In her polemical article on ‘Hindutva’s Science Envy’, writer Meera Nanda displays willful ignorance of the Vedic perspective on nature and blind adherence to her colonial conditioning with respect to modern science.
But first to the Freudian part. The phrase science envy, and its derivative term physics envy – where physics concepts are tortuously applied to understand social/behavioral systems, are resonances from the Freudian theory of penis envy where the female from a young age is presumed to suffer from an inferiority complex for lack of this essentially male organ. This perversion of the roots of human condition, along with the rest of Freudian psychoanalysis has thankfully been interred in the soil of more enlightened thinking, except of course in the remnants of colonial and Marxist sepoys who flagellate themselves in the hopes that self-mortification of their Bharatiya identity will get them closer to the God of Materialism. Just as Darwin himself warned against applying evolutionary theory to the larger human population, Shri Aurobindo too never advocated the application of individuated Yoga psychological theory to the masses. To rail against Hindutva’s science envy combines both follies in one egregious combination of wilful ignorance and slavish adherence unbecoming of a so-called scientist.
Inorganic Unity of Western worldview & modern science
In contrast to the persistent claim by enlightened Hindus of requiring organic unity between the human condition and scientific advancement, the currently imposed scientific and technological system is very much an inorganic Frankensteinian monster that has already turned upon its master. Literally every single disaster that is befalling organic life on Earth can be laid at the doors of modern science, from antibiotic resistance, to GMO crop contamination, pesticide runoffs, fossil fueled climate change, nuclear standoffs, species extinction, and the list goes on and on. Just wait until nanotechnology too gets perverted and nano dust pervades our material existence!
Far from having science envy, Hindutva bemoans how Dharma has been dissociated completely from material world progress. Thanks to Macaulay-ism we have systematically stripped out all Dharma studies in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education in Bharat, and compartmentalized us into narrow boxes of hyper-specialized coolies; and of the so-called Arts & Humanities colleges that have been taken over by imported Marxist philosophies since 1977, the less said the better. In contrast, so-called Western humanities with all its church rooted dogma has been taught alongside of STEM in Western higher education, and the results are now clearly befalling us, positives and negatives in equal measure. This is well documented by noted scientists such as CK Raju. It is not that Bharatiyas are angry at how Western science has succeeded and spread through colonization as Meera Nanda proposes, but at how its dogmatic roots and well oiled propaganda have laid waste to humanity.
Noted biologist Robert Lanza, pioneer of the term Biocentrism to describe the nature of conscious reality, while acknowledging its Hindu roots, derides the fortress mentality of physical scientists who refuse to pay attention to the increasing evidences coming from quantum physics that it is consciousness which is the cause of the perceived universe, and not the other way around. That attention to a particle causes it to collapse into physical existence from its superposition of probabilities is well known; quantum effects beyond the subatomic are even being demonstrated at macro levels now, in specialized crystalline structures. It is indeed ironic that physical scientists are not paying attention to this evidence that will cause their world view to literally collapse! This willful ignorance of so-called scientists to crouch in their foxholes extends to the likes of Meera Nanda who have blinders on to ignore any Vedic wisdom that corroborates with modern scientific discoveries.
Organic Unity of Science & Dharma
The essential characteristic of a scientist is that they need to be an impartial observer of the universe around them, and within themselves. Instead of just dissecting objects with a subjective mindset they need to be completely clear of all their biases before jumping into any kind of scientific enquiry. When I say “clear of all their biases” there are two meanings; one is to understand fully well (be clear) what is our bias, and second is to get rid of (clear out) these biases.
The system of Yoga, which is the bedrock of Hindu culture, clinically cultivates such a perspective. Maharishi Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras very clearly (!) states that Yoga is Chittha-Vritthi Nirodhah, loosely interpreted as “when the fluctuations in the mind stuff cease”. Incidentally this does not mean that you have no thoughts but that there is a certain coherent state that occurs in deep meditation when we have gone beyond all of our mental conditionings. When this meditative Rishi state occurs, and this requires some basic Hatha Yoga practices too, the literature says that the practitioner becomes akin to a crystal. This does not mean acquiring the mineral hardness of a rock, but the crystalline nature does manifest in terms of coherence and resonance properties. This has been our first-person empirical experience.
