What do you think can contribute significantly in the pursuit of happiness- Science or Spirituality?
I know that most of you would answer in favor of science. With its spectacular progress in last couple of centuries, science has definitely made human life much easier, healthier and comfortable with its innumerable inventions. Not only that, science has also provided human race with countless means of entertainment. It is no surprise that most of the younger generation is fervent enthusiast of Science. Another factor that helped you in deciding in favor of science might be the ignorance of true meaning of spirituality and its misinterpretation as part of religion. There are wide spread myths that science is logical, while spirituality is only based on beliefs and superstitions; science can be applied usefully in human life, whereas spirituality is mere set of esoteric impractical philosophies.
If Spirituality is defined as the exploration of the inner world: your mind, intellect, ego, life energy and the true nature of your spirit, then you might reconsider your answer. Let me shed some light on the word “spirituality”, before re-phrasing my question. As per Wikipedia, Spirituality is defined as “an ultimate reality or transcendent dimension of the world; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his or her being, or the deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop an individual’s inner life. In the light of this clarification, let me ask you a few more questions: “Do you think peace of mind and contentment are important components of happiness?”, “Do you think Science has contributed to improve love, compassion, peace and contentment among people, societies and countries?”, “Do you think that because of recent scientific progress, man has become even more stressful and restless?” Well, now you might be interested in analyzing this topic even further.
One of the well accepted definition of science is “the experimentally acquired knowledge of the objective laws that govern creation.” Spirituality can also be defined as science because it constitutes of the knowledge of divine laws that governs our inner world. When the objective knowledge is applied in the external world for the material benefit of human race, it can be called as applied modern science. When the subjective knowledge that is acquired by self-analysis of inner world by the mystics and saints, is applied for the spiritual benefit of human race, it is called as spirituality.
A few distinctions between science and spirituality
Science explores the outer world and deals with the analysis of the objective world that can be sensed by our senses or instruments. Spirituality explores the inner world and deals with the analysis of the subjective world that is beyond senses i.e. the world of mind, intellect, spirit, love, compassion, peace and inner happiness. Science limits itself to the physical forms of energies that can be gauged, whereas spirituality deals with the supreme energy- the consciousness.
The goal of Science is to provide you with physical well being and physical comforts. The goal of Spirituality is to provide you with mental peace, contentment, love, compassion, peace and long lasting happiness. Science has made human race selfish with no consideration to environment. During last century, due to scientific progress, human race has exploited and continue to exploit nature beyond viable limits. Spirituality refrain us from exploiting nature for our physical benefits and has thrived for thousands of years in true harmony with nature. Science provides us with various means of deriving momentary sensual pleasures, whereas spirituality gives us insight to experience long lasting inner happiness by means of meditation, contemplation etc. Science tends to make us restless, whereas spirituality helps us to gain serenity of mind. Just by exploring the outer world with the help of science, you get to know yourself as a limited body in the vast universe, whereas by exploring the inner world with the help of spirituality, you come to realize that you are part and parcel of the supreme spirit that is regulating the whole universe. While exploring the objective world, science divides the object into parts and then analyze. In this manner it disintegrates the whole universe into different components. While exploring the subjective world, spirituality unites the whole universe as one non-dual conscious being.
Science and spirituality goes hand in hand in our pursuit of happiness
Unfortunately, we learn a lot about various streams of science and the outer world in schools and colleges. However, there is no methodical training available to educate us about the inner world and about life in general; about what is the goal of life; about how to cope up with the adversities of life; about self restraint and refraining from over indulgence in sensual pleasures; about the higher values of life. This is where spirituality can help us. Science can definitely provide us with a lot of gadgets to make our life easier and to entertain us. However, you also need spirituality, with the help of which you can make proper use of science, without abusing it. Einstein insisted, “Science without Religion is lame, Religion without science is blind.” However, those scientists are very who try to spiritualize the Science and it’s rare to find spiritual mystics who scientifically approach spirituality. Science, if not supported with moral values, might put on an ugly face of destruction. Science and spirituality are integral part of human endeavours to gain fulfillment in life. Science and spirituality are inseparable in the interest of the wholesome human progress.
Thousands of years ago, the mystics of India realized this and inscribed in one of the Upnishads, called Ishopanishad that “the life of bare contemplation (spirituality and meditation) and the life of bare activity (applied science) are alike, fraught with evil; but that he alone may be said to attain the goal of life who knows how to harmonise the two different paths.” For true human progress, money and materials alone cannot deliver the goods. The power given to man by science can be used to make heavens on earth if the due importance is given to spirituality as well. Our fulfilment is dependent on our ability to live in harmony with the external world, where science can help and our ability to live in harmony with ourselves, where spirituality can help. By maintaining the equilibrium of science and spirituality in our lives, we can not only enjoy the pleasures of outer world, but also the wholesome ever-present bliss of our spirit. This is the goal of our pursuit of happiness.
It will look like this: Role of Science and Spirituality in the pursuit of happiness