This is an online address by Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha at the “Global festival of Oneness-2020” organized by Advaita Academy, Silicon Valley.
In this exposition, Swamiji says that science is concerned with experiments on external objects. A fundamental test of scientific findings from an experiment is ‘verifiability’, which means that other researchers conducting the same experiment should come to the same conclusion or results. This holds true for spiritual science as well.
Swamiji describes India’s rich historical legacy of Rishis who conducted painstaking research on the science of the inner self. One of these great exponents of Vedantic thought was Shankaracharya, who applied the scientific method to the study of the self as far back as the 8thcentury CE.
Discussing Shankaracharya’s contribution to humanity, Swamiji says that Shankaracharya rejected blind ritualism and beliefs that could not be experienced. He laid forth the principles of attaining the knowledge of the self, establishing that the seeker’s journey has to be directly experiential. This insistence on verification of his own original experiments with the inner self by any seeker is a striking example of his scientific approach.
Swamiji says that Shankaracharya’s rational and scientific approach to Vedanta is an invaluable legacy to generations of seekers that have come and gone since his lifetime.
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Narayanashrama Tapovanam, an Ashram located in Thrissur, Kerala, embodies the unique tradition of Guru-shishya Parampara, disseminating Brahmavidya (Science of Self-knowledge) through regular classes, satsangs, and above all, through learning in the association of a realized spiritual master.
Those days, there were many rats staying in various pockets of the tiled roof. My room had a very low ceiling and I could even touch the roof tiles. At night, I would see big, big rats running around just near me.
I got back to my daily chores, but the scene remained in my mind – the old man’s wrinkled face, his gleaming eyes, the contentment he enjoyed, his refusal to accept more than ‘his minimum needs’! How many of us can take such a stand?
Bhakti is not so much in the worship with flowers, garlands, lamps or incense sticks. Neither it is in chanting His names and praises. It is verily in living and acting according to the wish of the Lord, pleasing Him, imbibing qualities and attitudes that He wants us to imbibe.