Chapter 9: In Search of the Miraculous
The first question:
I am a scientist working on the question of how life originated from non-living matter. It seems to me that this study of how non-life is transformed into living matter is vital to understanding the relationship of science to religion. The reason is that the study is a clue to how our emotions and spirituality developed in the first place. What do you think?
Religion and science are diametrically opposite, and because they are diametrically opposite they are complementaries. Religion cannot support science, science cannot support religion. They are bound to oppose each other; in their very opposition is their complementariness. Hence, anything that science is going to discover is of no value to religion. In fact, each scientific discovery makes the existence of religion more and more difficult.
Science tries to demystify existence, hence the question “how?” - how did life arise out of matter? Religion is basically a different approach: it does not want to demystify existence; its whole approach is to reveal the mystery of it. It is not a search for the answer; it is diving deep in the question itself. It does not ask any questions; it takes life for granted. The question is not how life arose. The question is how life should be lived, the question is how life should be celebrated.
The scientific question will be: What is love? How does love arise? What is the causality? And the religious question will be: How to drown yourself in love? How to be in love? How to be love itself?
Science will come to certain clues; those clues look stupid in the eyes of a mystic. If you ask about love, science will answer with something which is nothing but chemistry: hormones, chemicals. And the grandeur and the splendor of love are reduced - reduced to a very mundane world. What does love have to do with chemistry? Love certainly has something to do with alchemy, but nothing to do with chemistry. It is a transforming force, but it cannot be reduced to hormones.
Life cannot be reduced to any answer. Once life is reduced to a certain answer life becomes meaningless, it is no more worth living. It is like coming across a lotus flower. The poet will enjoy the beauty of it; he will not be bothered where it comes from. He will simply enjoy the fragrance, the color, the sun shining over it, the dewdrops on the lotus petals. And the mystic will dance around it, because he is not seeing only the lotus flower but he is seeing something of the transcendental in it. Hidden behind the lotus, its beauty, its splendor, its majesty, its magic, are the hands of existence. The mystic not only feels the roseflower or the lotus flower, he also feels the mysterious presence of the unknown force called “God” surrounding it, protecting it, caring for it, caressing it.