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Postmodernism, Hindu nationalism and `Vedic science

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MEERA NANDA
The mixing up of the mythos of the Vedas with the logos of science must be of great concern not just to the scientific community but also to the religious people for it is a distortion of both science and spirituality! " The first part of a two-part article from# http#$$www!mu%to&mona!com$Articles$'edic(science(Mira!htm )

The Vedas as books of science *N +,,- the Vishwa .indu /arishad "V./) of the 0nited 1ingdom "0!1!) produced a slic% loo%ing boo% with many well&produced pictures of colourfully dressed men and women performing .indu ceremonies accompanied with warm fu22y and completely sanitised description of the faith! The boo% Explaining Hindu Dharma: A Guide for Teachers offers 3teaching suggestions for introducing .indu ideas and topics in the classroom3 at the middle to high school le'el in the 4ritish schools system! The authors and editors are all card&carrying members of the V./! The boo% is now in its second edition and going by the glowing re'iews on the bac%&co'er it seems to ha'e established itself as a much&used educational resource in the 4ritish school system! 5hat 3teaching suggestions3 does this Guide offer6 *t ad'ises 4ritish teachers to introduce .indu dharma as 3just another name3 for 3eternal laws of nature3 first disco'ered by Vedic seers and subse7uently confirmed by modern physics and biological sciences! After gi'ing a false but incredibly smug account of mathematics physics astronomy medicine and e'olutionary theory contained in the Vedic texts the Guide instructs the teachers to present the Vedic scriptures as 3not just old religious boo%s but as boo%s which contain many true scientific facts!!! these ancient scriptures of the Hindus can be treated as scientific texts 3 "emphasis added)! All that modern science teaches us about the wor%ings of nature can be found in the Vedas and all that the Vedas teach about the nature of matter god and human beings is affirmed by modern science! There is no conflict there are no contradictions! Modern science and the Vedas are simply 3different names for the same truth3! This is the image of .induism that the V./ and other .indut'a propagandists want to project around the world! The 4ritish case is not an isolated example! 8imilar initiati'es to portray Vedic&Aryan *ndia as the 3cradle3 of world ci'ilisation and science ha'e been launched in 9anada and the 0nited 8tates as well! Many of these initiati'es are beneficiaries of the generous and politically correct policies of multicultural education in these countries! 0nder the worthy cause of presenting the 3community:s3 own 'iews about its culture many 5estern go'ernments are inad'ertently funding .indut'a:s propaganda! 1AMA; NARAN<

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Human esource !e"elopment Minister Murli Manohar #oshi at the inau$uration of the %ndian &cience 'on$ress in (e) !elhi in *++,- The obsession for findin$ all kinds of science in all kinds of obscure Hindu doctrines has been dictatin$ the official education policy of the B#P e"er since it came to po)er nearly half a decade a$o+

indu nationalist slogan of all perspecti'es being e7ually true & within their own context and at their own le'el! The result is the loud & but false & claims of finding a tradition of empirical science in the spiritual teachings of the Vedas and Vedanta! 8uch scientisation of the Vedas does nothing to actually promote an empirical and rational tradition in *ndia while it does an incalculable harm to the spiritual message of ./:s Guide claims has confirmed the presence of these 7ualities in nature! The e'idence6 /hysics shows that there are three atomic particles bearing positi'e negati'e and neutral charges which correspond to the three gunas@ ?rom this 3scientific proof3 of the existence of essentially spiritual$moral gunas in atoms the Guide goes on to triumphantly deduce the 3scientific3 confirmation of the truths of all those Vedic sciences which use the concept of gunas "for example Ayur'eda)! .indu scriptures contain 3many true scientific facts3 and therefore 3can be treated as scientific texts3! .4ut what concerns us in this article is not the long&distance .indut'a:s claim that Vedas are 3just another name3 for modern science! As we will see postmodernist attac%s on objecti'e and uni'ersal %nowledge ha'e played straight into .indut'a:s celebration of Vedas&as&science let us follow the logic behind V.induism:s sacred boo%s! The mixing up of the mythos of the Vedas with the logos of science must be of great concern not just to the scientific community but also to the religious people for it is a distortion of both science and spirituality! *n order to understand how postmodern criti7ues of science con'erge with .induism the Guide boldly ad'ises 4ritish school teachers to instruct their students that there is 3no conflict3 between the eternal laws of dharma and the laws disco'ered by modern science! A .indut'a "or 3=an%ee ./:s Guide for Teachers! This Guide claims that the ancient .a'ing 3demonstrated3 the scientific credentials of .indut'a3 as some call it) dangerous though it is! This essay is more about the left wing&counterpart of =an%ee .indut'a# a set of postmodernist ideas mostly "but not entirely) exported from the 5est which unintentionally ends up supporting .et us see what these 3true scientific facts3 are! The prime exhibit is the 3scientific affirmation3 of the theory of guna "8ans%rit for 7ualities or attributes)! ?ollowing the essential Vedantic idea that matter and spirit are not separate and distinct entities but rather the spiritual principle constitutes the 'ery fabric of the material world the theory of gunas teaches that matter exhibits spiritual$moral 7ualities! There are three such 7ualities or gunas which are shared by all matter li'ing or non&li'ing# the 7uality or guna of purity and calmness see%ing higher %nowledge " sattvic) the 7uality or guna of impurity dar%ness ignorance and inacti'ity "tamsic) and the 7uality or guna of acti'ity curiosity worldly gain "ra asic)! Modern atomic physics the V.indut'a:s propaganda regarding Vedic science! >'er the last couple of decades a set of 'ery fashionable supposedly 3radical3 criti7ues of modern science ha'e dominated the 5estern uni'ersities! These critical theories of science go under the label of 3postmodernism3 or 3social constructi'ism3! These theories see modern science as an essentially 5estern masculine and imperialistic way of ac7uiring %nowledge! *ntellectuals of *ndian origin many of them li'ing and wor%ing in the 5est ha'e played a lead role in de'elopment of postmodernist criti7ues of modern science as a source of colonial 3'iolence3 against non&5estern ways of %nowing! *n this two&part essay * will examine how this postmodernist left has pro'ided philosophical arguments for .

