Jain Studies And Science ► Preface ► Introduction

Posted: 13.02.2009

In the later half of the twentieth century a clear shift is visible in the orientation on the writings of Jain philosophy. The concepts of Jain philosophy were once compared at length with other contemporary Indian philosophies i.e. Vedanta, Sankhya, Buddhism etc., now they are compared with the theories and results of modern science. Jain philosophers, in the initial period of writing, used to compare their concept on Non-absolutism with Vedanta's Monism and Sankhya's Dualism. The comparisons were also drawn with the 'concept of permanence' of Vedanta and the concept of 'impermanence' of Buddhism vis-a-vis permanence-cum-transienceof Jainism. This custom has primarily ended now. Ever since the advent of Einstein's theory of Relativity and Heisenberg's theory of Uncertainty, Jain philosophy has found trusted friends in them. Clear parallels can now be drawn between Einstein's theory of relativity and the Principle of Anekant (Non-absolutism) of Jain philosophy. The scientific studies on relativity, structure of atom, psychology and modern discoveries of cosmology have provided help to explain and reinforce many facts of Jain studies.

Foremost Writer

In the contemporary writing style on Jain studies, the partial use of science has started. The credit for adopting this changed style of writing goes to Mahapragya. In the present era, he has established himself as the foremost writer of this new genre of scripting. It reflected not only his generous and flexible perception, but also manifested his deep curiosity to arrive at the truth. His slogan as an Anekant Drastra (visionary) is: 'What is truth is mine' and not 'what is mine is the truth'. According to Mahapragya's point of view, the principles of Relativity and Postulates of Anekant are the only effective and modern techniques to understand and unearth the facts of nature and universe.

Mahapragya has created literature by amalgamating science with spiritualism. For this reason, his literature gained recognition and popularity with the passage of time.

Convergence of Science and Spiritualism

 

  1. We are aware that in science, various subjects are categorised on the basis of different physical properties of the matter; the spiritual subjects are categorised on the basis of abstract qualities of the mattereals (dravyas). Mahapragya found that science and spiritualism are two different streams investigating the truth, but they are not against each other. In fact, the two are inseparable.

  2. In the scientific world, the forms of substance are divided into two parts: i.e. cosmic (sthula) & microcosmic (sukshma). According to the scientist Heisenberg, the rules of micro matter are different from those of macro matter and thus, cannot be applied on each other. From Jainism point of view, Ashtasparshi pudgal (octons) is figurative while Chatursparshi pudgal (quadons) is mass-less and non-figurative. Mahapragya has compared quadons with energy and waves, thereby discussing Jain philosophy in relation to the science. Apart from this, he has invited the science to broaden its scope in order to include description of intangible and elusive massless substances as the part of its research and experiments.

  3. The main principles of science as used in Mahapragya literature are:

    • Evolution
    • Heredity
    • Theory of Relativity
    • Quantum Theory
    • Physiology and Psychology

  4. The studies on genes are comparatively new. The construction code of genes is yet to be cracked. According to Mahapragya, the characteristics of genes are similar to that of a Shukshma-Sharira (micro-body) and they have the capability of undergoing voluntary changes. Modern scientific experiments have proved that the genes are affected by the external environment also. Therefore, the quest of spirituality will remain unfulfilled until the study of physical world is integrated with it.

Positive Thinking

Mahapragya has maintained a positive thinking as far as the convergence of spiritualism and science is concerned. Accepting the achievements of science, he said that the subtle features of existence, which were theoretical so far, are now experimentally proven by the science. Therefore, if through it, the abstract truths of Jain philosophy are getting clearer, the progress of philosophy lies in keeping its doors open to welcome science. If this new dimension is not added now, the philosophy will loose its use and meaning completely.

Empirical Facts

Mahapragya observes that Ancient language was once easy for all, but with the passage of time, it has not remained so. Through the methods of science, the ancient secrets can be explained with ease and clarity. In ancient literature, there is more of symbolic language hence clarity is less. Whatever we have understood through the medium of science could not be grasped on the basis of ancient literature alone. Another good feature of science is that it has given us some new apparatuses. One such apparatus is related to Aura. This apparatus can make the finest part of our personality perceivable. Philosophy has always concentrated on intangible and non-figurative. Science too has come closer to Philosophy to as much extent as it (science) has understood the abstract and empirical facts of the philosophy.

