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Yogis and Scientists

Despite people try to show a yawning gap between yogis and scientists, I can find many similarities rather than differences. In my opinion, true yogis of this age are in fact scientists and what they have done for the society far outweighs that contributed by the yogis. In this writing, I would like to point out the similarities, and illustrate that scientists are better than yogis. Additionally, I would like to propose that the scientific knowledge is ,in fact, the extension of Veda, and thus …

………………………………by indulging in scientific pursuit we are nearing more rapidly towards supreme knowledge rather than moving away from it as preached by many spiritual leaders.

A true Yogi is in the pursuit of knowledge, in particular, the purpose of life in this world and beyond. For instance, Buddha tried to find out why people needed to suffer in this world. He spent a number of years seeking the answers, and one fine day he was enlightened. And many people accepted and followed his knowledge.

True scientists are also in pursuit of knowledge, however in most of the cases it is about the mysteries of the nature. Why something behaves this way or that way? They also spend a number of years seeking reasons for many causes, and one fine day they discover new knowledge. And many people accept this idea, and industry makes use of this idea.

Here both yogis and scientists are seeking the knowledge. They are trying to fathom the nature. Both are puzzled by this vast universe and what happens in this universe. Both endeavour to enrich the knowledge of the world. In this respect, I find them much more similar.

Now you may jump into my case saying that what scientists have found can be verified and proved. It is generally true however it is worth stressing that what is proven today can be disproved tomorrow, or may not be applicable in some other situation. We know that Dalton said that the atom was indivisible. Laplace declared that if we know all the position and velocity of every particle in the universe at time t, we could know the entire future. However, modern quantum physics tells us otherwise: if you can measure velocity of an object precisely than you cannot measure the exact position of the same object, on the other hand if you can measure the position of the object, you cannot measure the velocity.

In general, people believe that mathematics is precise; however mathematical or logical proofs are based on postulates and axioms. There is no guarantee that these postulates and axioms are satisfactory. Additionally, mathematician Godel has already proved that a system cannot be verified in itself that whether the postulates are self consistent. In other word, although science works in certain condition, its veracity cannot be declared with 100% certainty. As science is itself incomplete, at this stage it is perhaps premature to declare that whatever yogis have found in the past can be out rightly discarded. This also shows that in fact materialism and spiritualism have “uncertainty” in common.

Nevertheless, I bow to scientists more than to the yogis, because the things scientists have discovered already confirms to what yogis claim to achieve during the higher stages of yoga (“Sidhis”). For example flying, listening and viewing the things which are happening in another part of the world, ability to know the smallest particle, predicting weather, cloning, prolonging life, replacing heart, etc. What makes scientist more respectable is these things are within the reach of the mortal people, as opposed to yogic path which can be attended by only the individual yogi. To this end yoga is a selfish path as opposed to contradictory claim made by spiritual gurus, who ironically use scientific equipment to preach, for example microphones, television, airplanes, rather than resorting to a more dramatic spiritual manifestations which would have been perhaps more convincing and interesting.

It is said that these “Sihdis” are in fact distraction and yogis should distance from such “sidhis” and further their attempt to unite with the god. Even in this context, it seems like materialism is progressing in the right path because we are getting the by products of the higher attainment. In other words, by further pursuing scientific studies there is a possibility that it will also lead to liberation of souls. As a result, we can say that scientific study itself is a yogic path, similar to karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raj yoga, etc.

Let us turn our attention briefly to Vedas-as most of us are aware-there are four vedas: Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda and Atharva-Veda. I have heard many times during my childhood that all the knowledge is in the Veda. All the answers you want to find are in vedas. At that time, Vedas were not available in the language which I can understand. Obviously claim made hold for a long time. Nowadays, you can find many translations in the internet, and book stores. If you read the Vedas you quickly discover that these claims were baseless, and except for Atharva-Veda, the rest of the Vedas are dedicated solely to sacrificial rites. There are hymns of how to offer sacrifice to “Agni”,” Indra” etc. Atharva-Veda stands out in the sense that it has many mantras to treat various illnesses. In other word, Atharva-Veda is some kind of book of medicine. So, in fact Atharva-Veda at least tries to establish itself as a scientific branch of medicine. My proposal is if in the ancient times a medicine book was considered as a sacred book why don’t we treat all the scientific books which teach us to treat a patience, build a house, send message, process message as an extension to Atharva-Veda and consider them as sacred books. And declare, more you read more you are nearer to true knowledge. So every student is actually reading our sacred Veda. In other words, if you concentrate on scientific endeavors you are in fact following a yogic path.

In conclusion, in my opinion there is only superficial distinction between scientific knowledge and spiritualism. And, following scientific knowledge, in the future, it is also possible to find the purpose of the life.

15 thoughts on “Yogis and Scientists

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  6. The mystery of consciousness..

    is the subjective I, mind- an eternal soul or some activity of brain cells.

    is this consciousness an image in the water..which however sharp disappears if u try to touch..

    is our brain not yet evolved strong enough to have scientific perception of our consciousness or isn’t this a scientific quest at all..

    ..find more in Time’s new issue

  7. Pawan,

    Well thought and very constructive input.

    Common grounds are :they both believe in something without proof, then everything follows afterwards. Take math or physics: postulates and axioms cannot be proven you take them as true. Even to proove 1+1 = 2, you have to resort to unproven axioms and definition. In the same manner, when yogis say god exist, it is also an axiom which cannot be proven.

