7. “I trust science and fact, not spirituality and faith."
Many spiritual practitioners have a simple-heartedness which allows them to naturally invest themselves in the path. Some may look down upon that as naïve and sentimental, while others may wish they had the same in order to quieten the ‘inner sceptic.’ To a greater or lesser extent, each of us do have a need for evidence and empirical backup – hard facts for the head that allow for an investment of the soft heart.
In Chapter Seven, Krishna highlights the proposition of Bhagavad Gita as more of a spiritual science than a sectarian faith. In the very first verse He stresses the absolute necessity of hearing spiritual insight (tac chrnu). The aural reception of knowledge descending from a higher source may seem counter-intuitive to scientific discovery, but that’s not entirely true. The process begins with hearing, but it matures into a direct perception of the self (pratyaksa vagamam). On this path of spiritual science we discover there are no HOLES in its efficacy:
H – Hear – first we broaden our horizons and expand our field of discovery by hearing from a source which is beyond our inherently limited sphere of understanding.
O – Observe – we verify those paradigms by comparing them with our own observations – of ourselves, of people around us, and of the world in general.
L – Live – when things tally, it bolsters our faith and we feel inspired to apply many of the principles in our day-to-day functioning – we bring spirituality into the ‘lab of life.’
E – Experience – that application triggers tangible spiritual experience and helps us progress beyond a mere philosophical and intellectual engagement with God.
S – Share – the personal revelation impels one to share it with others, and this compassionate, selfless dissemination brings heightened experiences of the spiritual reality.
Conventional religious discourse, as presented today, begins with belief and ends in belief. If people interface with the Bhagavad Gita in the same way, it will also remain a belief. If, however, one is ready to seriously engage with the spiritual experiment offered in the pages of the Bhagavad-Gita, then one unearths an actual experience, observation and realisation of the spiritual reality. This is the most wondrous scientific experiment in the entire universe - the experiment to find our true self.
The Gita doesn’t propose anything less scientific than what we see in mainstream empiricism. When we take a closer look at what is headlined as irrevocable scientific fact, we’ll see there is much more to the story – substantial underlying faith, irrational resistance to opposing evidence, and superficial hype and claims of discovery far beyond what has actually been unearthed. Science is not as factual as we may think, and spirituality is not as faith-based as many automatically (and dogmatically) conclude. When you apply the same level of scrutiny to science and spirituality you'll see that it’s somewhat of a level playing field. Which experiment will you take?
“I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge, both phenomenal and numinous. This being known, nothing further shall remain for you to know.” (Bhagavad-Gita 7.2)
7.2 – Hearing from spiritual sources gives insights into all aspects of reality.
7.3 – Realisation of the Supreme Lord is rare, and is achieved through transformation of consciousness.