(Comment 2003) Since writing the below I have become aware that much of what SSB said were his miracles were simple fraud. Such is the case with a ring he gave me at Christmas 1986 (when I had told him in private that I wished to make a large financial donation) which he claimed to be better than a diamond. It turned out to be a synthetic sapphire, value of about only $10.- or so in India at the time. His fraud has been uncovered by many close followers, including David Bailey and former Central Coordinators such as Stephen Carthew (Australia) and Aime Levy (UK)

My current view of the relation between spirituality and science is represented here


"'The knowledge of the Atma is the highest among all knowledges'. There are several fields of knowledge concerning this visible objective world - knowledge of physics, of music, of literature, of mathematics, of architecture and sculpture and many more such. However many fields you master you cannot have inner peace until you possess the one knowledge - the knowledge of the Atma; nor can you be happy without it.""The ultimate refuge for man is the Divine Science, the science of the Atma; that is the goal he ought to seek; that ensures final liberation. This Science or Jnana which enables man to become aware of the Unity in Diversity, and the Immortality in Mortality is certainly the supermost." Sri Sathya Sai Baba (discourse 27 - 7 - 1980)

Sathya Sai Baba has insisted that scientists cannot understand the spiritual and that the spiritual starts where science ends. He has repeatedly refused to demonstrate materialisations for the advancement of science saying that it is a mystery beyond scientific explanation and that demonstrating powers rather than using them exclusively for the good of his devotees would be the same as black magic. (See Miracles are My Visiting Cards by E. Haraldsson. Century 1987).

There is a philosophical distinction between knowledge and wisdom (Latin scientia and sapientia), corresponding to that between the sciences and moral or spiritual insight. One may say that this latter is what makes for human being (homo sapiens sapiens) rather than scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge is always founded on what is observable to the senses, about the sensory 'outer' world, or else it is not acceptable to the scientific community. Insight into oneself, on the other hand, is what tells us what is good and right or conversely. Conscience can only be known by insight, it is not a measurable physical thing. The wisdom derived from studying one's conscience is of another order altogether than the know-how obtained from scientific experiments. Technological advances may be made by the use of knowledge obtained in the natural or physical sciences, but whether they will be used disasterously or not does not depend on any such knowledge. It alone can depend, in the first and last analysis, on the conscience of the individual.

The success and popularity of scientific thinking is due to its ability to make accurate predictions about causes and effect, which gives us more control of the physical environment (eg. with technology and in the prevention of some diseases etc.). It is not due to discovery of any new truths about the human soul or its destiny, for these are matters entirely beyond its scope. In short, science is by its nature oriented towards changing the material world, not towards practical self-discovery or spiritual truth. There is a very widespread tendency for people who wish to be taken seriously to wish to see their work as scientific. Thus, what not long ago were called 'arts' or 'humanities' now style themselves as historical and social sciences'. Their dilemma is usually how to employ natural scientific methods to human beings and their works. Though we have bodies and use matter to express our life work, we are souls and our expressions also are of a spiritual sort.

No scientific methods can hope to plumb the depths of the soul, however, for it is an inward matter simply not open to laboratory observation, even in the most indirect way. Neither statistics nor questionnaires can penetrate the internal relation between ourselves and the spiritual source that informs our consciences, illumines our intellects with the power of discrimination between right and wrong or helps to direct our will towards the good when this is our wish.

Modern science arose in the European Renaissance as the result of the search for truth, not least as a correction to unreasonable theological dogmas that had come to deny many matters of worldly fact. Yet science did not concern itself with moral questions, for its hypothetical-deductive experimental method can provide no test of right or wrong (i.e whether one ought or ought act in some given way). At best it can only provide evidence to help decide factual questions (i.e. whether something is true -or is the case - or contrariwise). Remaining neutral on all matters of values (i.e. of right or wrong), scientific theory does not and cannot seek truth in the sense of spiritual verities. No serious scientist or philosopher today will assert that science can reach certain knowledge in any field at all, or that scientific method can cast any light on moral questions.Since the time of David Hume clear, logical reasons why this must be so have been known. This uncertainty in principle is accepted as a fundamental axiom of the philosophy of science by the world scientific community. It is further very widely accepted that the history of science shows that all scientific theories have hitherto been subject to major or minor alterations, sometimes even a most radical change of paradigm. Sathya Sai Baba has informed us of the same himself when he said, according to Dr. Hislop:

"Science is highly fragmentary, and its approach to reality is through Maya (i.e. the worldly illusion), and this is a highly dangerous procedure. Science does not even know the truth of chemistry and physics. Each ten years or so, the old truths are discarded or modified because of research results. So, when man tries to compare science and the spiritual world of Baba, he is comparing a science whose finality is not known, with spiritual truth of which he is also ignorant..."

(Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. p 43)

Comment - Sai Baba has subsequently shown himself to be a virtual scientific ignoramus as regards many aspects of modern science, and he learns about it only by hearsay, according to the former editor of his journal, V.K. Narasimhan. The extent of his ignorance can be seen for example in his totally-erroneous discourses on atoms, physics and especially magnetism.

There are those who would like to see spirituality become the object of scientific research and others who would try to justify the existence of spirit and of its truths by the support of one or another science. Surely, is this not putting the cart before the horse? Who needs the doubtful authority of science so as to lend support to Sathya Sai Baba's teachings? Science is entirely surpassed by "Saience".

Comment - Even while I was penning the above opinion, spiritual phenomena were increasingly becoming the object of strict scientific research, not least with very hi-tech methods. This has led to the scientific explanation of many so-called 'para-normal' phenomena, visions, visitations, thought transference and associated matters.

Robert Priddy, in the journal Sanathana Sarathi, March 1988, p. 63ff.
See Science and the Unknown