By P.R. Sarkar
(1958) – Human beings have an inherent and limitless desire for all-round victory in all spheres of life. In any sphere of life, important or unimportant, it is unthinkable that people will be content to lead insignificant lives. The idea of moving along a set path, eternally subservient to nature, has always been repugnant to human psychology. Sometimes, however, people are compelled to submit to the laws of nature due to extreme circumstantial pressure, and this is due to their lack of sufficient intellect and stamina.
“Conflicts in the physical sphere gradually
awaken dormant human potentialities.”
All human spiritual practice is merely the effort to overcome internal weaknesses. In order to try to overcome their psychic imperfections, people constantly get involved in ideological conflicts and thus create ever-new philosophies of life. This is how human society evolved and established a great and rational ideology conducive to the highest fulfilment in life.
Not all human energy, however, is exhausted in the effort to remove psychic imperfections. As people have to maintain their existence in this seemingly adverse physical world, naturally they must make constant endeavours in the physical sphere. In order to conquer the static Supreme Operative Principle (Prakrti), physical science, or bhaotika vijiṋána, evolved. The Sanskrit word vijiṋána, however, is not synonymous with the English word “science”, because in Sanskrit vijiṋána stands for intuitional science (Brahma vijiṋána), or the science of spirituality (adhyátma vijiṋána).
Nowadays some people claim that science is the root of all evil and that new scientific inventions have created dissension in society, leading human civilization down the path to catastrophe. With an open mind we should carefully and thoroughly analyse such claims.
In war the moment people envisage the possibility of defeat, they begin to invent new weapons to help them to achieve victory. Physical science plays its part by discovering new formulas to assist in such invention. Had physical clash not existed, the creation and evolution of the human mind would never have been possible. The emergence of subtle human intellect as we know it today would never have happened.
This type of phenomenon has occurred in all organisms, and thus all organisms have developed scientific thought processes according to their respective psychic proclivities and capabilities. For example, the building of nests by bats, the construction of pathways by white ants and the weaving of webs by spiders prove that these creatures have some knowledge of science.
Today many people have assembled here in Gorakhpur. Now I ask you, if no scientific progress had occurred, would it have been possible for all of you to walk here from your remote villages? In order to overcome physical and psychic problems and inconveniences, the people of a particular era invented and popularized bullock carts for transportation. Later they developed faster horse-drawn carriages. Subsequently, as the era changed, public demand also began to change. That is why different types of transportation, such as motor cars, aeroplanes and more recently rockets, have been invented at different times. None of these inventions should be condemned. They are all simply designed to meet the psychic demands of different ages.
We know that due to natural causes, raw sugar (guŕ ) usually cannot be preserved for a long time. Besides that, many people do not even like the taste of guŕ. For these two reasons people invented sugar from molasses through scientific processes. Now, can anyone claim that the discovery of sugar has been an impediment to human progress? If we consider molasses more nutritious than sugar, would it not be more scientific to enrich sugar with nutritious ingredients, or would it be more reasonable to put out pro-molasses propaganda?
Some people take every opportunity to needlessly criticize science. Of course, such criticism comes from those who have lost their inner vitality and capacity to adjust to new situations, and from those who, due to physical inertia, have accepted some dogmatic notion as an established fact.
Engrained habits prevent people from easily adapting to new circumstances. That is why some people deliberately hesitate to recognize scientific contributions. As long as such people fail to establish a psychic parallelism with new scientific discoveries, they will denounce the very things which they themselves often use for the sake of convenience when the situation demands it. For example, those who bitterly criticize modern medical science and eloquently praise primitive medical methods do not object to using bandages approved and prescribed by modern allopathy. Even staunch supporters ofkhádi [hand-spun cloth], the proponents of the “molasses philosophy” and the advocates of bullock carts wear mill-made cloth, take sugar in their tea and travel by aeroplane to deliver fiery lectures denouncing modern science.1 But after some time, when they get used to such applications of modern science, they stop abusing and denouncing those things. Things which they initially condemned now become easy for them to use, because the scarcity and non-availability of old things gradually forces them to adapt to the new things.
