Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Blending of Science and Spirituality

Blending of Science and Spirituality for Peaceful World-order

Speech by Prof. Muni Mahendra Kumar at 9th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action

I pay my obeisance to the adorable souls. There goes a story of an owl and a cat. The owl is believed to be personification of wisdom and is famous for giving right advises through his wisdom. 

Once upon a time, a cat, leading a wretched life, approached the owl and sought his advice. The cat sobbingly said, “O incarnation of wisdom! Kindly give me advice how to make myself free from the fear of the dog. This fear has made my life wretched. I can’t sleep, take my food or do any other essential work of my life, because I am continuously under the fear of the dog. Every time I feel that the dog approaches me and I will be killed.” After hearing the pathetic cry of the kitty, the owl made a loud laughter and said, “Why have you come to me for resolving such a petty problem? The solution is not at all difficult. Just do one thing. Make yourself an Alsatian dog. Then no dog on the earth would frighten you anymore.” The cat became so happy that after getting this solution, she went on capering in the hope of leading an ever peaceful life. She went back to her place. Only after a short time, the kitty saw a hound barking loudly and running speedily towards her resting place. At once, severely shivering, she ran away to hide herself in a secured place. Not seeing the kitty, the hound went away. Now the kitty thought in her mind that the great master owl has given me an advice worth one lakh rupees, but he didn’t reveal how to transform myself into an Alsatian dog. She again went back to the great master and said to him humbly, “Sir! You have advised me to become an Alsatian dog, but you didn’t tell me how to do so?” The owl went into fury and cried out, “O foolish kitty! My task is only to give advice. How to implement it is not my job at all. So right away get out.” The kitty went away, losing all her hopes to become free from the fear of the dog.

Firstly, I congratulate the organizers of this wonderful conference, all the same I caution them against the hopeful thinking that mere theoretical discussion about the confluence of science and spirituality would solve the burning problems of human society. 

Such kind of mere theoretical gossiping would be of no avail like the great advice of the great master. Unless we get success in actually blending science and spirituality through profound research in the application of the spiritual practices like meditation, yoga etc, it would be futile to think of evolving peace through such blending. 

I do not want you to misunderstand me nor do I want to disappoint you. I am not against such conferences. But what I think is that an effective measure in this field is the research work. It ought to be given the utmost priority. 
The high claims of achieving ‘believe it or not’ results through spiritual practices are not to be doubted, yet the research to prove the efficacy of the unbelievable effects of meditation etc. is quite necessary, and hence, it deserves the top priority.

We have to adopt the statistical approach, while undertaking the researches in this field. We hear of several case-studies of achievement of unbelievable success in curing the incurable diseases and disorders through application of spiritual practices like mantras, meditation etc., but such kind of subjective and non-statistical approach can not attract any scientist to believe in spirituality. Hence, we have to undertake mega-projects covering a large sample, and then strictly adhere to the scientific protocol, so that ultimately the results are beyond any doubt. Although such task is not very easy or simple, yet proper planning, participation of genuine experts of both sides― science and spirituality―and last but not the least an active participation of the subjects (i.e., the so called guinea pigs) would definitely make the task easy and feasible. Of course, without a very strong financial resource, the whole idea would become merely a Utopian one. In spite of all these limitations, if an adequate effort is made either by the NGOs or by the world institutions like UNO, UNESCO etc., there is no reason why we should not get success. 

Let us first decide to find out as to in which field it is most urgent to undertake the just referred mega-projects in order to build the foundation-stone of the mansion of the peaceful world order? 

I think that probably all will agree upon the fact that unless and until, through research, we can find out the ways and means to transform the human consciousness in such a way that we can make every human being free from bestial instincts to a certain limit so that every human being will behave humanely and make oneself free from violence, hatred, cruelty, greediness, deceitfulness, utter selfishness and such other negative emotions, of course to a certain limit, we cannot hope of getting success in our efforts to establish the peaceful world order.

Fortunately both science and spirituality provide us with the understanding of the human consciousness (which include human soul, human mind, human brain and human body). In other words, both science and spirituality have revealed the secrets of human behavior, human conduct and human attitudes. The only way to transform the human consciousness comprises of bringing about and attitudinal change and behavioral modification.

In the field of science, experiments are going on in various scientific domains such as Psycho-Neuro-Immunology, Psycho-Somatic Diseases, Human Brain’s Plasticity, Neuro-hormones and Endocrinal Hormones―related with Brain and Nervous System, Bio-electrical Effect, Bio-physical Effect and Bio-chemical Effect etc. On the other hand in the field of spirituality, the practitioners of spiritual sadhana, through their own spiritual research, have found that the spiritual practices, undertaken continuously for a long time, can definitely bring about the ultimate transformation of consciousness resulting in evolving a personality free from bestial instincts etc.(as said before). Actually the fundamental principle of spirituality assumes that―

1. The soul is potentially perfectly pure, but the pure state of soul is beyond empirical experience, 2. On account of contamination of the soul with minute particles of karmic matter, the behavior and conduct of a person becomes vitiated, 3. The Law of Karma does not mean determinism, 4. Right spiritual efforts can not only bring about modification in karmic effect but also possess the power to wipe out entirely the karmic effects, ending in ultimate emancipation of the soul from the clutches of the karmic particles, 5. The spiritual practices comprise of yogic postures, palm postures and relaxation of body, inhibition of all voluntarily physical and vocal activities of the body, concentration of mind on a single phenomena, contemplation with strong auto-suggestion for positive transformation of habits and mentality, manipulation and control of inhalation and exhalation, chanting mantras, visualization of psychic colors, concentration of mind on the psychic centers situated in different parts of the body and so on.

