[Advaita-l] Science and Advaita

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Feb 2 10:44:12 CST 2009

Dear Bhadraiah,

Thank for for those interesting replies. However, I think I'm intelligent
enough to appreciate the difference between 'fishing for ideas' and seeking
to harmonize different held views of the cosmos, in one truth..

Nor can I wish to find any difference between someone who calls themselves
an advaitin, and someone who sincerely seeks 'not two' in some other faith
or religion... surely we have passed beyond the rivalry of faiths ?
Otherwise, 'advaita' would just be theory ? When Cusanus said 'There is no
other' in 1400 CE and meant it and lived it, he was doing pretty well ? he
followed it up by saying that everything we see is 'the face of God'. Not
bad for a beginner ?

I don't know whether it is my idea of 'three worlds' or yours that is
crude..there is a longer history of devouotly religious men studying
'natural science' than of atheists and agnostice.. Darwin for instance was
devout, tactfully not writing God into Evolution..

Your comments on 'Why?' seem to contradict those of others here ?

I hope we can agree more than we disagree.. I find these exchanges useful.
It tests buddhi !


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of
Bhadraiah Mallampalli
Sent: 02 February 2009 15:57
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Subject: [Advaita-l] Science and Advaita

Dear Michael,

>Thank you for all your helpful replies. I don't wish to waste anyone's
>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):

As per evidence, the term 'Western science' is now questioned. There were
two routes:
India=>Arabs=>Europe, (700AD-1600AD)
and India=>Europe (from 1700AD)
I believe you meant 'western history of evolution of sciences'.

>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 !

A person's limited mind is evidently not same as universal mind, but advaita
accepts that every creature (including insects) can potentially realize the
highest. So this "western non-duality or monism" is characteristically
different from advaita.

Convincing others can some times go the extent of inquisition, isn't it? In
advaita dialog or for that matter any Hindu dialog, there is no "convincing"
of any one else is involved. People express opinions, even apparently
argue, but the idea is to check if there are any objections to one'w own
opinions, so that a person can fix one's own sadhana. Convincing others
and increasing the flock are immaterial to advaita. If I get my
brahmajnanam I can create my own universe full of all kinds of
creatures, so why do I care if any one agrees with me?

>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.

There are several "three worlds" models in Hinduism like bhuh, bhvah,
suvah  or bhumi, svarg, paataal and so on. I get it now. Your "three worlds"
are specific to western evolution of sciences, in which religon monopolized
spiritual, scientists are given material world to play with. We can no way
generalize this to all cultures and models.

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

This was already refuted by advaita. There is no separation of matter and
consciousness. Higher developed organs like mind (intelligent agents) can
be seen in developed organisms, otherwise it is just consciousness.

>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 single..

In advaita, observer and observed are one. When asked "Who are you?",
Raikva replies "I am you". So all those interesting things are no

>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..

So you want to fish for ideas that can be incorporated in a different
philosophical system, whether they are relevant or not. You have to first
inquire what are the preconditions of any philosophical system. Once you
do that rest of the analysis for that system follows as a consequence. No
need to look around for ideas.

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

No, to me it doesn't make sense at all! You are welcome to explain further,
while we continue to post on borrowed time.

By the way, WHY is the most important question in advaita, more than any
other questions. We have to keep questioning the cause of any effect
going back to its root cause.

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