By Punya Srivastava
Punya Srivastava interviews Sant Rajinder Singh, a techie turned spiritual teacher who helps people get in touch with the truths of their inner laboratories
Science and spirituality are two sides of the same coin that seek to answer burning questions explored by humanity through the ages,” says Sant Rajinder Singh, or Santji Maharaj as he is reverentially addressed by his followers.
The 69-year-old Sant Mat Guru propounds the Science of Spirituality through his Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission based in Kirpal Ashram in Delhi and the Science of Spirituality center in Illinois. A mystic master with a techie mind, this IIT-Madras graduate hails from a family steeped in spirituality, committed to helping the world transform itself. His grandfather, Sant Kirpal Singh, and father, Sant Darshan Singh, became spiritual masters to teach people meditation on the inner light and sound in order to experience the treasures lying within. The young seeker would sit alongside his father and grandfather in meditation, for he too was seeking answers to the mysteries of life.
Sant Rajinder has a strong academic background; he holds a B Tech Degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT-Madras, and an M S Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He was awarded a special IIT fellowship and later had a successful 20-year career in engineering, communications, and technology. This combined experience in both spirituality and the sciences propelled him to strive for a world where scientific methods could be used to explore spirituality. “The scientific approach makes it easier for those with a scientific bent of mind to grasp the principles of spirituality and to test the hypotheses for themselves,” states Sant Rajinder.
Today, Sant Rajinder travels around the world, particularly North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania to hold meditation retreats, mediation seminars and talks, and meditation sittings. Apart from being an orator, with his talks aired on radio and television, Sant Rajinder is a popular author whose books and articles are available in 50 languages. Some of his latest titles are Meditation as Medication for the Soul, Spark of the Divine, Spiritual Pearls for Enlightened Living, Silken Thread of the Divine; Inner and Outer Peace through Meditation, and Empowering Your Soul through Meditation. He has also established 17 Darshan Academies under the aegis of Darshan Education Foundation throughout India and in South America which integrates meditation and a spiritual curriculum into a traditional academic environment.
Excerpts from an interview with him:
In what ways do science and spirituality come together?
In finding answers to questions like what is the purpose of life, where did we come from, where do we go when this life ends, is there more to existence than this physical world – we can test the hypothesis and find answers through firsthand experience within the laboratory of the human body. The method used to find our own inner proof is meditation on the inner light and sound. By sitting in silence and concentrating within we can experience what lies beyond this physical existence. Just as there are scientists who study the universe through instruments with physical senses, we can also observe what lies within through our inner vision, often referred to as the inner eye _ to see the light and hear the celestial sound within. Once we connect with the inner light and sound, inner vistas open up for us to lead the exploration of what lies beyond the physical realm.
Do you think teaching spirituality through science will convert rational sceptics?
What distinguishes the practice of meditation from our Science of Spirituality is that we do not ask anyone to accept anything unless they first test it themselves. Thus, the guiding principle of the Science of Spirituality is ‘seeing is above all’. It is open to all to test it for themselves _ the inner light and sound _ and follow that current on an inner journey to discover spiritual realms beyond the physical for one’s self.
How does your scientific background help you in disseminating spirituality?
Because I am trained academically in the sciences, I understand the language and thought process of those who grew up with education models based on scientific principles. Thus, it is easier for me to explain the practice of meditation and spiritual principles in language that people of modern times could grasp.
You say that ethical living is an indispensable foundation for spiritual progress. How can one live an ethical life in a world rife with materialism?
Ethical living is based on the simple principle of love. It has been expressed through the ages as the golden rule of ‘treat others the way we want to be treated’. The ethical virtues stem from this basic principle. Just as we want others to be nonviolent, sharing, respectful and humane towards us, others want us to act that way towards them. Along with that, we want to extend nonviolence to animals, which is the basis for a vegetarian diet in which we eat plant-based foods so as not to cut short the life of any animal for our food. No matter where we live in the world _ whether a small village or a big city _ we can practice these ethical virtues. Our outer socio-economic circumstances are not related to how we behave in the world. In fact, no matter what living or work situation we are in, when others see us act with kindness, respect, care, selflessness and love for all, we leave a positive impression on them. This improves our relationship with others.
How can one achieve the ultimate goal of life while living a worldly life?
What does ‘worldly life’ entail? Most people are leading their lives in want of the same goal – happiness. To reach there, people engage in similar activities. They begin their life as children needing food, clothing, shelter, love, education, health, safety, and friendship. After graduating from school, they look for a job or start a family and want to acquire items needed to live. The rest of their lives are spent in making sure they have enough money to live on. However, the fact is that nothing made of matter is lasting. It is all temporary and subject to decay or loss.
The only lasting happiness comes from connecting to the treasures within us that are not material but spiritual. Our spiritual essence is a drop of the power that created all, and that power is love, consciousness, bliss, and joy. When we tap into that power within ourselves, we can swim in the ocean of divine love, peace, and happiness. We become connected with the source within of all wisdom, bliss, ecstasy, fearlessness, connectedness with all life, and spiritual love. Living in such a state enriches our life. Then, no matter what our outer circumstances, we are happy. Our outer circumstances are enriched by our inner connection with joy and divine love. Then we can pass through the stages of life, fulfilling our outer obligations to earn a living, support a family, help others, or whatever we do to lead our worldly life but in a state in which we are joyous, fulfilled, and peaceful.
What gave birth to the Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission?
Meditation on the inner light and sound is an age-old science which has been practised since ancient times. It is based on inverting one’s attention within, whether called meditation, prayer, or sitting in silence. It is a practice that needs no name or label, but it needs a structure to hold seminars, lectures, classes, and meetings. Thus, began Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission, also known as Science of Spirituality (SOS) because the terms ‘science’ and ‘spirituality’ describe the basis for meditation to experience the inner treasures within the laboratory of one’s own body. The organisation is a non-profit, nondenominational one dedicated to meditation, ethical living, selfless service to make the world a better place with improved health and physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. We strive to bring about personal transformation leading to inner peace, happiness, and human unity. Meditation is taught as a science to people of all countries, cultures, ages, and backgrounds.
What instrumental changes have been brought forth by the Mission?
In my lifetime, I have seen dramatic changes in the world brought by people engaging in meditation. One individual can be a positive and peaceful influence on those in his or her family, neighbourhood, city, country, and the world. If I become peaceful and calm, then I will radiate positive waves and affect those around me, bringing them into a state of calm. If each person achieves inner peace, a day will come when the number of people who are peaceful increases, and it will ripple out to the rest of the world. Those who have been meditating for many years have shared the changes they have seen in their own family life, work environment, and community where they emanate peacefulness and kindness. This has a multiplying effect. Another positive change that I witness is benevolence for all life forms amidst people who practise meditation. Thus, along with meditation, a life of vegetarianism is an expression of non-violence and peace. Science of Spirituality, advocates the consumption of plant-based foods. I was born into a vegetarian family and have never eaten any meat, fish, fowl, or eggs. When I first came to the United States as a student, I found that it was hard to get vegetarian food. People in this country thought anyone on that diet would not be healthy enough to survive. Yet, we can see today, that vegetarianism has increased in popularity. Science of Spirituality in Naperville, Illinois, has been sponsoring an annual Veggie Fest for the past 10 years. This has been acclaimed as the largest vegetarian festival in North America, with around 3,500 people in attendance. Medical doctors and researchers expound on the benefits of a life of meditation and vegetarianism for improved health and wellness. Many famous people in the field of sports, the arts, the sciences, and professional lines of work are avid vegetarians and attest to the improvement in their overall health.
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