Blending of science and spirituality, then, would mean that both the scientists and the spiritualists would make a research project jointly by designing a complete scientific protocol for measuring the effects of the spiritual practices on behaviour and conduct. It would also include the various parameters connected with physiology, bio-chemistry etc., the measurement of which are already available in medical diagnostic clinics. The pre-experimental and the post-experimental readings of all the related parameters periodically noted down would make it possible to find out the exact change in the related parameters, and finally finding statistically the overall effect would make it possible to know the precise efficacy of the applied spiritual means for bringing about the transformation.

In order to make the project free from lapses, pre-training of the researchers and trainers involve in the project, is imperative Experts of science and spirituality will impart the required training to the eligible trainers.
As a part of the mega-project, the post research application of the spiritual practices should be made in the different divisions of society, so as to give benefits to them. Especially, the students should be given the first priority. In order to make it sure that every student participates in such training,  firstly, the students should be motivated by inspiring them to get themselves free from any kind of physical, mental and emotional disease or disorder, which threaten their physical, mental and emotional development. For this again, wide publicity has to be made through T.V. channels, internet devices, print media, social media etc. The governments of all countries/nations should also be impressed powerfully so that their support becomes available in execution/implementation of the project. The training can be given in both ways―online as well as offline. 
The other classes of society such as teachers, educationists, scholars, scientists, engineers, medical doctors, professionals, social workers, labourers, farmers, businessmen, industrialists, political leaders, people at the helm of affairs, the priests, the ascetics,  the sportspersons, the automobile drivers, the pilots and other air-staff, the housewives, the pregnant women, the house-servants and house-maids, the nurses, the artists, the people nearing old age and senior citizens, the police, the administrators, the officials and soldiers of army, navy and air-force, the fire-brigades, taxi-drivers, the cooks, the hotel staff, the rich people, the bank staff and so on should be given training in spiritual practices promoting their holistic health and making them free from harmful habits such as smoking, drinking etc. as well as the negative behaviours. Such training may also include the tips for making their respective works/professions more efficient and safe.

For converting such dreams into a reality, we can conceive of establishing institutes all over the world under the name of “Institute of Wisdom World”. Such institutes can have collaboration with the NGOs like Anuvibha. The Anuvibha is already conducting globally the training in non-violence. Such programme can be reorganised in such a way that the application of spiritual practices (discussed before) may be included in the training in non-violence and online training may be started to give benefit to maximum people. 
Again, research projects should be undertaken for evaluating the effect of the activities of the Institutes of Wisdom World in different classes of society. On the basis of the ultimate results of the mega-project, it can be assured that a worldwide change in human society is really taking place, which ultimately builds the grand mansion of the new world-order, standing on the pillars of non-violence and peace.

Training in non-violence is designed by amalgamating both the fundamental principles of spiritual development and those of modern neuro-science. In the latter, it is believed that the human brain comprises of three layers: 
1. Reptilian Brain
2. Mammalian Brain or Limbic System
3. Neo-cortex.

Taking into account the theory of evolution, it has been established that the first layer of reptilian brain was developed when only animals on the earth were reptiles. In the second stage, when the mammalians (the species in which the young ones are fed through breast-feeding) came into existence, the second layer of brain was developed. Again, when Homo sapiens came into existence, the third layer of neo-cortex got developed. At present, the human brain possesses all the three layers. The first two layers are the remnants of animal brain, but they are still so powerful that most of the biological and emotional functions are under their control. Mainly, all our basic emotions like rage, agitation, anxiety, excitement, sexual interest etc. are under the control of the limbic system. Hypothalamus is the main centre of this brain, which is called emotional brain. Owing to the connections between the limbic system and the cortex, emotion is amenable to the influence of reason. Reason may similarly be affected by emotion. 

If we want to develop our rational control over the negative emotions like anger, sex etc., it is necessary to make the neo-cortex more powerful than the limbic system. Otherwise, by nature, the animal instincts in us are so dominating that in spite of knowing that the negative emotions are harmful, we cannot control them. In other words, the animal brain dictates the human brain (neo-cortex) to utilise its power of intelligence and reasoning in favour of the animal behaviour. That is why, even the most intelligent and rational person, in certain condition, behave like an animal, rather a beast. All his knowledge, scholarship, religiosity and intellectuality remain standstill and he behaves beastly in the human society. The result is that people who are educated, religious, social leaders, preachers and like behave not differently from those who are uneducated, atheists, materialists and like. Majority of people succumb to the dictates of animal brain. As a result, they are overwhelmed by their negative emotions, which ultimately not only make their personal life most wretched but also make their family life and social life vitiated with plethora of problems. Even the national and international life is affected adversely, thus creating obstacles in building a peaceful world-order.

Through spiritual practices, anyone can learn to make his rational power overcome the negative dictates of the limbic system, and thus save oneself from indulging in animal behaviour. The training in non-violence is based on these spiritual practices. If we succeed in training the masses, it is almost beyond doubt that all the obstacles that are created in building a peaceful world order would be removed, and one day we would become successful.

- Muni Mahendra Kumar

C/o  Jyotindra Zaveri, +91 9552946949.