induism! *n reality e'erything we %now about the wor%ings of nature through the methods of modern science radically disconfirms the presence of any morally significant gunas or sha!ti or any other form of consciousness in nature as taught by the Vedic cosmology which treats nature as a manifestation of di'ine consciousness! ?ar from there being 3no conflict3 between science and .A file picture>ne of the most ludicrous mantras of . %n .indu propagandists can go this far in 0!1! imagine their power in *ndia where they control the 9entral go'ernment and its agencies for media education and research! This obsession for finding all %inds of science in all %inds of obscure .indut'a propaganda is that there is 3no conflict3 between modern science and .indut'a apologists are so %een to tame modern science by reducing it to 3simply another name for the >ne Truth3 & the 3one truth3 of Absolute 9onsciousness contained in .ealth Ministry is in'esting in research de'elopment and sale of cow urine sold as a cure for all ailments from the Ac7uired *mmune Deficiency 8yndrome "A*D8) to tuberculosis "T4)! ?aith&healing and priest&craft are other 3sciences3 recei'ing public and pri'ate funding! C .indu doctrines has been dictating the official educational policy of the 4haratiya Banata /arty e'er since it came to power nearly half a decade ago! *ndeed the 4B/ go'ernment can teach a thing or two to the creation scientists in the 0!8! 9reationists old and new are trying to smuggle in 9hristian dogma into secular schools in the 0!8! by redefining science in a way that allows <od to be brought in as a cause of natural phenomena! This 3theistic science3 is meant to ser'e as the thin&edge of the wedge that will pry open the secular establishment! 0nli%e the creationists who ha'e to contend with the courts and the legislatures in the 0!8! the *ndian go'ernment itself wields the wedge of Vedic science intended to dismantle the "admittedly half&hearted) secularist education policies! 4y teaching Vedic .indut'a:s wedge strategy is wor%ing wonders! Astrology is flourishing as an academic subject in public and pri'ate colleges and uni'ersities and is being put to use in predicting future earth7ua%es and other natural disasters! 8uch 3sciences3 as #astu $hastra and Vedic mathematics are attracting go'ernmental grants for research and education! 5hile the Ministry of Defence is sponsoring research and de'elopment of weapons and de'ices with magical powers mentioned in the ancient epics the . 8AN=A.ow useful is this appellation of 3science3 for it dresses up so much religious indoctrination as 3secular education3! 0nder the %indly patronage of the state .induism a scientific understanding of nature completely and radically negates the "eternal laws" of Hindu dharma which teach an identity between spirit and matter ! That is precisely why the .induism:s own classical texts! *f . astrolo$ers demonstratin$ a$ainst the /est Ben$al $o"ernment's decision not to introduce astrolo$y as a subject in the &tate's uni"ersities./ART.olkata.induism as 3science3 the *ndian state and elites can portray *ndia as 3secular3 and 3modern3 a model of sobriety and responsibility in contrast with those obscurantist *slamic fundamentalists across the border who insist on %eeping science out of their madrassas! .

owe'er the combined weight of colonialism and cultural nationalism thwarted the Enlightenment spirit in non&5estern societies! /ostmodernists are disillusioned with this triumphalist 'iew of science dispelling ignorance and ma%ing the world a better place! Their despair leads them to 7uestion the possibility of progress toward some uni'ersal truth that e'eryone e'erywhere must accept! Against the Enlightenment:s faith in such uni'ersal 3meta&narrati'es3 ad'ancing to truth postmodernists prefer local traditions which are not entirely led by rational and instrumental criteria but ma%e room for the sacred the non&instrumental and e'en the irrational! 8ocial constructi'ist theories of science nicely complement postmodernists: angst against science! There are many schools of social constructi'ism including the 3strong programme3 of the Edinburgh "8cotland) school and the 3actor networ%3 programme associated with a school in /aris ?rance! The many con'oluted and abstruse arguments of these programmes do not concern us here! 4asically these programmes assert that modern science which we ta%e to be mo'ing closer to objecti'e truth about nature is actually just one culture&bound way to loo% at nature# no better or worse than all other sciences of other cultures! Not just the agenda but the content of all %nowledge is socially constructed# the supposed 3facts3 of modern science are 35estern3 constructions reflecting dominant interests and cultural biases of 5estern societies! ?ollowing this logic *ndian critics of science especially those led by the neo&<andhians such as Ashis Nandy and Vandana 8hi'a ha'e argued for de'eloping local science which is grounded in the ci'ilisational ethos of *ndia! >ther well&%nown public intellectuals including such stalwarts as Rajni 1othari Veena Das 9laude Al'ares and 8hi' Vishwanathan ha'e thrown their considerable weight behind this ci'ilisational 'iew of %nowledge! This perspecti'e also has numerous sympathisers among 3patriotic science3 and the en'ironmentalist and feminist mo'ements! A defence of local %nowledges against rationalisation and secularisation also underlies the fashionable theories of post&colonialism and G .atin America Egypt and other parts of 5est Asia were also influenced by it! .induism as the analytical and experimental methodology of modern science is to the 3reductionist3 world'iew of 8emitic religions! The relati'ist defence of eclecticism as a legitimate scientific method not only pro'ides a co'er for the first stream it also pro'ides a generic defence of such emerging 3alternati'e sciences3 as 3Vedic physics3 and 3Vedic creationism3 as well as defending such pseudo&sciences as Vedic astrology palmistry TM "transcendental meditation) and new&age Ayur'eda "Deepa% 9hopra style)! *n what follows * will examine how postmodernist and social constructi'ist criti7ues of science ha'e lent support to both streams of Vedas&as&science literature! 4ut first * must clarify what * mean by postmodernism! /ostmodernism is a mood a disposition! The chief characteristic of the postmodernist disposition is that it is opposed to the Enlightenment which is ta%en to be the core of modernism! >f course there is no simple characterisation of the Enlightenment any more than there is of postmodernism! A rough and ready portrayal might go li%e this# Enlightenment is a general attitude fostered in the +Dth and +Eth centuries on the heels of the 8cientific Re'olutionF it aims to replace superstition and authority of traditions and established religions with critical reason represented abo'e all by the growth of modern science! The Enlightenment project was based upon a hope that impro'ement in secular scientific %nowledge will lead to an impro'ement of the human condition not just materially but also ethically and culturally! 5hile the Enlightenment spirit flourished primarily in Europe and North America intellectual mo'ements in *ndia 9hina Bapan .*n the rest of the culture miracles and superstitions of all %inds ha'e the blessings of influential public figures including elected Members of /arliament! T.ERE are two %inds of claims that feed the notion that the 3Vedas are boo%s of science3! The first %ind declared the entire Vedic corpus as con'erging with modern science while the second concentrates on defending such esoteric practices as astrology vastu Ayur'eda transcendental meditation and so on as scientific within the Vedic paradigm! The first stream see%s to establish li%eness connections and con'ergences between radically opposed ideas "guna theory and atomic particles for example)! This stream does not relati'ise science# it simply grabs whate'er theory of physics or biology may be popular with 5estern scientists at any gi'en time and claims that .indu style of thin%ing by analogies and correspondences 3directly re'ealed to the mind:s eye3 is as scientific within the 3holistic3 world'iew of Vedic .indu ideas are 3li%e that3 or 3mean the same3 and 3therefore3 are perfectly modern and rational! The second stream is far more radical as it defends this 3method3 of drawing li%enesses and correspondences between unli%e entities as perfectly rational and 3scientific3 within the non&dualistic Vedic world'iew! The second stream in other words relati'ises scientific method to dominant religious world'iews# it holds that the .

