An Astounding Scientist or a Wandering Monk

Dr Vishal Sharma
“Science is nothing but the finding of unity. As soon as science would reach perfect unity, it would stop from further progress, because it would reach the goal” declared Swamiji in the paper on Hinduism he submitted in the Parliament of Religions in 1893.
Science is the highest form of Spirituality and Spirituality is the highest form of science. Science is to discover the material development for physical comfort of life but Spirituality is the science of human growth for self-transformation. Albert Einstein said: “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world a new”. Science and Spirituality appears to be the two sides of a coin which never meet even at the infinity. The visionary saints like Swami Vivekananda tried to bridge this divide and propagated the idea of Scientific Spirituality. Swami ji said that even Science and Spirituality converges at a point and all endeavors in the field of knowledge is to know thyself in relation to other. Swami Vivekananda is also known as “Narendra Nath Datta” was born on 12th January 1863 in Calcutta. Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk and chief disciple of the 19th-century visionary saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary (12th of January) is celebrated as National Youth Day in India. Swami Vivekananda was an Indian monk who became more popular after his historic speech in the “Parliament of the World’s Religions” at Chicago, USA in 1893. One question ticked my mind, why he is more popular after his visit to USA. Whether, he is the first monk who crossed the seas and disseminated the philosophy of Vedanta or because he had addressed the audience as “Sisters and Brothers of America” or the actual reason may be something else. The answer may be any or all of the above but my opine, his vision embodies the virtue of Science & Spirituality. Moreover, he is very well successful in making the audience understand the great science in Vedanta and bridge the gap between Science and Spirituality which was created by western thinkers. Most of the people understand that “Parliament of the World’s Religions” was attended only by religious persons from all over the world, but very few knew the fact that the great scientists of that era like Lord Kelvin, Prof. Von Helmholtz, Nicholas Tesla were also the part of the audience. These luminary scientists were so impressed by the astounding knowledge hidden in the ancient Indian scriptures that they met frequently with Swamiji to further discuss on the scientific treatise concealed in these scriptures. During his stay in the West, he impressed many leading scientists and inventors including Nicholas Tesla, Hiram Maxim (inventor of machine guns), Lord Kelvin and many several other great thinkers of that era.
Swami Vivekananda popularly known as wondering monk of India is equally popular among Saints and seers as well as Scientists of that era. His teachings were focused on the various aspects of science, religion, spirituality, education, philosophy, social issue, character building etc. He presented Vedantic views in scientific language spans from the concept of atom, energy and matter, space-time, dark energy and to the most fundamental question like creation of universe. He envisioned from Vedanta that micro-world and macro-world are built on the same plane i.e. whether it is Sun, Earth or any tiniest particle of the universe, all follows the same building scheme. Later in 1913, Niels Bohr (a student of Rutherford) developed planetary model of atomic structure i.e. electrons are orbiting around the positive charged nucleus like the planets orbiting around the sun.
Swami Vivekananda was overwhelmed by the concept of creation described in Nasadiya Sukta of Rigveda (10:128), which says “the only one that there was, hammered itself to bring out the creation”. Swamiji has understood the real essence of these sutras and developed the concept that Prana (energy) and akasha (matter) coming out of the same substance, and these two being one in the dyu loka (electric sphere).
Swamiji in his London discourse, roughly around 1896, on the topic “The Real Nature of Man” has said “…..what we call matter does not exist at all; it is only a certain state of force (energy)….”. It is coincidence and surprising that roughly after ten years in 1906 a German-born Physicist Albert Einstein, the great scientist of the era, came up with Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity that expresses the fact that matter is nothing but the condensed form of energy and can be changed into one another and follow the relationship E=mC2.
Swamiji wrote an article (in 1895) on the topic “The Ether,” which was published in the New York Medical Times, an outstanding scientific journal. The article goes like this: “……And thus we are forced to find that the ether . . . cannot explain space because we cannot but think of ether as in space…”. Nicholas Tesla the famous U.S. Electrical Engineer was also impressed by the scientific discourses on Vedantic Philosophy of Swami Vivekananda. Swamiji hoped for a mathematical demonstration of the Vedantic concept of unity and Tesla wanted Swamiji to further illuminate his understanding of the “Ether”. Tesla thinks he can demonstrate mathematically that force and matter are reducible to potential energy. Tesla described the universe as a kinetic system filled with energy which could be harnessed at any location. Michael Talbot in his book ‘Mysticism and New Physics” says, Vivekananda’s vision and scientific explanation of Vedanta has later become the backbone of the quantum theory.
After coming back from USA, Swamiji remarked during a lecture in India, “I myself have been told by some of the best scientific minds of the day, how wonderfully rational the conclusions of the Vedanta are. I know of one of them personally, who scarcely has time to eat his meal, or go out of his laboratory, but who would stand by the hour to attend my lectures on the Vedanta; for, as he expresses it, they are so scientific, they so exactly harmonize with the aspirations of the age and with the conclusions to which modern science is coming at the present time”. In conclusion, Swami Vivekananda presented Vedanta in a modern perspective so that even scientific minded people would understand and appreciate it. Swami Vivekananda preached the unity of existence, or the oneness of matter and energy, or the ultimate oneness of God, man and nature-the keynote principle of Hindu thought and life.
(The author is HOD Electronics MAM College Jammu, Former Fulbright Climate Fellow USA)

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