Albert Einstein is arguably the most recognized scientist of the 20th century. His claim to fame is his seemingly simple but ground breaking understanding of the correlation between mass and energy contained in his equation E=mc2. But there was so much more to the man than this equation.
In a most revealing article by UPLIFT, Albert Einstein marveled at the mystery of God in nature, and applauded the ideals of great spiritual teachers such as Buddha and Jesus. In comments, made in a series of meetings with William Hermanns in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, he gave us a fascinating glimpse into how he saw the world:
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“The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation. If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune, and the piper who plays this melody from an inscrutable distance—whatever name we give him—Creative Force, or God—escapes all book knowledge.”
Albert Einstein was exposed to eastern mysticism through his friendship with the Indian scholar and writer Rabindranath Tagore, the very first non-western winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 who was also a friend of Mohandas Gandhi. His understanding of the interplay between what is spiritual and what is material was clearly influenced by his interest in the ancient Vedic literature, the source of much yoga philosophy.
“Creation may be spiritual in origin, but that doesn’t mean that everything created is spiritual. How can I explain such things to you? Let us accept the world is a mystery. Nature is neither solely material nor entirely spiritual. Man, too, is more than flesh and blood; otherwise, no religions would have been possible. Behind each cause is still another cause; the end or the beginning of all causes has yet to be found. Yet, only one thing must be remembered: there is no effect without a cause, and there is no lawlessness in creation,” he commented.
Remarkably, Albert Einstein said if he hadn’t an absolute faith in the harmony of creation, he wouldn’t have tried for thirty years to express it in a mathematical formula. “It is only man’s consciousness of what he does with his mind that elevates him above the animals, and enables him to become aware of himself and his relationship to the universe,” he added.
Einstein believed that the real scientist has faith in God. “If we want to improve the world we cannot do it with scientific knowledge but with ideals. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi have done more for humanity than science has done. We must begin with the heart of man—with his conscience—and the values of conscience can only be manifested by selfless service to mankind. Religion and science go together. Science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal—the search for truth. Hence it is absurd for religion to proscribe Galileo or Darwin or other scientists. And it is equally absurd when scientists say that there is no God. The real scientist has faith, which does not mean that he must subscribe to a creed. Without religion, there is no charity. The soul given to each of us is moved by the same living spirit that moves the universe.”
The process of yoga is a quest to understand the truth as it is—regardless of whether the yoga practitioner wants to believe that truth or not. Albert Einstein was unlike many modern day scientists, who are predisposed to disbelieving in the existence of the Supreme Lord. So while everyone knows that Albert Einstein was a scientist, few realize that he was actually a yogi in the sense that he was seeking out the actual truth and open to accepting what was revealed to him.
Wishing you well,