So I say to you that there is no conflict between religion and science, in the same way that there is no conflict between the body and the soul. Anyone who lives only on the level of the body will lose his soul, and someone who tries to live only in the spiritual dimension will also not be able to live rightly because he will lose contact with his body.
Just as human life is a balance, a synthesis of body and soul, in the same way a complete culture would also be a balance, a synthesis between science and religion. Science would be its body, religion its soul.
But if somebody were to ask me that if we had to choose between religion and science, what should we choose? Then I would say that we should be ready to choose religion. If somebody were to ask me to choose between science and religion because one of them had to go, I would say be ready to choose religion. It would be better to be poor and inconvenienced than to lose the soul of man.
What is the value of conveniences that cost us the self? And what is the value of wealth that deprives us of our very being? In reality, they are neither conveniences nor wealth.
I will tell you a short story, it has always been one of my favorites.
I have heard that once a king in Greece fell sick. He was so sick that the physicians said he was not going to live, there was no hope. So his ministers and the people who loved him became very worried and anxious. Just then a fakir entered the village, and somebody said, “People say that if you call the fakir and he gives his blessings, sick people are cured.”
They went to get the fakir and he came. The moment he came in he said to the king, “Are you crazy? Is this what you call a disease? It is not a disease. There is a very simple treatment for it.”
The king, who had been lying in bed for months, sat up and said, “What treatment? I thought I was finished. I don’t have any hope of getting better.”
The fakir said, “It is a very easy treatment. Bring the coat of a man of the village who is both prosperous and peaceful, and this the king should wear. He will become healthy and well.”
The ministers ran…. There were many prosperous people in the village. They went from house to house saying, “We want the coat of a man who is both prosperous and peaceful.”
And the prosperous people said, “But we are unhappy…. A coat! – we can give our lives, what to say of a coat. If the king can be saved, we are prepared to give everything. But our coats won’t work because we are prosperous, but we are not peaceful.”
They went to each and every man in the village. They searched the whole day, and by the evening they had lost all hope. They realized that it was going to be difficult to save the king – a cure was beyond reach. In the morning they had thought, “The cure will be very easy to find,” but by the evening they realized, “The cure is very difficult, in fact, impossible to find.” They had been to all the rich people.