Request for comments: Informal extended abstract

vidya vidya at
Tue Nov 28 23:37:43 UTC 1995

Krishna writes:

> A much simpler and, certainly, a much more scientific and
> rational solution is to realize that words like "soul", "karma",
> "rebirth", "Atman", "Maya" etc. are vague/meaningless (and quite
> irrelevant to anyone with more than a minimal knowledge of
> physics and biology).  After all, no one has yet produced

Fortunately or unfortunately, not every human being has that knowledge
of physics or biology. Besides, it would take a huge leap to throw
concepts of soul, karma, rebirth etc., into the dustbin, citing the
authority of science. Human civilization is based upon certain basic
concepts and one should be highly cautious before throwing some
of these overboard.

For example, if the concept of a "soul" is meaningless, is it okay to
murder? We may not have scientific proof for its existence, but as far
as organization of human societies is concerned, the idea that every
human being has a soul has served a very useful purpose.

Science cannot supplant religion/ethics completely. No system
of Indian philosophy claims to be science, at least in the modern sense
of the word. Let us leave the two separate. As for what one person finds
stimulating to his grey matter, it is entirely his concern. As far as 
I could see, what Mr. Raman was doing was not an apologetic for Sankara's
"flawed theories". Even if it were, so what? He did not claim that
it was "scientific". 

S. Vidyasankar

ps. I responded publicly, because the above post was public. I don't think
any ensuing discussion along these lines would be of general interest.
So this will be my last public post on this topic. We could continue
by private email if necessary. 


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