Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science ► 03 ► [3.1.1] A Critique - Metaphysical View: Non-Absolutism - Law Of Anekanta - Introductory

Posted: 11.02.2008


We have already seen that the non-absolutist realism of the Jains neither endorses absolute eternalism nor absolute tluxism, but explains both these extremes as real with reference to different aspects of the same reality.

While dealing with the quantum field theory in the first chapter, we had seen that the paradox of wave-particle-duality of light could be explained by the concept of complementarity introduced by Niels Bohr (one of the founders of the quantum theory). This concept states that both the wave-aspect and the particle-aspect of light are necessary to fully understand the nature of light. Light or anything else cannot be both wave-like and particle-like in the same context.

This precisely is the Jain position with regard to any two opposites. Niels Bohr visited China in 1937 and was deeply impressed by ancient Chinese notion of the polar opposites. Some other physicists also visited Far Eastern countries and India and were, no doubt, deeply impressed by Vedanta, and Buddhist philosophies. In the following discussion, we shall see that the Jain Theory of Non-absolutism (anekantavada) offers the best explanation of wave-particle paradox. Unfortunately, however, the eminent physicist could not contact the Jain scholars who could have shown to them the excellent merits of anekantavada [The Jain Philosophy of Non-absolutism by Dr. Satkari Mookerjee, Head of the Sanskrit Department, Calcutta University, published by Motilal Banarasidass, New Delhi, Second Edition, 1978 is recommended for critical study of anekantavada. In the following pages, the views expressed in this book are summarized.]. In the last fifteen years, a number of books on modern physics have revealed the most striking parallels between some schools of Eastern mysticism and scientific concepts of space and time, cause and effect, etc. In such books, we find the mention of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc., but hardly anything about Jain philosophy. Through the brief discussion in the following pages, we hope to convince the scientists in general, and the physicists in particular, that the study of Jain Philosophy deserves much more attention than it has received so far.

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