induism:s 3tolerance3 is a mere disguise for its narcissistic obsession with its own greatness! 5hereas classical .induism limited this passi'e&aggressi'e form of con7uest to matters of religious doctrine neo&.indut'a follows in the footsteps of this tradition! The Vedic science mo'ement began in +E.E contemporary .induism uses its eclectic mantra & 3Truth is one the wise call it by different names3 & as an instrument for self&aggrandisement! Abrahamic religions go about con'erting the >ther through persuasion and through the use of physical force! .induism not just as a fulfilment of all other religions but also as a fulfilment of all of science! Vi'e%ananda claimed that only the spiritual monism of Ad'aita Vedanta could fulfil the ultimate goal of natural science which he saw as the search for the ultimate source of the energy that creates and sustains the world! Vi'e%ananda was followed by another 4engali nationalist&turned&spiritualist 8ri Aurobindo "+EDA& +./ justification of the guna theory in terms of atomic physics is not anything to worry about# it is merely an example of 3hybridity3 between two different culturally constructed ways of seeing a fusion between East and 5est tradition and modernity! *ndeed by postmodernist standards it is not this hybridity that we should worry about but rather we should oppose the 3positi'ist3 and 3modernist3 hubris that demands that non&5estern cultures should gi'e up or alter elements of their inherited cosmologies in the light of the growth of %nowledge in natural sciences! .th century neo&.indu nationalists who started the tradition of dressing up the spirit&centered metaphysics of orthodox .indut'a construction of Vedic science! *t is a well&%nown fact that .et us see how this 'iew of hybridity meshes in with the .indu propagandists are inheritors of the +.C when 8wami Vi'e%ananda "+E-C&+.IH)! Aurobindo proposed a di'ine theory of e'olution that treats e'olution as the ad'entures of the 5orld&8pirit finding its own fulfilment through progressi'ely higher le'els of consciousness from matter to man to the yet&to&come harmonious 3supermind3 of a socialistic collecti'e! Newer theories of Vedic I .indus from time immemorial! 9hristianity and *slam at least ac%nowledge the radical otherness and difference of other faiths e'en as they attempt to con'ert them e'en at the cost of great 'iolence and mayhem! .induism displays a special resonance with the relati'istic and holistic thought that finds fa'our among postmodernists! *n the rest of this two&part paper * will examine the general o'erlap between .induism in contrast absorbs the alien >ther by proclaiming its doctrines to be only 3different names for the >ne Truth3 contained in .induism in modern scientific clothes! The neo&.omi 4habha Dipesh 9ha%rabarty and others! All these intellectuals and mo'ements mentioned here ha'e their roots in mo'ements for social justice en'ironmental protection and women:s rights & all traditional left&wing causes! 8ocial constructi'ist and postmodernist attac%s on science ha'e pro'en to be a blessing for all religious 2ealots in all major faiths as they no longer feel compelled to re'ise their metaphysics in the light of progress in our understanding of nature in rele'ant fields! 4ut .induism refuses to grant other faiths their distincti'eness and difference e'en as it proclaims its great 3tolerance3! .subaltern studies which ha'e found a worldwide following through the writings of /artha 9hatterjee <ayatri 8pi'a% .indu apologetics and postmodernist 'iew of hybridity "part *) and alternati'e sciences "part **)! Postmodern 0hybridity0 and Hindu eclecticism T.indu intellectuals in turn were "consciously or unconsciously) displaying the well&%nown penchant of generations of 8ans%rit pundits for drawing resemblances and correspondences between religious rituals forces of nature and human destiny! /ostmodernist theories of %nowledge ha'e rehabilitated this 3method3 of drawing e7ui'alences between different and contradictory world'iews and allowing them to 3hybridise3 across traditions! The postmodernist consensus is that since truth about the real world as&it&is cannot be %nown all %nowledge systems are e7ui'alent to each other in being social constructions! 4ecause they are all e7ually arbitrary and none any more objecti'e than other they can be mixed and matched in order to ser'e the needs of human beings to li'e well in their own cultural uni'erses! ?rom the postmodern perspecti'e the V.indu intellectuals ha'e extended this mode of con7uest to secular %nowledge of modern science as well! The tradition of claiming modern science as 3just another name3 for the spiritual truths of the Vedas started with the 4engal Renaissance! The contemporary .induism:s own /erennial 5isdom! The teachings of the outsider the dissenter or the inno'ator are simply declared to be merely nominally different a minor and inferior 'ariation of the Absolute and 0ni'ersal Truth %nown to Vedic .HA) addressed the 5orld /arliament of Religions in 9hicago! *n that famous address he sought to present .

