DEEPAK M RANADE, TOI Crest, Apr 3, 2010, 01.40pm IST
Tags:Faith|divine|Ego|intellectDivine understanding God was born out of the interface between man's intellect and its limitations, forcing the intellect to surrender to faith, says Deepak M Ranade. But can faith ever be challenged by intellect?
Ego is a sense of doer-ship. Every action is purported with a presumed control of the outcome. If the outcome is on expected lines, it gratifies the ego, and reinforces the sense of doer-ship . If the outcome is unfavourable, the ego gets slighted. The unfavourable outcome questions the scope or influence of the doer. The intellect cannot accept the arbitrary nature of outcomes or events. Failure to predict the outcome of any endeavour exposes the limitation of its control. This limitation is then assigned various nomenclatures such as destiny, luck, and karma. The futility of analytical thought also coerces the ego to seek recourse in an abstraction called God.
God was born out of the interface between man’s intellect and its limitations. History is also testimony to the then incomprehensible phenomena like lightning being interpreted as events orchestrated by celestial powers. The influence of God gradually invaded a wider perimeter of life. God became a convenient instrument of ensuring a code of ethics in the social fabric. The limitation of comprehension continued to remain the substrate of belief in God.
Belief began where intellect ended. So did the abstraction called God. Belief and intellect are strange bedfellows. Belief is necessarily ipso facto. It cannot forge an alliance with any rational thought. Each culture proclaimed its own messiah and advocated its own doctrines not always based on sanction or rationality. Rather, every unique interpretation of this abstraction cleaved society. The abstract caught the imagination of the intellect and forced it to surrender to faith. Faith could never be challenged by intellect.
Faith became a cornerstone to make the vagaries of life palatable. It also provided a resting ground for the intellectual juggernaut. Faith surreptitiously clouded rational intellect to a point of self-destruction . It transformed abstraction to aberration. The gaps in our understanding apparently decreased with the advent and progress of science. But scientific progress never eliminated the gaps completely. Rather, it made the conundrum of Creation even more bizarre. The phenomenon of lightning was explained by modern science. But this puzzle was replaced by the dilemma over the nature of light which still remains unexplained. Is light a particle or wave? The deficiency in intellectual comprehension only modified itself, from the macro to the nano.
The unpredictable nature of the subatomic world continues to perplex even the sharpest of intellectuals. Belief, nonetheless, could not restrain the intellect to seek answers. Ironically, the intellect continued seeking answers for what it had earlier relegated to the realm of incomprehensibility. The intellect started seeking answers for what had been its nemesis, namely, God. What symbolised its own failure became a subject of its study. Before attempting to comprehend God, it was vital to first comprehend the Self.
A student of science could study any subject but would be incapable of making the Self a subject of its own study. Experiment can never investigate the Self, which is an experience of awareness. Experience transcended intelligence. A paradigm shift is needed to be able to comprehend the abstraction that we call God. This could be made possible when we move from the ambit of experiment to experience. It will require sublimation of intellectual faculties to a point of heightened awareness, elevating awareness to become all-encompassing and all-inclusive that would end the subject-object dichotomy. The only way to understand God would be to become one.
(The writer is a consultant neuro-surgeon)