A Vedic Perspective on Science and Spirituality

Ravi Sadana—12/2008
Ravi Sadana was raised in the high Himalyan city Shimla, the seat of the Imperial Raj in the prewar years, where he was taught by gurus to yoga, prayers, meditation and the fundamentals of Ayurvedic healing.

ALTHOUGH SURROUNDED BY British culture and ways of living - my father worked for the colonial government - at my father's insistence all of my extra-curricular activities and learning were provided by the wise men, gurus and swamis of the Vedic persuasion. Study of Vedic scriptures, lectures on spiritual rectitude and attendance at weekly ceremonies of ritualistic prayers, yoga and meditation lessons gave me a solid foundation in Vedic spiritualism. The gurus also taught me fundamentals of Ayurvedic healing and nutrition systems.

I started to meditate at the age of ten under the watchful eyes of puritanical gurus and yogies, who were strict but true teachers and masters of their art. I witnessed performances that to a western mind would be, simply impossible.

At about this time I started to develop spiritual realities of my own. Somehow the idea came to me that things like mind, knowledge and consciousness were all in the space around me, rather than in me. And I found ways to connect with them. I also became keenly aware of the primacy of feminine energy (shakti) and how women were more grounded in it than their male counterparts. Intuitively I became a disciple of the feminine principle and secretly I worshipped and celebrated their subtle drawing power.

Post secondary education in Physics, Mathematics and Aeronautical engineering exposed me to science and the scientific methodologies. Later psychology education would hold my interest and after moving to Canada, a bulk of my professional life was devoted to providing biostatistical and analytical support for research at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto Canada, in such diverse fields as behavioral sciences, cybernetics, molecular genetics, sexology and neuropsychic sciences. Signal processing techniques provided quantifiable insights into the physiology of the human condition.

This first hand knowledge provided me with a stellar opportunity to blend modern Psychiatric findings in both, health and disease, with my natural background in ancient spiritual practices. I researched esoteric Sanskrit books and texts to discover rare yoga and meditation techniques which I practised faithfully everyday. Later I started to teach these techniques to Psychiatrists, Psychologists, social workers, nurses, volunteers, students and psychiatric patients with good results. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that at least in the non-serious non-psychotic psychiatric applications, spiritual methodologies had a superior performance rating than the conventional medical treatments of the day had. Time and again, compulsive and obsessive behaviour-affected patients in my classes told me in no uncertain terms that they got more healing out of a eight-week introductory meditation course than two years of prescribed psychiatric behaviour-modification treatment. Some of the staff psychiatrists quietly started to refer their eligible patients to my classes, which were given, clandestinely, in the board room of the institute after work, free of charge and obligation.

But, this was also the time when medicine and research were shifting their primary focus from traditional methodologies to the emerging molecule-based technologies. I saw the decline of the psychological and mental elements in treatment where the patient felt cared-for in the human context. Human bonds were disappearing. The molecule was just too impersonal. I started to take notes and began writing narratives to develop my literary skills.

Science versus Spirituality

The feeling of a wide chasm between these two areas was driven home to me, especially by the deterministic physicist. Mind and consciousness are not measurable quantities, they told me. Our labs find reproducible results and that's the infallible scientific method. As if I didn't know!

With the rise of molecular genetics, the scientific method has made remarkable progress. Today, the evolutionary biologist is busy trying to emulate the molecule of life in a test tube, while the hi-tech astrobiologist is looking for signs of life in outer-space solar planets. Astrophysics and Cosmology have taken off with the Hubble telescope and high-tech satellite imagery with advanced spectroscopes. The universe is being mapped like never before. Every aspect and department of science is taking quantum leaps in new discoveries and new solutions to problems based on them.

The question I pose as a universal scientist/spiritualist: Mankind is getting more creature comforts and ego-boosting glamour, but is it happier and feels more fulfilled and purposeful in life than before?

