Vedanta, Science and Religion

By the word Vedānta is meant the end of all knowledge. The Sanskrit word Vedānta breaks in two: Veda, the knowable; and anta, the end. Vedānta recognizes two worlds of human investigation – the external and the internal. The external world is what is revealed to us by the five senses.Today, biologists tell us that we still do not know enough of the human body. However, in the Indian tradition, adhyātma vidyā, or the science of spirituality proclaims that behind the body-mind complex there is a vast, infinite reservoir of energy which you can unfold and manifest. Religion has another aspect too – the scientific.Vedānta unifies external and internal knowledge. The Upanishads say that there are five sheaths or coverings that surround the infinite ātman. They said: Study the human system in depth. The human being is essentially divine. This is a great truth discovered and re-authenticated, and meant to be realized by every human being. You have the capacity to realize your own true nature. Behind this tiny ego under the control of the genetic system is an infinite dimension of awareness, the self, which makes you spiritually one with all.Yoga is the science and technique of realizing the truth: “I am not this tiny organic system. I am not a creature of the world outside. I am free. I am free”. The focus of that freedom is not in the genetic system, but in the infinite ātman. That is my true nature. Despite modern advances in the physical sciences, most are unhappy. What is wrong? Science alone is not enough.Einstein said: “Science can denature plutonium, but it cannot denature evil in the heart of man.” So there must be another dimension to science and truth-seeking: something experiential. Vedānta says that in the inner world, when you try to know your own nature, you realize that you are that. In the external world, it is never so. When you study a star, you don’t become a star, but when you study yourself in depth, you become that. Tat tvam asi, That art thou. A wonderful change comes upon you.Human problems cannot be solved by mere intellectual energy. Some of the cleverest criminals are intellectuals. If I have a confused mind, complex and ambitious, which takes me beyond other peoples’ purview, then I become a nuisance. Can I not become a centre of infinite peace and compassion and wish Godspeed to everybody else?Vivekananda summarizes the Vedānta philosophy: Each one is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Knowledge must rise in wisdom. When one evolves spiritually, an ever-present truth becomes clear: We are spiritually one; we are not separate from one another.According to Vedānta, the three streams of energy – the physical science, the science of values, and the science of spirituality – must get synergized for human fulfilment. Vedānta considers the science of values as the link between the physical science and the science of spirituality. The end is fully to unfold the divine principle within us.