The Telugu World Col No:36
Spiritualism, it is said, begins where science ends. The common belief that spiritualism and science contradict each other and that while science seeks proof based purely on facts and spiritualism is a matter of faith, is contradicted by several cases of men of science taking to religion, spiritualism and faith. There are many examples of men of science turning religious or spiritual later. In ancient India, all scientists were rishis and tapasya was research or deep study of science. Even in the West a galaxy of eminent scientists has great believers in God who admit science cannot explain many things. All top doctors say the final verdict on life and death was only in the hands of God.
Telugu land too shows deep imprint of religion and spiritualism on its culture. Andhra has a long history of spiritual leaders. A nuclear physicist who became a spiritual Guru was Swami Jnanananda, born in December 1896 as Bhupatiraju Laxminarasimha Raju in a village in West Godavari district of AP. Fascinated by Einstein’s relativity theory, he took up science studies. His father, Ramaraju, got his son married even before he completed 16 years. But inspired by the Buddha, the boy renounced worldly pleasures, went to Lumbini in Nepal, read his father’s collection of Vedic books and spent 10 years in the Himalayas studying yoga and scriptures. In Germany as a student, he gave 150 lectures on Hindu philosophy. He taught nuclear physics at a university in (then) Czechoslovakia for three years before shifting to University of Liverpool in England during World War II. He got D.Sc. and Ph.D degrees and in 1947 joined the National Physical Laboratory, known as Pusa Institute then, as a senior scientific officer.
In 1954 he met with an accident and was admitted to the King George Hospital at Visakhapatnam (Vizag). Requested by Andhra University VC Dr. Krishna at Vizag, he joined it to develop an independent department of Nuclear Physics headed by him till 1965. Andhra University named a laboratory after him and put up his statue. His Guru, Swami Purnananda named him Jnanananda. He wrote a book High Vaccum and ‘Prof. Swami Jnanananda, The Saint and the Scientist’ compiled from his speeches and writings by Raju Umapathi Datla, . ‘Purna Sutras’ is his major work. He passed away in September 1969.