I want to make a strong case for the fundamental cause of the apparent separation between the two disciplines, even though both seek truth. Spiritual disciplines and training emphasize freeing the human mind from the burden of conditioning by various devices, especially the device called "objective or scientific time". Science disciplines base their theories and experimental work on the substratum of "objective time" or the "arrow of time", a device inextricably involved in the scientific process since Newton, and more recently, Schroedinger's treatment of Entropy (second law of thermodynamics). This argument simply brings out the principal difference in the two approaches. Try imagining where or what science would be without "time". ( I have been laughed out of many a conference room for the mere suggestion).

On the spiritual side, two important landmarks made quantum leaps for the spiritual cause:

1. Understanding the origin of the spoken sounds. Matrika are the fifty-one (51) vowels and consonants of the current Sanskrit language. Originally, only a small set of Matrika was made strictly for the meditators to hum and concentrate on the vibratory affect. It was so successful that Rishis (original seers), through tapasya (devotional concentration) expanded the list to fifty-one. Each consonant and vowel individually has a specific quality and place of application in the body. The rishis meditated on the vibrations of each letter and came up with combinations like the universal Om, hrim, svah. Later a whole library of mantras was developed strictly for personal development with a unique and pointed focus delineated for the individual mantra. Thus Mantra Meditation was established. Soon gurus were teaching students the techniques to send single Matrika and combined mantra vibrations to different regions of the body. Some effective Ayurvedic treatments are based on this knowledge. (The Hebrew alphabet has a similar divine origin and purpose).

Humanity and usage expanded and Sanskrit became a 'spoken' language and literature developed. But the fundamental vibrations of Matrika remained infallible and persisted. Then the exhaustive Veda and Upanishad texts came into being (no one knows by whom, around 5000 BCE). This was followed by many generations of commentaries and Puranas or practical manuals for everyday use by the populace. This is the literary monolith on which the enormous edifice of the Vedic culture was erected. Some claim that all knowledge is contained in the Vedas and Upanishads, waiting to be decoded.

Now, each member of the Matrika family has a unique auditory vibration, whose frequency and power can be quantified by the laws of quantum physics. It may resonate differently from person to person. The variability through the mouth and other otolaryngological organs with varying saliva, oxygen/carbon dioxide composite, humidity, temperature, blood glucose content, mental state of the practitioner, to name a few, is enormous. The level of each chemical element present in the lining of the organ against which the vibrating breath impinges, alters the shape of the waveforms as each elementary molecule itself vibrates at a fixed frequency. This is absolute science and it is totally personalized for maximum benefit. And it lies in the spiritual domain!

We are not aware of it but we all develop as to temperament and inner being by the sounds of our first name. The vibrations of the consonants and vowels gradually mould and shape us as we hear our name being called and we grow into their purpose automatically. In a crowd or a disturbance, a person will always hear and recognize the call of their name. For this reason, parents pick unique and purposeful Vedic names for their children for their auspicious quality.

So here's the next opening line: How do you like your name?

2. Of the four Vedas (Veda means knowledge), one Rig Veda has been described as a Vedic book of Physics. It is also described by many researchers as the Astronomical Code of the Rig Veda. It deals with the beginning of the universe, describing in detail the notions of potential and atomic structures. The state of being before the scientific Big Bang is described in verses that are poignant and meaningful. One verse describes the primordial undifferentiated fluid as the origin of first mass in the universe. It has now been scientifically established from a five-year analysis of microwave data - a leftover radiation at a fraction of a second after the Big Bang - gathered by the NASA probe WMAP that the content of the universe at that instant was more like a fluid!

The verses even talk of Quarks, Electrons, Neutrons and Protons, magnetism and magnetic poles. Even matter and anti-matter! Even a reference to ten dimensions prevailing outside the theoretical membrane of the universe (yes, the Vedic universe is egg-shaped), a feature of the new Super-string or M theory.

Some notes on Rig Veda studies are in order.

First, the verses are coded and the translation of words like 'salila' and 'apah' (both symbolise water or fluid) in context requires sharp etymological skills. Modern universities with extensive Sanskrit language expertise and computer programs can translate correctly.

