Scientific Attitude and Indian Philosophy (Hinduism)

Posted by Rakesh Pandey
February 27, 2017

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‘To question’ or ‘to doubt’ is not being rational and it is far from being scientific. It is merely an instinctive human behaviour. Doubting is, almost reflexive in human attitude. However, each individual has different appetite of doubting. Scientific doubts, in particular, many a times are raised in an attempt only to confirm the answer that you are contemplating. And as soon as you get an answer on the expected lines, you feel relieved as you have already built up a working model based on the expected answer and therefore you are hardly left with doubts and questions at that stage temporarily.

Indian philosophy believes that all genuine questions generally have genuine answers. And to me, offering answers is actually being scientific. Newton and Einstein are considered scientists not because they questioned but only because they offered solutions. As a matter of fact, the tendency to search for solution is the valid meaning of being rational and being scientific. Indian spiritualism in that strict sense is more than what we understand with the term ‘scientific’. Indian philosophy is based on a realization that the mystery of Universe is very difficult to be unfolded completely. It therefore encourages you to search and develop your own understanding about the same. It essentially believes that a person would keep on asking questions based upon one’s reasoning capabilities that is bound to be different in each one of us and also that this capability is destined to grow with time and experience. At a given time therefore every individual is bound to stop questioning as soon as the answer matches one’s own expectations and till the time one develops a capability of questioning further. The difference however, lies in the fact that while science ‘supposedly’ believes in only one answer at a given point till it is proven wrong, Indian spiritual philosophy advocates for accepting all answers being correct simultaneously due to different capabilities of understanding that is possessed by different individuals. We fail to notice a similar attitude even in the evolution of science when even though Einstein’s theory of relativity has modified the Newton’s laws, we know that Newton’s laws are perfect if the velocities that we are dealing with are very small as compared to the velocity of light. Meaning thereby that correctness of a solution depends on the circumstances and its relevance as finding absolute final answers are most probably equivalent to searching for a mirage. On another note even Darwin’s evolution that did talk about transforming life that originated in water to human beings ironically did not made all creatures extinct that came in between. In fact, we notice all forms of life existing simultaneously and each one of the existing creatures representing a surviving life at different stages of this great evolutionary process.

All these answers have only one common thing and it is that they have all been offered in response to your questioning capabilities. This approach therefore keeps you open for accepting answers whenever you start doubting again. At some stage of your life, some may find the final answer in idol worship, some in meditating, some in Dwaita and some in Adwaita, some in Ram, some in Krishna, some in Shiva and some in Hanumana, some in Buddha and some in Sikh Guru, some in Brahmo Samaj and some in being Arya Samaji, some in Mahavira and some in atheism, some in communism, some in Islam and some in Christianity. Unfortunately, the last few of these answers claim themselves as being the final answer and hence make all attempts to close down this transition route to stop believers from making further moves. And that separates Indian philosophy, often understood as Hindism primarily by default, from those that were not originated here. As soon as even these philosophies would become open to questioning they would also come under the fold of Indian philosophies and ideologies. That answers our doubts as to why there is an underlying understanding and acceptance between a Durga worshipper and a Kali worshipper or between a Hanuman believer and a Kartikeya believer, a Shiva believer and a Vishnu believer, a Sikh follower and an atheist but on the other hand, even two sects of a Semitic philosophies just refuse to be at peace worldwide.

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