How Science and Religion Come Together There has always been science, and there has always
How Science and Religion Come Together
There has always been science, and there has always been religion as
long as the human race has walked on this mother Earth. In fact, these two
are not only related to each other, but they are really, in essence,
Examining the meaning of the word "science" we can see that it is
derived from the Latin "sciens" which is the present participle of "scire"
which means "to know or to understand". The word "religion", on the other
hand, comes from the Latin "religio", which means "to return to the origin".
In other words then, science is the technology of knowing or understanding
the essence of the universe, and religion is the actual experience of one's
own identity with that essence.
- The Nature of Religion -
We must understand that true religion is experiential. That is,
religion is not a set of beliefs or ideals, or even a philosophy or manner
of behavior, but it is the moment to moment experience of one's origin, the
source of one's being, God.
Where can this experience be found? The answer is: everywhere! For it
is not really a question of where at all, but one of how. Obviously if one
is experiencing the living presence of God, which is by nature infinite and
inexpressible, the experience can only be that, an experience. It cannot be
written or told. Over and over in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib we hear the
"Nanak tells that story which can never be told..."
Both science and religion are the attempt to tell "that story which can
never be told", to share the experience of the infinite and inexpressible
with our fellow travellers on this beautiful spaceship we call Earth.
Science and religion are identical in purpose, but they are opposite in
method. In fact, one might almost say that science is religion without a
heart, and religion is science without a head; two opposite approaches to
the identical task: to express the inexpressible so that it may be shared by
- The Nature of Science -
The task that science has set itself is to describe the essential
nature of the entire universe precisely and mathematically in the totality
of its creation. The irony of this task is that it is endless in nature.
The supposed ultimate goal of science, to propose a theory that explains
neatly and logically how everything in the universe operates and fits
together into a whole, is actually an impossible task. The reason that it
is impossible, is that science itself is part of our constantly growing,
evolving, moving, and ecstatic universe. The very act of scientific
observation affects not only the specific process under observation,
but the entire universe.
When, at the dawn of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein proposed
his general theory of relativity, and Max Planck proposed his principle of
uncertainty, the world was stood on its ear. Suddenly the seemingly
explainable, mechanical nature of the world as understood by science until
then, was dissolved in a sea of uncertainty. The sudden and unexpected
announcement by Einstein that everything in the universe is connected to
everything else, and that every action no matter how seemingly small affects
the whole, and Planck's discovery that absolute measurements within the
realm of time and space were impossible because both could not be measured
simultaneously, made the hard facts of science suddenly seem a lot less
solid. The realization that all scientific models and theories are only
approximate, and that their verbal interpretations always suffer from the
inaccuracy of language itself was now inescapable.
It now seems that the totality of science's accomplishments is
asymptotic in nature. An asymptotic function, of course, is one that
approaches a limit without ever reaching it. In other words, while the
scientific method can approach closer and closer to its goal of describing
the essential nature of the universe, it can never actually get there. It
is like Zeno's bridge, crossing it takes forever. The discovery and
exploration of the sub-atomic world of modern physics has revealed a reality
which transcends both language and reasoning.
At the dawn of the twentieth century science and religion have entered
the common ground of inexpressibility.
- The Image of the Infinite -
All religions seem to have begun with the transcendental experience of a
single individual or a small group in individuals. Let's take as our
example here, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith. As a young
man, Guru Nanak underwent an ecstatic and transforming experience; an
experience in which he understood the essential nature of existence. It is
said that after undergoing this experience, his first impulse was to express
in words what had happened to him. The great poem we call "Japji" was the
product of that effort. The first part of the Japji, known as the root or
"Mool" mantra is the expression, in as few words as possible, of Guru
Nanak's experience of reality.
Ek Ong Kar ONE Creator/creation
Sat Nam called TRUTH
Karta Purkh does EVERYTHING
Nirbau beyond fear
Nirvair beyond anger
Akal Moorat beyond time
Ajooni Saibhang beyond birth and death...
full of light
Gur Prasad this EXPERIENCE is a GIFT
Aad Sach primal Truth
Jugad Sach True through all times
He Bhe Sach True at this very instant!
Nanak, Hosee Bhe Sach Oh Nanak, forever True.
