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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 over time.

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 the picture.

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 is one!"

Bhagavan Baba directs attention to BASIC SPIRITUALITY, not merely because it transcends religion but more so because it is THE FOUNDATION.

STEPHEN HAWKINGStudy 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.

COVER PAGE-A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIMEIncidentally, 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.

To 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 Paradise!


Volume : PDS / 02 Date : SEPT 15 2003