Posted by: adbhutam | August 19, 2009

Advaita and Science – II

Shrigurubhyo namaH

Advaita and Science – II

When a Vedanta Jnani who is also a Scientist specializing in Quantum Mechanics makes a statement on the close relationship that can be seen between Advaita and Science, one sees no need for a greater authority on the topic.  Reproduced here is what He wrote in that monumental book on Vedanta published by the Sringeri Sharada Peetham.

//The notes from the book “Shri Dakshinamurthy Stotram (part 1, page 651-653)”, written by Brahma Shri Subbaramaiya, who was a Professor and also an associate of  Nobel Laureate Prof. C.V. Raman, should be a pramāṇa for us in this matter. I am sure you are aware of it as well, but we should note that He has not used too many equations in explaining it. It is fully packed. Many sentences over there need pages of explanation as they have been tightly packed in 3 pages, the many aspects of modern science in a perfect way.//

-An opinion by a research scientist working in a European country.

This is the reproduced portion from that Book:

MODERN PHYSICS

Even in Physics which plays a predominant role in the present day science, developments are reminiscent of those of the steps leading to the Vedanta.  The particle theory resembling the paramāṇuvāda and the subsequent field theory, resembling the pariṇāmavāda have given place in the quantum theory to a formulation resembling the vivartavāda.  According to the quantum theory, matter cannot be asserted to be in the form of particles or local variations of the nature of a wave group in an extensive field.  These are, at best, two different ways of talking about or picturing physical reality in parlance, in terms of what is familiar; and at best they are crude pictures of the nature of representation.  The language is purely metaphorical in character.  Any attempt at picturing, for example, an electron, really as a tiny speck, is not possible because the formulae show that if it has no dimension it would have to be of infinite energy; and if dimension is attributed, it should have burst long ago by mutual repulsion of its parts.  This shows that ‘size’ in the usual sense cannot be attributed to an electron; similarly for the other so-called fundamental particles which are so only in name, a concept, introduced as a convenient way of talking, since in the mathematical parlance relating to them, integral numbers play the role.  The usual notions of space, time and causation do not work in the realm of the so-called fundamental particle physics; they are to be employed only because contact has to be established with the things of the world in everyday-parlance, in the experiments, for example.  The uncertainty principle which is now recognized to be all-important has far-reaching consequences.  The notion of position precludes altogether the notion of motion; similarly in respect of energy and time and also in respect of other such pairs.  Again, what is observed in experiment cannot be asserted to be the ‘property’ of the entity that is regarded as observed, because of the unavoidable interaction of the observer that is the apparatus etc., with the observed.  What may be regarded as seen is of the nature of a reaction to a stimulus, thus bringing in the notion of the so-called biological significance of the dynamical variables like position, momentum etc., of the phenomena that are spontaneous like radio-activity etc., and the synthesis in the laboratory of certain viruses etc., apparently abolishes the border line between life and non-life and makes the science of life all-important in the science of physics.  Again, the relativistic formulations which have brought space and time into intimate relation, showing that their separation is untenable, that matter is merely curvature of the so-called space-time manifold and that matter and energy are not different entities, show that all physical phenomena must be traced to a single entity, say, energy, unmanifest or manifest.  The notion of different observers with their own measures in regard to the shapes and sizes of objects that are observed, and with their own fragmentization of the space-time manifold into ‘space’ and ‘time’, lends itself to the view that the universe observed by each is of his own making.  If the physical accompaniments such as the senses, apparatus etc., are included in the notion of the observer, then, since they interact with the observed, the so-called observer would correspond to the pramātṛ or the kartṛ, while, if the ‘de-personalisation’ as is now-a-days envisaged, is effected by stripping of these, the observer would then correspond to the Witness – Sākṣī of Vedanta.  These theories have forced the view that the universe can, at best, if at all, be ‘described’ succinctly, and never ‘accounted for’.  There is thus the admission of Avidyā of the investigator and anirvachanīyatā of the universe, as in Vedanta.  That the universe has been referred to by them (the scientists) as mysterious, recalls to the mind the Māyā of Vedanta.

Om Tat Sat


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