Many years ago, when Raja Ramanna was the Chairman of the Atomic Commission, he came to the Ramakrishna Mission in Kolkata to deliver an inaugural lecture of a religious convention. He questioned the ‘big bang’ theory and said he would love to believe that the world was created out of ‘something’ rather than out of ‘nothing’. When it was reported in The Statesman (by ‘yours truly’, then a cub reporter) there was a great hue and cry ‘condemning’
the scientist, saying that a man of science of his stature should not have made such a statement.
Today of course the scientific community has become more pliant and many of the scientific and technological discoveries tend to accept human belief and behaviours – for example, the present day technological networking is often described as an ‘extension’ of human neurological behaviour.
When The Times of India introduced the ‘The Speaking Tree' column in the editorial page – under the instructions of the great matriarch of the Jain family – many eyebrows were raised. Doses of religion, spiritualism in a hard, matter-of-fact, news- based political daily?! It was debated for long, but it had come to stay. In fact, the articles published in the column have matured over time and often give glimpses of forgotten wisdom. Many of the newspapers round the world have had the habit of carrying quotations of wisdom; but carrying full articles of spiritualism was something new. Today, many hardened news readers, one must admit, do sometimes refer to these ‘pearls of wisdom’. Times of India have published several volumes, collecting these columns under the title “Speaking Tree”, and the naysayers have
to accept that they are bestsellers!
Business Economics magazine went a step further – it introduced spiritualism in a business paper! To the family, spiritualism is a driving force in business. Again, the novelty raised many eyebrows. The editors and the owners debated – whether there should be two different platforms - one for spiritualism and another for business. But today, Enlightenment has merged with business. The yearly spiritual conference has become an important event of the city (and elsewhere) and it is attended by people from all walks of life – politicians, businessmen, spiritual leaders, educationists and other professions. It’s a great binding force – and neither business nor spiritualism can survive as an isolated activity.
The idea of enlightenment has evolved – both for the conference and for the magazine. The business magazine has been dealing with the enlightenment section for over 25 years and the conference has survived (and been stronger) for ten years.
Many of the speakers at the recent conference said that spiritualism is not religion. Its implications are much wider. One of the speakers, a former president of India, tried to find spiritualism in the Indian political process. He said
that the creation of the Indian Constitution was spiritual; it is a great binding force.
The Enlightenment column in Business Economics has come to stay. It tries to define spiritualism in human life. It is not confined to any religion. It’s a binding force. It’s networking – and that is what good business is.