Some Modern Movements

The first impact of science on the West seems to have been to undermine religion. Christianity, having developed into a complex and rigid institution with a dogmatic framework, was in no position to adjust itself to the demands made by the new knowledge available from science. The result was unavoidable; a head-on collision between the two, which left religion shaken, and science firmly entrenched. However, as we have already suggested in an earlier chapter, the physical sciences by themselves cannot explain life completely or even adequately. When the outer sciences have had their say, certain unknown problems of being remain to baffle and trouble the mind of man.

The last century has seen the emergence of many a movement that has sought, in some way or other, to point toward an inner life, that science at least to a degree tended to discount. Modern India has been the birthplace of many religious movements, but for the most part they have been by way of a revival of what the ancients already knew, be it the Vedantism of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, or Ramana Maharshi or, as we have already examined in some detail, the various Indian yogic systems, we will not concern ourselves with them.

However it may be fruitful to glance at some of the movements prevalent in the West, movements that often converge on Eastern traditions and are affected by them.