By Dr. B.V. raman
We have to recognize that all intelligible reality—space, time and matter—is an aspect of intelligent consciousness. But in the Western or modern sciences, we specialize and compartmentalize, we grasp aspects of reality in isolation—space, time, matter, mind, morality, art, history. In each sphere we find order, but each sphere shows itself to be incomplete and to have “ragged edges” that imply other realities necessary to give meaning to it. The mind begins to look for a total synthesis that can make the universe as a whole meaningful and self-explanatory. As the great Aurobindo says, “The Vedas and Upanishads are not only the sufficient fountain of the Indian philosophy and religion, but of all Indian art, poetry and literature. It was the soul, the temperament, the ideal mind which later carved out the great philosophies, built the structure of the dharma which created so many original institutions in science, created so rich a glow of the aesthetic.” The spiritual climate of the Vedas and Upanishads became the inspiration of all later developments in Indian culture and civilization in all the branches of human activity.
In India today, an undue emphasis is being laid on the so-called “scientific temper,” which means denigrating religious observances, practices and beliefs, all of which are erroneously dubbed as superstition. Religious observances, practices and beliefs are based on faith. Does science exclude faith and belief? Is not belief in the existence of truth in Nature a sustainer of the scientific spirit? While inculcation of a scientific attitude may be desirable, its lim—ita-tions must be understood and caution exercized in its over-emphasis. An essential difference between the approach of the rishis and the modern Western scientists and their Indian counterparts is that the former are comprehensive, integral, holistic and spiritual, while the latter are mostly ad hoc, fragmentary, reductionist and mechanistic.
Today, Indian political leaders are at sea, hopelessly floundering in their search for the principles and methods of education and nation or man building. The work of Veda Vyasa provides a wonderfully suggestive object lesson in the task of national leaders—but not political leaders—if only they can see the vision that lies clearly embodied in his codification. Sage Vyasa regarded the Vedas as containing a clear vision and scheme of life to preserve and hand on to later generations through cultural media—sutra, dar-shana, music, dance, purana, drama, temple architecture, festivals, customs and ways of life.
One of the greatest gifts of the Vedic seers is the point of view that envisages spiritual knowledge along with scientific knowledge as a one organic whole, with no gulf or conflict between them. The Vedas solved the problem of the right relation between religion and science for India and the world. Hence, we find the lawgiver Manu saying that in the beginning people of all races or quarters of the Earth came here for instruction in the arts of life. India became the World Teacher in the beginning of history on account of the inheritance of the Vedas, which were themselves the crystallization of an earlier epoch. This view of tolerance and understanding toward all the ultimate points of view embodied in different religions became a still outstanding characteristic of Indian culture.
dr. b.v. raman of Bangalore, India, is a world-renowned Vedic as-trologer and editor of The Astrological Magazine.