Singularity of Truth

Mahapragya is quite clear in his opinion that truth is singular and is never ambiguous. He says, "Many approaches towards investigation of truth may differ for different religions, but when the explorer reaches the depth, all the beliefs are left behind and 'the truth' finally emerges. Many people have voiced the opinion that science has harmed religion and has also isolated people from it. Many religious priests have also echoed the same thoughts. But their voices are far from reality. My definite belief is that science has truthfully explained the facts contained in various religions and will continue to do so. The abstract secrets described in the religious scriptures would have remained unexplained due to the unavailability of original sources of their ancient texts. They can now be described in the context of scientific researches with great authenticity. The comparative study of the related branches of philosophy and science is therefore desirable. Due to this, many new dimensions of philosophy can be highlighted."

Exploration of Abstract Facts

As a religious leader Mahapragya manifests his foresight when he writes, "I agree that the contribution of science to the religion is unparalleled. Had science not explored the hidden and intangible micro-particles; had it not pronounced the micro level truths, various philosophers would have struggled a lot! The 'third eye' of the philosophers is not yet open. They have forgotten the process of experimentation. Today's scientists are performing newer experiments everyday. Science is incessantly indulged with these experiments. Science has revealed numerous esoteric and cryptic truths at micro level. The present balanced attitude towards religion was not possible 500-1000 years back in the absence of scientific proofs. The intense curiosity for the abstract truths (micro level truths) was not there before. Science is reaching towards the boundary of knowledge beyond senses. Scientist do not meditate, do not indulge in spiritualism, nor do they try to awaken transcendental consciousness, but they invent sophisticated equipments through which the truth beyond senses can be discovered. Today science is capable to observe, decipher and establish the intangible and abstract facts which are obscured from the human senses."

Deep Connection

Expressing a sense of deep bondage between spiritualism and science he says, "I do not agree that spiritualism and science are different. In my opinion they are neither separate nor different. Whether we discover the truth through transcendental awakening of consciousness or through scientific media, the discovery at micro-level is desired in science as well as in spiritualism. The difference could only be that the science treaded the path of materialistic physics, whereas, for the teachers of spiritualism, soul and consciousness were primary.
Neither the physical equipments nor the consciousness are self-sufficient. Through equipments alone no valid discovery can be made and similarly, no spiritualist can advance ahead only on the basis of consciousness. The great teachers of Spiritualism have also realised the importance of the inert and lifeless substances. Without knowing both of them, our balanced behaviour is not possible. Of late, both science and spiritualism have been commercialised, which is not desirable. As both are aspiring for the same truth - our existence and its meaning - their fusion is inevitably essential."

There is a striking similarity between the methods adopted by the science and spirituality. Both are travelling a journey from figurative, macro and tangible towards the obscure, micro and abstract. The medium for a spitual person is transcendental and superior knowledge whereas, for a scientist the media are microscope and telescope. Spiritualists, long back, had discovered sub-atomic particles by invoking their mystical powers while today the atomic scientists are heading towards consciousness as the driving force. Clarifying this fact Mahapragya writes, "Scientist Einstein was asked during his last moments, 'What would you like to be in your next life?' He answered, 'In this life, I had yearned for material knowledge. My entire approach had been object oriented. In the following birth, I would make an attempt to know myself, my soul and the secrets of my consciousness.' This is what he desired for his next life!"

Preksha

Mahapragya is the pioneer of Preksha Meditation. Rapid advancements in the scientific theories and discoveries have put our entire civilization in a predicament. The pace of technological development is dangerous and at times, suicidal. There is a dire need to regulate its pace as well its direction. We need to seriously ponder over this issue and evaluate its impact on mental peace, tension-free happiness and general health.

Mahapragya, in order to solve this problem, has combined yoga and philosophy to evolve the science of living, popularly known as Preksha Meditatation. Highlighting its salient features, he says that the Preksha experiments mainly comprised of the results obtained by the studies psychology, physiology, sociology, ecology etc. In this meditation, the anatomy of the body is understood. It applies physiology to comprehend the body functioning and it utilises the psychology to understand the mood and temper. Preksha Meditation paves the way to reach the higher consciousness through the application of scientific perspective to the body and the psychology.

Mahapragya believes that science and technology has made it easy for philosophy and spirituality to objectively examine their own methods of self-purification. For example, whether a particular method of meditation helps in reducing the mental tension or not can now be scientifically verified with the help of measurement of blood-pressure and other vital body parameters. With the help of available scientific instruments, which can collect data objectively by performing experiments, the problems of humanity at large can be solved. If such spirituality with scientific methodology is provided in teaching institutions, various discrepancies of excessively luxurious life like, violence, inequality, deception etc. can be controlled to a large extent.

