Science and religion are two branches of knowledge seeking the truth. Science is the search for truth in the outer world, about the body and the environment in which we live, while religion is the search for truth in the innermost world of man, mostly the world of mind, soul and sprit. Science discovers the properties and functions of Nature and Matter whereas religion asks and tries to answer questions regarding the purpose of life, its existence etc. in relation to the individual, society and the universe at large. Thus, briefly, science is an inquiry into the outer world to find the nature and function of every thing related to all worldly phenomenon. Religion on the other hand is an inquiry into the invisible inner world with a lot of emphasis on the purpose of creation, the meaning of life, value –system etc. For example science may discover the properties of electricity or nuclear power but what to do with that power and how and for what purpose it will serve the man and society will be determined by a religion approach and not by science in general.
In spite of so much development and progress in science, why have we lost our happiness? Why everybody is full of tension and stress? Why our life has been so unsafe and full of risk? Why science has become a ruler rather then a servant? These are some questions, which jerk violently to the mind of every sensible person.
Today there is a need of synthesizing the two apparently divergent fields of knowledge as science and religion with the value of a spiritual approach to life. There is a need in the life to bring a harmony, a synthesis, between the majesty of scientific thinking and the beauty of a value system, which will be for the benefit of an individual and the society and nations at large , and ultimately for the humanity. Einstein often used to say that-
“Religion without science is lame and science without Religion is blind .In order to be a complete, fulfilled and purposeful human being covering all the aspects and dimensions of life we have to lead an integrated life combining science and religion in the most harmonious blending for the ultimate benefit of society and mankind.”
In the ancient period India was known for super knowledge and prosperity. Its main cause was that there was an integration in between the two branches of knowledge i.e. science and religion .They were so merged together that non can isolate them and their separate existence was not possible. In our country, the Vedas, of which Upanishads are parts, also contain a lot of branches of Science like mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry etc. In fact even biological science like study of herbal medicine and surgery were also developed very well and codified in the Mantras of the Vedas, especially in the Atharva Veda. The Vedas described knowledge as being of two types-the Para and the Apara. The former pertaining to spiritual science and latter to material or secular sciences. The Rishis had realized that collaboration and cooperation between these two branches of human knowledge are essential for the holistic growth of man. Perhaps, this is one reason why the Vedas are considered as the ocean of knowledge pertaining to all kinds of thought, processes and phenomenon in life. The knowledge contained in the Vedas is considered infinite and unlimited for the eternity. According to Pope John Pal II- “Science can purify religion from error and superstition while religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes, Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish ……….”
|Keywords:||Science, Religion, Truth, Humanity, Progress, Development|
Reader and Associate Professor, Department of Ancient Indian History Culture & Archaeology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
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