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THE CONTRIBUTION OF HINDUISM TO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

 

by Ngakan Putu Putra

The highest knowledge (sattvika) is the only one of knowledge which a person sees one undivided imperishable reality within all diverse living beings. But the knowledge which a person sees all living beings are different and separated each other is the lower knowledge (rajasika).

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Bhagawad Gita 18: 20-21 

Hinduism recognizes the knowledge as the way to get salvation or freedom (jnana yoga). There are two kinds of knowledge of Hindu:  the higher knowledge (para vidya) which related with the metaphysics, that bring the salvation or freedom to humans from the circle of samsara through the knowledge of God (Brahman) or the soul (Atman), the ontological basis of all that exists. The lower knowledge (apara vidya) is the knowledge about the diversity or the natural science which useful to the advance of life in this world, it releases the humans from the suffering, the suffering because their insufficiency of the wealth (artha) which required for our life.

The two of the knowledge above is required by the religion as the means of ritual and the practice of religion, even said that discovery and the invention in science and technology is the way to reach moksa (the salvation), the highest purpose of humans.

The perspectives of Hindu to jnana cause the cultural background which suitable with the development of science and technology. It is indeed that the ancient Hindu has become the inventor of science which really useful to the development of science and technology recently, as Hindu numeral, zero and mathematics.

The ancient Hindu has been active and get the high advance in other science, as the positive contribution for the advance of science and technology, in the astronomy, physics, biology, medical, surgery, chemistry, civil and architecture. This achievement recognized and given tribute by the West and Islam scholars.

The development of science in modern era cause some reactions or the patterns of interaction which different with the religion, such as: conflict, independent, dialogue and integrationThe reaction of conflict  happen in the Judaism, it is because science in astromy and biology, especially the evolution theory which conflict with the creation theory in their scripture.

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The theory of evolution states the universe includes the humans created in six days as the claim of the scripture of Semitic religion.  But it is growing  slowly in the billions of years, until its form right now. The humans is also created in special and unique by God, but it is the part of long circle of the organism development before.

Science in biology, especially the evolution theory which has given the hard blow to the claim of the truth of the scripture which considered could be wrong, even it has removed the basic of their central dogma, like the origin sin and the penance of the death the son of  their God, Jesus Christ on the cross around 2000 years ago. It cause the conflict between science and the religions of Europe. Between the scientists and the teologian, they try to build the dialogue between the two of them, and they also borrow from the scripture of Hindu.

Otherwise, Hindus holy books, such as Veda, Upanisad, Bhagawad Gita and Bhagawata  Purana, Sankhya Darsana, dictated that universe develope gradually, starting from two subtle elements those are prakerti and purusa. Eventhough they are different in detail, but both of them Darwin’s evolution theory and Hindus’s evolution, has the smae basic idea.

Jonathan B. Edelmann seeing the similarity in ontology, epistemology and the purpose of the creation in Bhagawata with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Therefore the thinker of Hindu has great basic to do the dialogue with science. Even some scientists states, for example Frijtof Capra, Hindu and science is just not a dialogue, but there is integration.

In relating with that, the thinker of Hindu expected to make dialogue actively with the scientists to enrich the thought about Hindu and science itself.

Some scientists and theologian of Christian, for example Arthur Peacock who borrowing the concept of God in Hindu, pantheisme (monism) to help to link the dialogue between science and Christian.

Even the concept of Lila also borrowed to explain two characteristics of the theory of evolution, that are the natural selection  and the survival of the fittest which looks very cruel. Based on Lila, the the procese of evolution is not only has one purpose to the presence of humans, but also to each spicies which has purpose in their self. Every spicies experience the excitement level in their existence, because of that they do regeneration.

Hindus progress in science and technology it is stagnated when India invaded and colonized by Islam from 10th – 18th century and then continued by British  from 18th -20th century. The Islamic leaders even burn some colleges which stood since the ancient times, such as Nalanda, Taxasila, etc. it is unimaginable what will be achieved by Hindu in India, if they colonized by foreign imperialist powers.

But after the independence of August 15, 1947, India rediscovered the spirit and the opportunity to sharpen the potential of science and technology. Nowadays India experience the rapid progress in technology, especially the space and TI.  It is because the great education which supported fully with  the goverment, and also the spirit of love to science which born by Hinduism.

Hindu community of Indonesia has potential in science and technology, but it has not been getting more attention, as the attention that given to the art and culture. If the potential of  science and technology  is given  same attention like the art and culture, so the community of Hindu in Indonesia is also reach the high achievement in science and technology like the achievement by the art and culture.

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