The Quest for the historical view of the spiritual age brought a distinct smile on her pink lips, the glow in her bluish eyes brightened further. Engrossed in her thoughts she started strolling in her study hall; after a while, she stood near a bookshelf; there were several such shelves in the hall, each packed with the books on religion, philosophy, spirituality and science. The collection reflected her intense interest and inclination towards spirituality. While she was about to pick a book she heard some footsteps. Stunned for a moment, she turned her face back. Oh! It was her husband Philip Neal, who was entering the hall. Both greeted each other with a warm smile. The two had very different tastes for reading; their outlooks towards life too didn’t match. But they respected each other’s views and loved each other through heart.
“Is it confined to only reading, or you are also preparing to have some more experience too!” – He wondered pointing at the book on mysteries in the Himalayas that she had just taken out of the shelf. Philip knew she had a liking to visit new places in the vicinity of Nature. Born and brought up in a lovely town of the France, she had toured around England, Switzerland, and Spain at the young age of eighteen. Less than a decade ago, she had visited India and Sri Lanka (Cylone). She Mrs. Alaxendra Davd Neal (b. 1868, d.1969) was the first European woman to have reached and stayed at some arduous places in Himalayas. She had intense affinity and faith in the Himalayas. She had thoroughly read the basics of Vedanta Philosophy and Buddhism.
She was reading the Upanishads those days. Often, while discussing with her husband, she used to tell him that spirituality is not an expression of imaginative emotions or occult experiences. Rather, it is as scientific as any other branch of science, and has scope for experimentation and verification too. She would also explain that the proofs of spirituality being a science are present in Vedanta Darshan (Vedanta Philosophy) and the Upanishads. In her views, Lord Buddha had accomplished his spiritual sadhanas in a scientific manner.
In spite of his materialistic views, Mr. Neal was an admirer of his wife’s spiritual depth, determinism and scientific attitude. A beautiful, charming, tall lady, with sharp features and fair complexion, having a pure, compassionate heart and simple life style – she was so different from most other women of her times! She was bright, thoughtful and efficient in whatever task she would take in her hands. He often used to feel proud of her.
In response to his query, she responded with a broad smile – “Yeah! I want to go to India. This time I want to spend more time in Himalayas”. Philip sat in the hall and thought for few minutes. “Well I will try to arrange your voyage”, he said. The same day he sent a telegram to his old friend William Jones, noted historian and orientalist who was staying in Calcutta at that time.
Alexendra undertook her second voyage to India and reached Calcutta; this was sometime in 1912. William Jones was happy to meet her there and to know about her plans to visit the Himalayas. Their spiritual nature, views on Indian Philosophy and attraction for Himalayas were very similar. So they gave good company to each other during the arduous voyage to the Himalayas. Their discussions revolved around deeper aspects of spirituality, the lives of great spiritual, masters their experiences in the Himalayas, etc.
Talking about scientific approach to spirituality, William Jones expressed the views that – inquisitiveness to decipher the truth behind a natural phenomenon or an experience / observation, dedicated and systematic efforts and experimentation towards this search without any prejudice or bias for or against the results, analysis and elucidative conclusion of the outcomes the (re)search, in short this is what amounts to a scientific investigation. The Vedic sages (rishis) had adopted this approach in their spiritual experiments. This tradition was followed in the Upanishads as well. In the latter ages it was also adopted by Socrates in Greece and by several noted western philosophers in the successive generations. From Vedic Rishis to Vivekananda, from Socrates to Spencer, we can find a scientific expression of spiritual quest.
If there is any difference in the Oriental and Occidental sides of this foundation of Scientific Spirituality, it is that – in the Orient, especially in India, there have been thorough experiments ( sadhanas ) of spiritual realization, whereas in the West, it is mainly confined to philosophical thinking.
As most of the spiritual experiments of the rishis and their followers in the post Vedic times were carried out in the Himalayas, these pristine mountains, their divine serenity continue to attract seekers of spiritual light from all over the world.
Mrs. Neal agreed with Jones views about the ancient rishis. She had great regard for the Himalayas, as, it was here that the rishis – the spiritual ancestors of mankind – had had the first – ever spiritual realization. It is here that one experiences a divine vibration in the ambience.
