What the Upanishads Contain

In the Upanishads, we get an intelligible body of verified and verifiable spiritual insights mixed with a mass of myths and legends and cosmological speculations relating to the nature and origin of the universe. While the former has universal validity, and has a claim on human intelligence in all ages, the latter forswears all such claim. All positivistic knowledge contained in any literature, ll1cluding religious literature, is limited and conditioned by the level of contemporary scientific knowledge. Modification, and even scrapping, of much of this knowledge due to subsequent advances has affected the truth validity of much of man's literary heritage, including his religious and philosophical ones.

Satyasya Satyam

If everything IS the Atman or Brahman, the universe of name and form cannot be an illusion. The Upanishads consider it as maya; but this does not mean illusion. Maya is a mere statement of fact, what we are and what we see around us. It refers to the loner contradiction

Science and Belief

In his Paper on Hinduism' read at the Chicago Parliament of Religions on September 19, 1893, Swami Vivekananda says:

'All science is bound to come to this conclusion in the long run. Manifestation, and not creation, is the word of science today, and the Hindu is only glad that what he has been cherishing 1ll his bosom for ages is going to be taught in more forcible language and with further light from the latest conclusions of science.'

Involved in our experience of the world and in our knowledge of it. These contradictions will remain, say the Upanishads, so long as we remain at the sensate level, so long as we fail to take into account the Atman, the Self behind the nor-Self, the One behind the many. Yet, all our experiences and knowledge in the sphere of maya are experiences and knowledge of the Atman, coming through the sense organs. Hence they are not illusory, but true. Man travels, says Swami Vivekananda, not from error to truth, but from truth to truth, from truth that is lower to truth that is higher. Hence the Upanishads describe the world of the not-Self as 'truth' and the Self or Atman as 'Truth of truth.'

Science and Religion

All science IS the search for' unity. Vedanta discovered this unity in the Atman; it followed .its own method relevant to this field of inquiry. But it illustrated its conclusions with whatever positive knowledge was available at the time. In recent centuries this knowledge has been advanced radically and vastly by modern science, the impact of which on Vedanta, however, has been most wholesome.