Kalam's Enlightening Experiences
Fusion of Science and Spirituality
father of India's first nuclear bomb, the architect of our
sophisticated space and missile technology, and a rare scientist
whose vision to develop society upon the foundation of values,
the 70-year-old Bharat Ratna, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam came calling
upon HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, with his fellow scientist,
Y.S. Rajan, Scientific Secretary to the Government of India
and Executive Director of the Technology, Information, Forecasting
and Assessment Council. They sought blessings and guidance
for Vision 2020. This special meeting on 30 June 2001 turned
out to be a beautiful fusion of science and spirituality.
Some illuminating sparks have been compiled from the hour-long
session of questions and answers.
India had the vision, since 1857, for independence. It took
ninety years to get freedom. At that time the whole nation,
the young and old, had united to get freedom. Our first goal
was to acquire Independence. Swamiji we are thinking, what is
or what can be such a vision now? Since the last 50 years, India
is a developing country. It means economically it is not strong,
socially it is not stable, security is not enough... that is
called a developing country. Five hundred members like me are
thinking, what should be the next vision for India? How do we
transform a developing country into a developed country in the
next 30 years. We have identified five important areas to transform
India: Education & Healthcare, Agriculture, Information
& Commu-nication, Infrastructure and Critical Technology.
Swamiji, our problem is that we may present this before the
Government, but how do we create people with values to carry
out such a big vision. What we need is a cadre of value-based
citizens. For this you are an expert. We need your advice.
Swamiji: Along with these five, add a sixth - faith in
God and developing people through spirituality. This is very
important. We need to first generate a moral and spiritual atmosphere.
Unlike the present system and climate of crime and corruption,
we need to raise people who live by the laws of the scriptures
and bear faith in God. For this we need to rekindle faith in
our scriptures and God. This will make things easier. Questions
will be solved and we shall be able to achieve what we dream.
AK: Swamiji, for carrying forward such a big vision of
transforming India , should we first create a spiritual tradition,
make people spiritual and then embark upon our vision, or focus
on one of the important areas like education or health? Or should
we integrate everything and begin simultaneously?
Swamiji: Simultaneously. Work in the five fields you
have identified for the country's progress should be continued
and together with it this should be parallely incorporated.
Our culture teaches us to learn both Para (spiritual) and Apara
(worldly) vidya (knowledge). Therefore, together with knowledge
of the Apara, one should learn the Para as well. If one learns
this then Apara- worldly knowledge will become founded on dharma
and spirituality.The goal behind God's creation of the universes
is that every person, every soul attains bliss. For this, together
with knowledge of His creation, He has given the knowledge of
Himself. So, together with this worldly knowledge, knowledge
given by God - spirituality is equally necessary.
AK: To realise this great dream, three types of people
are needed - punya atma (virtuous people), punya neta (virtuous
leaders) and punya adhikari (virtuous officers). If the population
of all the three increase in our society, then India would become
the jagadguru (world leader). How can their numbers be increased?
Swamiji: Together with your academic and scientific efforts,
give spiritual training in our schools and colleges. Nowadays,
spiritual education has been removed from schools and colleges.
That which should be received from infancy is not being given
and we continue to teach mere academic knowledge only. But from
the beginning, right from birth, people should be taught values,
only then will people become virtuous. From the cradle, such
values should be inspired. In the education syllabus, knowledge
of our scriptures and great sadhus and sages should be given.
Such a system will help produce virtuous people. The virtuous
social, spiritual and political leaders we see today have attained
their values from the very beginning. In the past, such values
were taught in our gurukul system of education. Whether a prince
or a pauper, everyone studied together. Along with academics,
lessons such as: satyam vada (speak the truth), dharmam chara
(tread the path of righteousness), service towards others and
faith in God, were taught.
AK: Swamiji, what a pity good citizens are not produced
by the laws of the Government. They are created only by Swamijis
like you. Can you preach to families that upto the age of 15,
parents should take interest in their children and inspire values
in them. Similarly, in all elementary schools, teachers should
also teach values to their pupils. But if we miss this age of
15 of instilling values by father, mother and teacher, then
the Government can not produce good honest citizens. Is my understanding
Swamiji: Yes, it's true. It's definitely true. We've
been saying this from the very beginning that values should
be taught by parents at home, teachers at school and the guru
AK: Swamiji, when I first launched a rocket it failed
and I became very depressed and disheartened. At that time I
thought about becoming a sannyasi, and give up everything. (In
this context, one sadhu added, "Dr. Kalam studies the Gita.
Reads it every day, and has tremendous patriotism.")