My Aspirations

From the above discussions it is evident that the writings of Mahapragya on Jain philosophy, science and psychology are authoritative and convincing. His literature is available in abundance and can take the shape of a complete book for the readers. I felt that through a planned schedule, I can express my heartfelt gratitude to my reverend guru by collecting, analysing and extending his life's precious work in the field of uniting science with spiritualism. Though my subject was Chemistry, I had keen interest in the studies of Jain philosophy right from the beginning. With the blessings of my guru I could reap a rich harvest over the extended period of time. When the clouds get the favourable weather conditions, they rain. This became true for me too. Samni Mangalpragya, Director of Mahadev Saraogi Anekant Research Centre suggested that the new and comparative writings on Jain studies and science are the need of the hour and I must take up this challenge. My feelings got the wings of her inspiration and this combination was ready to take-off.

During the year 2004,1 visited Jain Vishva Bharati Institute to deliver lectures. The Vice-Chancellor of the Institute, Mrs. Sudhamahi Raghunathan, was present during one of the lectures. She insisted that I should write on the scientific contents of Mahapragya's literature. Sensing my desire for the same, she promptly sent a formal letter to me the same day. My aspiration had now become a reality, and I chose the subject: "Mahapragya's contribution in the Unification of Jain Studies and Science." Samni Mangalpragya discussed my plans with Mahapragya. After his consent, a firm proposal was sent to the Vice-Chancellor. Samni Mangalpragya helped in completing all the formalities, as a result of which the book was written and published in 2005 in Hindi.

The Limitations of My Study

Before beginning the work on the project, I studied several Hindi editions of Mahapragya's literature. I also scanned the comments given by him in the revised and edited Jain Aagamic literature. I kept on collecting all those writings which related the Jain studies to the science. While studying, I realised that he is an extraordinarily talented author. He is not only a scholar of the traditional Indian thoughts, but he also possesses deep knowledge of modern psychology and scientific thoughts. To simplify the interpretation on the complex subjects of Aagamic and Jain philosophy, science has been effectively applied by him. He has employed uncomplicated and comprehensively easy language in the books meant for masses, but at the same time his excellence in the philosophical language is also manifested in the spiritual writings which are predominantly philosophical in nature. Mahapragya's book 'Sambodhi' drew an interesting remark from his Guru, Ganadhipati Tulsi, "His (Mahapragya's) writings have undergone through the process of great evolution. This can be easily seen by comparing his present and past literature. In 'Sambodhi' the language is easy and interesting without loosing the depth and seriousness of the subject." In this context, Mahapragya writes, "I am not used to writing easy Sanskrit, but being surprisingly blessed by Ganadhipati on my writing easy language, I consider this as a compliment and a life-time achievement."

Published Literature

After studying Mahapragya's published literature, the literature written on him by various scholars was also referred. 'Mahapragya -Personality and Accomplishments' was the first book written on him and was edited by Shri Khaniyalal Phoolphagar in 1980. The second book edited by Shri Phoophagar was published in 2001 titled: 'The Creative world of Acharaya Mahapragya'. In this book, his entire literature was discussed. In 1996, the book titled 'Mahapragya's Philosophy of Life' was written by Munni Dhananjay Kumar. Overwhelmed with the sense of gratitude, the writer has described: "Mahapragya's life in itself is a document of dedication and devotion, it is a masterpiece of knowledge and insight and it is a power house of positive thinking." This book had highlighted the personality of Mahapragya as a thinker, writer and philosopher. In 2002, Dr. Dayanand Bhargava, a scholar writer, wrote a book titled: Mahapragya's Philosophy. In it, along with other subjects the examples from science have been included in the chapter titled: 'Relativity and Anekant'. Looking at Mahapragya's science related literature, this chapter was pioneering, yet an important attempt. The writer presented a new dimension to Mahapragya's innovative philosophies. In 2003, a book titled: 'Finding your spiritual centre' was published - both in Hindi and English languages along with attractive pictorial depiction. This book contained many useful quotations from Mahapragya's literature. National and International acclaim was received by this book. Its complier was Shri Ranjit Dugar. In the beginning of 2004, the book titled 'Anukriti' was published based on Mahapragya's poetic writing - Rishabhyan. Its writer is a poet, Shri Jatanlalji Rampuria. Shri Govindlalji Sarogi forwarded the book to me while I was writing the introduction of this book. Superiority of this book is reflected in its language, style and subject matter. Its cover page is also attractive and enticing. Here, it is worth mentioning that aNational seminar has been conducted on Mahapragya's Sanskrit literature, under the direction of Dr. Hari Shanker Pandey. A research work has also been published. Now, in 2005,1 am presenting this book titled: 'Jain Studies and Science: Context - Acharya Mahapragya's Literature' and readers can evaluate the worth of my sincere endeavour.