The utter simplicity of the Mool Mantra is striking. It is the very
essence of which all religions are made. It is interesting to realize that
the very first line of it expresses exactly the same concept which is the
foundation of all modern relativistic science:
Ek Ong Kar: The Creator (energy) and the Creation (matter) are ONE!
This primal truth is expressed in various ways in all the world's
religions. Let's take as another example the Taoist symbol called the
"Tai C'hi", which many people know as the "yin-yang" symbol.
The Tai C'hi is an attempt to express the experience of the infinite in
an image or picture. In reality the Tai C'hi is not a two dimensional image
but a four dimensional one. While such a symbolic representation is
difficult to express in words, I hope that you will bear with me while I
attempt to do so. Examining the Tai C'hi, we notice that in the center of
the black teardrop shape is a point of white, and in the center of the white
teardrop is a single black point. Now imagine that the "tail" of the white
teardrop actually continues "behind" the symbol itself and is connected to
the white dot at the center of the black half, while the "tail" of the black
half comes around the "front" of the image and connects to the black dot at
the center of the white half. Got it? Ok, now imagine that the Tai C'hi is
not static, but that it is in constant flowing motion within itself. i.e.
that the white portion is constantly flowing out of the center of the black
portion and the black portion is continuously being born out of the center
of the white portion. In other words, the Tai C'hi is not a circle divided
into a black half and a white half, but an attempt to express in a
beautifully simple image the constant process of creation, growth and
evolution itself. It is a picture or image of "Ek Ong Kar". It is an "Akal
Moorat" a timeless, infinite image.
- The Power of the Word -
In the Christian bible, in the book of John, is written:
"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God ,
and the Word was God."
What is the Word of which John was speaking?
For thousands of years the sacred texts of India, the Vedas, Shastras
and Smritis, have taught that sound vibration holds the key to the mysteries
of the universe, to the actual creation and sustenance of our world, and to
the means of extricating ourselves from its bonds. In the Vedic tradition,
the world we see, the world of phenomena, is said to be the visible
manifestation of the infinite combinations of sound patterns, all derived
from the soundless sound (Anahat Shabd) of the One who is both the Creator
and the Creation. To express it another way, the Word of which John is
speaking is the Anahat Shabd of the Vedic teachings; the continuous
vibrating of the Creator/Creation in action.
Once we accept that what we call "time" is really only a matter of
appearances, and that what we know as "past", "present", and "future" are in
reality just ways of describing what appear to us to be different parts of
what is actually a continuous, infinite, timeless process, then we can begin
to understand that the actual manifestation of that process is vibratory in
In order to explore the nature of creation itself, we must correlate
the sciences of biology, sub-atomic particle physics, chemistry, and
mathematics because sound vibration is the integrating phenomenon of life,
the common denominator, through which and by which everything in the
The ancient Indian texts explain that sound is the cause and not the
effect of vibration and that there can be sound without any vibration, even
without the usual media of conveyance such as air, water, or so called solid
matter. This is the concept of the "Anahat Shabd", the driving energy and
force behind all manifestation; the "soundless sound" or "unstruck melody"
which is the infinite, endless continuum... indivisible, unfragmented, and
unimaginably potent... the most powerful source of all... the sound of the
Creator/Creation constantly creating itself.
This constant hum of creation, the primal AUM, is the vibratory
activity of all energy and matter. The power within the atom's core is but
a minute pinpoint of this infinite energy, and yet even this is able to
utterly destroy cities, nations, and even our planet itself. With the
exception of the work of a few advanced scientists (most of whom were
ostracized by the traditional scientific community) such as Nikola Tesla and
John Keely, the relatively coarse instruments of modern science have barely
begun to probe this infinite energy source.
The Anahat Shabd, the "soundless sound", is the subtlest element of
all. It is the etheric essence, finer than earth, air, water, or fire,
beyond the speed of light... all pervasive, the source of cohesion, of
electricity, of magnetism and gravitation, of all that exists.
The modern physicist E.C.G. Sudarshan has described the etheric
essence of the Anahat Shabd in scientific terms as follows:
"The ether as superfluid is consistent with relativity and quantum
theory. It is the support of all light, in it all bodies exist,
it is attached to none, it is ever present beyond the limitations
of time and space. It has no inertial qualities, no interactions,
yet it is the very substance of illumination."