In this Rishi state one can then indeed manifest physical realities with grace and ease. Most people describe the Rishi state as a subjective state, which in Western science has become a negative term. So rather than call it subjective, it is more appropriate to call it first-person empiricism, a radically better approach to scientific experimentation than current so-called objective approaches riddled with individual bias. With a Yogic approach a true Rishi/scientist would then think really hard about how their discoveries would impact humanity for generations to come, a long term worldview that is the hallmark of Dharmic followers. Dharma as its Sanskrit etymology indicates, is about that which sustains, both within and without. When Dharma is properly integrated into STEM studies, and industry follows suit, the outcomes will be necessarily organically sustainable with fewer disastrous applications – at least we hope, if they at least give it a chance!
To think that the Rishi state is inaccessible by most humans, as Meera Nanda suggests, is true if one holds on to rigid conditionings of colonial education, but the Rishi state is indeed completely accessible to those who have been given the chance to experience a proper Yoga education and live a Yogic lifestyle. Even without necessarily becoming a Rishi, the basic framework of knowledge transmission in Vedic sampradayas requires the practitioner to ask questions and validate answers using their own lens. This is the reason why we chant Sahana vavatu before class begins so that the teacher and student stay in harmony despite students questioning the teacher! Debate too has always been the prefered method of competition between rival Hindu schools. Such intense experimentation, egalitarian teaching methods, and rigorous intellectual competitions too have unfortunately become the victim of the mindless adoption of Western Universalism and its consequence hyper-materialism. As a result Yoga today has become identified more with the projection of bodily image while ignoring the mental aspects essential to human progress.
Hindu worldview & Rajiv Malhotra
In his many writings, articles and books, never once has Rajiv Malhotra described Hindus as being intrinsically superior, as Meera Nanda disingenuously states. Of course, many aspects of our thinking are indeed laudable, like Yoga & Vedanta, and likewise many corruptions in our society are equally to be deplored, like caste & corruption. But that is very different from stating that we are inherently superior or inferior as a race, or a culture. Rajiv Malhotra has emphatically cautioned us from being drawn into racist cesspools, such as the Church sponsored, German and British executed, Aryan race theory which has brought us the worst cases of human, cultural, and species genocide ever known.
Being Different is simply acknowledging that Hindus as a culture refuse to be bulldozed by Western Universalism into a McDonald’s-type sameness. This preserves the roots of our Yoga & Vedanta culture, and yes, it provides a foundation for the Bharatiya Grand Narrative so that Bharat can once again regain her place amongst the glorious nations of the world that she once had. Any Bharatiya who fights against this is just exhibiting deep rooted signs of Stockholm Syndrome where the captured (read colonised) victim falls in love with her oppressors.
If indeed, as is becoming increasingly clear, the perceived universe is nothing more than a creation of our consciousness, as Yogis and Vedantins have always asserted, then what is wrong with using terms from those vocabularies such as Shakthi for conscious energy, Karma for causation beyond material dimensions, or to describe species evolution as a subset of spiritual evolution exhaustively described in our Siddhanta ? Not only do we have self-consistent frameworks for describing the conscious nature of the universe, adopting this will also lead to a fundamental shift in how scientists approach their work with compassion for the human experience, and for all life forms on this living Earth.
As for the distorted historicity of science, the less said the better, because all that can really be said is that time and again it has been proved that eminent historians have perpetrated crimes against humanity’s identity. Furthermore, willfully ignoring oral history with its embedded astronomical evidence of significant events, and even latest archaeological digs, very conveniently post dates much of Hindu contributions to world science. Rajiv Malhotra’s History of Indian Science & Technology and other qualified scientists can elaborate more on this matter.
The final statement Meera Nanda makes is the clincher that nails her dogma of willful ignorance. Quoting Sadiq al-Azm on the conflict between science and religion demonstrates that she neither acknowledges that Hindutva is unlike Abrahamic style religions, nor does she comprehend that it is intrinsically based on a world view that modern science would do well to incorporate.
…with Love & Light from from our Yoga Shaala in the Bay Area
धर्मो रक्षति रक्षित:
(Dharma protects those who protect Dharma)
(Disclaimer: This article first appeared on the Yoga Shaala site – https://yogashaala.org/blogs/yogic-indology/meera-nanda-freudian-slip-hinduphobia, and is being reproduced with the permission of the Yoga Shaala team.
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