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Research & Spirituality

Research is a basic attempt to know the known in a different approach or to know something unknown or to invent something new in a given field of research. Research does not have to necessarily be in, or in fact is not confined to, science alone. We have research in Archaeology, History, Financial sector etc. When it comes to research in science, it has provided us with modern technology in our day to day life and made human life more sophisticated than what it was a century ago. Today's research in certain areas of life is far behind our understanding of that subject, whereas in some other areas it is so much advanced that its practical implementation is not in the near future, but still the research in such areas is not saturating.
Spirituality on the other hand is not a contradictory subject rather it is one of the subjects wherein one can do research. Spirituality to my understanding is an approach to search for the Ultimate. In other terms for those believers of the concept of soul, it is a pursuit where a soul makes journey back to the source from where it came. There were various beliefs from times immemorial about this spiritual pursuit and consequently different ideas in the form of, shall I say, religions or spiritual practices that have come into existence. In that sense, it is not exaggerating to say that research in spirituality has been present since a long time back perhaps even before when there was no significant scientific development.
Humans can evolve in many different ways sometimes even surpassing the so-called civilians. Some of you might be aware of the catastrophic Tsunami in 2004 where most of the there civilians faced the wrath of nature, however the tribes on the Nicobar Islands that are closest to the epicentre survived this. The surveys that were made later confirmed that all five of the indigenous tribal groups had instinctively moved to safer and higher grounds shortly before the Tsunami struck.
Here the point is not that some of the tribes are superior than our modern civilisation. One can of course equally argue that the modern civilisation is far better than them in terms of technology, medicine and survival strategies. The main point is that there are more ways that a human can perceive the Nature than those that are proved scientifically or otherwise. Spirituality is one such approach where one can be in close tune with Nature. There are already some scientific researches going on in this direction.
On the materialistic plane, we often come across beginner researchers or students who follow wrong approach in solving a problem and conclude that either their solution is right or the problem under consideration itself is wrong. Of course, on the materialistic plane, the expert in that given filed can easily identify the problem with those researchers and can guide them correctly. It is the honesty and humility from the researcher that makes him accept his imperfection.
One at the individual level can do research in Spirituality as well without the help of any modern equipments. All that is required of one is to keep an open heart and look for the way to approach the Ultimate. This is an experiment where the person he himself is the experimenter who does experiment on himself to find the results in himself. Honesty to oneself and genuine interest in the practice are the key points to the success. It is always believed in almost all the spiritual systems that a genuine call never goes unanswered.

Dr. Meduri C Kumar
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physics, IIT Guwahati
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