Scientific-materialism,Religion and Spirituality

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We will start this subject with the writings of Karl Marx and Ludwig Feuerbach.Feuerbach says there is no meaning
to the world,save what we create ourselves and impose upon the world.For Feuerbach humanity needs to find solace
in consoling thoughts such as the existence of God and heaven.Both in his view are complete fabrications,the inventions
of sad and lonely souls desperately craving for meaning in a universe conspicuously devoid of purposes and goals.

Karl Marx took the above views of Feurbach a stage further and argued that the human longing for consolation was the
direct result of unjust social and economic conditions.The miserable meterial situation of humanity was the direct cause
of its religious yearnings.Abolish social and economic misery,for example,through a communist revolution-and people would not
need to dream of heaven any more because it would have been created on earth in a communist state.

Karl Marx adopted the crude progressive scientific-materialistic outlook so popular in the early nineteenth century.Marx said religion is just outmoded superstition which dulls the ability of the working class to rise up and overthrow the ruling class.’It is
the opium of the people’ which enables them to endure their sufferings,when they ought to be throwing off the shackles that condemned them to such sufferings in the first place.We find Lenin(heir to Karl Marx)also expressing similar views-‘Religion is opium for the people’,a kind of intoxicant in which the slaves of capital drown their humanity and blunt their desire for
a decent human existence….The class-conscious worker of today,leaves religion and heaven to the priests and bourgeois
(capitalists)hypocrites.He fights for a better life for himself here on earth.

The above thoughts of Karl Marx and Lenin influenced a vast section of working class all over the world,brought Russian revolution,and made Soviet union a super-power.This all could be called a progressive scientific-materialistic revolution,because Karl
Marx in his most valuable work’Das Capital’ proved all his ideas scientifically and mathematically,such as exploitation of workers and their labour,by creating’Surplus value’which went in to the pockets of capitalists as profit,making them richer and richer and turning the workers poorer and poorer.

Feurbach had explained why people believed in God.But the important thing Marx argued ,was to get rid of the idea altogether.
He said ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways;the point is to change it’.For Marx,the origin of
the spurious human belief in God was socioeconomic alienation.Religion dulled people to the pain and tragedy of life.People believed in God because they needed hope and consolation.Why did they need this ?Because they had been alienated by the iniquities and injustices of capitalism.Get rid of human alienation and the need for religion would disappear with it.Hence the coming of communist revolution would eliminate the factors that disposed people to believe in God and ultimately erode faith in God altogether.

Once materialism had been declared to lie,cheat,exploit the innocent,simple,straightforward labour,at the heart of soviet ideology,a rigidly hostile attitude to religion followed as a matter of course.

Like many young people growing up in the 1960s,i also began to become intrigued with Marxism and Leninism.I came to see religion in negative terms,as an evil force that held back intellectual and social progress.The events of that time seemed to signal that a new era in the history of the world was about to dawn,in which outmoded habits of thought-such as religion
would be replaced by more progressive ways of thinking and living.

But a sense of unease remained with me.My grand mother taught me ‘gurumukhi’language and to read ‘Guru Granth Saheb’and ‘Japji Saheb’became by heart to me and silent recitation of which was going on inside me repeatedly,throughout
even during the times when i was under the influence of Marxism.This i believe is the spirituality,the inner side of religion.As i wrote in my earlier blogs also that religion has two sides,external and internal.So even if we dismiss external side of religion,as the cause of conflicts,socio-economic or religious conflicts due to different faiths,internal side or spirit or soul will always ramain although medical science will not accept it.

We all know that Soviet union disintegrated and the crude progressive scientific-materialistic revolution could not sustain pace.One of
the most distinctive features of the last few decades has been a rediscovery of the spiritual dimension to human existance.
In many parts of the world there has been a surge of interest in the concept of the transcendent,with a growing reaction
against what are seen as the unsatisfactory reductionisms of various materialist philosophies and worldviews.Everyone
wants to find something that is really worth pursuing and possessing rather than the chimeras whose lustre vanishes once
they are secured.Scientific-materialism has given us communism and organized religion(outer side) has given us capitalism out of which we have already
seen the fate of the former,and we know that nothing is permanent,so we can very well predict that the future of capitalism
also is shaky.What will remain is humanity,love,the soul and the spirit inside the soul.I remember one song sung by late
Rafi saheb-

“Hazzaron rang badlega Zamaana ,
Na badlega mohabbat ka Fasaana ”

The meaning of the above couplet is that the world will change thousands of colours,but there will remain love,which will
never change.

This love is life,soul and God which is expressed in another song of Rafi saheb,

Mandir mein masjid mein tu aur tu hi hai eemaanon mein,
Murli ki taanon mein tu aur tu hi hai aazaanon mein,
Tere dam se deen-dharam ki duniyan hai aabaad,
Zindabaad-zindabaad ai mohabbat zindabaad….daulat ki zanjeeron se tu rahti hai aazaad…

The meaning of the above lines is that love is present everywhere,in temples, mosques, honesty,in the music of flute or the prayers,and this is love due to which all religions are immortal,you are free from the chains of capitalism.

