By Gaurav Sharma
At first glance, the subjects of science and metaphysics seem to be polar opposites of each other. The pioneers of Quantum Mechanics, however, believed it to be otherwise.
In fact, the founding fathers of Quantum Physics, while formulating their groundbreaking theories, sumptuously dug into annals of Vedic philosophy and found their experiments to be consistent with the knowledge expounded in Vedas.
Danish physicist and Nobel laureate Niels Bohr was fascinated with Vedas. His remark, “I go to the Upanishad to ask questions,” reveals a lot about his respect for the ancient wisdom of India.
Erwin Schrodinger, an Austrian-Irish physicist who also won the Nobel Prize for his famous wave equation, was also a keen proponent of the Vedic thought.
In his book Meine Weltansicht, Schrodinger says, “This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.”
This is nothing but a Mundaka Upanishad mantra which proposes the connectivity of all living beings.
“The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. This is entirely consistent with the Vedanta concept of All in One”, Schrodinger said while referring to each particle in the universe as a wave function.
Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, which states that we cannot measure both the position and momentum of a particle at the same time, is also a reflection of the Advaitic aphorism of rope and snake;“ When a snake is seen in the place of a rope, only the snake is seen as real. But is it independently real?”
But perhaps the greatest example of how modern-science viz quantum physics is inextricably intertwined with the spiritual concepts of the ancient world, comes through the works and words of Nikola Tesla.
The mastermind scientist and inventor, apart from knowing complex mathematical formulas possessed the subtle knowledge of the working of the universe.
In his seminal book Man’s Greatest Achievement, Tesla says, “All perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the akasha or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never-ending cycles all things and phenomena.”
The usage of words such as Prana and Akasha clearly show that the father of electricity was well-versed in the teachings of the Vedic worldview.
The relationship Tesla shared with Swami Vivekananda, a great Hindu reformist is also quite well-known.
Vivekananda in one of his works states: “Mr Tesla was charmed to hear about the Vedantic Prana and Akasha and Kalpas, which according to him are the only theories modern science can entertain. Now both Akasha and Prana are produced from the Mahat or the Universal Mind. Mr. Tesla thinks he can demonstrate mathematically that force and matter are reducible to potential energy. In that case the Vedantic cosmology will be placed on the surest of foundations. I am working a good deal now upon the cosmology and eschatology of the Vedanta. I clearly see their perfect union with modern science, and the elucidation of the one will be followed by that of the other.”
Tesla revolutionized science with the concepts of “Free energy”, also known as “Zero-point energy”. Unfortunately, the theories could never actualized, as his funding and grants were constantly revoked by those running the economy, such as JP Morgan, Westinghouse etc.
Albert Einstein, the father of the Theory of Relativity and developer of Quantum Mechanics also believed in the unity of the universe.“There is no spooky action at a distance”, he is known to have said. In his book, The World as I See It, Einstein says “I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research”.
This clearly elucidates the fact that science cannot function in isolation with nature. And therefore, the current scientific view of extracting energy for the sole purpose of economic development is farcical.
Modern science can and should build on the work of previous western scientists, many of whom drew significant inspiration from the Vedas and Upanishad.