Thus it is evident that those who criticize science in reality want to turn the onward current of the Ganges back to its source, to Gangotri. This totally contradicts the principles of dynamics. In fact, such an endeavour betrays a negative mentality. No amount of shaking the world and turning it upside down will ever bring back the age of ancient sages and hermitages. The general masses will never reject mill-made cloth for the bark of trees or eat raw flesh in preference to cooked food. There is no greatness in returning back to the guŕ era from the sugar age. Perhaps those who have never tasted sugar would like to live in the guŕ age, but once people have come in contact with sugar they will never fully revert back to guŕ, even by mistake. The reason is that their enjoyment of tea with sugar has become common and natural. Of course, to enter into a guŕ-sugar controversy is meaningless because guŕ, too, was once invented through scientific endeavour.
Conflicts in the physical sphere gradually awaken dormant human potentialities. Environmental influences also increase the degree of complexity of the human body. The problems of ancient and modern people are by no means identical. To keep pace with the changing problems of life, the human body and mind have gradually become more complicated. The physical structures of ancient humans would have certainly been unfit for solving the problems of today. As the mind becomes more complex, its direct centres, the nerve cells, and its indirect centres, the glands, undergo corresponding changes. As the nature of problems changes, the human mind responds by making new scientific discoveries. I am therefore compelled to say that the steady cultivation of science must go on and that such cultivation will never be an impediment to human progress.
But most of the detractors of science do not want to recognize this obvious fact, just because they are guided by sentiment. They do not realize that their blind attachment to the past is propelling the flow of their minds towards inertia. They are making their minds more and more reactionary and losing their dynamism. Those who have lost the rhythm of life’s movement should properly be called static and inert, enshrouded in darkness.
Keeping pace with the change in time, the human mind should always be kept occupied with progressive thoughts and work methods. In order for people to be able to carry out new responsibilities, changes take place in the nerve cells of the brain. The structure of the physical glands simultaneously undergoes change. As a result not only are people’s physical and psychic structures becoming more complex, but the entire society is also becoming more complex. The number and the magnitude of the problems is rapidly increasing. In such circumstances can we afford to remain smug and silent, exulting over past glories? No. We should scientifically research solutions to our problems. As the saying goes, “As the sword, so the scabbard.” No matter how complex our problems may be, science will have to develop equally complex solutions to those problems. We certainly do not want to appear ridiculous by using primitive bows and arrows to fight against powerful atomic weapons.
The more complex the body becomes internally, the more control people are able to exert over the various parts of the body. With the progress of science it may one day be possible to deposit a person’s body in a particular place in Gorakhpur and send only his or her brain to London. There will be no need to transport the load of the physical body to London. Although this sounds like a fairy tale, it is certainly going to happen. People will deposit their limbs in a body bank, and then enjoy a safe, sound sleep.
The cycle of rotation of the social classes will continue. That is to say, as class struggle continues, one class or another gains dominance in a particular era. Now if science remains completely in the hands of static people, the outcome will be disappointing. The only beneficial result will be that if the class struggle continues unabated, people will eventually understand that only sadvipras have the capacity to be the leaders of society. I call sadvipras only those people who strictly and sincerely follow the principles of Yama and Niyama.2 In the collective efforts of sadvipras lies humanity’s best hope of establishing peace and progress.
Democracy is incapable of solving society’s problems, because in a democratic system one class gets the opportunity to dominate the others, whose freedom is curbed to a great extent. Since democracy does not recognize any fixed principles as absolute, rivalry, jealousy, meanness, immorality, etc., take deep root and flourish unchecked. Moreover, the colour and form of democracy keep changing because it repeatedly accepts relative truths as cardinal principles.
The establishment of a classless society is only possible for those who accept Supreme Consciousness (Parama Puruśa) as the goal of their lives, for those whose entire mental power is ceaselessly directed towards one supreme goal. In a society where there is no class struggle, the remaining classes will have to disappear and all people will have to unite under the banner of one common ideology. This can only be done by sadvipras, and therefore, for the future welfare of the universe, a benevolent sadvipra dictatorship is an absolute necessity.3
The establishment of such an ideal is not possible within the democratic system because candidates depend on petty thieves, hardened criminals and antisocial elements for votes. Able and competent candidates are defeated in elections when the issues of casteism, provincialism, communalism, etc., are raised. Moreover, people with absolutely no intelligence or moral standards and no experience in politics, administration, education, etc., are entrusted with the responsibility of determining the fate of the candidates.
