The first question:
I have always thought that the sense of science lies in its utility for human needs; in helping to provide enough food, finding treatments against sickness, creating machines to deliver man from hard and stupid work, etcetera.
Until now I have always been convinced that there is nothing wrong with science, but rather with the popular attitude towards science: that it can discover the interior laws of life.
Now I hear in your words that science itself is a root of the miseries in the world, because it destroys the mysteries of life and hence leads to an anti-religious attitude. Are you against science?
I am not against science, but I am certainly for a different kind of science, with a totally different quality to it. Science as it exists now is very lopsided; it takes account only of the material, it leaves the spiritual out of it – and that is very dangerous.
If man is only matter, all meaning disappears from life. What meaning can life have if man is only matter? What poetry is possible, what significance, what glory? The idea that man is matter reduces man to a very undignified state. The so-called science takes all the glory of man away from him. That’s why there is such a feeling of meaninglessness all over the world.
People are feeling utterly empty. Yes, they have better machines, better technology, better houses, better food, than ever. But all this affluence, all this material progress, is of no value unless you have insight – something that transcends matter, body, mind – unless you have a taste of the beyond. And the beyond is denied by science.
Science divides life into two categories: the known and the unknown. Religion divides life into three categories: the known, the unknown and the unknowable. Meaning comes from the unknowable. The known is that which was unknown yesterday, the unknown is that which will become known tomorrow. There is no qualitative difference between the known and the unknown, only a question of time.
The unknowable is qualitatively different from the known/ unknown world. Unknowable means the mystery remains; howsoever deep you go into it, you cannot demystify it. In fact, on the contrary, the deeper you go, the more the mystery deepens. A moment comes in the religious explorer’s life when he disappears into the mystery like a dewdrop evaporating in the morning sun. Then only mystery remains. That is the highest peak of fulfillment, of contentment; one has arrived home. You can call it God, nirvana, or whatsoever you like.