indut'a are reactionary modernist mo'ements intent on harnessing a mindless and e'en dangerous technological modernisation for the ad'ancement of a traditionalist deeply anti&secular and illiberal social agenda! Ne'ertheless they share a postmodernist philosophy of science that celebrates the %ind of contradictory mish&mash of science spirituality mysticism and pure superstition that that passes as 3Vedic science3! ?or those modernists who share the Enlightenment:s hope for o'ercoming ignorance and superstition the 'alue of modern science lies in its objecti'ity and uni'ersality! Modernists see modern science as ha'ing de'eloped a critical tradition that insists upon subjecting our hypotheses about nature to the strictest most demanding empirical tests and rigorously rejecting those hypotheses whose predictions fail to be 'erified! ?or the modernist the success of science in explaining the wor%ings of nature mean that sciences in other cultures ha'e a rational obligation to re'ise their standards of what %ind of e'idence is admissible as science what %ind of logic is reasonable and how to distinguish justified %nowledge from mere beliefs! ?or the modernists furthermore modern science has pro'ided a way to explain the wor%ings of nature without any need to bring in supernatural and untestable causes such as a creator <od or an immanent 8pirit! ?or a postmodernist howe'er this modernist faith in science is only a sign of Eurocentrism and cultural imperialism! ?or a postmodernist other cultures are under no rational obligation to re'ise their cosmologies or adopt new procedures for ascertaining facts to bring them in accord with modern science! ?ar from producing a uni7uely objecti'e and uni'ersally 'alid account of nature the 3facts3 of modern science are only one among many other ways of constructing other 3facts3 about nature which - .induism did not start with postmodernism ob'iously! And neither does . these numerous celebrations of 3Vedas as science3 follow a similar intellectual strategy of finding analogies and e7ui'alences! All in'o%e extremely speculati'e theories from modern cosmology 7uantum mechanics 'italistic theories of biology and parapsychology and other fringe sciences! They read bac% these sciences into 8ans%rit texts chosen at will and their meaning decided by the whim of the interpreter and claim that the entities and processes mentioned in 8ans%rit texts are 3li%e3 3the same thing as3 or 3another word for3 the ideas expressed in modern cosmology 7uantum physics or biology! Thus there is a bit of a 4rahman here and a bit of 7uantum mechanics there the two treated as interchangeableF there are references to 3energy3 a scientific term with a definite mathematical formulation in physics which gets to mean 3consciousness3F references to Newton:s laws of action and reaction are made to stand for the laws of !arma and reincarnationF completely discredited 3e'idence3 from parapsychology and 3secret life of plants3 are upheld as proofs of the presence of different degrees of soul in all matterF 3e'olution3 is taught as the self&manifestation of 4rahman and so on! The terms are scientific% but the content is religious! There is no regard for consistency either of scientific concepts or of religious ideas! 4oth wholes are bro%en apart random connections and correspondences are established and with great smugness the two modes of %nowing are declared to be e7ui'alent and e'en inter&changeable! The only dri'ing force the only idea that gi'es this whole mish&mash any coherence is the great anxiety to preser'e and protect .creationism which propose to replace Darwinian e'olution with 3de'olution3 from the original one&ness with 4rahman are now being proposed with utmost seriousness by the .are 1rishnas who for all their scandals and idiosyncrasies remain faithful to the spirit of Vaishna'a .induism from a rational criti7ue and demystification! Vedic science is moti'ated by cultural chau'inism pure and simple! 5hat does all this ha'e to do with postmodernism one may legitimately as%! Neo&.th and early AHth centuries especially the writings of Dayanand 8araswati 8! Radha%rishnan and the many followers of Vi'e%ananda is replete with celebration of .indu literature of the +.induism and .induism! Vi'e%ananda and Aurobindo lit the spar% that has continued to fire the nationalist imagination right to the present time! The Neo&.induism has found its way to the 5est through the numerous ashrams and yoga retreats set up most prominently by Maharishi Mahesh =ogi and his many clones! A.indut'a share the postmodernist urgency to 3o'ercome3 and 3go beyond3 the modernist fascination with progress and de'elopment! ?ar from it! Neo&.induism were consonant with modern science but only corrupted later by the gradual deposits of superstition! 9ountless gurus and swamis began to teach that the Vedas are simply 3another name for science3 and that all of science only affirms what the Vedas ha'e taught! This scientistic 'ersion of .induism after all has a history dating bac% at least two centuries and the analogical logic on which claims of Vedic science are based goes bac% to times immemorial! Neo&..induism as a 3scientific3 religion! E'en secularists li%e Bawaharlal Nehru remained capti'e of this idea that the original teachings of Vedic .

are e7ually 'alid for other cultures! Nature&in&itself cannot be %nown without imposing classifications and meaning on it which are deri'ed from cultural metaphors and models! All ways of seeing nature are at par because all are e7ually culture&bound! Modern science has no special claims to truth and to our con'ictions for it is as much of a cultural construct of the 5est as other sciences are of their own cultures! This 'iew of science is deri'ed from a 'ariety of American and European philosophies of science associated mostly with such well&%nown philosophers as Thomas 1uhn /aul ?eyerabend 5!> Juine .araway and among anthropologists of science including 4runo .EHs when Ashis Nandy Vandana 8hi'a and their sympathisers came out in defence of local %nowledges and traditions including astrology goddess worship as cure for small&pox taboos against menstruation and "later on) e'en sati! >'er the next two decades it became a general practice in *ndian scholarly writing to treat modern science as just one way to adjudicate belief no different from any other tradition of sorting out truth from mere group belief! Rationalism became a dirty word and Enlightenment became a stand&in for 3epistemic 'iolence3 of colonialism! According to those who subscribe to this relati'ist philosophy the cross&cultural encounter between modern science and traditional sciences is not a confrontation between more and less objecti'e %nowledge respecti'ely! Rather it is a confrontation between two different cultural ways of seeing the world neither of which can claim to represent reality&in&itself! *ndeed many radical feminists and post& colonial critics go e'en further# they see modern science as ha'ing lost its way and turned into a power of oppression and exploitation! They want non&5estern people not just to resist science but to reform it by confronting it with their holistic traditional sciences! 5hat happens when traditional cultures do need to adopt at least some elements of modern %nowledge6 *n such cases postmodernists recommend exactly the %ind of 3hybridity3 as we ha'e seen in the case of Vedic sciences in which for example sub&atomic particles are interpreted as referring to gunas or where 7uantum energy is interpreted to be the 3same as3 sha!ti or where !arma is interpreted to be a determinant of biology in a 3similar manner3 as the genetic code and so on! >n the postmodern account there is nothing irrational or unscientific about this 3method3 of drawing e7ui'alences and correspondences between entirely unli%e entities and ideas e'en when there may be serious contradictions between the two! >n this account all science is based upon metaphors and analogies that reinforce dominant cultures and social power and all 3facts3 of nature are really interpretations of nature through the lens of dominant culture! *t is perfectly rational on this account for ./0 An 1ndian edition of the boo! will be published by +ermanent 2lac! in early .induism! 4ecause no system of %nowledge can claim to %now reality as it really is because our best confirmed science is ultimately a cultural construct all cultures are free to pic% and choose and mix 'arious 3facts3 as long as they do not disrupt their own time&honoured world'iews! This 'iew of reinterpretation of 35estern3 science to fit into the tradition&sanctioned local %nowledges of 3the people3 has been ad'ocated by theories of 3critical traditionalism3 propounded by Ashis Nandy and 4hi%u /are%h in *ndia and by the numerous admirers of .arding and Donna .ess and their followers! To conclude one finds a con'ergence between the fashionable left:s position with the religious right:s position on the science 7uestion! The extreme scepticism of postmodern intellectuals toward modern science has landed them in a position where they cannot if they are to remain true to their beliefs criticise .omi 4habha:s obscure writings on 3hybridity3 abroad! *n the 5est this 'iew has found great fa'our among feminists notably 8andra .--3! 444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444 D .udwig 5ittgenstein and Michel ?oucault! This 'iew of science has been gaining popularity among *ndian scholars of science since the infamous 3scientific temper3 debates in early +.--.indut'a:s eclectic ta%e&o'er of modern science for the glory of the Vedic tradition! &eera 'anda is the author of /rophets ?acing 4ac%ward# /ostmodern 9riti7ues of 8cience and .atour Da'id .indu nationalists to want to reinterpret the 3facts3 of modern science by drawing analogies with the dominant cultural models supplied by .indu Nationalism ()utgers *niversity +ress% .

