Part IV: Science, religion and spirituality
1.What we have, we want to perfect. But we are not aware of where the goal is, what it looks like or what it stands for. We are not even aware that it exists. So naturally confusion assails us when we think of the goal. We try to perfect the tools that we are going to use, but what we are using them for, let alone what our cherished goal is, we do not know. Said Einstein, “Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem to characterise our age.”
Science gives us the means; religion shows us the goal. In the scientist’s words: “Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has nevertheless learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goal it has set up.” So science and religion are interdependent.
Science sees; religion feels. Science says to religion: “I am seeing only to give you what I see.” Religion says to science: “I am feeling only to give you what I feel.” The benefit of science is recognised first in the mental world, then in the physical world. The benefit of religion is recognised first in the psychic world, then in the physical world.
Science says, “Truth-discovery is life-mastery.” Religion says, “Life-mastery is truth-discovery.” Science walks along the road that leads from perfection to satisfaction. Religion walks along the road that leads from satisfaction to perfection.
Inside the mind of science, God the creation looms large. Inside the heart of religion, God the Creator looms large. The mind of science smiles when it discovers the truth. The heart of religion cries when it discovers the truth. Science says to its discovery, “I am happy because I have conquered you.” Religion says to its discovery, “I am happy because at long last you have conquered me.”
The scientist-sage in Einstein discovered the true truth: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” He also revealed another truth: “The cosmic religious experience is the strongest and noblest driving force behind scientific research.”
On another occasion he said, “The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead…It was the experience of mystery…that engendered religion.”
Material things could not please Einstein. Political things could not please him, either. The treasures of spirituality — life’s simplicity, the heart’s sincerity and the soul’s luminosity — in a special way pleased him. Him to quote: “The basis of all scientific work is the conviction that the world is an ordered and comprehensive entity, which is a religious sentiment. My religious feeling is a humble amazement at the order revealed in the small patch of reality to which our feeble intelligence is equal.”
God’s ways are inscrutable. The human mind is baffled when it tries to measure God the unfathomable. But that does not mean that God gets malicious pleasure from this. No, the subtle God wants us to enjoy the subtle divinities and realities which are infinitely more beautiful more meaningful, more soulful and more fruitful than the outer divinities and realities. God feels that we too can enjoy the inner worlds most palpably and most convincingly by becoming subtle like God Himself. In a few prophetic words, Einstein teaches the world, “The Lord God is subtle, but malicious He is not.”
Once Einstein wrote to a friend something about God-existence. What he said illumines those who love not only God the creation but also God the Universal Law, which houses perfect harmony disguised as seeming disorder: “You believe in a God who plays at dice, whereas I believe in perfect laws in a world of existing things, in so far as they are real, which I try to understand with wild speculation.”
Each God-believer believes in God according to his inner capacities and outer confidence. Let us observe what kind of God Einstein believed in and revealed to the world at large: “I believe in a God who reveals Himself in the harmony of all beings.”
The lover of life and the fulfiller of life in Einstein had no time to care for either the beginning or the end of life. Birth, death and life come from the same source, the perennial Source, the Abode of Immortality. Therefore, life could not puzzle him and death could not snatch him. “I feel myself so much a part of all life that I am not in the least concerned with the beginning or the end of the concrete existence of any particular person in this unending stream,” he said.
For the spiritual seeker, the fleeting moment is most important. A fleeting moment has the capacity to conquer Eternity’s Breath if the Supreme can utilise it in His own Way in and through a choice instrument of His. This is true for any field of human endeavour. Therefore, one should always try to be alert and conscious and aspire most soulfully in one’s own career, valuing not only the historical calendar but also the individual moment. In this way one can become a conscious instrument of the Supreme and turn one’s life into a supreme achievement of which both Heaven and earth can be proud.
No one is more aware of the supreme importance of the fleeting moment than the photographer. Einstein once commented that a photographer is like a surgeon. “You have a life in your hands every time you use your camera and are photographing someone, because the picture you take today you may not get tomorrow, so you have to be very, very careful.” Indeed, it may require only a few seconds to take a picture, but that photograph may be treasured by somebody for all his life.
In everything we do, there is the outer way and the inner way. The outer way is the way of possibility. The inner way is the way of inevitability. The seeker brings to the fore the inevitabilities and manifests them in a solid and concrete manner. An ordinary individual, who is not a seeker, does not have a free access to the inner source. He usually turns possibility into inevitability by hard labour combined with Grace from above, of which he is totally unconscious.
It is our freedom of choice that helps us eventually improve both our outer and inner lives. The outer life tells us: “Become and give.” The inner life tells us: “Give. Give what you have and what you are. In the process of your self-giving, to your wide surprise you will see that you have become not only what you long for, but something infinitely more.”
Einstein’s observation on how freedom relates to spiritual development and the perfection of nature is at once inspiring and illumining: “Only if outward and inner freedom are constantly and consciously pursued is there a possibility of spiritual development and perfection and thus of improving man’s outward and inner life.”