Infatuated by promises of a hi-tech paradise, people don't even think about the spiritual purpose of life, erroneously considering it unscientific and outdated.
We live in the age of technology. We commute by automobiles and airplanes and communicate by emails and mobile phones. The media and the Internet provide us the latest information from all over the world. Movies filled with hi-tech special effects entertain us. Central heating and air conditioning keep us coomfortable despite the weather. The list goes on. Technology has transformed almost every aspect of our lives. Despite some concern about the pollution and environmental problems that technology produces, most people feel that technology has benefited us immensely.
WHERE IS TECHNOLOGY TAKING US?
The razzle dazzle of comforts, luxuries and hi-tech gadgets make it appear that technology has led to progress in human society. But has our quality of life improved?
In the past, people would leave the doors of their homes open without fear. Now, despite locks, bolts, chains, and alarms, we're afraid. Is that progress?
We're proud of our posh houses, fast cars, smooth roads, and skyscraper offices, but we can't sleep without pill. Can a society considered progressed if it makes its people struggle to get the simple and essential pleausre of sleeping, a pleasure that the "primitive" villagers gets effortlessly?
The technological worldview, being materialistic, gives rise to selfishness, competition, and explotition. Despite the show of romantic love, we can't trust our own spouses, what to speak of parents and children or bosses and colleagues. Do alienated, suspicous people compose a progressive society?
Mecanized factories can never offer as much employment as the farms of the past. So a large number f peope have to suffer or fear unemployment. For subsistence some of the unemployed turn to begging, others to crime. And overall the modernized industrial environment is so agitating to the mind that self destructive addictions beciome the only solace for many people. ARe crime, addiction, and unemployment signs of progress?
Technology provides comforts, but a high speed stress technology centered lifestyle takes away the peace of mind necessary to enjoy the comforts. A software engineer has AC in his office, but still he sweats not because of heat, but because of tension. Technology makes us comfortably miserable.
Medical technology may have wiped out a few diseases and offers cures to more. But far people needs medical attention today than in the past because of unhealthy, congested city living, sedentary lifestyles, and polluted air, water and food. This is evident from the ever increasing number of clinics, hospitals and medical treatments unlike the traditional herbal cures, and prhibitively expensive.
Most people today can hardly imagine life without television, movies, and myraid other forms of hi-tech entertainment. And the ity their ancestos who did not have all his enjoyment. But people in the past knew how to find joy in the simple things of life, like sharing and caring in joint families, observing and learning from nature, and hearing and chanting the names and glories of God. Consequently they did not find life boring. By our infatuated with technology, we have divorced ourselves from simple , natural pleasures. And so, despite our much touted entertainment, we still find ourselves constantly bored. The entertainment industry may use sophisticated technology, but is the dependence on entertainment and the serious inner emptiness it reveals a sign of progress?
Technology intoxicates us with the feeling of being the controller. Just by pressing a switch, we can make huge machines perform complex actions. Just by clicking a keyboard, we can summon information from any art of the world. By constantly working with machines, we become habituated to controlling them and expect everything and everyone to be similarly controlled. When people refuse to be controlled like machines, we end up with all sorts of conflicts, ranging from dometic cold wars to material ruptures, from quarrels to murders. And when things don't go the way we want them to, we end up suffering from a wide range of mental problems, including stress, anxiety, depression and addiction.
TECHNOLOGY ANCIENT AND MODERN
We have been led to believe that we possess the most advnced technology in the history of our planet. But the pyramids of mids of Egypt, the Stonehenge mooliths of the UK, and the non rusting iron pillars of India are some telltale products of an ancient technology amazingly superior to ours. In fact, the vedic texts describe even more intriguisg technologies. Vimanas (pollution free airplanes), brahmastras (precise and powerful missiles activated by mystical sound incarnatition), and astonishingly potent and swift healing techniques involving medicinal herbs, empowered mantras, and Ayurvedic surgeries are a few examples. The vedic attitude is not opposed to technology per se. But it cautions us about infatuation with material technology, which leads to neglecting or forgetting the spiritual gouls of life.
Imagine a Doctor who prescribes only a painkiller to a seriously sick patient. The patient is happy because he gets relief. The Doctor is happy because he gets his fees. Unfortunately, the patient's pain is not cured, but covered. Soon it will recur and worsen.
All of us are like the patient. From the momont of birth we have a death sentence on our heads. Time forces us to helplessly grow old, get diseased, and die. Our journey through life is not only doomed but also distressful. Miseries from our own bodies and minds (fever, indigestion, stress, depression), miseries from other living beings (mosquitoes, competitors, superiors, relatives), and miseries from nature (extreme heat or cold, floods, earthquakes) periodically torment us throughout our life.
The vedic texts explain the cause and cure of our suffering. We are spiritual beings entrapped in material bodies. We belong not to this temporary and miserable material world but to an eternal and blissful spiritual realm, where we live forever in loving harmony with God. Becauuse of our desire to enjoy independent of God, we are placed in this world, an arena for experimenattion and rectification. We transmigrate through different species of life, searching for pleasure by experimenting with matter in various ways, but getting nly misery and death. In human species, we receiving advanced intelligence to recognize our unfortunate predicament. For intelligent humans, the vedic texts offer a systematic program of spirituality that enables them to reharmonize with and return back to eternal life with God.
This spiritual program is based on recognizing our intermediate position in the cosmic hierarchy. As spiritual sparks we are superior o matter but subordinate to God, who is the controller of both matter and spirit.