indu thought in the Vedas the 0panishads and abo'e all in the Ad'aita Vedanta tradition of 8han%ara! Despite the deeply anti&rational and idealistic "that is anti&naturalistic) elements of Ad'aita Vedanta %ey .The second and concludin$ part of the t)o1part article*N the first part of this essay * examined how .indu 3renaissance3 which they claim to be similar to the European Renaissance that ushered in the modern age in the 5est! 5hat they forget is that the Renaissance in the 5est re&disco'ered the humanistic and naturalistic sources of the <ree% tradition that had been E .indus! * want to start by placing these debates in the historical context of .indu metaphysics that goes under the name of Vedic science! *n this part * will examine the philosophical arguments for 3alternati'e sciences3 fa'oured by prominent feminists en'ironmentalists and postcolonial intellectuals and show how they con'erge with the right&wing:s claims of superiority of 3holistic3 and 3authentic3 sciences of .!T! 9olebroo%e Max Mueller and /aul Deussen tended to locate the central core of .indu 3renaissance3! /ostcolonialism and the myth of . for Hindut"a also claims 2andhi to be its o)n mascotA slight digression on the subject of *ndian 3renaissance3 might be appropriate here! Through constant and loud repetition neo&.ea'ily influenced by <erman idealism and 4ritish romanticism important >rientalists including .indut'a ideologues constructed the myth of 3Vedas as boo%s of science3 "5rontline Banuary A)! * argued that the anti&science rhetoric of postmodern intellectuals has gi'en philosophical respectability to the eclectic patchwor% of science and .induism! .Hidin$ behind their $reat mascot does not help postmodern scholars.indu 3renaissance3 The roots of 3Vedic science3 can be traced to the so&called 4engal Renaissance which in turn was deeply influenced by the >rientalist constructions of Vedic anti7uity as the 3<olden Age3 of .indut'a literature is replete with glowing tributes to .indu thin%ers ha'e created a myth that 4rahminical traditions of learning represent the golden age of science and reason in early *ndia! The .indu nationalist reformers & from Raja Ram Mohun Roy and 4an%im 9handra 9hatterjee to 8wami Vi'e%ananda & began to find in it all the elements of modernity! Vi'e%ananda too% the lead in propagating the 'iew that the monism of Ad'aita Vedanta presaged the future culmination of all of modern science! 8ince modern science denied the role of any supernatural force outside nature Vi'e%ananda claimed that only Vedantic monism was truly scientific for it treated <od as an aspect of nature and did not in'o%e any force external to nature! Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at aj$hat.

indut'a literature! Ashis Nandy and /artha 9hatterjee both writers of international best&sellers on the emergence of modern thought in *ndia condemned the emerging .induism and 4uddhism! Neo&.indu thought in the 4engali bhadralo! circles! These intellectuals stand out because they wor% with a post&structuralist rejection of the 'ery possibility of the idea of dispassionate and objecti'e %nowledge of the real world in any domain natural or social! ?ollowing the political writing of ?rench philosopher Michel ?oucault made popular among the historians of colonialism by the writings of Edward 8aid these scholars see 5estern sciences as ser'ing colonial interests in defining the non& 5est as inferior irrational and unscientific! *ndian intellectuals ha'e both contributed to the de'elopment of this criti7ue of colonial %nowledge and applied it to the *ndian condition! /*9T0RE8# T.induism in +.induism is no renaissance but a re'i'al! There is no denying that the neo&.>T> .indu penchant for scienticising the Vedas but for reasons that actually open the door to an e'en more radical defence of Vedic science that is now emerging in .*ND0 /.indu 3renaissance3 in contrast re&disco'ered the most mystical and anti&humanistic elements of the Vedic inheritance & Ad'aita Vedanta & that had always o'ershadowed and silenced the naturalistic and scientific traditions in .*4RAR= #a)aharlal (ehru 4y and large these postcolonial scholars ha'e criticised the neo&. .indu 3disco'ery3 of modern science in ancient teachings of Vedas and 0panishads had a limited usefulness! 8ince they had con'inced themsel'es that their religion was the mother of all sciences conser'ati'e .et us see what *ndia:s best&%nown contemporary public intellectuals ha'e to say on this matter! As it happens the emergence of neo&.indu modernists all across the political spectrum & from the apologists for .E .indus did not feel threatened by scientific education! As long as science could be treated as 3just another name3 for Vedic truths they were e'en enthusiastic to learn it! The 4rahminical traditions of learning and speculati'e thought ser'ed the upper castes well as they too% to modern English education which included instruction in scientific subjects! Those who would explicitly use scientific learning to challenge the traditional outloo% were either lower down on the caste hierarchy or 3godless 9ommunists3 anyway and could be safely ignored! The great neo&.th century 4engal has perhaps been the most written about episode in modern *ndia:s intellectual history! All our best&%nown intellectuals whose names are practically synonymous with postcolonial theory around the world & Ashis Nandy /artha 9hatterjee <ayatri 8pi'a% Dipesh 9ha%rabarty and the 8ubaltern 8tudies historians & ha'e cut their scholarly teeth on the emergence of neo&.o'ershadowed by the 9atholic 9hurch & the Renaissance humanists redisco'ered this&worldly philosophy of Aristotle and critical&realist 8ocrates o'er the other&worldly philosophy of /lato! The neo& .induism such as Vi'e%ananda Aurobindo and .indu 3renaissance3 succeeded in turning empirical sciences into the handmaiden of the Vedic tradition & the role reason has performed throughout *ndia:s history! This is the tradition that the 8angh /ari'ar is institutionalising in our schools uni'ersities and the public sphere! .

