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Holistic science is a blend of science and spirituality. While science is popularly considered ‘Vijnana’, spirituality is deemed ‘Jnana’. To an appreciable extent, science and spirituality can be seen to have a common aim i.e., to unfold the ultimate truth for the promotion of human values and for the prosperity of mankind. Just as unbiased curiosity for the unknown marks scientific temper, a fervent penchant for ‘Truth’ often happens to be the strongest motivation for a spiritual seeker.
To identify the precise domain of science as a systematic body of knowledge, investigations that are mostly confined to the physical universe become dime a dozen. Facts, inferences, hypotheses, pre-conceived notions, judgement, phenomena, analyses, theories and laws become extremely instrumental. As research advances and the boundaries of knowledge expand, disposing and rejecting the old theories in favor of newer ones is a definitive way to exalt excellence. Scientific research, on the whole, is a well –coordinated activity, a collective endeavor of several scientists and not just an individual achievement. Its practical applications may serve human needs and make life comfortable.
Spiritual seeker is a holistic scientist who constantly grapples with eternal questions. An intense urge to unravel the mysteries of life and death is inherent. For him, life is not absurd or just the result of an accident. He is concerned with truth as the eventual cause, the secret of secrets, the holy grail to all maladies. Holistic Science may be described as something that concerns itself with the rigorous and integrated deployment of the full capacities of the human psyche to develop a participative relationship with the nature that is beyond the vagaries of life. Mainstream science has the grand ideal of complete dominance and control of nature. It believes that we can gain reliable knowledge of the world only through analytical mathematical reasoning. In this aspect, holistic science differs from mainstream science. The mainstream scientific community is hugely powerful and has yielded volumes of valuable information, but, sadly, the great pioneering scientific geniuses focused only on quantities and observed the universe, and indeed any phenomenon, as nothing more than a machine which could only be understood by reducing it down to its essential cornerstones. Logical deductions, analogies and analyses have been the anchoring elements of science during the past four centuries. Well, there is nothing terribly wrong with these anchoring elements. But, by brushing aside all the other ways of cognizance that come to us through instincts, perceptions and notions, they have given us a contorted, lopsided view of the world. More often than not, mainstream science has ignored qualities such as the nature of inner-man, because there appears to be no way to measure these aspects. In holistic science, we evolve meticulous methodologies to overcome these restraints, and in this process, we discover that we mend and restore both the world and ourselves. There are well known scientists and supreme spiritual masters, but we seldom come across one with dexterity in both the fields. Swami Vivekananda belongs to this rarest of rare persona of holistic science. He is an epoch-making personality, and unique experimentalist in spirituality, is the one who has fathomed the ocean of spirituality with passionate quest and realized the ultimate truth.
Swami Vivekananda is one of the most distinguished in the chain of extraordinary personalities. He was a child prodigy, undauntedly fearless youth, rebellious and revolutionary for some of his friends, a visionary for some and an inspiring leader for others. Sri Ramakrishna, the master craftsmen of me, spotted and shaped Narendranath Dutta- the pre-monastic name of Swami Vivekananda into a doyen of exceptional qualities, multiple facets and inspiring ideologies. Equipped with in-depth knowledge of ancient Indian culture and Vedanta, and educated in western style of education, Naren represented a unique mélange of the best of Eastern as well as Western mind-sets at a very young age. He laid an undisputable path to holistic science. Through his introspection, he experimented with and experienced the absolute truth. With that knowledge, he enunciated and envisioned the hypothesis pertaining to the relative truths that govern the physical world by explaining them in the light of absolute truth. He is a great personality endowed with a meditative and concentrated mind.
