How science can help spirituality

He says that science
Has made life too easy.
Human beings have become
Lazy and lethargic.

I say that science
Is offering to humanity
More leisure time
To pray and meditate.
It is up to the individual
To avail himself
Of that golden opportunity.

Sri Chinmoy [1]

Sri Chinmoy often talks about how technology can be inimical to spiritual progress. In a nutshell, the spiritual life is about living in the heart. But absorption in the computer-world takes us into a dry, mental world – which can limit a seekers aspiration.


So it is interesting to see the other side of the coin. How science can give us more time for spiritual practice – as long as we are willing to take the opportunity.

In the 1930s, the great economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by the end of the century, we would be working a 10 hour week. His logic was that scientific progress/technological advances would enable us to produce the same output for significantly less labour. We could have higher wages and a shorter working week.

Yet, since the 1930s, the average working week in the US has barely fallen – despite rising wages and the rapid growth in technology.

Many economists have written explanations for this. But, fundamentally, we have chosen to continue to work long hours in pursuit of more material success.

If we were better at distributing wealth, society could definitely afford to work fewer hours and still have a good living standard. But, at the moment our values place greater importance on a career and earning money.

In fact, it is ironic that in a world with so many labour saving devices – so many of us can feel pressed for time.

To give a few examples. With a mobile phone, we can buy an air ticket and save making a trip to the travel agent in town. But, the mobile phone is also a temptation to fritter away time on superficial and non-meaningful browsing. I used to spend an hour driving to and shopping in a supermarket. Now, I get home delivery from the click of the internet. But, do we spend the extra hour to meditate and engage in selfless service or do we use the time to download a box set from t?

Technology can save us time for something spiritually fulfilling, but we also need the discipline to reject the time-wasting potential of technology.

The relationship between science and spirituality

Question: What is the relationship between science and spirituality?

Sri Chinmoy: Science is the expansion of the physical mind; spirituality deals with what is beyond the mind, with intuition. The domain of science is practicality. On the material plane science calls spirituality a dreamer and spirituality calls science a rascal. But on the highest plane spirituality and science are brothers. Spirituality says to science, “Brother, I need you. You are God’s Body; God is your body. You are God the Body.” And science says to spirituality, “You are God’s Soul; God is your soul. You are God the Soul.” The body needs the soul for realisation and the soul needs the body for manifestation. [2]


[1] Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, part 15, Agni Press, 1983

[2] Sri Chinmoy, Transformation-night, Immortality-dawn, Agni Press, 1975

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