E.C.G. Sudarshan (preprint, University of Texas, 1974)
This is the secret of the power of the Word. If the creative activity
we know as God is manifested through vibration, and if the entire universe
as we perceive it is nothing but a constantly changing pattern of
vibrations, then the knowledge of how to consciously create vibrations which
affect the vibratory continuum in a specific manner is the knowledge of how
to consciously participate in the creative process itself. This is the
ancient science of sound which is known as "mantra".
In the Japji of Guru Nanak, he speaks in great length and depth of the
Anahat Shabd and of the effects of both listening and speaking:
"Akharee Nam Akharee Salaah. In sound is naming and praising.
Akharee Gian Geet Gun Gaah. In sound is all knowledge and song.
Akharee Likhan Bolan Baan. In sounds spoken and written.
Akharaa Sir Sanjog Vikaan." In sound lies the destiny.
Guru Nanak, Japji Sahib, pauri 19
"Ant Na Vekhan Sunan Na Ant. There is no end to seeing and hearing
Ant Na Jaapai Kiaa Mant? There is no end in sight...
Ant Na Jaapai Keeta Aakaar. What Mantra lies within God's mind?
Ant na Jaapai Paaraavaar." The structure of the universe is
Endless vibrating expansion.
Guru Nanak, Japji Sahib, pauri 24
"Suniai Sidh Peer Sur Nath. Listening...saints, heros, masters
Suniai Dharat Dhaval Akash. Listening... the earth, power, ethers
Suniai Deep Loa Pataal. Listening... high and low realms
Suniai Poeh Na Sakai Kaal oceans of light.
Nanak, Bhagataa Sadaa Vigaas. Nanak, God's lovers bloom forever.
Suniai Dookh Paap Kaa Naas. Listening destroys all pain and error.
Suniai Eesar Baramaa Ind. Listening... men become gods.
Suniai Mukh Saalaahan Mand. Listening... praise comes from the
Suniai Jog Jugat Tan Bhed. mouth of the most negative person.
Suniai Saast Simrit Ved. Listening... the way of yoga and the
Nanak, Bhagataa Sadaa Vigaas. body's secrets.
Suniai Dookh Paap Kaa Naas. Listening all holy books and scriptures
Nanak, God's lovers bloom forever.
Listening destroys all pain and error.
Suniai Sat Santokh Giaan. Listening... Truth, patience, wisdom.
Suniai Ath Sath Kaa Ishnaan. Listening... bathing at all holy places
Suniai Par Par Paaveh Maan. Listening... reading and reading
Suniai Laagai Sahej Dhiaan. gains honor.
Nanak, Bhagataa Sadaa Vigaas. Listening... concentration comes easy.
Suniai Dookh Paap Kaa Naas. Nanak, God's lovers bloom forever.
Listening destroys all pain and error
Suniai Saraa Gunaa Ke Gaah. Listening... deep oceans of grace.
Suniai Sekh Peer Paatishaah. Listening... kings, emperors, saints.
Suniai Aande Paaveh Raaho. Listening... blind ones find the Path.
Suniai Haath Hovai Asagaaho. Listening... the unknown is known.
Nanak, Bhagataa Sadaa Vigaas. Nanak, God's lovers bloom forever.
Suniai Dookh Paap Kaa Naas." Listening destroys all pain and error.
Guru Nanak, Japji, pauris 8 - 11
All religions use sounds to affect consciousness. From the shaman's
drum at the peyote meeting, to Gregorian chant and the Latin Catholic
liturgy, the effects of sound on the human consciousness, and on the
perception and creation of reality, are universally experienced.
If all matter is in reality the interplay and patterns of waves of
sound, then it requires no great leap of imagination to see that all form in
nature is the outpouring of causative sound. If God as the constant Creator
can form and change the vast array of the plane of matter, then we as co-
creators can use the science of sound to form and change the patterns of the
world and of our own inner beings. In the Vedic view of the cosmos, the
whole universe is an ocean of sound and light of varying degrees of density
or luminosity. It is understood that sound precedes even light.
- God and the Superforce -
During this latter part of the twentieth century the forefront of
scientific research has been theoretical physics. Theoretical physics
consists of the postulation and subsequent proof of the actual manner in
which the universe is constructed. Most people are aware that the "stuff"
of reality is made up of molecules, and that molecules are made up of atoms.
