[Advaita-l] Science and Advaita

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Feb 2 06:12:16 CST 2009

Subsequent to this posting. Naresh Cuntoor has very kindly pointed me to
earlier discussions here on this subject in 2005 and earlier again in 1999.
I have found these very helpful -- it will either shut me up or improve my
postings !

Perhaps the simplest point is that science (generally) investigates How ?
and Vedanta investigates Why ? Though of course, one set of anwers leads to
the other..

At the moment, Darwin's centenary is being celebrated with excellent TV
programmes on 'How Evolution?', but none ask 'Why Evolution' !

Reading the 2005 discussions, it occurs to me that a good question to
distinguish 'scientiific' and 'spiritual' thought is that of Day and
Night -- there's a 'How?' answer and a 'Why ?' answer.. But ultimately, both
answers must be One !


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of Michael
Sent: 02 February 2009 00:31
To: advaita vedanta
Subject: [Advaita-l] Science and Advaita

Thank you for all your helpful replies. I don't wish to waste anyone's time;
so perhaps I can attempt to sum up the typical state of Western science and
scientists as I understand it (there are of course many exceptions):

There is a tradition of non-duality in the West -- though its needs loooking
for !

It was establlished in discussion between 1200--1500 C.E. that there is one
Creator or Cause beyond the chain of cause and effect; and that there is one
intelligence -- and man can but imitate that in part. However, it is
difficult to convince materialists and atheists of this -- especially those
who assume that their own 'mind' is identical to universal mind !

Also, it has been generally accepted for the sake of argument, that the
cosmos could be seen as three 'worlds' -- the physical or material, the
mental or 'subtle', and the 'causal' or spiritual. These 'worlds' are
understood to be 'monist' within their own laws; these laws being seen as
partial 'imitations' of those of the world above.

So the material world, observed by the minds of scientists, is entirely
valid for research within its own laws.

The sticking--point is, as has been mentioned, the distinction between
observer and observed. But that once acknowledged, the really interesting
questions emerge : of the relation between these worlds which may reveal
themselves to observation -- observation which is ultimately divine and

That's really my area of interest: the possibility that Advaita can enrich
with its tradition and terminology, the Western sense of non-duality which
some scientists and philosophers hope to bring to that science which
comprehends all worlds..

I hope makes some sense; that's the best that I can offer from my
'non-scientific' philosophy. Satyam eva jayate !


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