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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Some Reflections on ‘Science and Religion’ by Swami Ranganathananda (Part 3 of 3)

By Ezenwa Onwugbenu

Science and religion are two phases of one search for truth. Science investigates external nature; religion investigates internal nature; and both are complementary. Let me illustrate this with two examples.

First: Sri Ramakrishna says, “Brahman and Sakti are one… just as fire and its burning power are one… just as milk and its whiteness are one… just as a gem and its brightness are one.”

Two scientific principles can be inferred from this statement: (1) the inner configuration of a substance reveals the cause of its outer qualities; and (2) the inner configuration is microcosmic, and the outer quality is macrocosmic.

The inner configuration of fire is a rapid flux of oxidation reactions. The outer quality is heat and light. If we examine the outer qualities: How hot? How luminous? We cannot find the cause of heat. The cause can only be found through investigation of the microcosm, namely, the chemical process of combustion.

The inner configuration of milk is tiny protein micelles. The outer quality is whiteness. If we examine the outer qualities: How thick? How whitish? We cannot find the cause of whiteness. The cause can only be found through investigation of the microcosm, namely, the light refraction and scattering by casein micelles.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Dr. Lewis Janes, a Son of Providence: "Philosopher, Patriot, Lover of Man," Part 3 of 3

By Fred Richardson

Dr. Janes continued his work right up until his untimely death in September of 1901. His passing occurred at Greenacres after teaching a class on Comparative Religion. It was reported that his last words were: “It’s a beautiful world.”  The meaning of this was debated by his colleagues, but one can be assured that the Swamis would have known exactly what he meant. He was laid to rest in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence Rhode Island under a simple, humble gravestone.


Upon his death there were several services held in his honor at the societies he was involved with. At each service there were numerous eulogies and tributes given and letters read which were put into a book entitled: “Lewis G. Janes – Philosopher – Patriot – Lover of Man.”  These were delivered by people of many different spiritual persuasions and backgrounds and are a clear testimony to how highly he was held in esteem by all. This book is available online and is well worth reading. It allows one not only to learn more about Dr. Janes but to also appreciate his colleagues who were pioneers with him in the early days of "Interfaith Dialogue." 

The link is: http://www.vivekananda.net/PDFBooks/Lewis_G__Janes.pdf

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Dr. Lewis Janes, a Son of Providence: "Philosopher, Patriot, Lover of Man," Part 2 of 3

By Fred Richardson

It is most likely that Dr. Janes first met Swamiji in Brooklyn in the spring of 1894. However, it is known that he did spend time with Swamiji in the summer of 1894 at the Greenacres Religious Conference, whose motto was: “Love Truth more than Victory.”  Greenacres was the “embodiment of the ideals of the World Parliament of Religions.” Here they were both Presenters who listened to each other’s talks and most likely spent a fair amount of time discussing their shared interests.  This is born out by Swamiji’s comments in a letter to Mrs. Hale: “There is my friend Dr. Lewis G. Janes of NY, President of the Ethical Culture Society of Brooklyn who has begun his lecture. I must go to hear him. He and I agree so much.”

It was during this time that Dr. Janes offered Swamiji a place at his Society in Brooklyn where he could hold regular classes and public lectures rather than just traveling from place to place. These classes began in December of 1894 and continued for the next several months.  In Marie Louise Burke’s words: “These classes were considered to be the real beginning of Swamiji’s work in America.”