Global Perspectives in Science and Sikh Religion Introduction Human life is based on the interaction of physical, cultural and even religious forms of life. Man is part of nature. Human mind has access to reality through four modes of knowledge: sensory experience, discursive cognition, intuition, and revelation. In the first two modes the subject-object duality remains intact. Hence the religious experience, which transcends this distinction, does not belong to the realm of these modes. While mysticism involves intuition, spiritualism bases its self-certifying validity on revelation. The revealed word has no transcendental source, but is immanent in the cosmos and is revealed to and heard by the sages. This is how the Vedas were revealed as shrutis. Religion and Science are both engaged in the exploration of Ultimate Reality. The field of religion concerns consciousness and its flux in molding the destiny of man. Science explores the nature or its manifestation through the material world. It starts from gross matter and moves toward subtle consciousness pervading in the material world. The modern science, namely, quantum mechanics has brought consciousness into the frame of reference of experimental and theoretical physics. Retreat of Religion and Dominance of Science The conflict between Science and Religion started after Renaissance in Europe. Both moral and intellectual revulsion against religion took place in the mind of the western man and his mental energies were diverted toward natural sciences. Diderot, in his Encyclopaedia, encouraged men to follow Natural Science in preference to Theology. Newtonian world-view gave birth to the mechanical philosophy of Nature and the Religion was dethroned from the realm of western man's life' Cartesian philosophy stressed that reality was knowable to man through senses and intuition; hence revelation and mysticism have no role to play. Reality was considered to be of material nature and spirituality was considered to be reduntant. Deterministic materialism, as such, was held to be the ultimate paradigm of material reality. The Hegelian postulate that 'the real is rational, the rational real' implied another 'universal' which ignored spirituality and advocated historical materialism which led to advent of Marxism. Both these philosophies, viz., Cartesian dualism and Marxian socialism dethroned religion from the world-view of modern man till mid of twentieth century. During the latter half of the 20th century, a crisis in this grand narrative of modern Western civilization has appeared. The myth of reason, rationality, progress and historical materialism exploded. The dialectic of class contradictions gave way to that of ethnic, ethno-religious and ethno-political contradictions in the context of growing tensions between secular nationalism and religious nationalism. The technological inventions and the powers placed in the hands of the western man have been instrumental in giving him economic and political dominance over the eastern societies. The collapse of the grand narrative of modern western civilization is the collapse of the metanarrative of reason. Science-Spirituality Dialogue During the new millennium, the conflict between Science and Religion finds a retreat and we are living in a world where a dialogue between Science and Spirituality has become possible. Paradoxically, the inadequacy of reason has been revealed by reason itself. The Uncertainty Principle proposed by Werner Heisenberg has demolished the pyramid of deterministic philosophy based on Newtonian world-view. Here was an impasse beyond which reason could not go in its understanding of reality. The knower and the known are being seen as intertwined, mutually inclusive and not mutually exclusive. It is being felt that the traditional (dualistic, atomistic, reductionist) view is incapable of revealing the essence of reality. A new 'holistic' view is needed to see Reality in its concrete wholeness – a view that would see the whole in the parts and the parts in the whole, envisioned as dynamic becoming and not static being. This necessitates what is termed as "the paradigm shift" or the breakthrough of a new problematic in our thinking. This would not mean a negation of reason but going beyond it, to the realm of spirit. The notion of spirit in this sense would be the foundational principle of the global civilization of the third milliennium analogous to the way in which 'reason' was the foundational postulate of the modern Western civilization after renaissance in Europe. Post Modern Era: An Age of Golbalization Due to a large number of technological advances in the post-modern era, the world is rapidly shrinking. Globalization has become the buzzword everywhere. Some profound changes are taking place which are distinctly different from the modern era. Obviously, there is rethinking and reconfiguration of modern era ideologies causing many tensions, confusions and insecurities. Post modern era can be described as an era of conflict and anxiety. For this shrinking and volatile world, there is a dire need of one universal religion. Inter-faith dialogue and global perspectives of science – spirituality dialogue have become of utmost importance in the post modern era. Post-modernism has questioned the empirical methods of the modern era to search for the absolute reality. It contends that ultimate reality can never be found through senses and scientific instruments. According to Lyotard, scientific and rationalist discourses of the modern era have lost their legitimacy during the post-modern times. Quantum physics and chaos theory are some prime examples to demonstrate that science cannot make reliable predictions. Truth and reality transcends the obvious. Global Perspectives in Science and Sikh Religion Recent advances in both experimental and theoretical physics have established that quantum theory supports the idea of a cosmic spirit pervading the cosmos and inter-relationship of individuals in world society (parts and wholes). Roger Penrose in his book, Shadows of