Most are also aware that atoms are made of so-called particles known as
protons, neutrons, and electrons.
These things were understood at the turn of the century, but with the
arrival of Neils Bohr's quantum mechanics in the early part of the twentieth
century, a whole new world of sub-atomic particles has opened up. As
physicists began to discover and name these new particles they were looking
for an underlying symmetry, a pattern that would make sense both logically
and aesthetically, just as all patterns in nature seem to have an inner
rhythm and beauty to them.
The Newtonian image of the atom, that of a tiny "solar system" with a
sun/nucleus made up protons and neutrons, and a whirl of little
planet/electrons surrounding it has now become obsolete. It now appears
that what at first seemed to be three different basic types of particles,
and later was understood to consist of these particles made up of, and
interacting with, smaller component particles, mesons, neutrinos, quarks,
and charmed particles, etc., are in fact simply one energy; one energy that
is constantly transforming itself into different frequencies of vibration,
spinning right and lift, up and down... a constant flow of changing ripples
and waves in one cosmic sea of energy.
Compare the description of God given by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth
Nanak, in his poem "Sukhmani Sahib", The Jewel of Peace, to the quantum
concept of the universe described above.
"Parbrahm ke sagle thao. The entire Creation is One with God.
Jit jit ghar rakhai taisa tin nao. But we call its parts by different
Aap karan kravan-jog. names.
Prabh bhavai soi phun hog. God is the Doer of everything.
Pasrio aap hoe anat tarang. Whatever He wills happens.
Lakhe na jaah Parbrahm ke rang God is an ocean, pervading everywhere,
Jaisi mat dee taisa pargaas. filled with endless waves of creation.
Parbrahm karta abinas." His play cannot be described.
But each man has a vision of Him
according to the light granted to him.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Sukhmani Sahib, Ashtapadi IX
The appearance of separate and definable "particles" is only an
illusion, a trick of perception that occurs in the same manner that a
baseball seems to be suspended in mid-air in a short exposure photograph,
when in fact it is hurtling through the air quite fast and, in actuality, is
in another place completely by the time we ever see the photograph. Even
with the "high-speed photography" possible with our modern atomic
accelerators such as Cern in Geneva, and Fermilab in Chicago, the
"snapshots" of our bubble chambers and tracking emulsions are much to slow
to catch the divine dance of energy as it actually occurs.
In fact, it is our minds that are too slow to catch the divine dance!
But it can be experienced, and this experience, beyond the limitations
of time and space, beyond the mind and it's symbolic and linear thinking, is
the experience of constant ecstasy and immense joy which is the very flow of
the Anahat Shabd itself.
In addition to the illusion of separate particles of matter, science is
now beginning to discover that what was previously thought of as separate
types or kinds of energy, are really only one. The very latest concept of
modern physics is the idea of a so-called "Superforce ". What were
previously thought to be the five basic separate energies of the universe,
electricity, magnetism, weak atomic bonding force, strong atomic force, and
gravitation, each with it's own mathematical expression and laws, are
currently beginning to be understood as merely separate expressions of ONE
force, which physicists call the Superforce. These energies are constantly
transforming themselves into each other, just as the "particles" of matter
are constantly transforming themselves into each other.
The One appears as many in all His manifested forms.
- Ek Ong Kar -
There is One Creator/Creation. This is the fundamental discovery of
modern science. That not only is all matter convertible into energy, and
vice versa, but that energy and matter are simply different appearances of
the very same thing. And that not only are energy and matter the same
thing, but that the constant interplay of this energy is the very play of
God itself, the divine play of "lila".
The religious experience is the experience that we and God and God and
we are one and the same. It is only our minds, our egos, that make us ever
feel that we are observing, that we are separate from other forms of
consciousness and energy. But science is the process of observation, and
observation implies an observer. How wonderful it is to realize that there
is only One observer... and that He is constantly observing Himself through
His/our eyes, and enjoying it immensely!