indu nationalists ha'e no problem with <andhi:s deeply anti&secular and anti&modern world&'iewF they 3only3 disli%e and disown his pacifism! Postmodernism and 0alternati"e sciences0 =et one could argue that just because postmodernist intellectuals ha'e ta%en a position against the Enlightenment&style use of science as a cultural weapon against the authority of the traditions does not automatically ma%e them an ally of the religious right! >ne could after all justly criticise the role of science and technology in furthering 5estern exploitation of the colonies and perpetuating patronising +H .4an%im 9handra 9hatterjee to the liberal secular&humanist Nehru & not for so falsely and so self& ser'ingly appropriating modern science in the ser'ice of propagating religious orthodoxy and not for confusing myth and science in order to defend their mythology! No that %ind of criti7ue of nati'ism that would defend the distincti'eness of science and insist upon its potential for demystification of religious reason was considered too passK too 3positi'ist3 by our a'ant&garde theorists! Rather Nandy 9hatterjee and their followers condemned *ndian nationalists for e'en daring to apply alien colonial categories of thought to *ndia:s own traditions and ways of %nowing! ?or these postmar%ed intellectuals the cardinal sin of .indut'a is co&opting modern ideas gi'ing traditions a modern gloss to ma%e them palatable to the educated middle classes! .indu nationalism as being wedded to modernism! They point to the modernist scientistic rhetoric of .indu nationalists was not their defence of the high&.indut'a mo'ement which has also nailed its colours to 3decolonisation of the *ndian mind3! Nandy and his many admirers are trying to distance themsel'es from it by continuing with their criti7ue of the .indut'a is a reactionary modernist mo'ement that accepts the instrumental uses of science "that is technology) but resists the secular enlightenment that is a necessary precondition of modernity! .indu tradition & a tradition which has for centuries contributed to the worst %ind of ignorance and social ine7uality! Their cardinal sin was their capitulation to modern scientific thought itself which they tried to appropriate for .indut'a propagandists and proclaim .induism "as in the case of Vi'e%ananda 4an%im 9handra and e'en Nehru) or which they tried to use for secular Enlightenment "as in the case of Marxist and socialist humanists li%e Nehru)! *ncidentally these two positions seem to exhaust the entire range of nationalism! The 'aliant attempts of Dalit and non&4rahmin intellectuals such as 4!R! Ambed%ar E!V! Ramaswamy /eriyar Byotiba /hule and *yothee Thass to use the new %nowledge to liberate themsel'es from the shac%les of tradition are simply in'isible in the postmodernist literature which is %een on showing modern science as an agent of oppression and mental colonialism! As long as *ndian thought was being measured in modern scientific terms whether to praise it or to demystify it the *ndian mind was being 3colonised3 and it was denied the 3agency3 to define its own agenda and its own solutions! 4oth the .indu right and the Nehru'ian left as long as they remained prisoners of modern scientific ways of thin%ing were e7ually 3deri'ati'es3 of their colonial masters! Authentic national liberation on this account can only come with the redisco'ery of authentic traditions of *ndia which apparently were only understood by Mahatma <andhi! ?or all their nods to the anti&essentialism of postmodernism *ndian critics of modernity practise a sly form of 3strategic essentialism3 "<ayatri 8pi'a%:s term) that treats *ndian traditions as uni7ue to *ndia which cannot be understood by outsiders! True national liberation will mean a redisco'ery of *ndia:s uni7ue gestalt which in the postcolonial narrati'e lies in its holism monism or non&dualism as compared to the tendency of the 5estern science towards separation of objects from their context! *ndian thought is not to be seen either as a copy of modern science or somehow lac%ing in empirical sciences but as encoding a wholly different %ind of science altogether which is the duty of post&secular postmodern intellectuals to disco'er and culti'ate! 9oming from the traditions of the <andhian and populist left the postmodernists tend to find these alternati'e traditions among the non&modern habits of the heart of the humble fol% traditions of women peasants 'illage fol% and assorted subaltern groups! <andhi became their patron saint of this uni7uely *ndian non&modern way of life! 3Real *ndia3 e7uals <andhi e7uals 3innocent traditions3 of non&modern 3communities3! Anyone challenging any of the factors in the e7uation was declared to ha'e a 3colonised mind3! This criti7ue of modernist nationalism&as&mental&colonialism has come to ser'e as the fig leaf for the postmodernists as they scramble to dissociate themsel'es from the contemporary .iding behind the great mascot of postmodern scholars <andhi & supposedly the guardian angel of the 3innocent3 fol% traditions & does not wor% either for .indut'a also claims <andhi to be its own mascot! .indut'a to be just one more symptom of modernity! The problem is that using modernist rhetoric does not ma%e one modern! >n the contrary by framing the traditional .indu world'iew in a modernist 'ocabulary .

indu categories! Echoing the postcolonial criti7ues of epistemic 'iolence .indut'a ideologues see themsel'es as part and parcel of postcolonial studies! Decolonisation of the .attitudes toward the nati'es! 8cience is not beyond criticism and critics of science do not automatically deser'e condemnation! Vi"ekananda The problem is that postmodernist intellectuals do not stop at criticising any specific political abuse of scientific %nowledge! *nstead they attac% the 'ery idea of objecti'e %nowledge as a myth of the powerful who want to claim the status of truth for their own self&ser'ing social constructions of reality! .indut'a:s defence of the superiority of Vedic sciences! These three are the decolonisation argument the anti&dualism argument and the symmetry argument! The decolonisation of science ar$ument .indu mind the .indu Right claims re7uires understanding science through .indut'a ideologues such as Murli Manohar Boshi 1onrad Elst <irilal Bain Da'id ?rawley N!8! Rajaram and others see any scientific assessment of the ++ .i%ewise postmodernist attac% on the 35estern&ness3 of science goes beyond pointing out any specific lin%ages between science and 5estern$imperialist interests! *nstead they attac% the claim of uni'ersalism of science as a co'er for 5estern dominance! >nce they decry the 'ery idea of objecti'ity and uni'ersalism the critics open the gates wide to the idea of 3alternati'e sciences3! The idea is that modern science offers only one way to classify obser'e and understand the regularities of nature# there is nothing inherently objecti'e and scientific about it! >ther cultures the argument goes if they want to really 3decolonise their minds3 must de'elop their own scientific methods which are in %eeping with their own religion and culture & 3different cultures different sciences3 is the postmodern slogan! 8ince all %nowledge rests on the shifting sands of myths models and analogies "or 3paradigms3 as the more technical name goes) which scientists just pic% up through their textboo%s there is no reason why sciences of non&5estern cultures cannot constitute new 3alternati'e uni'ersals3 that can be taught in textboo%s and laboratories around the world! These radical criti7ues of objecti'ity and uni'ersalism ha'e become so popular that they ha'e ac7uired a ring of truth among social critics! 4ut all these arguments denigrating the rationality of science are based upon a flawed understanding of science that has been rejected many times by wor%ing scientists and prominent philosophers of science! A complete debun%ing of post&modern misunderstanding of how science actually wor%s and why objecti'ity is possible despite the deeply social nature of science will re7uire a different set of articles! 8uffice it to say the radical denigration of science has 'ery little following among the mainstream of scientific community and in the mainstream of philosophy and history of science! * now examine three distinct arguments that ha'e emerged in the *ndian postmodernist literature which con'erge almost exactly with the .

