The leader of the scientists, a young handsome physicist of around 40 called Dr.Jack Duncan got up and said, “Thanks David and Karl, for all these mind-altering theories. All that the Rishis were saying in terms of inter-connectivity (Vasudhaiv kutumbakam) and the world being a mirage or maya (Brahma Satya, jagat mithya) has now been proved correct by our experiments and tests. But I wonder - How can that happen, these guys have no research model, no technology and no rigorous experimentation? Can someone explain pleeeeease?”
The scientists looked at David Bohm and Karl expectantly. Bohm shook his head, “While I have a reasonable understanding of the source and process of knowledge acquisition by the mystics, you must go and ask them about how they already know stuff on mind and matter that we have been able to corroborate after centuries of deep and objective research and study.”
Excitedly, a rather large group of scientists – old and wise, young and energetic packed their bags for the Himalayan Monastery. Led by Dr. Jack Duncan, they reached the Himalayas and with folded hands, they asked for an audience with the Rishis, monks and sadhus, which was gleefully accepted.
Dr. Duncan started the conversation as both sides settled down, the scientists on rather comfortable chairs and the mystics sitting cross-legged across them, “We want to understand that some of the concepts and world –view that you have been speaking about or have written in your scripture and holy books many, many centuries ago. These have been proved to be accurate by us scientists after years and years of rigorous experiments and research. We have come today to understand from you, about your source of knowledge. Your methods of acquiring knowledge seem so different from ours; we believe that they are archaic, whimsical and irrational – but the results are accurate. It is a paradox for us.”
Rishi Bhasma smiled with great patience and said, “What you scientists across the world are doing is amazing. We salute your methods, your patience and your rigorous double-blind processes. You have not only worked on the science of nature, but used that science and knowledge to create technology that is helping mankind grow and prosper. Without the work that you have been doing, the poor would not have attained prosperity in many, many parts of the world. So, not only are you searching the Truth of nature with so much diligence, but you are furthering the cause of honest enquiry using integrity and best practices. We mystics really appreciate your methods. Personally, I am a big admirer of the thought and creation of the Large Hadron Collider that you scientists have built to find the God particle. My blessings to you all.”
Another mystic, Krupalucharya concurred, “Spirituality and modern science are not contrary to each other. In fact, they are complementary. We have the highest regards and love for all that you are doing. We both are seeking the Truth. The difference is that you seek Reality by keeping your eyes open and we seek the Ultimate truth by closing our eyes.” All smiled at this profound statement.
“But we do not understand your methods. Obviously, you guys are scientists too, to come out with these findings and answers that we, the modern scientists, are able to corroborate, only now. But to us, this process of meditating and coming out with Truth seems very unscientific, irrational and subjective.” John Wheeler said, adding, “How does one know that a particular theory is correct? Anyone can claim any Truth.”
“That’s a fair question. Most people in the modern world feel that spirituality means non-rational assertions about God, rituals and soul. They think that scriptures and holy books are subjective writings of great enlightened men and women which need to be followed, not questioned.” Sage Bhasma replied, continuing, “In fact, Rishis are some of the greatest scientists and we have rigorous models of due diligence. Our search is external as well as internal and finding the correlation between the two.”
Rishi Vyasa, an old wizened sage continued where Bhasma had left, “Before any theory is accepted, it has to pass multiple tests. These means of knowledge are reasoning or logic, Perception, Inference, Comparison, Postulation, written scriptures by meditating saints and Verbal Testimony that is not unique. Unlike some religions, our books are written by various Rishis and enlightened sages over a period of many centuries to fill in gaps in knowledge. We also encourage different streams of thoughts, even though contrary. One of the shortcomings that we face is the lack of technology, tools and experiments to validate the concepts. We are deeply indebted to modern science to fill up that gap.”
One of the famous medical doctors, Dr. Ron Paul asked, “How did vaidyas or ancient medical practitioners, thousands of years before the age of science, discover health care technologies that science has now proven so effective?”
Dr Kumar Bhatt, an ayurveda medical doctor, who had left his thriving medical practice to come and live with the Rishis, said, “The factual information known to modern science is based on the reductionist approach of objective investigation. But the original ayurvedic vaidyas did not use objective investigation. Instead, they used systematic techniques for subjective investigation. They did not look outside at the world around them. They turned within, to the most profound levels of their own consciousness. All information that they obtained was by cognizing consciousness directly, deep within their own minds.”