Swamiji: Because he posseses such noble thoughts, such
patriotism is but natural. That's why we say, if spiritual knowledge
is given from the beginning, love and pride for one's country,
society and dharma is a natural result. However, spiritual values
should form the foundations.
(The grand plans for the Akshardham Complex in New Delhi were
explained. While seeing them, Dr. Kalam was himself filled with
AK: People should see this monument and realise that
India is not weak, but is an extremely powerful and cultured
(Then with the mention of Indian Culture flourishing along the
banks of river Saraswati, Abdul Kalam suddenly asked...)
AK: Do you feel the Saraswati river was existing?
Swamiji: It exists. It is written in our scriptures that
AK: India was a rich country. Economically it was rich,
culturally it was rich. My mind always asks a question, for
3,000 years India has been invaded again and again, but not
once has India invaded others. Why?
Swamiji: It is the virtue of God. A divine quality-
not to take another's. And not to forcibly usurp. Not to hurt
or harass others.
AK: Spiritual strength is important. And alongwith this,
if we have financial strength, we will not remain poor. A combination
of both is necessary. Seeing what you will present here (in
Akshardham) should inspire the children of India to adore their
culture and dedicate themselves to the country. They should
contribute to bring our country forward. I have authored a book
in which I have written about these two factors - that the progress
of the country should be based on spiritual and financial strength.
And to achieve both, there is only one answer - sweat! Hard
work is a must.
Swamiji: We often say, 'Human effort and God's grace.'
Even failure of the first rocket which you faced was for your
good, it prodded you to make things better. The way you have
worked, for the invention of the rocket brought success. God
has ultimately given you success.
AK: For India's
development, I wish to establish a trust - Vision 2020. I seek
your blessings for this.
Swamiji: God's blessings are already upon you. I shall
pray that your ideas are successfully realised. May India prosper
both spiritually and economically. What I wish to say is that
the stronger the spiritual wealth, the stronger will become
all other forms of wealth. If you increase material wealth alone
then man will be lost in luxury and worldly pleasures. Spirituality
will guide him back, help him retract from mundane indulgences.
In reality, we rarely provide what is really needed. We provide
everything to man - clothes, food, drinks... economic needs
- but with all this we should also provide spiritual wealth.
Man should be given what is necessary. Clothes, food and other
things are necessities. But by surplus wealth, merely more and
more of everything, man loses control... when man gains extra
money and power, more than what is necessary, then he invites
ruin, restlessness and destruction.
AK: I've visited 'Akshardham' in Gandhinagar and now
seen the plans for another 'Akshardham' in Delhi. All this has
given me one single thought - that you, only you can produce
one lakh (100,000) virtuous, cultured youths every year. Only
you can do this.
Swamiji: It is our guru Yogiji Maharaj's wish to produce
such youths. Accordingly, we are channelising our efforts and
training children, teenagers and youths all over the world.
At the end of the meeting, Swamiji said, "It's good that
you've come here today. It's given us much joy. The rishis (sages)
of the past have also given us science. You, too, are a rishi.
In the past, rishis were householders. They used to keep long
locks of hair on their head (pointing to Dr. Kalam's long hair).
They lived simply, like you. You have achieved such a high post,
yet your life is simple. Pure. Somebody else in your position
wouldn't care to listen to others. The rishis also kept long
beards (pointing to Y.S. Rajan's long beard) and hair. They
gave knowledge of the Vedas and Upanishads - what we call Para
knowledge. You two are both rishis. Blend spirtuality to your
science and research to ultimately help mankind. Through physical
experiments you have discovered things, and our ancient rishis
discovered things through the spiritual power of the soul and
God. Your dedication lies in your field, and their devotion
to God gave them spiritual powers. All this is amply described
in our scriptures."
Swamishri remained seated in the meeting hall while Dr. Kalam
and Y.S.Rajan were ushered into the next room for dinner. The
sadhus gathered around Swamiji. When they described Dr. Kalam's
simple lifestyle, Swamiji, spontaneously said, "He is not
bothered about anything else. He is engrossed in his work. He
has dived deep into science. Dr. Minochar Modi, who often treated
Yogiji Maharaj, would forget to eat or drink when engrossed
in his reading. He said that one day, his wife came and told
him, 'Why are you just reading and reading? Don't you even care
for eating?' Such people are not concerned about food and drink.
They only pursue the work they want to achieve. Similarly, we
want to attain God, so we should not deviate here and there
and become attached to other things. Yogiji Maharaj has told
us to be aware of this. Do everything, do a world of activities,
but remain focussed on God. If you deviate from this, then you'll
fall. And then you'll suffer misery and face difficulties. You'll
become frustrated. We are out to attain God, so don't glance
hither or thither, just fix your vision solely upon God."