indut'a ideologues cite the wor% of postcolonial scholars such as Edward 8aid Roland *nden Ashis Nandy 9laude Al'ares <ayatri 8pi'a% and subaltern studies historians with great respect! The .indu nationalist writings on Vedic science is simple & all that is dangerous and false in modern science comes from the 8emitic monotheistic habit of dualistic and 3reductionist3 thin%ing which separates the object from the subject nature from consciousness the %nown from the %nower! All that is truly uni'ersal and true in modern science comes from the .induness as a 3touchstone3 to decide what sciences will be promoted and how they will be taught! 0sing this touchstone of an innate timeless .indut'a literature still holds on to the defunct theories of 'italism as 'alid science! "Vitalism in biology holds that li'ing beings re7uire a special 'ital force 'ariously termed prana or sha!ti in the *ndian literature o'er and abo'e 3mere3 atoms and molecules! *n *ndia Bagdish 9handra 4ose first claimed to find e'idence of consciousness in plants! 4ose:s wor% was falsified and rejected by mainstream biology in his own life&time! *t is still touted as *ndia:s contribution to world science in .indu Right combines this demand for authenticity with an essentialist understanding of culture borrowed straight from >swald 8pengler:s Decline of the 6est% which holds that each culture has an innate nature a temper which must guide all its cultural products from mathematics and physics to painting and poetry! This 'iew of the innate nature of nation & the nation:s svabhava or chitti & is propounded by Deen Dayal 0padhyaya:s theory of 3*ntegral .indut'a literature!) Again it is against the touchstone of Vedanta that .indu svabhava .indut'a scholars claim that traditions of yoga transcendental meditation "TM) and Ayur'eda are sciences of the future for they bring matter in alignment with the 3cosmic energy3 that permeates all matter! Moreo'er .empirical claims made by the Vedic texts as a sign of mental colonialism and 5estern imperialism! Many of these .induism reality is not objecti'e but 3omnijecti'e3 a co&construct of mind and matter together! 5hile 5estern science treats nature as dead matter .indu sciences treat nature as a sacred abode of gods! Thus .indu apologists feel justified in interpreting the paradoxes of 7uantum physics in a mystical manner! There are perfectly realistic explanations of 7uantum mechanics which are sidelined in Vedic science literature to claim that modern physics 3pro'es3 the presence of mind in nature just as claimed by Vedanta! eductionist science "s holistic science The gist of this argument as it appears in .indu approaches to nature are seen as ecological by definition as they do not treat nature as mere matter to be exploited for pri'ate use! Aurobindo +A .umanism3 which constitutes the official philosophy of the 4haratiya Banata /arty! *n fact it is part of the 4B/:s official manifesto that it will use *ndia:s innate .indu habit of 3holistic3 thin%ing which has always seen the objects in nature and the human subjects not as separate entities but as different manifestations of the same uni'ersal consciousness! ?or the non& logocentric .

indu "or Eastern more broadly) holism thri'e in the academia because of the radical academics: own mista%en and o'erblown criti7ue of the reductionist methodology of science! The symmetry ar$ument The symmetry argument claims that all local sciences are e7ually 3scientific3 "that is rational coherent and able to explain obser'ed phenomena) within their own cultural contexts! Modern science the argument goes ought to be treated 3symmetrically3 with all other ways of %nowing! As we ha'e seen this is the crux of the social constructi'ist and postmodern attac%s on modern science! This argument lies at the heart of the theories of 3Vedic physics3 and 3Vedic creationism3! That the 'erses of the Rig Veda are actually coded formulas of ad'anced theories of physics has been recently claimed by 8ubhash 1a% an engineer wor%ing in the 0nited 8tates! And a Vedic alternati'e to Darwinian e'olution by natural selection is being pushed by Michael 9remo and his fellow .arding and Donna .are 1rishnas in the 0!8! 5hat sets these newer theories is their unabashed and bold defence of Vedic mysticism as a legitimate scientific method within the Vedic&.induism pro'ides a more 3holistic3 more complete more ecological and e'en more feminist way of relating with nature! Most of the claims of superiority of 3holism3 are unsubstantiated! >n closer examination they end up affirming pseudo&sciences in'ol'ing disembodied spirit acting on matter through entirely unspecified mechanisms! Most of the claims of greater ecological and feminist sensiti'ity in the .induism:s 3holism3 rests upon the strange and totally mista%en assumption that ..th and AHth century physics! The number of bric%s and pebbles moreo'er +C .I publication 1n $earch of the 7radle of 7ivilisation 8ubhash 1a% has claimed to find in a coded form ad'anced %nowledge of astronomy and computing in the Rig Veda! According to 1a% the design of the fire altars prescribed in the Rig Veda & how many bric%s to put where and surrounded by how many pebbles & actually code such findings of modern AHth century astronomy as the distance between the sun and the earth the length of solar and lunar years and the speed of light! All the Vedic 'alues match exactly with the 'alues we %now through modern +.indu metaphysical assumptions as rational and empirically ade7uate as the best of modern science and as deser'ing of the status of uni'ersal objecti'e %nowledge as the con'entionally accepted theories of matter and biological e'olution! *n a barrage of boo%s and essays most recently summarised in the +.indu practice of treating all nature as a sacred and interconnected whole turn out to be empirically false! *n fact 7uite often the faith in the di'ine powers of some ri'ers and plants ser'es as an excuse not to care for them ade7uately precisely because they are considered to share <od:s miraculous powers to reco'er and stay pure! ?or all the falsehoods and obscurantisms the claims of .indu chau'inists share with left&wing critics of science & that the fundamental methodology of modern science what is called 3reductionism3 is not just mista%en but politically oppressi'e! Reductionism in science simply means a bottom&up approach to understanding complex natural phenomena by first isolating the lower&le'el constituents and studying their interactions under controlled conditions! Reductionism see%s the explanation of the whole by eliminating the need for postulating any extra forces " that is consciousness 'ital force and so on) o'er and abo'e the relationships between the building bloc%s that can be experimentally tested! ?ar from being simple& minded or sinister as critics assume nearly e'ery ad'ance in understanding complex systems & from the DNA replication at the cellular le'el to ecological systems & owes its success to a reductionist approach to the fundamental building bloc%s of nature! >wing to a fundamental misunderstanding of how science actually wor%s coupled with a great deal of cynicism many left&wing critics among feminist en'ironmental and anti&imperialist mo'ements ha'e de'eloped a %nee&jer% condemnation of reductionism! Reductionist science is considered bad science with politically oppressi'e implications! ?eminists including such world&renowned feminist icons as 9arolyn Merchant 8andra .This 'iew of superiority of .araway see it as a masculine way of brea%ing the unity between the object and the subject! En'ironmentalists including *ndia:s own Vandana 8hi'a and li%e& mined eco&feminists see reductionism as opening the way to ruthless exploitation of nature by di'esting it of all sacred meanings! "Eco&romantics ignore all counter&examples where sacredness of nature ser'es to control access o'er sacred gro'es ri'ers and other resources of the commons!) /ostcolonial critics in their turn see reductionism as a result of 5estern and capitalist habit of thin%ing in terms of opposed classes of Lus and them:! These %inds of ill&understood and politically moti'ated challenges to a fundamental methodological norm of modern science ha'e prepared the ground for .indut'a:s claims that .

