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The lesson “Science and Spirituality “is adopted from the work “What can I Give” by Srijan Pal Singh. Overall, the lesson’s main motive is to justify the importance of both the Science and Spirituality. Dr. Kalam highlights the idea that Faith and Fact can together create a better planet.
Fact plays a very vital role in understanding some of the basic knowledge and theories of the planet while Faith controls progress within reasonable limitations. Dr. Kalam’s interactions with the great scientist Professor Vikram Sarabhai and the Reverend Peter Bernard Pereira, shaped his thoughts on Religion and learnt about the true meaning of religious service.
Part 1 of the lesson deals with the story of A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s life that how his own life was nourished by multiple faiths. There were lots of his closed ones, who used to follow different religions like Hinduism and Christianity. His own father was an Imam of a mosque. With their faiths, he developed himself. Kalam said that he got his humility from his respected father because in him he saw how simplicity and divinity could go together. Both of them believed that the Spirituality of a spiritual man can lift him out of any kind of confusion, misery or failure.
Part 2, describes Dr. Kalam’s joining in ISRO and his interactions with the great scientist Professor Vikram Sarabhai and the Reverend Peter Bernard Pereira. Professor Sarabhai and his team had selected a site in Thumba, Kerala, to set up their space research facility because this site was ideal due to its proximity to the magnetic equator.
But there was a major obstacle in getting the possession of the site for Space Research Centre because that site was actually the fishing grounds of Thumba’s fishermen. Moreover, there was an old church of St. Mary Magdalene, a Bishop’s house and a school, which was under the administration of the church. So, the officials thought that it was a difficult and impossible task to shift so many people with their religious place.
On a Sunday morning, Kalam and Dr. Sarabhai were invited by the Reverend. With the help of a mic, the Reverend informed his children that Sarabhai is a great scientist and further he explained the importance of technology and how the usage of mic is due to the technological advancement. He explained that how medical science allows doctors to diagnose and treat patients and how Science is enhancing the overall comfort of human lives.
He then made his students realise that as a preacher and as a Scientist, both he and Vikram are doing the same job. Both science and spirituality seek the Almighty’s blessings for the prosperity of the human mind and body. Then the work on the research centre was under way but not without alternate accommodation being offered to the affected fishermen, the church and the Reverend Pereira.
In part 3, Srijan Pal Singh, discusses about his interactions with Dr. Kalam and how he got inspired from Kalam’s approach to life in order to develop humanity within one self. One day, there was a discussion going on regarding the achievements of degrees which the great scientists had received. It was then, Srijan came to know that Professor Dhawan had so many master’s degrees and all are from the best institutions.
He asked how one can become so academically accomplished to which Kalam replied that academic brilliance is no different from the brilliance of a mirror, which can be diminished by a coating of dust.
Only when the dust is removed, does the mirror shines and the reflection becomes clear. In the same way we can remove the impurities obscuring our souls by living pure and ethical lives and by serving humanity. And then, God will shine through us. Srijan says that the more he lived and worked with Dr. Kalam, the more he realised that through his words of wisdom, he was getting to learn from countless great minds.
He then recalls the 102nd birthday celebrations of Dr.Sri Sri Shivakumara Mahaswamiji in the Tumkur district of Karnataka, in which Dr. Kalam was invited. Mahaswamiji was a remarkable person, who had dedicated his life to the service of humanity. The most astonishing aspect was that how a man of 102 years was capable of standing without any support. To his shock, Dr. Kalam spoke that it was the very spirit of “What can I Give?”
Dr. Kalam continued by saying that Mahaswamiji lives with the beliefs and ethos of mission and he gives education to famished minds, food to famished bodies. And this is how he becomes strong because he gives so much. It is his generosity which fuels his strength. He explained that the essence of a happy life and a peaceful society lies in one sentence that is “What can I give?”. To keep the planet liveable and the human race thriving, we need to replace this attitude of “What Can I take?’ with the goodness of “What can I give?”.
Srijan was strucked by the intelligence of Dr. Kalam and this challenge became his silent motivation. In 2012, the idea became a reality when through “What can I give movement”, Dr. Kalam tried to combat corruption and other social evils. Srijan further states that it is important that we ask ourselves this question “What can I give?” for in the answer lies the truth of humanity.