Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Yogi and a Scientist who speak the same "Language"

Dr Mani Bhaumik and Sri Paramhansa Yogananda.... one a scientist and other a mystic.

It is common perception that science and spirituality are like two parallel lines with no apparent point of conjunction. I recently happened to read two books which reinforced my belief that these parallel lines do meet, possibly at infinity. It is only that one has to have the courage and faith to venture out and look for the place they call "infinity".

In Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda, he lucidly describes his spiritual odyssey and enlightens the reader on the miracles that could be achieved by mastering certain techniques of yoga and meditation. Though I found the account very captivating, I must admit to feeling sceptical while reading about certain aspects like astral travel and omnipresence of masters. All the doubts were put to rest by the time I finished the second book titled Code Name God by Dr Manilal Bhaumik (he was the scientist instrumental in the discovery of the Excimer Laser which is used for the LASIK eye surgery). The author uses established scientific facts to justify and almost establish the truth behind some aspects formerly construed as being part of ancient and transcendental wisdom.

Mukunda (Yoganandaji’s real name) was born into a pious and fairly wealthy family and was intuitively inclined towards mysticism. He didn’t care much for regular education and was focused on achieving spiritual discipline. He went on to become one of the most revered and globally accepted practitioners of Kriya Yoga and founded the Self Realization Fellowship in LA. Mani Bhaumik on the other hand was born into an extremely poor family. Food was such a scarce commodity that his grandmother starved herself to death to let her grandson live. His father was a freedom fighter and a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. It is nothing short of a miracle that he grew to become one of the most eminent scientists of (rather from) free India. In the book he candidly confesses to his intimate flirtations with a life of opulence before returning to the life of a seeker. The similarities between the authors might not be apparent from their profiles. Both hail from Bengal, both had been raised in spiritual environments and both eventually established their respective empires against all odds in the USA. However, these are not the only parallels I am hinting at. There is more to it than that, though I doubt my ability to quantify it in words.

The intention of this post is not to delve into the personalities of these great men, but to share some derived lessons from both their biographies that can transform one’s perspective of both science and religion. More importantly they can help us lead a less complicated and fulfilling life.

1. Tune your mental frequencies to be in resonance with that of the universal mind to receive grace (this, I feel is the secret behind telepathy, omens and even prayer).

2. Have faith, especially in times of adversity. This would help unclutter the mind and quickly tune into the channel as mentioned above.

3. “One must be the change one wishes to see in the world”.

4. Meditate regularly and keep it simple to experience the exaltation of thoughtlessness.

5. Have the humility to accept that all one sees might not be true and everything believed to be true may actually be an illusion. Remember, Galileo had a tough time convincing people that Earth was round and it took some time for the world to accept that material and energy are substitutable even after Einstein proved his famous equation.

There are numerous other ideas contained in these books that are intellectually stimulating and spiritually enriching. I don’t intend giving them out here because of two reasons. Firstly, one has to read them in the context of the book to imbibe the spirit intended by the authors. Secondly, my knowledge of science is too rusty to be able to do justice to Dr Bhaumik’s book. So I have listed only those points which I found practicable and have decided to at least attempt cultivating.

For those who find these concepts too abstract for consumption, I recommend a read of these books as mere biographies without prejudice or judgment. I guarantee a change in outlook. For those who are compulsive pragmatists the books offer answers to an array of intriguing questions. Sample these:-

1. How does meditation lead to happiness?

2. When Bible says that the world was created by God in a day and Darwin postulates his theory of evolution, they mean the same thing. How?

3. Einstien mentioned of the Unified Field Theory and Lahiri Mahasaya spoke of the ubiquitous nature of divine spirit. Doesn't it sound similar?

I suppose that should be sufficient to generate curiosity.


Prasanth said...


I'm also pretty interested in this topic. Suggest reading the following books:
1. Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra
2. The elegant universe by Brian Greene
3. The Dancing Wu Li Masters
4. Read books by Micheal Kaku
5. Books by Roger Penrose

I'm extremly sceptical about people trying to relate religion to science. However, I do think there are different ways of interpreting the same thing and have noticed that there are startling parallels between what science especially Physics of large and small things - and what the vedas and upanishads say about the universe, matter etc. One thing we MUST not do is to fall into the trap of believing lots of crap put out by psedo "gurus" and people like that on parallels between science and religion. Check out the essay "Cargo cult science" by Richard P Feynman for a different point of view.

dharmabum said...

this is serious reading, going to come back n read it again. hav blogrolled u - hope thats ok?

Mona said...

Hi Naveen,
Just landed here while surfing..
Great to read this..well i always believe that spirituality and science are just 2 sides of same coin..
And i have written many post on same.

Wel, will definetly read these 2 books..
I like you to just visit me blog and will appreciate your comment there as it will only increase my knowldge..


diyadear said...

Thanks for visiting me.. must say this ia a very enlightening post... The book code name god sounda interesting..

Maddy said...

interesting - well, i will try & read the 'code name god' book that sounds pretty interesting!! though I have been a bit sckeptical about yogis, myself...

MyVision said...


This is an interesting topic... Have been reading on this topic quite some time back.. and these days not able to read much...

Somehow I believe both the physics as well as what our scriptures say about universe, matter etc are all energy based. From my own personal experience, i tend to believe this basis more and more. But mixing religious rituals with spirituality is what I am comfortable with. I believe, spirituality and religious rituals are different and to kept separate... at times many yogis (of course not all) try to cover spirituality with religious rituals, which leads to people blindly tend to doing the rituals without understanding the underpinning spiritual concepts or principles.

Will try to read the books you have suggested as well as prasanth suggested...

Vidya said...

I cannot agree more on #3. We almost always end up trying to change the world, people and everything else but us. And the only truth is that we can change only ourselves. But can you imagine if each of us start to change ourselves for the better, would that not make the world a better place?!



Mona said...

Hi Naveen,

Thanks for the lovely comment...
Hope to see you more on my mysterious place.

Take care

Nanditha Prabhu said...

you have given a good review on the books! and summed up the essence of it so well that it tempts one to go through them .