Enquiry : How it all Started ...
We will begin by discussing what is meant
enquiry, when it started, and why it is important. Today we
live in comfortable homes. Some of us live in homes that are
'sealed' - curtains everywhere, and air-conditioner also!
We see very little of the world around [except through newspapers,
magazines, and of course the TV]. We are hardly aware of Creation,
and take little notice of its wonders. For ancient man, it
was very different.
He was out there in the open, exposed to the elements. When
he looked up he saw the sky. He saw the Sun, the Moon, the
stars, the clouds, and the birds. Around him there were the
plants, the trees, the insects and the animals. He was both
puzzled and wonder struck. He was astounded because everything
around him was so beautiful and remarkable. But he was also
puzzled - why all this? And what was his special role in all
this, if any?
Such enquiry was pursued by people in many
lands - Greece, North America, South America, and Asia. These
seekers asked the basic questions: "What is Creation?
Is there a purpose to it? Where exactly do I [man] fit into
all this? Does life have a purpose?" What is called knowledge
is the collection of answers obtained from such enquiry. This
process of enquiry is going on non-stop, although the methodology
and the consolidation of the answers have changed considerably
In the beginning, there was no serious attempt to categorise
the questions as spiritual and non-spiritual. Intuitively,
early man recognised that there must be a Divinity that is
the source of everything and also shapes everything. It was
philosophy all the way though some part of it addressed purely
spiritual questions while other parts dealt with temporal
issues. Till about the time of the Renaissance, this was the
case - no compartmentalisation.
Things began to change from the time Galileo and Newton entered
the picture. Both were religious-minded, but given to enquiring
about the laws and the forces of Nature. Progressively, such
investigations became more and more focussed and also limited
in scope, and it was no longer operationally necessary to
link one's findings to a Creator and His Grand Design. Not
only God, even man did not figure in the investigations -
for example, if one wants to discuss the ocean tides within
the framework of science, it is sufficient to consider just
the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon - neither God nor man enter
While science and spiritual philosophy began to drift apart
almost from the time of the Renaissance, the scientists of
that era were neither atheists nor even agnostics. However,
as time passed, the divorce between spirituality and science
became complete. Scientists slowly began to ignore God, then
forget God, and finally began to question His very existence.
What has made the problem very serious is the fact that modern
life has become intimately linked to Science and Technology.
Thus, in the name of being scientific, even ordinary people
have begun to give up belief in God, and, with it, also basic
values. In the name of freedom, people today often tend to
be extremely selfish.
Modern man has lost his moorings and has got cut off from
his roots. He thinks he has made progress, that he has advanced,
and has become more 'civilised'. Is this really true? There
is a wide-spread feeling today that religion contradicts science;
is this true? Spirituality is dismissed as empty philosophy;
is this true? Not at all.
First and foremost, let us clearly understand how religion
is related to spiritual philosophy. Religion is nothing but
'applied spirituality'. Spiritual philosophy provides the
basic foundation. The dictionary defines philosophy as: "The
pursuit of Knowledge and Wisdom; the Knowledge of Causes and
Laws of all things; the Science of being as being; the principle
underlying Knowledge; the Science of reasoning." Seen
in this light, it is not just enough to know how the earth
moves around the Sun or even how the stars are born etc. WHY
do such things happen? Why is there a Universe in the first
place? What is man's special role in it, if any? These questions
assume greater importance than even before, even as Science
and Technology are 'running away'.
Many profound thinkers and eminent scientists who work at
the frontier of scientific knowledge have come to the conclusion
that spirituality cannot be dismissed lightly as many brash
scientists of today tend to. Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes
says, "Science explains the 'how' of the Universe while
religion explains the 'why'."
Religions may differ but they agree on the basics; not surprising
at all - there is only one answer to the 'grand mystery'!
In Swami's terminology, "Nations are many but the Earth
Bhagavan Baba directs attention to BASIC
SPIRITUALITY, not merely because it transcends religion
but more so because it is THE FOUNDATION.
Circles must focus on the foundation. Thus, the enquiry must
revolve around our roots, our intrinsic Divine nature, the
purpose of the Universe, the purpose of life, etc. Some scientists
[e.g., Nobelist Weinberg] feel that the Universe has no purpose!
This is absolutely untrue! A careful reading of Swami's teachings
would reveal how empty such thinking is - it a very negative
view, and also a dangerous one. Seekers must endeavour to
get at the bottom of the matter by delving into Baba's teachings
- that really is the purpose of the Study Circle.
Stephen Hawking, the celebrated physicist says towards the
end of his famous best-seller, A Brief History of Time,
"We find ourselves in a bewildering world. We want to
make sense of what we see around us and to ask: What is the
nature of the Universe? What is our place in it and where
did it and we come from? Why is it the way it is?" What
this quote reveals is that after all the triumphs of modern
science, the basic questions still remain. That is because
people are not prepared to look for the answers in the place
they ought to, in spirituality. And that precisely is where
the Study Circles must focus.
conclude, clear and unambiguous answers exist for all the
questions raised by ancient man. These answers have come to
mankind via revelations made to Wise over the ages. They are
enshrined in various scriptural texts. Moreover, they have
been heavily underscored by the Avatars in various ways. More
than anything else, the Avatars have pointed out subtleties
never before revealed to man. Thus, an in-depth study of the
teachings of God in Human Form assumes great importance. In
other words, the Study Circles have an important task to perform
and a crucial role to play! They must help seekers to discover
their Inner Divinity, and later assist others in doing the
same. When man rises to the level of God, Earth would become