Ashok Kumar Kartha shares his apprehensions over a matter concerning Religion and Science in the present social scenario of a plural India, after the vernacular media of Kerala published a recent speech of Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam.
Inaugurating the valedictory function of the bicentennial celebrations of St.George’s Forane Church in Alppuzha recently Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, the unabated People’s President of India spoke to the mammoth gathering there:
“Friends as you know, every religion has two components, theology and spirituality. Even though theology is unique to every religion, the spiritual component spreads the value to be inculcated by human beings for promoting a good human life and welfare of the society, while pursuing the material life…… Economic development synchronized with education with value system and bridging of spirituality among religions can lead to enlightened citizenship….both Science and spirituality seek God’s blessings for human prosperity….”.
The next day, most of the vernacular dailies hold the headline – ‘Religions and Science should go hand in hand: Kalam”
Those who were hard-pressed to put trust on these words by the eminent news makers were got beaten up thinking, what would have prompted such a man to speak like this standing upon the dais of a Catholic church.
Brooding over the chemistry between religion and science is somewhat a sleep-jerker for many.
Dr. Kalam must have spoken it out of his affection towards his people and the virtue he keeps on glued to his voyage….Whether would he have recalled of Giordano Bruno who conceptualized universe as a continuum contrary to what the Roman Empire thought and made all believe.
Science and Religion in ancient India
Nevertheless, to think of Religion wedded to Science in the present Indian scenario is like a square peg in a round hole. Even if the religions of today can accept Science, for the true Religion it will not be possible as we stay far remote from the religious paths of the ancient India.
We can proudly say that we had a number of scientists and researchers in the primeval times – in Medicine, Astronomy, Mathematics and like all the branches of Science Indians had contributed a lot with its unique talents like Aryabhatan, Kanaadan, Madhavacharyar, Nagarjuna, Charaka et al. But we have cornered them all marginalizing into any of the many religious compartments even if some of them were utter atheists or rationalists.
Still nothing marred their voyages through the Science. None of them had to be burned at the stake like Giordano Bruno. They were bonhomie to the people..their civic stance was transparent. They lived up to the conditions of bringing peace and joy to the humanity through their find outs of their scientific cruise. They took extreme care not to exploit a single human in the name of Science. That may be the reason why we proudly remember those researchers even today.
But the method by which the scientists approach the society had undergone a sea change today. Contrary to what Dr. Kalam has called for, religions of today lacks its most significant component, the spirituality. Science is now synonymous with religions sans spirituality. Science and the Religion converge at a single point — exploitation. Modus operandi of both is also the same. Science do take extreme care to hide the facts and factual from the people. By covering the real face of God, religions also hood wink the people and get the share with Science.
Researches in the field of Science are hogging at its amateurish wastes. It becomes a sponsored program of the industrialists who fix their eyes through the narrow cracks to spot a point of exploitation. Likewise religions are also in the same route showcasing festivals, rituals and celebrations gliding as if in a collage. Manifestation of God, the people yearns for, always being kept aside as a veiled climax.
At this context, toying with an idea of bring the both together is apprehensive and undoubtedly destructive.
When emotion over rules..
Religion, at any form is lenient towards sentimentalism. It is often emotional than logical and hence is highly inflammable at any time. India has an anecdote for its illustration.
It is an accepted fact that Surgery had longer history than treatment using medicines in Ayurveda. Salya Tantra or the technique of surgery is one of the eight branches of (asthanga) Ayurveda. Ayurvedic surgeons were traditionally known as Dhanwantareeyas. “Although Egyptians performed plastic surgery as early as 3400 B.C., but it was actually in India, sometime between the sixth century B.C. and the sixth century A.D. when the ancient Ayurvedic compendium Susruta Samhita was written, that the skill evolved.” says Thomas V. DiBacco, a historian at American University.
It was during such a surgery that Lord Budhha had his tragic end. This incident instigated an emotional fury among the Budhhists that made the surgery, the ‘bloody healing’ a sin. It was later interpreted as ‘ahimsa’ and got popularity among all walks of life and it later became the byline of a religious propaganda.
Tradition slips to Industry
It nipped the bud of a growing scientific branch that rooted in India. Then the researchers turned to the alternative medicine without ‘a knife’ for healing. It targeted the medicinal plants more and it percolated into generations as a branch pf medicine sans a patent. Aurveda has been marginalizing thus, barring its way to spread out its canopy.
At the onset of British colonization, it gradually gave way for the torrents of modern medicine and we learned to forget what we earned from our heritage. The noble mission of healing became a regal industry within the hands of unjust industrialists. We were gradually being pushed into the onrush of a medicinal branch without any ethics for human life or value.
As the Science forgot the entity of human beings, the religion has divided into institutions where individual value became a naught. Each segment competed to purchase hi-tech arms to uproot the others.
Certain religious segments shout from the roof that most of the new inventions of Science are already invented by their religion. What is the logic behind reinventing a thing that has already invented once? Then what is the literary meaning of the word ‘invention’? Where did they lose the already revealed facts to pave way for the Science to rediscover it? If Religion is superior to Science why do they seek the support of Science to underline its confirmation? Why do they emotionalize the Religion to get big hands in social gatherings?
Whether the people in their hasty runs are leaving the Science for alternative paths? Can we call it a spiritual quest?
If so, the compartmentalized religions and modern science are apparently vulnerable as nothing to do further except merging into each other. This will be not only for their existence but also for the integrated operation of exploiting the human entity having no organizational back-up.
The king-pins upon whom the Religions revolve round are not ashamed of embracing the Modern Science for their daily sustenance. They never uphold the various spiritual assets of Ancient India like Ayurveda, Vedic Mathematics or Astronomy but assume the teeming pageantry of modern science peeping to the overseas universities and cultures, hi-tech hospitals and other such institutions where Ancient Indian values have no space at all.
These guised redeemers guide the people to the seductive paths of modernization leaving hardly any scar of Indian mystics. They never take any initiative to resuscitate our dying values, even when the people put their whole trust upon them. Keeping a straight face they pull the wool over the eyes of the followers even when they themselves have zero belief in it.
This quasi-religious majority are either exploiters or the exploited. Making use of the Science, Religion takes the whip-hand of the spiritual dimensions they shout for. At this juncture, when the most adored person of the country Dr.Kalam calls for the blend of such two risky factors (as being misinterpreted by the vernacular dailies) with only the spiritual dimension of the Religion in his mind, can the laymen understand its depth?
If not, there is chance for it being fall into the hands of vicious freaks of the society. If so, wouldn’t it plot for an ignition of the whole universe with its wings of desires..?