Soul can neither be created nor can be destroyed,as science also says’Atom can neither be created nor can be destroyed’.Scientists doing research on ‘Big Bang’ have recently claimed that they have found the “God particle”.why are they
calling it ‘God particle’ although they are non-believers(athiests).So they don’t deny the omnipresent God and hence soul and spirit.The clash is between scientific materialism and organized religion or rather religions,and spirituality is emerging as the shining light out of these clashes.

The natural sciences have nothing to say concerning the existence or otherwise of God.The observation-driven agenda of the
natural sciences is constrained by its very methodology,to deal with only sensorily perceived reality.They can not simply comment with competence on matters that can not be observed or detected,directly or indirectly.’It can not be observed’ can never be restated as’It does not exist’.The distinctive character of the sciences thus means that they can say nothing about
the existence or otherwise of a transcendent reality beyond interesting but ultimately speculative assertion or conjectures
for example-that it is just another interesting invention of the human mind,resulting from certain neural configuration.

In the popular sense ,scientific materialism long ago discredited religion.Facts replaced faith.Superstition was gradually vanquished,that’s why we look to the’Big Bang’as the source of the universe rather than to a creation myth populated by
one or more religions.

But religion is not the same as spirituality-far from it.Organized religion may have discredited itself,but spirituality
has suffered no such defeat.Thousands of years ago,in cultures across the globe inspired spiritual masters such as Buddha,Jesus,Muhammed and Lao-tzu and later sant Kabir,Guru Nanak,Mira proposed profound views of life,they taught that
a trascendent domain resides beyond the everyday world of pain and struggle.The eye beholds rocks,mountains, trees and sky
which is only a veil drawn over a vast mysterious unseen reality.Beyond the reach of the five senses lies an invisible
realm of infinite possibility and the key to unfolding its potential is consciousness.Go within,the sages and seers instructed,and you will find the true source of happiness,your own awareness.

It was this possibility that religion failed to deliver on.If the kingdom of God is within as Jesus Christ declared,if nirvana means freedom from all sufferings as the Buddha taught,Every thing is inside and not outside and those who seek
outside are confused under illusion said Guru Granth saheb,and if knowledge of the universe is locked inside the soul
as the ancient rishis and upanishads taught,we can not say that those teachings bore fruit when we look around the world.
Jesus and the Buddha had no doubt that they were describing the reality from the position of true knowledge,but after
more than 2000 years,non-believers as during that period also say that’we think we know better’.

Even if we miraculaously eliminated pollution and waste,coming generations will still have no model for the good life except the one that has failed us;endless consumption,exploitation of natural resources,and the diabolical creativity of war-fare
(nuclear bombs,weapons of mass destruction).Religion can not resolve this dilemma.It has had its chances already,but it wasted them and preferred religious conflicts among various religions.But spirituality can resolve it.We need to go back
to the source of religion,that is consciousness.Wisdom traditions included an impersonal God(Parmatma) who permeates every atom of the universe and every fiber of our being and an impersonal God does not need to be a threat to those believers who want to believe their one and only personal faith.

Think of someone you love.Now think of love itself.The person you love puts a face on love,yet surely you know that love existed before this person was born and will survive after he or she passes away.There lies the difference between the personal and the impersonal God.As a believer you can put a face on God,that is a matter of your own private choice,but i hope you see that if God is everywhere,the divine qualities of love,mercy,compassion,justice and all the other attributes ascribed to God extend infinitely throughout creation.This idea is a common thread in all religions.Super consciousness allowed the great sages,sants and seers to attain a state that science feels threatened by but that is okay.Our common understanding of consciousness is too limited to do justice here.

Spirituality had been around for many thousand years and its researchers were pure souls,living in a higher plane of super
consciousness.They were the very Einsteins of their times.Anyone can reproduce and verify their results as with the principles
of science.The future that spirituality promises,one of wisdom,freedom and fulfillment has not vanished,as the age of faith,
religion has declined.Since the dispute between science and religion has persuaded everyone that either you face reality and
deal with the tough questions of everyday life or you passively retreat and contemplate a realm beyond everyday life.

The either/or choice was forced on us when religion(outer)failed to deliever on its promises.But spirituality,the inner deeper source of religion has not failed and is ready to meet science face to face offering answers consistent with the most
advanced scientific theories.Science could add to self knowledge by expanding its sights.It could take heed of Einstein’s core belief-‘I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scintific research’.

Just because religion(outer) did not succeed does not mean that spirituality based on consciousness of inner self(self realization) won’t.We need to see the truth and in the process we will awaken the profound powers that were promised to us
thousands of years ago.Time awaits.The future depends on the choice we make today.

The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances,the more certain it seems to me that the path
to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life,the fear of death and blind faith but
through the striving after rational knowledge.

Who looks outside, dreams !
Who looks within, awakens !!

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