> On May 23, 2006, at 7:40 AM, TurquoiseB wrote:
> > Not to mention "killing the messenger."
> And that "killing of the messenger" in this specific context is an
> artifact of clinging to the "idea" that the vedas and science go
Or, it's an artifact of being genuinely interested in
the degree of validity of various projects aimed at
integrating or reconciling science and spirituality.
As I said earlier, critiques of these projects, if
*they* are to be valid, require an expert understanding
of both science *and* the spiritual system of a
particular project. If the proponents of such a project
were to lack an expert understanding of science, their
attempts at integration/reconciliation would be invalid
no matter how expert they were with regard to the
spiritual system they wanted to integrate/reconcile
with science--in other words, it cuts both ways.
Unlike many such projects, the TM project does have a
leading proponent (Hagelin) who is expert in both science
and MMY's version of Vedic Science. That doesn't
automatically make the project valid, of course, but
it does make it a little more difficult to dismiss.
(What scientifically ignorant TMers--MMY included, in
some respects--make of his theories is a horse of a
different color; here I'm referring to the theories as
expounded by Haglelin.)
It's not clear to me from what I've read of Nanda's
ideas how close the version of Vedic science she's
addressing is to MMY's version.
You're a fan of Ken Wilber, Vaj. One of the reviews I
read (not on Amazon; it's from FreeIndiaMedia.com) says:
"One of the problems here is the tacking-on of an
adjective before `science'. Science is what it is
no matter where it is practiced, in the East or West,
or by whom; `science' with a prefix such as `Vedic'
or `Western' or the like, ought to arouse suspicion
immediately....[In] 'Vedic Science'...even the domain
of observational experience upon which science is
commonly based is expanded to include super-sensory
mental experience of 'alternative levels of reality'
that cannot be encountered in normal experience."
I'm sure Wilber would agree that it ought to arouse
suspicion, because it's so vulnerable to misuse; but
he also maintains that the core principles of the
scientific method can indeed be applied to the
spiritual endeavor--i.e., that there is such a thing as
"subjective science." It would be really interesting to
hear what Wilber thinks of Nanda's approach (assuming
this review accurately represents her ideas).
Here's a bit from the essay you posted:
"...Everything we know about the workings of nature
through the methods of modern science radically
disconfirms the presence of any morally significant
gunas, or shakti, or any other form of consciousness
in nature, as taught by the Vedic cosmology which
treats nature as a manifestation of divine
consciousness. Far from there being 'no conflict'
between science and Hinduism, a scientific
understanding of nature completely and radically
negates the 'eternal laws' of Hindu dharma which
teach an identity between spirit and matter."
Even in context, this is pretty ambiguous. What
could it mean to "disconfirm" any "form of
consciousness in nature"? Human beings are part of
nature; she can't be saying they are not conscious.
What does she mean by "nature" here, and what does
"consciousness in nature" mean?
That aside, it's very unclear that science could
ever negate, radically or otherwise, an identity
between spirit and matter. Seems to me all science
can do is to show there is no objective evidence
for this identity--but if there *were* such an
identity, why is it assumed that it would have to
manifest in objective evidence? Spirit by definition--
by its very nature--is subjective. So the absence
of objective evidence cannot be said to be objective
evidence of absence.
> > There is a
> > great deal of resistance on the part of members of
> > Indian-based spiritual groups to equating the
> > "Vedic Science" movement with Christian Fundament-
> > alism, but I think that not only is it a valid
> > parallel, it's something that seekers should be
> > more aware of.
Of course one can draw parallels, but they're only
valid up to a point. Christian fundamentalism--
specifically Creation Science--explicitly declares
that science is *wrong* about evolution, for instance,
whereas according to the review of Nanda's book,
"Advocates of 'Vedic Science' say that both it and
'Western science' ultimately express `the same truth',
but each in its own culturally relative way."
(Actually MMY would say Vedic science and Western
science are complementary *modes of knowing* that
discover compelementary aspects of the truth.)
> > But isn't it fascinating that when this issue
> > comes up, the first post reacting to it on FFL
> > is an attempt to demonize and discredit the
> > author? Typical.
Not "fascinating," but "facile," and just plain wrong.
I was curious to know more about Nanda's book and
went first to Amazon to check it out. Of course I
glanced at the reviews, and the unanimity of opinion
in the negative reviews about her lack of expertise
in Vedic thought was impossible to miss. Obviously,
if that's the case, it calls the validity of her
thesis in question, just as a lack of scientific
expertise on the part of someone attempting to
promote Vedic science would call *their* thesis in
question. Double standards, anyone?
And how that constitutes "demonizing" her, as Barry
claims, is left as an exercise for the reader.
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