There was no conflict at all between the spiritual path and the scientific pursuit.
(Excerpts from Ma’s Q & A session during the 5th Global Bhagavad Gita Convention themed ‘Mental Harmony’)
Q: As a scientist, how did you reconcile the earnest seeking of scientific knowledge in your spiritual quest? Did you come across many contradictions along the way?
Ma: Actually, I did not have to reconcile with anything. My spiritual quest surfaced in a very spontaneous manner when I was working for my PhD. It dawned upon me that everything in this world is transitory, everything is changeful. As a young girl, I found that the joys that we have—a lot of fun and friends—all of it goes away. I started thinking: what is life if nothing is permanent?
I had a very good family, education, upbringing, best of teachers–everything. Still, I started becoming disinterested. It was a blessing of God that I started feeling like this. Not that I stopped doing anything; everything I was doing. Nobody understood my inner condition from outside, but inside I was weeping, thinking what is this life and is there a higher purpose?
That is the time I came to know of Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa, our Poojya Swamiji’s Gurudev. I started writing to him. He was old and would write back in shaky handwriting, but all that he instructed gave a world of peace, happiness, hope and confidence. He said: “Do not fear! God is within you. There is a wonderful world within, a source of permanent happiness in us, perceive it.”
From the time I stepped onto this path- I was only 23 or 24–there was a new meaning in my life. It was very enriching and enlightening, and I felt the path ahead was bright. It became an adventure for me.
Youngsters should know that there is such a path, which can be pursued by anyone anywhere, which will give confidence and hope.
For me, there was no conflict at all between the spiritual path and the scientific pursuit. Both were pursuit of knowledge and I was a seeker of knowledge. In both, one has to have a lot of patience, endurance, commitment and dedication.
Very soon I understood that Spiritual Knowledge is very different from mastering any academic subject. The latter doesn’t compel you to change your personality. I understood that this spiritual pursuit compels us to know and handle our mind—to understand the oscillations within and become more patient, tolerant and loving. It gave me so much joy because I was coming to know about my own personality, shortcomings and what I have to do to become absolutely free.
– Vicharasethu—July 2022
“There is a wonderful world within, a source of permanent happiness in us, perceive it.”