Dr. S Somanath, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), recently made a visit to the Mata Amritanandamayi Math and Amritapuri Campus, where had the opportunity to engage in a meaningful interaction with Amma. Reflecting on his visit, Dr. Somanath shared,
“Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Amma’s ashram and the Amritapuri campus. During my visit, I had a discussion with Amma about the intersection of science and spirituality. Amma’s vision of integrating science and spirituality is truly remarkable. She emphasised how scientific research can be used to serve society and how, in the vision of the rishis, everything is divine.
Amma said that according to Sanatana Dharma, the creation and creator are not two but one. She continued, “The ancient Rishis believed that science and spirituality were not opposing forces, but rather complementary. They saw them as two wings of a bird, working together for harmonious progress in society. Science improves the external world, while spirituality creates inner expansiveness.”
ln fact, research undertaken for the sake of serving humanity is a spiritual activity. Amma shared a personal experience from her youth when she witnessed people dying of heart failure because they couldn’t afford a stent that had to be imported.
This experience inspired Amma to believe that we should manufacture our own cost-effective medical devices and conduct research to develop solutions for humanity. We discussed ancient Indian wisdom and how it integrated science and spirituality, such as with the Chidambaram Temple, which was modelled after the human body.
I was impressed by Amma’s university’s Live-in Labs program, where students go to villages and rural settings to find solutions for problems there. This program helps students develop compassion while also gaining knowledge, and when knowledge and compassion are both present, society benefits. It was wonderful to have such an inclusive discussion about science with a great spiritual leader like Amma.
Amma says, “One of the biggest mistakes we committed was to separate science and spirituality, there by disconnecting the two”. The question is, “Are you on the side of science or on the side of spirituality?’
We need to implement science and technology with a spiritual vision”. I found this statement to be true and inspiring.”