Everybody knows what Science is, but very few know about Spirituality and even fewer care to know. The undercurrent of this monograph s to emphasize that Science and Spirituality are two complementary facets of ma& s intellectual aspirations, neither of which can be ignored. It is necessary to look beyond Science to comprehend the personality that is Man. To have the mystic experience that proves this, one has to pursue a path of faith and devotion, eschewing tendencies that are considered evil. One then wonders whether what we sense by our senses vindicates this proposition. This leads to a discussion of the paradoxical claims of Fate and Freewill, an analysis of individualistic character-types from which the concept of the varna system of India arose, the consummation of the finite reaching the Infinite by means of Meditation, the wisdom about the power of the mantra-regimen, the traditional Hindu worship stripped of its ritual dressing as one possible model and finally, the Lesson of it all for Education in Spirituality, of future generations of citizens of the world, without damaging the scientific temper that has already taken over, though legitimately.
Prof. V. Krishnamurthy M.A. M.Sc. Ph.D, is an ex-Director of K.K. Birla Academy, New Delhi. Formerly he was Dy. Director and Prof. of Mathematics at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani for two decades. His professional life includes assignments at the University of Illinois, Urbana, III., U.S.A. and University of Delaware, Newark, DE., U.S.A. He has been President of the Indian Mathematical Society, President of the Mathematics Section of the Indian Science Congress Association, Executive Chairman of Association of Mathematics Teachers of India, and National Lecturer and National Fellow of the University Grants Commission. He was Leader of the Indian team for the International Mathematical Olympiad, held at Bombay in 1996. His books in Mathematics include: Combinatorics: Theory and
Applications; Introduction to Linear Algebra (jointly with two others); The Culture, Excitement and Relevance of Mathematics; Challenge & Thrill of Pre-College Mathematics (jointly with three others); The Clock of the Night Sky; and (in Tamil, under publication) What is Mathematics? - An exposition through two puzzles.
Prof. Krishnamurthy, - also trained systematically in the traditional Hindu scriptures by his father Sri R. Visvanatha Sastrigal, a scholarly exponent and a living example of the ideal Hindu way of life, - has given several successful expositions on Hinduism, that are known for their precision, clarity and an irresistable appeal to the modem mind. His books on religion include: Essentials of Hinduism; Hinduism for the next Generation; The Ten Commandments of Hinduism; Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought, Vision and Practice (this being a publication on the web at http://www.geocities.com/profvkI and (in Tamil) Kannan sorpadi vaazhvadeppadi with an appendix on Dhruva-Stuti or Upanishadsaram.
He was given the Distinguished Service Award by the Mathematics Association of India (Delhi) in 1995, the Seva Ratna award by the Centenarian Trust, Chennai, in 1996, and the Vocational Service Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education by the Rotary Clubs of Guindy and Chennai Samudra in 2001.
This monograph puts together several thoughts, lessons and experiences over a whole life. As a boy I was educated in the Hindu scriptures as well as in the tradition of spirituality by my father Sri R. Visvanatha Sastri. From that time onwards throughout my life as a mathematician I have been seeking answers to several questions connected with spirituality that I myself came up with. In addition in my professional life I have had the advantage of a friendly student population who made me think by asking all the questions any one could come up with. With this background the monograph now summarizes various lectures that I had given to different types of audiences
— high school students, college graduates, fellow faculty, the lay public, academic gatherings of scholars and, also, to several groups of people in the U.S. mostly of Indian origin. The monograph also incorporates in a final form ideas incompletely discussed, with a different focus, of course, in my earlier books on Religion — namely, Essentials of Hinduism, Hinduism for the next Generation, and The Ten Commandments of Hinduism. A preliminary version of the monograph was published for internal .se by the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India in November ‘98. That version, with some additional chapters and with necessary colour presentations was posted in 1999. This is now been revised, much enlarged and edited for a final presentation in hard print.
While Science is fashionable and universally accepted as the in-thing, Spirituality is not so. The main reason is the absence of any worthwhile knowledge about Spirituality comparable with the quantum of familiarity with Science. It is generally thought that to be scientifically minded is the opposite of being spiritual- minded and vice versa. The first undercurrent of this monograph is to emphasize that this is not so. It projects the inevitable need to understand, without prejudice to the importance of science and scientific temper for the welfare of humanity, the obligation to look beyond science and the necessity to look within oneself in order to complete the personality that is man. Chapters 1 and 2 deal with this contrast between science and religion. Chapter
3 sets out the preliminaries, takes account of the obstacles in the journey and details how one opens up the gates of spirituality by self-imposition of spiritual self-discipline. Chapter 4 clears some cobwebs of misunderstanding.
Chapter 5, which is the first of the next five chapters that constitute the core of the book, offers the long lineage of saints and devotees as a unique towering proof of the facts of spirituality. Chapter 6 discusses the subtleties of free will and fate as a reflection of the ‘antithesis’ between science and religion and presents the evolution Of the concept of surrender of the will to the divine as the key step in the ascent to the divine. But the prerequisites for the evolution of such a concept in one’s mind are the right attitudes and tendencies nurtured over a long period of time by the soul in its spiritual ascent. This nurturing is what determines one character type for spiritual purposes. The character types are the four varnas of the Indian scriptures. These varnas, (which are not to be confused with the man-made castes of India and their social evils) are applicable to all mankind. An unusual conceptual and systematic vision of the varnas is presented in Chapter 7 supported by certain charts. Chapter 8 talks about meditation the Vedanta way, without getting into the glamour usually associated with Yoga and meditation in the modem world. The supreme consummation of the complete personality of man as a meeting point of matter and spirit of science and religion of the finite and the infinite of the visible and the invisible occurs only at the apex of meditation. Chapter 9 is a technical chapter on the Mantra that may be taken as a formula for the journey towards this consummation. The material here overlaps with the innermost core knowledge of Vedanta and may be hard-going for one who is not familiar with the use of Sanskrit words and their esoteric meanings and so needs be read more than once. Chapter 10 is an overview of Hindu religious worship intended to help the reader place, in proper perspective, the different ideas from Hinduism sprinkled throughout the book.
Chapter 11 dreams of the future and conceives of a master plan for the embedding of a spiritual orientation to all education across the globe. In addition it has a special relevance to the Indian context. The attention of educational planners is particularly drawn to the contents of this chapter.
Every effort has been made to minimize the number of Sanskrit and Tamil words but wherever they occur translations in English have been provided as far as possible without jerking the flow of the text. There is also a glossary of non-English terms at the end.
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