the Mind, has tried to establish the role of consciousness in new physics which looks beyond quantum theory. In the chapter, 'Structure of the Quantum World', he probes the limitations of quantum theory to describe physical reality. Earlier, EPR paradox brought into focus the limitations of quantum theory: "The quantum-mechanical description of reality given by the wave function is not complete or, in other words, when the operators corresponding to two physical quantities do not commute, the two quantities cannot have simultaneous reality." EPR paradox was explained by John Bell in his famous theorem implying some hidden variables. Theoretical predictions of Bell's theorem have been verified by Aspect Experiments. The implications of Bell's theorem and its experimental findings are staggering. They have established the interplay of consciousness and the physical world and changed our world-view where the notion of an objective world is in conflict with quantum theory. The inter-relation of human consciousness and the observed world is obvious in Bell's theorem. What we call physical reality, the external world, is shaped to some extent, by human thought. This train of thought was led further by David Bohm who proposed that the information of the entire universe is contained in each of its parts. For Bohm, order and unity are spread throughout the universe in a way which escapes our senses. We are living in a holographic universe. The world is an indivisible whole. Similar sentiments were expressed by John Donne, a mystic poet, in his poem during 17th century : "No man is an island, entire of itself, everyman is a piece of the continent; if a clod is washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind." Universal nature of scientific laws is well known, we have Lorentz invariance of physical laws of nature. Natural phenomenon is governed by four basic forces or interactions. Recent theories established the unification of basic forces which is confirmed by experiments. It is hoped that Grand Unification theories in Science may influence our thinking in cultural and religious domains also. Global perspectives in Science find its echo in the philosophy of Sikh religion, founded by Guru Nanak during fifteen century in India. It has some parallelism with renaissance and reformation movements in Europe. Guru Nanak challenged the orthodox ideas of Indian society based on Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Sikh philosophy as expounded in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs, is unique in its epistemology. It rejects myths, rituals and dogma; as a consequence it has a universal appeal for humankind irrespective of its religious and cultural affiliations. In the holistic vision of Sikh philosophy, God, nature and man are integrally bound to each other. According to Rev. H L Bradshaw, "Sikh religion is a universal world faith, a message for all men. The religion preached by Guru Nanak is the faith of the New Age. The other religions contain the truth but the Sikh religion contains the fullness of truth." Sikh religion is compatible with modern science in its approach to cosmology, nature of reality, relation of microcosm to macrocosm and consciousness. Sikh religion believes in transcendental nature of reality as enunciated in SGGS: "In this realm, one sees but without the eyes; one listens but without the ears, one walks but without the feet; one works but without the hands; one speaks but without the tongue; thus attaining life in death. O Nanak, one meets the God after realisation of the divine law." Sikh religion advocates dual nature of reality, transcendental and immanent. God himself transforms into creation, changing his nirguna form (energetic state) to sarguna form (material state). Space and time were created at the epoch of Big-Bang and creation process has occurred several times. The universe was created out of sunya phase (cosmic void) billions of years ago. There are millions and billions of stars, solar systems and galaxies in the universe and it is difficult to account for the whole system. Guru Nanak discards the Vedantic concept of reality which considers this universe as an illusion or Maya. The Sikh view-point is: "Real are Thy Continents; Real is the Universe; Real are these Forms and material objects; Thy doings are real, O Lord." Truth is considered supreme in all religions but the Sikh religion lays more stress on truthful living than on truth: "Truth is high but higher still is truthful living". Hence the Sikh religion does not condemn the worldly life as maya (illusion). Reality is perceived in a holistic mode in both microcosm and macrocosm. Guru Nanak has identified the manifest reality with nature: "Nanak, the beneficent Lord alone is true, and He is revealed through His Nature". The need of the hour is a dialogue between Science and Spirituality. It will be most appropriate to promote Global Perspectives of Science and Spirituality with special reference to the Sikh religion. Acknowledgement: This Academic Paper was part of a Project on Science and Spirituality submitted in 2004 to Interdisciplinary University of Paris, with funding from the Templeton Foundation of USA. The author is indebted to Dr Pranab Das, Principal Investigator and Program Director, Global Perspectives on Science and Spirituality (GPSS) and Chair, Department of Physics, Elon University, USA for motivating the author for participation in this Global Competition. The author offers his sincere thanks to the Templeton Foundation for the Honorable Mention Award of 1000 Euros in the GPSS competition. Bibliography 1.Contemporary Science and Religion in Dialogue: Challenges and Opportunities. Job Kozhamthadam (Editor), ASSR Publications, Pune, 2002 2.History and Philosophy of Science. H S Virk (Editor), Guru Nanak Dev University Press, Amritsar, 1988 3.Understanding Quantum Physics. Michael A. Morrison, Prentice Hall, N.J. 1990 4.The Post-Modern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. 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