Vedic philosophy personalizes everything as an organism. Cells in a body, bodies, societies, ecosystems, planets, and the universe are organisms. A smaller organism exists as part of a bigger organism. The embedding of organisms within organisms creates a hierarchical structure in which the bigger organism controls the smaller organisms and the smaller organisms have a role or function within the bigger organism. This type of thinking is anti-reductionist because it starts from the whole and then delves into the parts, rather than from the parts onto the whole.
Using this anti-reductionist idea, every modern subject can be reformulated. It requires us to understand the whole that precedes the parts, divides into parts, creates functional roles for parts, and controls the parts. Vedic philosophy helps us with this whole-part theory. The essence of this theory is that reality is three kinds of meanings that originate in the nature of the ātmā, the individual consciousness, and are called sat, chit, and ānanda. Their interactions, divisions, permutations, and combinations require an alternative system of logic, reasoning, and even counting. We call these colloquially contradictions, consistency, complementarity, competition, and cooperation. The worldview of meaning, with the alternative notions of logic, counting, and causality, can be used to reformulate all currently reductionist subjects.
Shabda Research is not about speculating the meaning of Vedic texts, the traditional sense in which “research” is generally understood. The philosophy of the self is not up for speculation. It is already perfect and complete. It has been given in Vedic texts. It can be learned from there and realized through experience. We may need to study various texts, and the conclusions received from the master-disciple tradition, to ensure that the explanation covers all aspects of material and spiritual experience. This is not “research”, as it is commonly understood. It is study and realization.
But research is needed to apply these principles to a presently reductionist subject. This research takes two main forms. First, we have to establish the need for an alternative model, and for that, we have to demonstrate the problems with the current models. We cannot leap into an alternative without establishing the necessity for an alternative. Second, we have to establish that the alternative is free of the problems that exist with current models, and for that, we have to contrast the alternative against the same set of parameters that previously refuted the current model.
For example, the above two processes must be done for the study of molecules while doing chemistry, the study of societies and organizations while doing sociology, the study of the universe while doing cosmology, and the study of the mind while doing psychology. The problems with reductionist models in each domain are different, even though our solution is common. The “research” pertains to establishing the problems of each domain and then proving that the alternative does not suffer from the same problems. Since the problems of each domain differ, hence, the same alternative is tested in different ways against those varied problems through the “research”.
The evidence against the current models can include ordinary observations, empirical data, formal theories, and the merits and demerits of current models. The evidence for the alternative must also include some or all of the above. However, we are not researching the nature of truth. That is already present in the Vedic texts. We are rather researching how to apply that truth to better understand and explain what we do not yet understand, and cannot understand, through reductionist models.
We can use reason and observation to discover the nature of the truth. We can also use reason and observation to verify the truth. Conventional research is focused on the use of reason and observation for discovery, and Shabda Research is focused on using reason and observation to verify the truth given in the Vedic texts.
The contrast between discovery and verification can be illustrated by the example of a computer password. If you don’t know the password, then you can try to guess many passwords one after another and check if they unlock a computer. This involves the use of reason and observation for the discovery of the password. However, if you have received the password from an authoritative source, you still need to verify if it unlocks the computer. This involves the use of reason and observation for verification.
Vedic knowledge is like a password. We don’t need to guess what the password is, but we need to learn that password from the Vedic texts. Once we know the password, we can use it to unlock any computer. This process also requires reason and observation, but it is used for verification rather than discovery. Shabda Research is about the verification of the received truth across multiple subjects, showing that it unlocks all subjects, that are currently locked due to the pervasive use of reductionist models. It is research to verify the truth rather than research to discover the truth.