Traversing the hills in the North-east region of India on foot, they had finally reached near the snow filled range of Himalayan peaks near Sikkim after some short sojourns. The weather was chilly and cloudy. It was dark much before evening. Drenched in the drizzling, they were wondering whether they would be able to continue their climbing and reach somewhere to find what they have come for.
Soon the drizzling got converted into heavy rainfall and the chilly breeze into heavy storm. there was nobody around to help these voyagers who were on the way to seek spiritual light. Their bodies could not bear it for long. They fainted and fell down. There is high risk of people getting buried under the snow if trapped in such a situation. But destiny had something else written for Madame Aexendra David Neal and Sir William Jones, the devotees of scientific spirituality.
When they regained their consciousness, they found themselves in a beautiful, war cave in the Himalayas. The snow-covered peaks outside this cave appeared golden as the sunrays of dawn fell upon them. Before they could realize whether they were awake or in dreams, a grand divine like sage sitting outside the cave entered and greeted them saying that they were now safe.
Amazing! Neither Mrs. Neal, nor Mr. Jones experienced even a bit of fatigue. They were feeling fresh and charged with unprecedented energy! “Where are we at present?” Alexendra asked him in broken Hindi. He responded back in English. ( Certainly, for spiritually enlightened Himalayan Yogi like him, there is no limitation of language or any domain of knowledge.) He informed them that they were in a transcendent core of the sacred Himalayas, where the science of spirituality was born. This is most mysterious part of the Himalayas where no one can reach (without any help from the sublime world). This is the place where the divine voice of the Vedas was first heard (realized by spiritual mind of the Vedic Rishis), where the knowledge of the Upanishads was first heard by human mind (grasped by the Vedic Rishis). God is the absolute scientist. Then how could His knowledge (the Vedic texts), or the methods of knowing Him (methods of spiritual enlightenment) could be unscientific?
Uttering this, he took them along to a huge cave that was fully covered by snow. While they reached nearby they could see that it had a door, which was shielded by a huge rock. Adding to their astonishment, their ‘divine-yogi’ guide removed the rock single handedly! That cave was like a tunnel. Silently they all crossed it in a few seconds and reached a panoramic ground that was full of rare of species of plants and flowers. Springs of silvery water falling from some mountains were adding to the spectacular splendour of this paradise. The surroundings were pervaded with a divine glow and heavenly fragrance. There were several caves all around in which the rishis and great yogis appeared engrossed in spiritual sadhanas in their subtle bodies.
So you see! This is the spot where the foundational experiments of spiritual science were conducted and are continued forever…. This is from where the perturbations in the Natural events and in global phenomena are controlled as and when required to protect the world. This is from where the inspirations of spirituality, radiations of spiritual light are spread in all directions and are perceived by the deserving minds (of the spiritual devotees, sadhaks) in different parts of the world.
Amazing! Marvellous!! Miraculous!!! The visitors could not believe their eyes. Their hearts and minds were floating in a beatifying bliss and astonishing experience. They had no words to express their feelings, as though their tongues were frozen in the thrill of mystery. They had witnessed the place of origin of all spiritual knowledge! This was like ultimate achievement for them. Flying in the emotional sky of divine contentment, they started feeling sleepy. But when they woke up they found themselves in Lachen monastery in North Sikkim. Lama Gomchen (great hermit) was sitting in front of them. Before they could ask anything, he smiled and said; “What you experienced sometimes back was a glimpse of reality. Indeed, the field of spiritual knowledge, spiritual methods and spiritual experiences are entirely scientific. At the right time, the inspirations of the great Himalayan spiritual masters (the rishis) will revive this deeper science as “Scientific Spirituality”. This missing link of the ancient, foundational knowledge, and the genesis and ‘historical background’ will be retrieved then. Most importantly, the eternal purpose of this epochal science will not only become evident before us, but it will also guide us towards the path of exploration of scientific spirituality.”
– Pioneers of Scientific Spirituality ( Dr. Pranav Pandya )