Nature of Reality
S. V. Subrahmanian
svsubrahmanian at YAHOO.COM
Thu Oct 4 04:03:38 CDT 2001
Dear Sri Shrinivas,
For paucity of time, I am keeping my responses very limited and may not be
possible to enter into a detailed discussion at this point of time. But I will
let you know of my thoughts.
> Broadly speaking there are two planes of existence (in
> the Vyavaharika sense) - The Physical and the Mental.
What is the Truth of both these? That is the question that Vedas tries to
> and hence the cure of all problems lies. Manipulation
> of phenomenon in this plane is the subject matter of
> much of the Vedic literature.
But not the purpose of Vedas. All the powers that you spoke about or
miraculous phenomena are incidental not the purpose of the Vedas.
Regarding fusion of science and Vedas, I wrote a letter to my father-in-law
recently on the same topic who is a great fan of such a fusion. That letter
represents my understanding/view point on the subject matter.
Beginning of letter
Philosophy as understood by the Rishis and as understood by the
West may or may not be different. Whereas I have an idea about the
former, the latter eludes a firm defintion in my mind. So I will use the word
Vedas for philosophy for that is the most authentic source of philosophy as
per my understanding.
Can Vedas and science come to the same conculsion if delved deep?
The answer is NO. There are two words used in Vedas
- "aham" (I) and "idam" (this). aham is the observer. idam is the
observed. Whereas aham refers to one's own Self ie., Atman, idam refers to
everything both gross like the objects in the world, one's own body etc and
subtle like one's thoughts, emotions etc. The subject matter of Vedas is
"aham", whereas the subject matter of science is "idam". Vedas tells you who
the "aham" is, Science tells you what the "idam" is.
Even a psychologist investigating the functions of the mind is still only or a
student of yoga practicing various disciplines is still operating in the realm
Can science ever reveal to us "aham". Traditional view point on Vedas say
and it gives that credit singularly to the Vedas. That is why Vedas are called
"pramANam" meaning "valid means of knowledge" (of the Self). Every domain of
knowledge has its own UNIQUE, APPROPRIATE and ADEQUATE means of knowledge. For
eg., the knowledge of sound is possible only through the ear, the perception of
forms is possible only through the eyes. So also the perception of one's own
Self is possible only through Vedas. [For want of time and effort I am
explaining it in short. The discussion of pramANams is an age old discussion
and there are numerous texts. Even buddhists and jains discuss pramANams].
Now what about the various references to scientific phenomenon/theories in the
Vedas? They should be taken as incidental or ancillary when compared to the
main subject matter.
Why can't science come to the same conclusion as Vedas? Because science always
acts upon something that is *observed*. Whereas what we want is the observer.
In science the observed phenomenon is rationally interpreted, but the observer
is forgotten. Atleast Albert Einstein brought the importance of the observer
to focus, which was known to our Rishis long ago. Till science stops
"observing" and starts focusing on the "observer", it can never reach the same
conclusion as the Vedas.
The day science becomes interested with the "observer" and tries to find the
reality of it, science is one with Vedas or one would find all science books to
be the same as Vedas. Then science ceases to be science any more, it is
nothing but Vedas.
Till science is obsessed with the "observed" rather than the observer, it is
diametrically opposite to the Vedas, in intent though there might be some
overlap in content, which is purely incidental. To make much ado about such an
overlap is like rejoicing that both dried weed and a piece of sandalwood are
same because both can burn to make hotwater!
End of letter.
That is my addition to the discussion.
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