February 28, 2012
Health Sciences Campus, Kochi
Chancellor Amma’s message to delegates of NanoBio and NanoSolar stressed the complementary nature of scientific knowledge and spiritual wisdom. The message is reproduced below.
The goal of science has always been knowledge – an understanding of the human body and the universe as a whole. No doubt, the knowledge gained from scientific research and development has helped to make our external lives more comfortable and affluent. Regardless, happiness continues to elude most people. Our inner lives have, if anything, become marked by greater turmoil and confusion.
This lack of inner peace and contentment is reflected in the external strife and unrest that today marks life throughout the world. People are losing their love and respect for and their faith in their fellow human beings. The gap between human beings and Nature – to which we are inherently connected – is constantly widening. If our increasing knowledge is truly helping us to grow and society to progress, why is all this happening? Shouldn’t open communication and friendship also be growing?
One of the main reasons for this is the segregation of science and spirituality. In truth, these two branches of knowledge complement each other. Both are required. Unfortunately, society is trying to segregate humankind into spiritual people and scientific people. Most scientists say spirituality is based on blind faith, whereas science is fact, proven through experimentation. Thus, they ask, “Which side are you on? The side of blind faith or the side of proven fact?”
Actually, spirituality is not without its proof. The great sages also conducted research – only their research was not done in an external laboratory but in the inner laboratories of their minds. Through intense inner enquiry, they arrived at answers to questions that have haunted humankind for ages. What is the nature of the experienced world? What is the nature of the mind? How does it function in perfect harmony? From where did it come? Where is it going? Where will it lead? Who am I?
Scientific knowledge and spiritual knowledge are like two streams. If we merge these two streams, we will find that we are able to create a mighty river, a river whose waters can remove suffering and facilitate the holistic growth of society. True knowledge is, in fact, like a river that nourishes culture wherever it flows. However, if knowledge is devoid of values, it becomes a source of destruction for the entire world.
However, when values and knowledge come together, there can be no more powerful instrument for the welfare of humankind.
We are standing on the threshold of a new era wherein material peace and spirituality will move forward hand in hand. Physicists have already begun investigating the possibility that – just as the saints and seers have said for millennia – the essential substratum of the universe and the individual is one and the same. Amma prays to the Paramatman that our minds become expansive enough to embrace both scientific knowledge and spiritual wisdom.