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775. Indian Science Abroad

Small is Beautiful was a book on economics with a subtitle, ‘Economics as if People Mattered', by a British economist Schumacher. In the 70s the book made many people sit up and think. The Nobel Prize was instituted in 1901 for Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry and Medicine. In 1968 sponsored by Swiss Bank, an economic prize was added. For over thirty years, the Prize was awarded to monetary economists, not to welfare economists. A.K. Sen, the Indian recipient recently was the first to receive it for welfare economics. Organised knowledge becomes mainstream and it turns a deaf ear to anything outside its view. An American physicist, Fritjof Capra, attempted to reconcile Eastern mysticism with Western physics and became famous. His books sold in millions. But the mainstream physicists won't give him a listening even as Indians won't listen to the Indian wisdom until it gets the American approval.

A college was established in the name of Schumacher in the UK. A professor there raised a few basic points of science which Western science ignores or disbelieves. Eighty years ago, Sri Aurobindo raised ALL such points in His book The Life Divine. Most of them were ideas the Vedantic Rishis pronounced long ago. Sri Aurobindo says Western science arriving through the phenomenon of life reached the same conclusions the Rishis reached, who arrived there through Reality. The professor's paper gives the same example of H2O as Sri Aurobindo gave and asks the same question. Hydrogen and oxygen produce water with qualities that are not found in either oxygen or hydrogen. How? Where does the new property come from? Who determines the outcome? The paper says it is an emergent property not found in its constituents. It also indirectly refers to a spiritual truth, ‘The sum of the parts is not the whole. The whole is more than the sum.' The paper discusses its relevance to health. Should this idea gain ground, there will be a revolution in the field of medicine.

I am glad a British thinker writes this. This is the birthright of the Indian scientists. It is their territory. They should examine the basis of modern science in the light of spiritual truths. For over a hundred years we were slaves of the British. Before that, for six or seven hundred years the Muslims ruled us. That was physical. Now we find our thinking is subordinated to Western material science. Maybe the emerging young scientists of India will respond to her ancient call, repeated recently by Vivekananda. The formation of the five elements is described in the Vedanta as five extensions of Matter. Our spirituality has a Theory of Creation, whereas the West has no idea on it. It is a pity that after winning the Nobel Prize, Chandrasekaran defined God as man's mental indulgence of a pastime. He spent one full year on Newton's Principia Mathematica. He could have effectively explained the Indian spiritual values of science. His mind was not available in that direction. Will the young scientists take a look at Vedanta or at least Schumacher?

story | by Dr. Radut