Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj states what should be the basis for all human research and development.
Science is only going on increasing the circumference of the mortal world, the world of exploitation. According to Newton, “For every action there is equal and opposite reaction.” We must be conscious of this fact. All acquisition here is nothing. Like a boomerang, it will come back to zero again. So, scientific progress is no progress. It is progress in the wrong line. It is something like borrowing money. It is not money; it is only taking a loan from nature, and that load will be exacted from us to the farthing. So, scientific progress is not gain or profit; it is only exploitation, an attempt to increase the circumference of the exploiting world. With science, we are extracting power from nature, taking a loan, but in the future that loan must be cleared. So, rest assured, scientific progress is no progress; it is wrong progress.
The first principle of any living being is to live, to save oneself. So, that must be the starting point of real progress. In the Upaniṣads, you will find,
asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor māmṛtaṁ gamaya
Asato mā sad gamaya: I am transient, mortal. Make me eternal. Tamaso mā jyotir gamaya: I am ignorant, in nescience. Take me to science, knowledge. Take me from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to light. Mṛtyor māmṛtaṁ gamaya: from sorrow, misery, guide me to a life fit for amṛtam, ānandam, joy. These three points should be the real principles of life, and any research or quest must be begun here only. These three phases are all-important: to save one’s own self and the world, to remove darkness and get light, and to remove misery and get nectar, sweet life.
sat chid ānanda
satyam śivam sundaram
These should be the matter of our search, the line of our search. All else is false, wild goose chasing. Scientific research is simply that. It is suicidal. These atomic researchers are going to prove very soon that science devours itself. A civilisation based on scientific progress sucks its own blood; it will live on, feeding on the flesh of its own self or its friends. Material science, material knowledge, means this. It is no knowledge actually. Real knowledge is our vital acquaintance. Pure, real knowledge absolves you and others, removes darkness and brings light, and removes misery and brings eternal peace. That must be the line of our attempt. Any attempt must be approved by these three principles of life.
Spoken 28 February 1982.