Syllabus: General Studies Essay Paper:
Coexistence of Science and Religion in India
India has been one of the oldest continuous civilization, till date. Its contribution both in field of science and religion has been remarkable. From invention of Zero in mathematics and Buddhism in religion, India’s contribution to the world has been remarkable and unparalleled. In this land the science and religious ideas both have coexisted and thrived together for centuries.
Starting from the Harappan civilization to the modern day, not even a single example can be cited in the Indian History where scientific and religious institutions have come at loggerheads. Unlike in western countries where scientific ideas where suppressed and discouraged by churches, India has no such history of suppression of scientific ideas by religion or vice versa.
Science relies on experiment, whereas religion on experience. Any religious experience, be that of Christ or Ramakrishna, is personal and subjective and it cannot be tested by any experiment. One has to believe in it. On the other hand, the experiment of science is an impersonal venture.
As the words ‘experience’ and ‘experiment’ connote, the worlds of religion and science are poles apart. Science is concerned with ‘how’ of reality whereas religion is concerned with the ‘why’ of reality.
The stark differences between ideology and their method of operation suggest that coexistence of one with other is nearly impossible. It is also evident from history of world that religious sects have always attacked scientific community and similarly scientific community has heavily criticised religious beliefs.
In the Indian context this logic is totally defied. Its history is full of such examples, which show that the period during which science advanced is the same period during which religion developed and spread. For example during Gupta period , the Hinduism saw its revival and saw growth of various sects and writing of various religious books, during the same period science also saw boom as is evident from work of Aryabhatt and other notable scientists of the period.
These are stories in Indian mythology that have found their relevance and proof in modern science. For example, in Indian religion it has always been maintained that one second Gods world is equal to hundreds of years on earth. This statement was proved to be true after Albert Einstein proved time dilation between different frame of reference moving with different velocity. Further this theory is corroborated by the fact that Indian gods are always associated with Halo around them, which proves that their velocity is more than velocity of light causing a light boom to trail with them. Hence this small example shows that Indian religion may have originated from scientific ideas.
In fact many of the theories of science are now finding their relevance with Indian religious teachings.
Indian religious mythologies states existence of pushpakviman, brahma astra while in the modern world has seen aeroplane and nuclear bombs. This shows that religion and science are somehow correlated and have coexisted.
What was true thousands of years ago is still true in India. Modern day India is a secular state and allows one to practice one’s own religion. Further despite centuries of oppression by European powers, India has emerged as one of the scientific powers.
Many Indian scientists like, Ramanujam, Bose, Bhabha have found recognition in the world. Their theories and formulae have been used for modern day technologies. Even today Indian scientist bodies like DRDO, ISRO and BARC have amazed the world by doing low cost and unimaginable scientific experiments like Mars mission, moon exploration and many others. We have often heard of and many times witnessed greatest scientists praying to God and following religious rituals before undertaking big assignments. Coconut breaking ritual has been followed in India while launching submarines. Doctors and surgeons often pray to God before undertaking major surgeries. Religion and science coexist everywhere whether it is human mind or the biggest scientific feats.
Religion aims at making human life happier and better and science also is devoted to the same objective. The differences between the two do not lie in their objectives though they may differ in their approaches. Though, Religion and science are outwardly antagonistic gut inwardly complementary to each other.
Religion and Science, combined together, support the common cause of man’s progress on this planet. Most of the people are confused about their role in the context of human affairs. In fact, religion manifests internal enlightenment while science reflects the external progress or physical development. Both are equally important. Body and soul co-exist. One cannot exist without the other. Religion is a food for our soul while science is a food for our body.
A true religion does not lie in formalism or ritualism. It is that light which removes the gloom of ignorance. It is an instrument of discipline which exercised its power on the minds of the people when there was no civilization, no police, no military and no government. Religion persuaded people give up the evil. It also attracted the people though a lure of heaven so that the people might follow the path of grace and goodness.
Religion is related eternal truth and wisdom while science symbolizes only temporary knowledge of the physical aspects of this universe. If the imperishable wisdom of religion continues to guide the knowledge of science in a right direction, there will be no third world war. So, let us wish that religion and science may be in perfect harmony with each other for the survival of humanity.
Conclusion: A judicious mix of religion and science is a guarantee for man’s spiritual and material upliftment. Each has a distinct role to play. There is no scope for conflict. However, enlightened religion should replace the orthodox and out-dated dogmas.
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