are 1rishnas! *n a new boo% Human Devolution Michael 9remo a de'out .B.ow did our Vedic ancestors %now all this physics6 5hat was their method6 1a% and associates "including Da'id ?rawley and <eorge ?euerstein co&authors with 1a% of 1n $earch of the 7radle of 7ivilisation ) answer incredibly that the Vedic scientists found out the laws of physics through deep introspection! =ogic meditation allowed Vedic sages to see in their minds: eyes the li%enesses homologies and e7ui'alences between the cosmic the terrestrial and the spiritual! This method of seeing analogies and e7ui'alences may be considered magical in the 5est they argue but it is perfectly scientific within *ndia:s non&dualist monist metaphysics which allows no distinctions between matter and spirit between physical and the psychic between animate and the inanimate & all are united by the same spiritual energy that is in all! 5ithin these assumptions yogic introspection is a method of science! 4ecause all science is paradigm&bound 1a% et al insist citing the authority of Thomas 1uhn and /aul ?eyerabend the much&misunderstood gurus of postmodernists Vedic science is perfectly scientific within the paradigm of Vedic assumptions! *n fact 1a% et al are not alone in defending the scientificity of yogic meditation as a 'alid scientific method! Maharishi Mahesh =ogi:s 3unified science3 is based upon this logic! This %ind of cultural defence is routinely in'o%ed by those defending such esoteric pseudo&sciences as Vedic astrology and paranormal beliefs "past&birth memories out&of&body experiences and reincarnation)! A similar defence of the method of bha%ti yoga as a legitimate source of holistic %nowledge lies at the basis of the enormous mass of writings coming out of the 4ha%ti Vedanta *nstitute in the 0!8! the head7uarters of the .Ambedkar ?inding relati'ely ad'anced abstract physics in the Rig Veda the earliest of the four Vedas is of crucial importance to .corresponds with the number of syllables in the Vedic 'erses! The conclusion# 3the Vedas are boo%s of physics!3 !r.are 1rishna has boldly proposed a Vedic alternati'e to Darwinian e'olution! 9remo claims that human beings ha'e not e'ol'ed up from lower animals but rather fallen or de'ol'ed from their original unity with pure consciousness of 2rahman! "*n a pre'ious boo% 5orbidden Archaeology 9remo and his associates tried to pro'e that the fossil record actually supports the Vedic time scale of literally millions of years of life on earth including human life!) As e'idence 9remo cites e'ery possible research in paranormal e'er conducted anywhere to 3pro'e3 the truth of holist Vedic cosmology which proposes the +G .indut'a! There is a concerted attempt to pro'e that the Rig Veda was composed at least around three millennia 4!9! and not around +IHH 4!9 as pre'iously thought! There is also a massi'e effort afoot in ..indut'a circles that the Aryans who wrote the Rig Veda presumably in CHHH 4!9! were indigenous to the landmass of *ndia! 0nder these circumstances finding ad'anced physics in Rig Veda will 3pro'e3 that *ndia was truly the mother of all ci'ilisations and produced all science %nown to the <ree%s and other ancient cultures! 4ut anyone ma%ing such dramatic claims has to answer the 7uestion# .

amas)amy Periyar This remar%able compendium of pseudo&science is premised upon the assumption that modern science is a prisoner of 5estern cultural and religious biases and as a result 5estern scientists ha'e created a 3%nowledge filter3 which %eeps out the e'idence that supports the Vedic cosmology! Their point is that once you remo'e the 5estern assumptions the method of yoga can be treated as a legitimate source of scientific hypotheses! These Vedic %nowledge&claims can be 'erified by the community of other yogic %nowers who ha'e 3purified3 their sense through meditation to such an extent that they can 3directly realise3 those signs from the spirit&world that are loo%ed down upon by 5estern&trained scientists as 3paranormal3! 0tterly incredible though they are and utterly de'oid of any empirical support Vedic physics and Vedic creationism are being touted as serious scholarship based upon the assumption that different cultural assumptions sanction alternati'e methods as rational and scientific! />8TM>DERN intellectuals ha'e ta%en their disillusionment with the many shortcomings of the modern world into a radical denunciation of modern science itself! They ha'e denounced the status of modern science as a source of uni'ersally 'alid and objecti'e %nowledge as a sign of 5estern imperialism patriarchal biases and 9hristian dualist thin%ing! Many prominent public intellectuals in *ndia sympathetic to populist indigenist currents in left&inclined social mo'ements ha'e embraced the postmodernist suspicion of science and called for 3alternati'e sciences3 which reflect the cultural preferences of *ndia:s non&modern masses! The 7uestion before the defenders of 3alternati'e sciences3 is this# 5hat do they ha'e to say to the defenders of 3Vedic sciences36 ?or example what reasons can they gi'e against the supposed scientificity of Vedic astrology6 9an they hold on their relati'ist 'iew of all sciences as social constructs and yet challenge the scientisation of the Vedas that is going on in the theories of Vedic physics or Vedic creationism6 Any erosion of the di'iding line between science and myth between reasoned e'idence&based public %nowledge and the spiritual %nowledge accessible to yogic adepts is bound to lead to a growth of obscurantism dressed up as science! *t is time secular and self&proclaimed leftist intellectuals called off their romance with irrationalism and romanticism! *t is time to draw clear boundaries between science and myth and between the .--./0 An 1ndian edition of the boo! will be published by +ermanent 2lac! in early ./0 ================================================ +I .--.presence of a spiritual element in all matter "which ta%es different forms thereby explaining the theory of 3de'olution3)! 3-V.indu Nationalism ()utgers *niversity +ress% .eft and the Right! &eera 'anda is the author of /rophets ?acing 4ac%ward# /ostmodern 9riti7ues of 8cience and .--30 $he is also the author of 4rea%ing the 8pell of Dharma and >ther Essays (Three Essays 7ollective8 .