Second, the verses are in story form or a dialogue form between say, a brother and a sister where the sister wants to marry the brother. The brother says no, we'll get annihilated and our children will have the leftover properties. It's in fact a dialogue between a matter particle and an anti-matter particle, where their properties are brought out in dialogue form. Coded expression "Cows came out of the Mountain" means a fundamental physical particle, Gau, emerged in a region of space during the expansion phase of the launch of the universe (Big Bang).

Third, the language of science was not known then. Everything was given a god's name with aspects and properties attached to it. Now we know why Vedic culture has a million gods! Eight fundamental particles have animal names.

Fourth, Sanskrit is a language with complicated conjugation and grammar rules. After a few rounds of trials, translated word libraries with cross-index are set up where future searches defined a perfect match for the context. Voila, we have a physics and cosmology book. This is ultimate science. The correspondence with modern physics discoveries is uncanny.

How is this possible? How was this knowledge obtained? The rishis had no equipment. Not true. Their equipment was their bodies, minds and their controllable states of consciousness. The techniques were based on deep meditation to perceive physical reality, in the past, present and future. It is called Experiential Science.

My mission

Armed with these revelations I set about focussing my personal research to identify a single platform upon which the spiritual and scientific processes could operate in harmony. Over a period of twenty years, I was able to separate all entities in the universe into two classes and then build a bridge of communication between them (Cantilever Effect). I strictly follow the rule that if I have not personally experienced or perceived and verified a 'thing', I don't write about it.

The psychologist in me told me the following two points:

1. Mind Conditioning: Through formal education and repeated pronouncements of new findings by experts over the course of years at meetings, serves to reinforce the authenticity of the "body of knowledge" under study. This is particularly effective if the experts are research specialists and recognized leaders like Nobel laureates and the messages come in quick succession over different media. In the end, the degree of acceptance is proportional to the number of minds educated, trained and conditioned and paradigms spring from plateau to plateau as progress is made. The voracity and soundness of the body of knowledge doesn't matter, because assumptions and experiment are designed for an application of Mathematics for a specific result. Geroge Bernard Shaw pointed that out to Einstein in a meeting in London.

A case in point is the following enjoyed by science in general and Cosmology in particular in modern times. In the latter field "fabulous facades" are being erected based on the artificial concept of so called, arrow of time. "Objective Time" per se doesn't exist, yet Cosmology manages to make the universe 14.5 billion years old and the solar system 4.5 billion years old and makes "Time" the substratum of change in the universe. Nothing could be further from the reality. Definitions of "Time" are based on motion (earth year) and changing quantum states (Cesium standard). Has anyone seen or felt or encountered "Time" as an entity unto itself? Yet, in the mind of a modern person, "Time" is real and mover of all. It has become second nature. The same can be said of the current rush to promote the Super-String or M theory of everything.

2. Intellectual versus experiential: If some aspects of the "body of knowledge" can be experienced by the individual mind in her/his own way, it is liable to resonate at a level deeper than their intellectual space response, making it more real than a mere verbal or written account.

Progress

I saw a unity of purpose and objectivity in the two disciplines where emphases was placed on different methodologies to achieve the same end. At the final stage, at the observer end of all instruments and computer analyses sits the human eye, ear, nose, feel, taste and mind without which no object can even come into existence.

I wrote and published two books, The Three Verbs of Being and The Latitude Syndrome.

The Three Verbs of Being

Then I brought intelligence and human spiritual aspects to a fore in relation to the physical creation of the universe (Cosmology) in an article called Kreashun, which I submitted to NASA and prominent cosmologists as it was inspired by their WMAP probe to monitor microwave radiation in the space around us.

In June 2007, I presented two papers, The Living Unified Grand Field Theory and The Metaphysical Sciences at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), annual meeting at Boise, Idaho.

The work incorporates wide departures from the established paradigms in vogue today. New directions are struck out and will be a hard sell to the scientific community.