various types of people. Some people like the old terminology and old scriptures. Others like the modern terminology and the books of science. To satisfy both types of people, both ways of explanation are needed and underlying subject should exhibit the unity. It is just like the same person wearing different dresses and speaking in the different languages. Initial attraction lies on the external dress and the language of speech. The final satisfaction lies in the underlying common personality. The respect to the subject of the preacher comes in the final stage after the end of initial attraction. When different types of people attracted by the different external presentations meet finally in the internal common subject, they get united forgetting the initial differences. In the way of presentation, they differ from time to time and from one area to other area. The internal essence of the subject opens the eyes of all the people. The Veda says that there may be multiplicity in the presentation, but, the unity is experienced in the subject projected in all types of presentation (Ekam sat viprah...). Religion represents the external presentation and philosophy represents the internal unified spiritual knowledge. An object represents the meaning of a word. For the same meaning or object, different words exist in different languages. Attraction is external and temporary, which comes by the presentation. Satisfaction is internal and permanent, which comes from the subject of knowledge. The unity between the right scholars of all religions and also science can be easily achieved because they pass very rapidly through the different presentations and reach the underlying unified subject. The ignorant people of all religions and also science will never reach the underlying unified subject and permanently stuck-up at the external styles of presentation only following the blind beliefs without any analysis. The Gita says that you should first know the conclusion by analysis and then only do anything (Jnaatvaa kurvita...).You can never bring the unity between these blind people. A blind man can never see a total elephant in one sight because the very sight is absent. Several blind people touching the different limbs of elephant speaks the total elephant in different forms, which results in diversity, quarrels and hatred to each other. The people, who are not blind receive the same single form of the elephant in one sight itself and will never quarrel since there is no diversity in the final conclusions. When you find the wrong atmosphere, be brave to clarify all that with the weapon of true knowledge by the grace of God. Do not succumb to the strength of wrong atmosphere and plan to bring the unity following the same very wrong atmosphere with fear. You must have strong confidence in your knowledge, which is attained by you through sharp analysis for a long time and you should not be influenced by the external atmosphere of the world at any time. Take very long time and adopt the logic in all sides whether it is ancient or modern and arrive at the final concluding knowledge. The wrong atmosphere is darkness and will run away irrespective of its concentration and area of pervasion, once you have the torchlight of true knowledge in your hand. You should not run after the people calculating the percentage of majority since people should run after you on hearing your concluded knowledge presented through systematic analysis. The way to God is narrow in which minority travels, whereas the way to hell is very wide with rush of majority (Manushyanam sahasreshu... Gita). Never worry about the majority or minority of the people since you must concentrate on the conclusion of truth through sharp analysis that is to be propagated for the welfare of the entire humanity. By this, God will certainly like you whether people like you or not. People also will like you in due course since they can digest the truth after sometime only.

4) The areas marked by you are very important pillars of the science or spiritual knowledge (since both are one and the same in the subject though differ in the external terminology and styles of presentation). The ancient logic (Tarka) and modern science are exactly one and the same dealing with the analysis of creation. There can be errors in the analysis of creation similar to the different errors in understanding the creator. Diversity and debate are natural and essential also. During the debate, all the doubts get cleared and finally the truth comes out like the judgment after hearing the debate of various lawyers in the court. If the truth is projected in the beginning itself, several doubts will follow leading to debates. Hence, debate is inevitable either before or after knowing knowledge of truth. You should not think that debate is unnecessary quarrel due to ignorance. Debate is process of clarification of all the doubts arising from the concept of truth. Liking or disliking the terminology and styles of external presentation is negligible since all these problems end in the final understanding of the subject of the truth.

The neurology clearly proves that awareness is a specific work form of inert energy called as nervous energy. The brain, nervous system and neurons constitute the specific system. In deep sleep, the system exists as it is but without function. The inert energy also exists as it is in the body, which is being converted in to specific work forms like respiration, digestion, heartbeat, blood circulation, process of filtration in kidneys etc. Since function of the specific system alone is absent, the awareness is absent in deep sleep even though matter and energy exist. This is clear proof for the definition of awareness, which is that it is specific work form of inert energy resulting due to the function of specific nervous system. This logic must be accepted by both the modern scientists and ancient philosophers. This type of logic is called as Paarisheshika nyaya in the ancient logic. Can you reject this logic (on the pretext that it is ancient) in the modern science related to the neurology? Whatever may be the name, the truth is truth and no person even with minimum common sense will object to this. This whole neuro-system may function with little difference that some other part of the brain is involved, while talking about the same transport of neuro signals to other systems to function. By this major similarity, you cannot bring the total unity in both the nervous systems simply differing in the parts of brain. Traffic police and crime investigation police belong to the same department of Home ministry, but differ in their duties. Analysis of awareness is the greatest contribution of science to reject the misunderstood Advaita philosophy. In this topic, both the ancient and modern subjects are involved with their individual styles of terminology. The truth is finally found out that since awareness is not God, no human being is God. The human being possessed by God is certainly God for the devotees and the distinction between the God component and the human being component should not be present for the welfare of the devotees. The distinction between the two components (Dvaita philosophy) simultaneously exists for the welfare of the human being component possessed by God. Shankara and Ramanuja are simultaneously co-related to bring the unity between the two quarrelling sub-sects. Just like the concepts in science are replaced one by the other in course of time, there are erroneous concepts even in the ancient logic constructed by the erring human beings only. Space is said to possess characteristics of volume and sound. Volume is correct and not the sound since sound requires the moving particles. This correction can be done with the help of science. Space and radiation are considered as one item in the scripture. We understand this from the science that the inert energy in the extreme invisible range (which cannot be grasped even by sophisticated equipment) is space or Akasha and the inert energy in the visible range (invisible to eyes but is visible to equipment like X-rays) is the electromagnetic radiation (invisible with respect to light and visible with respect to space) or Tejas. Akasha is vacuum whereas Tejas is electromagnetic radiation in the visible range (visible in the sense that it can be observed through equipments even though it is invisible to eyes). Light or Agni is the same electromagnetic radiation in the visible range to eyes. Science feels that vacuum is nothing. The ancient logic represents space as one of the five elements quantized in to particles (theory of Akasha Paramaanu). This concept of ancient logic can be supported by the special theory of relativity and theory of bending of the space around the boundary of the object. Thus, the feeling of science that vacuum is nothing can be corrected by ancient logic. Some time back also, modern science existed, which can be called as ancient science speaking about the individual electron. This ancient science can be differentiated from the present modern science projecting smaller particle even than electron resulting in the spilt of electron. When the old science is contradicted by the new science, why do not you accept the contribution of ancient logic also because science is logic and logic is science? There are sciences in the ancient books also. The earth rotating around itself and moving around the Sun is established in the ancient theory of Sphota. Separate books in the ancient time existed on mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, medicine, engineering etc. The ancient people gave importance to spiritual knowledge than the science. A sage can build a huge palace in fraction of second through the miraculous power. Before this, what is the significance civil engineering? The spiritual knowledge is big vertical line and the science is smaller vertical line present side by side. Today the bigger line disappeared and hence the smaller line relatively appears to be big, egoistic and majestic. Scientists fear for miracles because their significance and ego vanish before a miracle. Today science takes the first place and ancient philosophy is thrown to the last place. When an unimaginable miracle mainly indicating the existence of unimaginable God is exhibited by a devotee (Yogi) or human incarnation, the last becomes first and first becomes last!