Most individual and social problems can be beautifully solved by sadvipras, with the help of scientific research. Science is certainly capable of solving most of the land problems that exist to some degree in all countries of the world. If the need for foodstuffs decreases, the importance and value of land will automatically diminish. To satisfy a person’s hunger, a single food tablet may one day be sufficient. The production of abundant quantities of such tablets in science laboratories will remove the disparity between the rich and the poor, because the poor are driven by pangs of hunger to become the slaves of the rich, who are then provided with many opportunities to accumulate more wealth. Of course, even before the development of synthetic food, science has already contributed in many ways to solving food problems. Although the world’s population is increasing all the time, the total area of land available is not increasing proportionately. Even so, with limited areas of land at their disposal, people, with the help of science, are increasing food production through improved manure, seeds, irrigation systems, etc. We can therefore see that science is indispensable for human progress, and without it half the population of the world today would have died of starvation.
We know, too, that medical science has helped people immensely in the past, continues to help them in the present and will continue to help them in the future. Medical and surgical developments have helped people to increase their longevity in the past and likewise continue to do so today. If people can successfully forestall ageing and death by replacing old glands with new ones, what more could they want? Medical science is now capable of doing this. One of the reasons that the physical body dies is that its glands become old and weak. Hence death can be delayed if a person’s glands are replaced.
Of course humans beings will not achieve immortality by temporarily cheating death or by increasing their longevity a little, because they possess another thing: the brain. From this brain emanate psychic feelings such as “I exist” and “I do.” When the brain becomes old and worn out due to age as well as constant use, it naturally decays and distorts information. If the entire brain is replaced, the whole human personality will undergo radical changes. In such cases it will have to be considered that the former person has died and a new person has taken birth.
Through proper scientific research, it will be possible to bring about a change in the glandular structure of the body. As a consequence even a dishonest person will be able to become an honest one. But the previously acquired reactive momenta (saḿskáras) of the mind will not change. Although this process may change the flow of a person’s original actions (pratyayamúlaka karma), the flow of his or her reactions to original actions (saḿskáramúlaka karma) will not be affected.4 The brain is the receptacle of the mind, and the mind is the receptacle of the saḿskáras. Now, if the brain is replaced, the mind, with all its reactive momenta, will have to take a completely new receptacle, in which case the person will be an entirely new being. If through some scientific process a person’s brain is replaced with a monkey’s brain, the person will cease to be the owner of that human body. From the standpoint of psychology, he or she will not be human at all and the body will gradually take the form of a monkey’s body. The secretions from the glands will also become similar to the secretions from the glands of a monkey’s body. In the same way a man can be transformed into a woman or a woman into a man. And not only that: a powerful mental ideation can also bring about a change in the glandular secretions in the human body. In this way also a man can be transformed into a woman or a woman into a man. And through a partial change in his glands, it would not be impossible for a man to conceive. However, science can never change people’s saḿskáras. Therefore, for the development of their personalities, there is no alternative for human beings other than to perform sadhana.
For the sake of human progress, scientific research must always be encouraged, but it is desirable that it should be carried out under the supervision of sadvipras.
A day will come when human babies will be produced in scientific laboratories.5 Not only that, in the future spermatozoa and ova will also be created in laboratories. Thus little by little human beings will lose their reproductive power, but the reproductive urge in the human mind will never altogether disappear. Since the potential for creation exists in the original Creator, the Qualified Supreme Entity (Saguńa Brahma), the seed of creation remains engrained in all human beings, who are sheltered in Saguńa Brahma. On said auspicious day, humanity will step out of the limitations of the crude mind (kámamaya kośa) and will fulfil its creative urge through the cultivation of subtlety. The human beings of that great age will build a better society, and create great literature and more progressive art.
My personal opinion is that atom bombs will never be able to totally destroy human civilization, for humanity has not yet become intellectually bankrupt. The conflict between the introversial force (Vidyá) and the extroversial force (Avidyá) is going on magnificently now. So the conclusion is very clear: in the very near future people are sure to find a means to counter the atomic menace. They will thereby conclusively establish that science has a great role to play in promoting human welfare.
1 Here the author is criticizing a group of traditionalists who support Gandhism. See also “Social Defects in Gandhism”. –Eds.
2 See The Place of Sadvipras in the Samája Cakra, or A Guide to Human Conduct, 1957. –Eds.
3 For a discussion on the proposed shape of a benevolent sadvipra dictatorship, see Sadvipra Boards in Volume 2. –Eds.
4 For further discussion of original actions and reactions to original actions, see “Form and Formless” in Ananda Marga Ideology and Way of Life Part 7, 1988. –Eds.
5 The first test-tube baby was born in the USA in 1978. –Eds.
Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2012