ICSJP ►Science And Spirituality: Complementary Partners

Published: 06.12.2016
Updated: 07.12.2016

International Conference on Science and Jain Philosophy

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/pics/persons/Dr._N.L._Kachhara/Kachhara_2015.jpgDr. Narayan Lal Kachhara, Ph.D., M.E, recipient of two awards and advisor of BMIRC, is a retired Principal of Motilal Nehru Regional Engineering College, Allahabad, having 35 years of Experience in Research and Teaching. 70 of his papers and 11 books have been published.

Are science and spirituality distinct realms? The answer to this debate rests on two broad questions, our perception of reality and the world view based on this perception. The perception of reality is either subjective or objective depending on the individual capacity to perceive the world and the belief system one holds. It is the subjectivity of perception that introduces diversity and doubts about the reality and gives rise to different belief systems.

The cognitions are of two kinds direct and indirect. The indirect cognitions are made through senses and mind and the direct cognitions are made by the soul (consciousness) by passing the mind and senses. Normal individuals make indirect cogni­tions, the direct cognitions are possible only when the mind has been silenced and noise (by the mind) has been reduced to a level so as to enable one to perceive his intuition. In indirect cognitions the perceptions are made with respect to the frame of mind and are subjective. The subjective perceptions realize the relative truth and the absolute truths are not revealed. The direct perceptions are also subject to purity of consciousness; it is only the pure soul that perceives the absolute truth. For a pure soul there are no options, no decisions to be made, the absolute truth is experienced without application of logic, intellect and scientific theories.

A reality is supposed to have infinite aspects of its existence and the knowledge of all aspects is essential to know the truth. Indirect cognitions suffering the limitations of mind perceive only a few aspects and therefore such knowledge may reveal some true aspects of the reality but it is essentially incomplete. It may so happen that we discover different aspects of the same reality at different times that are contradictory but true in their own ways, for instance the classical and quantum views of matter. Such fragmented views though correct do not describe complete truth and are likely to introduce some kind of differences regarding the nature of reality.

All principles in Jainism are based on the teachings of the Omniscient Mahavira. Mahavira said that both matter and soul (consciousness) are fundamental and distinct substances in nature, one cannot convert into another. Consciousness is the exclusive property of soul; matter in no case can have or produce consciousness. The consciousness of soul manifests chiefly as power of knowing and perceiving. Cognitions are made by the soul and not by the body or brain. No process of brain at any level, micro or macro, can produce consciousness, all processes in the body are the requirement of the body functions.

Science has done a commendable job in exploring the body functions but in the absence of insight into the reality the brain processes are sometimes mistaken to belong to the realm of consciousness. Many scientists, psychologists and philosophers have rightly questioned this supposition which does not have a sound scientific and logical support. Consciousness can never be explored by scientific means, it can only be experienced. Our experiences are generally subjective, and therefore uncertain, as said before, which prompts the investigators to deny the existence of consciousness as a distinct entity.

All organisms, small and big, possess soul; no life is possible without soul. The consciousness of organisms is not a part of a universal consciousness, as supposed by some philosophies; each individual consciousness follows the law of causality, which is not possible if universal consciousness is assumed. The law of causality is a universal law that applies equally well to all existences animate or inanimate. The soul has existed since the beginning less past and has not been created by any super power. Since soul, and also paramanu, the smallest indivisible constituent of matter, is neither created nor destroyed. The total number of souls, and paramanus, in the cosmos is a fixed quantity that runs in infinity. The form of souls changes according to the law of causality; all organisms are in a different state of development of consciousness. There exists no super power like God the creator, the cosmos is governed by the law, known or unknown, which are applicable to animate and inanimate objects. Modern science has been able to discover the laws for the physical order of existence at macro and micro level. But this enquiry is not yet complete and there are many more aspects of nature still unknown to science. For example, matter also exists in subtle form, much smaller than the particles known today, and the laws for this kind of matter are likely to be different from the known laws, such as super luminal speed, anti-gravity property, etc. Study of such matter may need a radically different approach from that employed now.

Our existence is at three levels soul, subtle and gross bodies. The gross body is being studied by science but the subtle body is still unknown to it. The functions of the gross body cannot be understood fully without knowing the subtle body and its interactions with the gross body. The mind is a part of the subtle body and is different from the brain. The subtle mind is yet unknown to present day science and needs a different approach for its study that may involve a mix of scientific methods and conscious experiences. The sub­tle body is likely to have the property of coherence that enables storage of vast amount of information and very fast processing of information typical of life processes. The mind is intimately linked to the brain and the two are supposed to interact through radiations. It means that the brain must also have the capability to receive and transmit signals from the mind. The study of mind-brain connection is likely to reveal many secrets of nature and also lead to the recognition of soul as distinct entity by science. I feel that there is a great scope for scientists, psychologists and philosophers to work together and put up a joint effort to uncover the mysteries of nature, particularly relating to life.

The spiritual leaders like Mahavira knew the reality, subtle, micro and macro, in all its aspects by their spiritual powers. They did not need any scientific instrument; it was the power of their soul that enabled them to perceive all details of nature in its true and objective form. Their teachings and the description of the cosmos available today is qualitative but is sufficient for us to realize the distinct features, the diversity and the qualities of the constituents of nature, particularly at subtle level. The science has explored the micro and macro states of physical nature, and therefore the spiritual science and modern science together provide us means for knowing the nature to its fullest extent. Spirituality and science are complementary, and not opposing, partners. Science explores a part of reality experimentally, theoretically and quantitatively and spirituality knows the whole range of reality intuitively.


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  1. Allahabad
  2. BMIRC
  3. Body
  4. Brain
  5. Consciousness
  6. International Conference on Science and Jain Philosophy
  7. Jain Philosophy
  8. Jainism
  9. Mahavira
  10. Narayan Lal Kachhara
  11. Omniscient
  12. Paramanu
  13. Paramanus
  14. Science
  15. Soul
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