He went on, “Rishi Bharadwaj, during the Vedic period, was very concerned with the increasing illness in society and he, along with some of the most accomplished meditation experts of that time sat together in deep and long group meditation. They were able to directly cognize the essence of ayurveda. These insights were part of the Charaka Samhita, the essential text book of ayurvedic medicines. Various experiments, tests and research were done after this that validated the findings of Rishi Bhardwaj.”
“But there seems to be no trace of the scientific approach,” Dr. Ron protested, “Bharadwaj used to no test tubes, no machinery, no double-blind trials – no objective investigation at all.”
Jumpa Dorje, a Tibetan Monk said, “There are two ways of acquiring awareness, the objective and the subjective. With the objective learning process, one would read, understand, experiment and build brick-by-brick solutions to achieve the result or outcome. While, in subjective knowledge acquisition, one would gain understanding of a subject through the consciousness.”
Dr. Ron was not completely convinced, “Why do only sages have this subjective knowledge? Why not me, why not others of the scientific fraternity? If it is a phenomenon, then it has to be universal.” The scientists nodded their heads in agreement.
“Anyone can access their deep consciousness. But one needs to learn the process by intensive meditation that is effective and can delve deep inside one’s self. For accessing subjective knowledge, we need to pass through four states.” Rishi Bhasma said, adding, “First is the preparation state, when mind deliberates the problem. Second state is incubation, when, while the conscious mind is preoccupied with other things, the subconscious mind is active. The most crucial third stage is of illumination or enlightenment, when in period of relaxation one can access the creative flow of intelligence and finally is the process of verification, post illumination.”
Rishi Bhasma was warming up to the topic, “Let us start with the phenomenon of sudden direct inspiration, or intuition, or cognition. Scientific discoveries are often thought to result from laborious gathering of facts, from precise experimentation and strict logic, of brick-by-brick knowledge through objective means. But, in fact, many of the most significant breakthroughs in history of science have come in the minds of the scientists unbidden, as an intuition blossoming in the mind, all at once.”
Dr. Duncan was excited, “That is so true. It has happened to me so often. Sometimes, when I am half asleep or in a trance while travelling, I get intuitive answers to some of the questions that have been bothering me and I am so sure of the veracity of those answers, that I go back to the laboratory confident that my intuition would prove correct on verification.” The other scientists also started saying that they too have had similar experiences, smiling and speaking together. The atmosphere in the room became filled with camaraderie and happiness.
Dr. John Wheeler, the American theoretical physicist was lost in his thoughts. He said, “You know it is strange that we are discussing this. Just yesterday, I was thinking about what my friend astrophysicist Fred Hoyle was telling me about how, when he was travelling, he felt like a sudden light had switched inside his brain and he found the answer to his problems. Isn’t this the subjective knowledge that you guys are talking about?”
There have been multiple instances when intuition or subjective knowledge has led scientists and mathematicians to landmark discoveries. Some of the recorded instances have been
- 1. The French mathematician Henri Poincare, got the idea about Fuschian functions being identical with non-Eucladien geometry, as he was entering an omnibus for his travels.
- 2. Roger Penrose, the mathematical physicist got answer to the problem he was facing when walking on the streets of London.
- 3. Friedrich Stradonitz suddenly saw a benzene ring in his brain, while riding half-asleep in a horse-drawn coach.
- 4. The Scottish engineer, James Watt invented a radically improved steam engine in an instance while out for a Sunday morning walk.
- 5. German physiologist Otto Loewi awoke one night at 3 am with a clear idea for an experiment that would solve the neurochemical problem he was facing.
- 6. Srinivas Ramanujan, one of the world's greatest mathematician was an "Autodidact" (a person who self -learns on a subject that he has little or no formal education) and got most of his complex equations from subjective understanding.
By now, the scientists were convinced that the intuitive or subjective knowledge was another path of acquiring knowledge, as they themselves had experienced these flashes of clarity many times. They acknowledged that their impression that the mystics worked in unstructured, unscientific and whimsical manner was unfounded.
Dr Duncan said, “We now understand and respect your methods and your deep, profound observations and outcomes. We may have different paths, but in some way, these are truly complementary and each group in its own way, is contributing to the growth of civilization and knowledge. All of us are grateful that we came here to meet you and have this path-breaking conversation.”
“But”, he added, “Can you explain how and why do we get this intuitive knowledge?”