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Question: What is the source of subjective opinion and beliefs?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Your belief in your existence. Just as you strongly believe that you do exist, you equally strongly believe that the world of your opinions exists. You cannot have a staunch belief in your being, and an inquisitive and skeptical attitude about the world you live in.
I cannot say, “I definitely do exist, but I am not sure whether this chair exists.” Can I? If I do exist, then the world that I perceive must necessarily exist. Or can I say, “I exist but this chair may or may not exist”? Where am I then resting my butt on?
Are you getting it?
The more strongly are you identified with yourself, equally strong will be your identification with the world of your perceptions. In that sense, Science leads to a humongous strengthening of the ego.
Can you see why? Science says, “The world definitely does exist. There is no doubt that the world exists.” Science begins with the premise that – the world does exist, now let us investigate how it exists and what it is. And in saying that the world does exist, Science has quietly asserted that the perceiver of the world definitely exists.
If the atom or the molecule, or the mountain, or the planet definitely exists, then the one who is perceiving the molecule, or the wave, or the planet too has to definitely exist.
So Science says that it does not talk about the person, or the subject, or the investigator at all. But Science is hiding something there. Science is lying, if we put it blatantly. Science has been constantly lying to us. Science says that it just investigates matter.
Science does not merely investigate matter, Science bases itself upon a humongous assumption about the mind, the perceiving mind.
In saying that the matter does exist, I am repeating this, Science has asserted, rather authenticated the existence of matter. Therefore the advent of Science has been accompanied by a gross rise in materialism.
That which exists, has to be the Truth. Come to the first principles. That which only seemingly exists, is merely an apparition. It is not the Truth. The first principle is – only the Truth really exists.
Turn it around.
That which really exists, may be called as ‘Truth’. ‘Truth’ is another name for That which really exists.
Now if Science tells you that matter really exists and therefore you really exists, Science has labelled you as the Truth. And ‘you’ are the ego. ‘You’ are what you think of yourself. You are therefore, the ego. And Science has therefore claimed that the ego is the Truth.
Therefore it would be quite a challenge to be scientific and yet spiritual, to be scientific and yet wise. Because to be scientific, is to live under the assumption that the ego is the Truth, that your intellect, your reasoning, your opinions are the Truth.
And don’t you see that on display all around you?
What is this liberal world around us? The liberal world says, “The market is the best judge. Customers know what to want and what to purchase.” Who has been termed as ‘the final one’? Who has been made ‘the final one’?
Listeners: The customer.
Acharya Prashant Ji: The customer. The ego.
People know how to elect their leaders. People know how to elect their leaders, that is liberal democracy for us. Right? Who has been made the final arbiter, the final judge? The people. Now that helps to an extent. That’s far better than living in an autocratic society. But then the perils of that are for all of us to see. And a lot of that is connected to the scientific revolution.
Question 2: Acharya Ji, you too have advocated the study of Science. How should we approach Science?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Science is a great stepping stone. Spirituality definitely requires the scientific attitude. We began this morning talking about the four grades of mind. Do not forget that – Science is at least second best. Being scientific is far better than being crazy, or being wedded to your personal opinions. Do not forget why the reformation and the renaissance were needed. Because in the name of subjective Truth, all we got was a lot illiteracy, superstition, and witch-hunt.
Science requires you to be scientific, but Science requires you to be fully scientific. Science says, “The matter outside is to be investigated.” The assumption is that the matter outside really does exist. And why does it exist? “Because I am saying that it exists.” Now the one who says that matter exists, is never investigated by Science.
Are you getting it?
So Science will say, “There is a Sun out there, up there. Let’s probe the Sun. Let’s send the most advanced scientific probe to the Sun.” Do you see that in all this lies the assumption? What is the assumption? That the Sun does exist. And why does the Sun exist? Because my eyes verify that the Sun exists. So who is the final judge? I am. And this final judge is never tested by Science.
“Sun exists because I say so.”
“Sun exists because my skin feels the heat.”
“Sun exists because my instruments indicate the waves.”
“Sun exists because my eyes, my intellect says so.”
Don’t you want yo examine your instruments? (Pointing at eyes, head, hands) These are your primary instruments, aren’t they?
Science never examines the primary instruments.
Science just keeps believing, and this is ‘superstition’.
Science is superstitious.
Science is superstitious because it refuses to examine the examiner.
Science has a basic assumption, and that assumption is never challenged.
Who is perceiving the Sun, and how?
How do you know that the Sun really exists?
How do you know that the world these senses communicate to you, is definitely there?
How do you know that the senses themselves are not projecting the world?
And to whom do these senses relay the world?
Who is the one to which all the sensory perceptions are being ultimately relayed?
These are the questions that Science never goes into.
Even the subject of the consciousness, has been outsourced by Science to Psychology. Whereas, Science rests definitely on Consciousness.
You talk of matter, you examine matter because you are conscious of matter. But Science fails to examine Consciousness. In fact the latest is that – Science has almost given up on Consciousness. There were attempts, there were attempts, since long. But all those attempts have hit a roadblock. Because to examine Consciousness, you will have to enter Meditation. Because to know why these senses are so hungry for sensual inputs, you will have to move into Devotion. And ‘Devotion’ and ‘Meditation’ are words alien to Science. Therefore Science itself is ultimately a big superstition.
However, I repeat, Science is just second-best. Being scientific is far-far better than being the madman, or the belief-ridden commoner. Being scientific is far better than being the layman who sneaks into his home on the day or night of the eclipses, thinking that the eclipses would do him some harm. “Some crazy gods go mad on the eclipses, so let’s rather hide.” Being scientific is far-far better than being like that.
Be fully scientific.
Examine not only that (the world outside), but also this (the mind which looks at the world).
Questioner: Acharya Ji, is the scientific world looking towards Spirituality to find some answers?
Acharya Prashant Ji: No. It is just the inferiority complex of the so-called spiritual gurus, or the spiritual seekers that they keep trying to get some affirmation from Science.
If I try to certify my works or my words from somebody, then who is higher – me or the certifying authority?
Listeners: The certifying authority.
Acharya Prashant Ji: If spiritual masters start seeking the sanction and certification of Science, first of all they have demonstrated that the spiritual approach is inferior to the scientific approach.
When one is not spiritual, then one starts borrowing scientific terms in Spirituality. Do scientists borrow spiritual terms? They don’t. But spiritual writers and gurus, they keep talking of Quantum Physics and this and that, because inwardly they know they are hollow. Inwardly they know that they need some big word to make their mumbo-jumbo acceptable to the modern mind.
If you continue with your ‘abracadabra’ and ‘Om-beem-boom’, then the modern girls and boys are not going to listen to you. So what do you do? You say, “Abracadabra, Om-beem-boom,” and “this is coming from Quantum Physics.”
So now people will come over.
“Did he just say ‘Quantum Physics’? Let me just listen to him.”
Science is elevated by the touch of Spirituality.
Spirituality does not need Science.
Science needs Spirituality.
Therefore wherever you find scientific terms being used to sanctify a spiritual discourse, run away from there.
In a spiritual discourse if Science is used to talk about matter, it is wonderful. Because matter is the legitimate domain of Science. But if Science is used to discuss the Truth, then one is just fooling.
Questioner: Acharya Ji, can you please explain why you said that Science needs Spirituality?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Because Science too has come to a roadblock.
To move beyond that roadblock, Science needs Spirituality.
Watch the session video: Beliefs, Superstitions, Science || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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