    As for Dalton, I acept, however it could be replaced by Newton. As far as I know, Einstein was trying to work something towards universal theory.

    As per vedas, in books most people tend to agree that vedas and vedanta are the core of hinduism. I did not include other becuase artcile was getting bigger and bigger may be in next version.

    Again thanks for the comments.

  8. It is not strange that matter does not talk to matter, not for now anyway(i wish they never talk). But the question is who know the truth about matter. Mind knows whatever we know about matter(i mean brilliant yogies/sage, Osho, JK etc known through meditation). But how much they know about what Matter does, not much. Cleary, Mind itself is on evolutionry proces–but we are getting closer by day.

  9. Dalton opined his thought about atom, he DID NOT proved nor he verified any thing about atom. Beside Dalton and age of Quantum Mechanics spans about 200 years. What Laplace said is still hold. How do you think astronomer measures the distant object? The measurable quantum affect can be observed on object begining with dimension of electrons. In large world like universe, the story is quiet diffirent. Hope they find a Grand Unified Theory of everything–someday.

    Godel was a great mathematician and philosopher(very deadly combination) so was Hilbert(many people believe this man’s work will keep mathemantican for next 500 years). Both worked on very special branch Logic. Hilbert was enthusiast logist so, in 1905(way back to our age) he stated that logic could not lead to a contradiction and laid a ‘Program’. But things were already crumbling, and Godel’s incompleteness (meaning you can postulate a set of logic that leads to contradiction) that was a final blow.

    But where does this all fit on your topic–Common Ground?

    Anti-matter? mirror-universe? You just keeps opening the scope of topics wide, unmanagable and out of scope. Better you stick to present topics–‘common ground’.

    Amar, when you talk about our religion, why do you confine yourself to Vedas alone? Dont forget Madhyamika, Yogacar, Osho and so many others are too part of our religion.

  10. What a strange! Matter talking about matter. Matter knowing truth of matter. Logic knowing illogical. Common, can you dance with me? can you cry with me? can you laugh with me? can you be silent for a moment with me? Can you be sad with me? Can you touch my hand with Heat full of love?

  11. Pawan,

    I liked your example regarding JK, however, why do you confine science in terms of molecular structure, why don’t go beyond, and think that what we call spirit today is a different kind of matter (or anti-matter for that matter), which could be retrieved. It is only matter of time.

    There is no harm in imagining.
    Isn’t it the case that what we call science todays starts with wild imagination. As I said keep your mind open.

  12. I stand by my article. Neither,”In my opnion” I am confused, nor the examples provided are weak. At this stage, I urge to read the article with open mind.

    You cannot compare Godel with Hilbert. Godel was one of the most famous mathematician of 20th century, and his work cannot be explained in light of Hilberts “finitary” formalism.

    Regarding Godel and Hilbert here I have taken a passage from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    1.4 The impact of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems

    Gödel’s incompleteness theorems showed that Hilbert’s optimism was undue. In September 1930, Kurt Gödel announced his first incompleteness theorem at a conference in Königsberg. Von Neumann, who was in the audience, immediately recognized the significance of Gödel’s result for Hilbert’s program. Shortly after the conference he wrote to Gödel, telling him that he had found a corollary to Gödel’s result. Gödel had found the same result already independently: the second incompleteness theorem, asserting that the system of Principia does not prove the formalization of the claim that the system of Principia is consistent (provided it is).

  13. Keshav
    There is an interesting discussion with one of my friend–long time ago. The question was if science discover the every molecules and combination of J Krishnamurthy and reconstructed somehow by combining molecule in exact sequence in lab; can he emulate the real JK? That question huanted me for weeks, and i finally find the answer. The answer was ‘Who knows?’

  14. Writer here tires to find the similarity with two polar opposite. How can sky and earth meet together. I don’t agree with writer that one day scientists will find the truth that yogis has found. You can’t find beauty of the flower by analyzing its comical composition. Science end when logic end but yoga begin when logic end. Yoga deals with subjectivity and Science has nothing to do with subjectivity. Science has its own functions and limitation that applies to yoga too. Science deal with outer world and yogis work is with inner world. If science tries to compare Buddha’s body with my body I don’t think they find any difference. They will not find the Buddha’s inner world his Kingdome of inner. I see no hope that one day yogis and scientists ever meet. Science always remain Science and yoga always remain yoga as other things remain as they are. Both will serve the humanity for their best (Some time worst too).
    I can understand writer confusion because of the mistake that in the past yogis did same as writer try to do here in opposite way ‘combine Science with yoga’ . What I trying to convey here is yoga can’t be the science and nether science be yoga. But in future it can be possible that science makes yoga more pure by taking all the things that past yogis has borrowed from science and clam as yoga.

  15. Why don’t you just view mathematics as mathematics and yoga as yoga. Your article seems to try to draw common ground between yoga and science, then why do you think you need to write two seemingly counterexamples to science and math? i don’t understand it. The example you have presented about Dalton, Laplace and Quantum Mechanics is very weak and poorly justified. On Godel, it is best understood only in term Hilbert formalism and nothing else just like Russell’s paradox is best understood against Frege’s logical work. Actually, Frege burn his papers after reading Russell’s letter, such were the passion among the european mathematics.

    Beside, mathematics is always precise, only human intervention factor is not.

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