Though I could not write in the literary style but my attitude of a scientist reflects persistently throughout my book. However, I own all the responsibilities for its shortcomings, if any. I am glad that this writing gave me a privilege to read the elaborate literature of Mahapragya, who is a great thinker of this era. While writing, the new scientific facts have also been incorporated.

Selection of Representative Literature

In the present book, various subjects of representative literature have been selected and divided into six sections. Prior to these sections, a common introductory chapter on Jain Studies and Science has been included.

The sections are titled as follows:

  1. New Thoughts
  2. Theory of Mattereals and Jain Philosophy
  3. Agam and Science
  4. Jain Mathematics and Karmavad
  5. Preksha Meditation and Therapy
  6. Spiritual-Scientific personality
  • The first section contains the novel theories which have emerged in his entire literature. It is titled as 'New Thoughts'.
  • Mahapragya's first and the most famous book on Jain philosophy titled: "Jain Darshan: Manan and Mimansa, has given the analysis of six 'substances" which are scientifically placed in the second section. This section also contains the scientific aspects of Anekant. It has been aptly titled as 'Theory of Mattereals and Jain Philosophy'
  • In the third section, chapters representing Jain Aagamic literature e.g. Acharanga, Sthananga and Bhagwati are discussed, where Mahapragya has related Jain philosophical concepts with science and mathematics. It is titled as 'Agam and Science'.
  • In the fourth section, a thought on 'Jain Mathematics and Karmvad' is presented. These discussions help understand the complex issue of a soul's blueprint travelling through the chain of births and re-births.
  • In the fifth section, the contemporary and novel literature of universal importance has been placed. It is titled as 'Preksha Meditation and Therapy'. It is related to the science of living, medical sciences and Preksha Meditation.
    The sixth section comprises of the views and talks of Mahapragya and Dr. Kalam. Their conversation on spirituality and science is presented therein. Therefore, it's titled as 'Spiritual - Scientific Personality'.


While the pages of this book are read, it would be clearly evident to the reader that such religious gurus, who find solutions for the traditionally complicated problems, are exceptional and their incarnation takes place only once in thousands of years. Mahapragya could untangle various vexed issues due to his unrelenting scientific attitude and flexible approach.

Acknowledgements

Discharging my duty as an author, I extend my heartfelt thanks to all those without whose help the publication of this work would not have been possible. First and foremost, I'm grateful to Reverend Mahapragya, who is a living encyclopaedia of Jain Studies in modern times, to have blessed this book. I am grateful to Hon'ble Sadhvi Rajimati who read the entire manuscript and also wrote its epilogue. Sadhviji is an expert yoga-practitioner in addition to being a scholar in Jain Agam. I'm thankful to Samni Mangalpragya, who, in spite of her busy schedule wrote the Vice-Chancellor's note from her desk. I feel indebted to them for it. In the section 'Preksha Meditation and Therapy', Dr. Arvind Jain, Medical College, Jodhpur has significantly contributed. Dr. Jain has conducted medical experiments on Preksha Meditation at his own level and the findings of these experiments have found a place in this book. Human anatomy in accordance with the medical science could be described with his active support. To give clarity to modern principles of physics, many brainstorming discussions were held with Mr. Piyush Jain, Ahmedabad. Who has translated the Hindi Edition of this book. As a result of this, the readers will find new thoughts in the chapter of matter, universe, gati etc. where many subjects are dealt in tune with modern physics.

It would be dereliction of my responsibilities, if I do not express gratitude to my wife Mrs. Gulab Gelra, who has continuously been supportive during the project and with perfect expertise she undertook the proofreading of the manuscript.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank the present Vice-Chancellor of Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Samani Mangalpragya and Registrar, Dr. J. P. Bhattacharya. It's my humble duty to thank Shri R.L. Parakh, Churu (Rajasthan) with whose financial assistance, this book in English has been published.

5-Cha-20,
Jawahar Nagar,
Jaipur (Raj.).

Prof. Dr. M.R. Gelra
Founder Vice-Chancellor
Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun

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  • ISBN: 13 - 978 - 81 - 89667 - 00 - 9
  • Publisher:
    Jain Vishva Bharati Institute,
    Ladnun
  • Financial Assistance:
    Sh. R. L. Parakh, Churu (Raj.)
    In memory of Late Grand Mother Smt. Sunder Devi and Mother Smt. Laxmi Devi
  • Edited and Translatated by:
    Piyush Jain, Ahmedabad
  • © Author:
    Prof. Dr. Mahavir Raj Gelra Jaipur.
  • First Edition: 2007
  • Price: Rs. 400/-
    For Foreign Countries $ 15
  • Printers:
    Sheetal Offset Printers, Jaipur

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