Author: Shivashankar Rao (Bangaloor, India)
Modern science deals with the knowledge of nature and it is not the knowledge of the power that created it- the PURUSHA.
It is Vedanta which discusses on the basic questions which haunt man and tries to get definite answers.
swetaswatara upanishad raises some questions like the following:
kim kaaranam brahma kuthaha smajaathaaha,
jeevama kena kva cha samprathishtaa,
adhishtaathaaha kena sukhethareshu,
varthaamahe brahmavido vyavasthaam.
No answer can be found for such questions with modern science although science has achieved great successes during the modern times. Several old beliefs have been now proved to be scientifically correct. For example the kirlean photography has made it possible to take photographs of the aura present in individuals, the flow of energy from a person of higher potential to the one with lower potential etc.,
The famous scientist Sir James Jeems:
“Matter is merely the way in which a fundamentally mental universe appears to our finite intelligence”
“This typifies the tendency of modern physics to introduce a distinction between appearance of things and their reality. the reality is other than appearance. hence scientific knowledge is not of reality, but of appearance”
Sir Arthur Eddington:
“The stuff of the world is mind stuff….the familiar world is a mental construction. the external world of physics has become a world of shadows. In removing our illusions, we have removed the substance for indeed we have seen that substance is one of the greatest of our illusions.”
“This world is a shadow, it is not true”
Another famous philosopher named Kent:
“This world is an illusion as it is not permanent”
“Advaitha vedanta provides a complete philosophical and conceptual frame work within which the findings of advanced physical science can be placed without stress or fear”
“Matter and energy are interchangeable. monism seemed unattractive as long as scientists had to believe in the separate natures of matter and energy. but now that the matter and energy have been proved to be equivalent aspects of one underlying the same thing, the appeal of monism has been far greater, if not irresistible”
The views of Will Durant, Margaret Nobel, Charles Johnston, Paul Deussen, Romain Roland, Revernd J.F. Pessen etc., are also on similar lines.
Vedanta accepts two types of mukti or liberation from trans-migratory existence. They are, jeevanmukti & videhamukti. When a person attains atmajnaana or direct experience of one’s nature as the atman or the self, he is liberated from future births. However, since the Prarabda Karma that started the present body is still there, he continues to live with all the experiences brought about by that karma. But his reactions to the experiences are now completely different since he has experienced mystically that he is the pure spirit and not the material body in which he has temporarily made his abode. Such a person is called jeevanmukta even while living in the body. Examples of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Raman Maharshi could be quoted. When the Prarabda Karma gets exhausted and the body falls, he attains videha mukti which is like a river entering the ocean and loosing its identity.