The modern scientific view that consciousness is within everything has
been expressed by E.H. Walker:
"Consciousness may be associated with all quantum mechanical
processes. The uniqueness of our consciousness lies in the fact
that it is a part of a logic machine, which in turn is the brain
of a particular kind of physical system, a living organism. That
is, the terms "life", "thought", and "consciousness", properly
defined, are separable. An organism does not have to be conscious
or capable of thinking in order to be alive. A brain does not
have to be conscious to be capable of "thought" (we are using the
term in the restricted sense of "data processing"). Only the
higher organisms have brains for data processing, and only under
very special conditions, when a large part of the data processing
functions of the brain is handled by an irreducible quantum
mechanical process, does the organism become a conscious, thinking
Any of these attributes may exist independently of the others, or
in conjunction with only one other. A non-living computer that is
capable of both thought and consciousness would be a real
possibility. Consciousness may also exist without being
associated with either a living system or a data processing
system. Indeed, since everything that occurs is ultimately the
result of one or more quantum mechanical events, the universe is
"inhabited" by an almost unlimited number of rather discrete
conscious, usually non-thinking entities that are responsible for
the detailed working of the universe. These conscious entities
determine (or exist concurrently with the determination) SINGLY
the outcome of each quantum mechanical event, while the
Schrdinger equation (to the extent that it is accurate) describes
the physical constraint placed on their freedom of action
E.H. Walker, "The Nature of Consciousness",
Journal of Mathematical Biosciences 7 : 175-176, 1970
- The Heart of Science and the Head of Religion -
Earlier we said that science is sometimes thought of as religion
without a heart, and religion as science without a head. The current
evolutionary state of human consciousness is that these two are finally
becoming one. Religion is giving its heart to science, and science has given
its head to religion.
In the 1980's we are experiencing the continuing explosion of
information sharing and group consciousness on this planet. Our entire
planet is linked electronically by a network of computers, televisions,
radios, electronic cables, optical fibers, and satellites. Ideas and images
that affect us all are instantly transmitted and shared with others of our
species all over the globe. We have even begun to acknowledge and connect to
the consciousness of other species, as John Lilly's research with dolphins
The group sub-conscious described by Carl Jung is now openly reflected
in a visible planetary group consciousness.
The age of blind faith is over. The age of belief without knowledge
died with the advent of instantaneous global information sharing. We have
irrevocably entered the age of conscious knowledge, experience, and
responsibility. The union of science and religion is now taking place. The
people of planet Earth can no longer march under a banner that reads:
"I believe, therefore I know"
but are joining together under a new banner which proudly proclaims:
"I know! Therefore I believe".
- The Age of Khalsa -
This is the age of the joining of all the Dharmas. This is the age of
sudden transformation. Not since the incredible evolutionary speedup which
marked the beginning of mankind's use of the forebrain, the factor that
separated us from the apes, has such a quantum leap in consciousness
happened on this planet. We are entering the age of the Khalsa. The age of
purified and subtle creative behavior and consciousness.
The religion of the future, which is evolving out of the union of
science and traditional religion, is the worship of God as Truth.
I'd like to close with my translation a poem of the Khalsa, originally
written in Gurmukhi, and transmitted to this Earth by the most pure, humble,
and devoted channel I have ever met, Yogi Bhajan.
From the volume called the "Furmaan Khalsa", The Inner Command of the
Pure Ones, here is the poem called "Lohe da Mandir", The Temple of Steel:
The Temple of Steel has been built!
The Light of Wisdom is Shining !
Today the sinners are filled with fear.
Today the Sovereign Khalsa Nation has proclaimed:
"Only the Righteous will survive!"
Today Satan is dead!
The New Nation of the Earth comprises all the Dharmas.
This Order comes direct from God!
The cycle of births and deaths is ended.
Today, only TRUTH will be accepted!
Today, no one is weak.
Today, the power of the Will reigns Supreme.
Today, by the grace of the Lord of both the Worlds,
The being is reborn as Khalsa!
Strong as steel
Steady as stone.
A face radiating sweetness...
A forehead shining with self-respect...
An inner voice that calls out to all people...
And carries them across the Ocean of fear.
The Flag of TRUTH is flying High!
Falsehood lies in ruins.
The Path of Love is simple:
There is no loss or gain.
White Hot Steel, heated in the fires of the times,
Has branded "TRUTH!" upon our foreheads.
The Temple of Steel has been built!
The Light of Wisdom is Shining!
We shall live our lives in TRUTH!
For this is the Priceless Blessing of our Guru.
S.S. Guruka Singh Khalsa
Department of High Energy Physics
Ohio State University
December 13, 1987
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank