The science behind spirituality

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The science behind spirituality

Sunday, 31 July 2022 | ACHARYA PRASHNAT

The science behind spirituality

To be spiritual means to know the facts, to live in reality. To not to know the truth and to live blindly is stupidity. So, being spiritual is simply about not being stupid! ACHARYA PRASHNAT delves deeper 

It is very disheartening that 99 per cent of what we call spirituality today is just illogical, unscientific and superstition. What is even worse is that it is being peddled very loudly and very daringly. There is a lot in the spiritual market that says, “Oh! Keep your intellect aside. Your intellect will not understand the real thing”. Please be cautious of such statements.

Remember that a real spiritual man will never contradict science. There is nothing in spirituality that will be against logic.


What is spirituality?

It merely means that you are not being stupid. To be spiritual means to know the facts, to live in reality. To not to know the truth and to live blindly is stupidity. So, being spiritual is simply about not being stupid!

Spirituality is not at all organised religion. It is not about customs, rituals or beliefs. It is an awakened state of mind in which the mind really understands. If water and poison are kept in front of you; 10 cups of water and 10 cups of poison, and you have to make 10 choices, 10 out of 10 times I will pick water. It's as simple as that. Spirituality means making the right decision every time. Even if you pick poison once, it’s curtains for you. It’s like batting. How many times can you get out? Just once. Now would you say, “Must we never get bowled out? You know, five out of six balls I will play rightly, but one ball per over, I want to see my stumps uprooted”?


Spirituality equals to honesty

Basic honesty is spirituality; knowing both the world and yourself. If you are not honest with yourself, anything you observe in the world or about the world is bound to be wrongly seen by you, because you are not being honest. What is it to be intelligent? To be intelligent is to be able to tell apart the false from the true. That alone is spirituality.

Science & spirituality

It is not as if truly spiritual people reject inventions and discoveries, it is just that they do not stop at inventions and discoveries.

They say: “Science is good, science is wonderful, but I need to go beyond science. Now that I know science, now that I know the fundamental principles of the philosophy of science. I need to go beyond that.”

That great desire is called the desire for realisation, that great desire is called devotion, and remember that great desire is not opposed to science. It is just bigger than science. It includes science. It is just that science is small in front of it.

A spiritual man is not at all at odds with the scientists. In fact, he will agree with science. A spiritual man will fully agree with science. He will just say, “Science is wonderful but limited”. Because science takes no cognizance of consciousness. Science just takes the world as the material reality without ever asking to whom is the world a material reality?

Science will say, “That exists, that exists, that moves, that rises, that falls, that is that way.” But science does not ask who is saying all this, to whom does all this appear and why does all this appear? That is why science is not false but just incomplete.

Spirituality completes science. Spirituality is a step beyond science, not opposed to science. Science is fully contained in spirituality. Spirituality that does not contain science, is superstition. However, science is too small to overlap with all of spirituality. But one thing is certain, when you are scientific, you are spiritual as well. However, all spirituality is not science. Spirituality goes way beyond science.


The difference

There is nothing in spirituality that will ever violate science. It is just that spirituality will venture into areas where science never goes at all. Spirituality, for example, will talk about you. Science never talks about you. That’s the difference. That's the only difference!

When it comes to the world, science and spirituality will fully agree. When it comes to you, science will fall silent. There is no chapter in any scientific study or research journal ever at any place titled “I”. Science does not touch the letter “I”. Science has nothing to do with “I”. Science only has to do with the world. Spirituality has to do with both “I” and “I’s world”.  Spirituality does not say ‘the world’, spirituality says “I” and “I’s world”.

False spirituality is unscientific

Sometimes we say, “Oh! There is a lot of pseudoscience being floated in the name of spirituality.” You know, that is not even pseudoscience. To call it pseudoscience is an affront to science!

It is out and out 100 per cent pure superstition. But the problem is when you have powerful forces that are selling pseudoscience rather than superstition, as spirituality, then the common man gets a very strong and clear message that spirituality means some nonsensical mumbo-jumbo. Therefore, the relationship between spirituality and logic gets badly snapped. So obviously, you get the impression that spirituality is not only anti-logic but also against the laws of science.

Somebody is saying, “You know, water has memory!”, somebody is saying that using Rudraksh you can figure out whether the food is contaminated or not, and you do not question these things. You do not ever apply your intelligence to these things. You don’t even ask a counter-question. You can be pardoned because usually when all such nonsense is being propagated, counter-questions are not even allowed. Lab experiments are not even allowed because the moment an experiment is conducted in an honest environment in a laboratory, the truth will be out, the godman will be exposed.

It is really saddening that religion and spirituality have become dirty words now. Religion and spirituality have become words, not at all associated with logic anymore.

True spirituality is the culmination of the scientific mind

If you are really logical, you will turn spiritual. You have no option. Spirituality is the natural destiny of logic. All logic concerns things outside of you. Ultimately, if logic is honest it will have to turn towards the logician. Logic will need to ask, “Who is the one applying the logic? Who is the one coming up with the arguments?” Because the arguments cannot be understood without understanding the arguer. A point comes when you clearly see that. When you see that then you realise that logic has reached its highest flowering, its utmost potential. That is the utmost potential of logic. It will bring you to spirituality.

And spirituality is not a cult; spirituality is not at all this that you are seeing all around you. Spirituality is not this godman business. Spirituality is not this Jadu-tona (magical stuff) and all kinds of foolish stuff. The “I” is suffering and it is suffering because it is caged within itself. Spirituality has just this single objective and nothing else at all. Spirituality will talk just about the “I”, the ego.

If you find spirituality talking about anything else, for example, how to improve your eyesight, how to improve your digestion, how to live longer, then you must understand that it is not spirituality and it is not medical science either. Let doctors talk about all these things. What is a spiritual guru doing, talking about eyesight and how to have more hair cover on the head and how to lose weight?!

Real spiritual men actually went along very nicely with scientists. They never had a bone to pick against scientists. Look at Krishnamurthy’s conversations with physicist David Bohm, for example. And remember that a real spiritual man will never contradict science.


Acharya Prashant, Vedanta teacher & founder of Prashant Advait Foundation

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