Swami Vivekananda on the Theory of Relativity:
During the 19th century, physicists made significant advancements on the laws governing the nature. The most authoritative, superior and remarkable contribution was made by Newton. This led to the establishment of the theory of gravitation, its supreme role in cosmology and planetary systems. However, it could not resolve the correspondence and symbiosis of major planetary parameters viz., space, time, matter and energy. Also, the theory lacked sufficient explanatory power with regards to how the mass of a given object could be transmitted through the space. At this critical phase, Swami Vivekananda came to the West and emphatically proclaimed the unity and identity of energy and matter. He conceptualized that the infinite and the complete, as perceived through the coordinates of mind, time, space and causation, is nothing but the finite and the relative world. From this, it can be comfortably deduced that the above four parameters are not only inter-related, but also that matter and energy are uniform and homogeneous in the space time domain. It is a revolutionary concept and no mathematical formulation was available at that time. Swami Vivekananda was acquainted with the famous mathematician Tesla and requested him to formulate the necessary theory related to energy, matter and their inter-convertibility.
Swami Vivekananda wrote: “Mr.Tesla thinks he can demonstrate that force and matter can be reduced to potential energy. I am to go and see him next week to get the new mathematical demonstration. In that case, the Vedantic cosmology will be placed on an unshakable foundation. I am working a good deal now upon the cosmology and eschatology of the Vedanta. I clearly see that perfect union in the modern science and the elucidation of the one will be followed by the other.” Eschatology is a branch of theology that is concerned with the final events in the history of the world of mankind. On another occasion, he said: “We have matter and force. We do not know how the matter disappears into force and force into matter. Therefore, there must be something else, which is neither force nor matter, as these may not disappear into each other. This is what we call the universal mind. It is ubiquity at its best.” However, sadly, Tesla couldn’t arrive at a formula that equates matter and energy.
In February 1895, Swamiji wrote an insightful article on Ether, which appeared in the New York Medical Times, an outstanding scientific journal. In the said article, he wrote: “Thus, we are forced to find that the ether cannot explain space because we cannot but think of ether as in space. And therefore, if there is anything which will explain space thus, it must be something that comprehends in its infinite space itself.” In this connection, it is to be noted that Swami Vivekananda (in 1895) was the first to reject the ‘Ether Theory’ before Einstein (1905) stating that the ‘Ether theory’ could not actively explain science. Swamiji’s premise is in complete conformity with the modern science. Later, Michelson Morley’s interferometric experiment conclusively proved the non-existence of ether.
Swami Vivekananda on Theory of Unity:
Swami Vivekananda spoke on the subject on subject on Unity on several occasions. At-least, a few of those utterances should be analyzed in the light of today’s modern science: “Science is nothing but the finding of unity. As soon as science would reach perfect unity, a state of absolute bliss, it would stop from further progress, because it would reach the goal. Physics would stop when it would be able to fulfill its services in discovering one energy of which all others are but perfect manifestations. The watchword and the essence have been the solidarity of all life. One atom in this universe cannot move without dragging the whole world along with it. One man contains the whole universe. One particle of matter has all the energy of the universe at the black. This mind is connected with every other mind. Wherever it is located, it is in actual communication with the whole world.”
This exactly echoes the intuitive scientific vision, the holistic methodology of investigating nature of scientists. Perhaps now, it is absolutely necessary to recall Swami Vivekananda’s proclamation and emphatic vision that ‘one man contains the whole universe, one particle of matter has all the energy’. This clearly signifies the fact that man cannot isolate himself from the universe. And these profound, insightful and valuable statements are coming closer to the conclusions being interpreted by the present day physicists.
There is something more in the arsenal of Swami Vivekananda. While Swamiji concurred with Darwin’s theory of evolution to a large extent, he suggested that the idea of involution must be integrated into it, to make it comprehensive. This gradually laid the path to ‘survival of the fittest’ theory. It is eventually the ancient idea of unity of existence that opened up many other promising ideas.
“Follow truth wherever it may lead you; carry ideas to their utmost logical conclusions. Perish in the struggle. A thousand times welcome death. Be not disheartened. There is no escape. This holistic world is as unknown as the other” ————Swami Vivekananda