Despite people try to show a yawning gap between yogis and scientists, I can find many similarities rather than differences. In my opinion, true yogis of this age are in fact scientists and what they have done for the society far outweighs that contributed by the yogis. In this writing, I would like to point out the similarities, and illustrate that scientists are better than yogis. Additionally, I would like to propose that the scientific knowledge is ,in fact, the extension of Veda, and thus …
………………………………by indulging in scientific pursuit we are nearing more rapidly towards supreme knowledge rather than moving away from it as preached by many spiritual leaders.
A true Yogi is in the pursuit of knowledge, in particular, the purpose of life in this world and beyond. For instance, Buddha tried to find out why people needed to suffer in this world. He spent a number of years seeking the answers, and one fine day he was enlightened. And many people accepted and followed his knowledge.
True scientists are also in pursuit of knowledge, however in most of the cases it is about the mysteries of the nature. Why something behaves this way or that way? They also spend a number of years seeking reasons for many causes, and one fine day they discover new knowledge. And many people accept this idea, and industry makes use of this idea.
Here both yogis and scientists are seeking the knowledge. They are trying to fathom the nature. Both are puzzled by this vast universe and what happens in this universe. Both endeavour to enrich the knowledge of the world. In this respect, I find them much more similar.
Now you may jump into my case saying that what scientists have found can be verified and proved. It is generally true however it is worth stressing that what is proven today can be disproved tomorrow, or may not be applicable in some other situation. We know that Dalton said that the atom was indivisible. Laplace declared that if we know all the position and velocity of every particle in the universe at time t, we could know the entire future. However, modern quantum physics tells us otherwise: if you can measure velocity of an object precisely than you cannot measure the exact position of the same object, on the other hand if you can measure the position of the object, you cannot measure the velocity.
In general, people believe that mathematics is precise; however mathematical or logical proofs are based on postulates and axioms. There is no guarantee that these postulates and axioms are satisfactory. Additionally, mathematician Godel has already proved that a system cannot be verified in itself that whether the postulates are self consistent. In other word, although science works in certain condition, its veracity cannot be declared with 100% certainty. As science is itself incomplete, at this stage it is perhaps premature to declare that whatever yogis have found in the past can be out rightly discarded. This also shows that in fact materialism and spiritualism have “uncertainty” in common.
Nevertheless, I bow to scientists more than to the yogis, because the things scientists have discovered already confirms to what yogis claim to achieve during the higher stages of yoga (“Sidhis”). For example flying, listening and viewing the things which are happening in another part of the world, ability to know the smallest particle, predicting weather, cloning, prolonging life, replacing heart, etc. What makes scientist more respectable is these things are within the reach of the mortal people, as opposed to yogic path which can be attended by only the individual yogi. To this end yoga is a selfish path as opposed to contradictory claim made by spiritual gurus, who ironically use scientific equipment to preach, for example microphones, television, airplanes, rather than resorting to a more dramatic spiritual manifestations which would have been perhaps more convincing and interesting.
It is said that these “Sihdis” are in fact distraction and yogis should distance from such “sidhis” and further their attempt to unite with the god. Even in this context, it seems like materialism is progressing in the right path because we are getting the by products of the higher attainment. In other words, by further pursuing scientific studies there is a possibility that it will also lead to liberation of souls. As a result, we can say that scientific study itself is a yogic path, similar to karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raj yoga, etc.
Let us turn our attention briefly to Vedas-as most of us are aware-there are four vedas: Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda and Atharva-Veda. I have heard many times during my childhood that all the knowledge is in the Veda. All the answers you want to find are in vedas. At that time, Vedas were not available in the language which I can understand. Obviously claim made hold for a long time. Nowadays, you can find many translations in the internet, and book stores. If you read the Vedas you quickly discover that these claims were baseless, and except for Atharva-Veda, the rest of the Vedas are dedicated solely to sacrificial rites. There are hymns of how to offer sacrifice to “Agni”,” Indra” etc. Atharva-Veda stands out in the sense that it has many mantras to treat various illnesses. In other word, Atharva-Veda is some kind of book of medicine. So, in fact Atharva-Veda at least tries to establish itself as a scientific branch of medicine. My proposal is if in the ancient times a medicine book was considered as a sacred book why don’t we treat all the scientific books which teach us to treat a patience, build a house, send message, process message as an extension to Atharva-Veda and consider them as sacred books. And declare, more you read more you are nearer to true knowledge. So every student is actually reading our sacred Veda. In other words, if you concentrate on scientific endeavors you are in fact following a yogic path.
In conclusion, in my opinion there is only superficial distinction between scientific knowledge and spiritualism. And, following scientific knowledge, in the future, it is also possible to find the purpose of the life.