Abstract Thinking: [21.10] - Anupreksha Of Synthesis - Greatness Of The Doctrine Of Relativity

Published: 14.05.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

The word, 'perhaps' is indicative of relativity. Without it, truth cannot be known, nor described. This truth was revealed 2,500 years ago but our philosophers failed to grasp it. We must acclaim the modern scientist for conclusively establishing that there can be no expounding of truth without relativity. He got hold of this truth so acutely that the whole of science today is following the theory of relativity.

All the beliefs and concepts of science before the development of the theory of relativity are being proved false today. The doctrine of anekanta is being freely applied today in the fields of Material Science, Mathematics and Statistics. The concept of relativity is being freely employed. It is an important tenet of modern science that without relativity, no element can be adequately described. When the great scientist Einstein put forward the theory that time and space are relative, it caused a commotion in the scientific world. Many scientists rejected it. They could not understand how time and space could be relative. But gradually, relativity became intelligible and established. Today, the theory of the relativity of space and time has become universally acceptable. We interpret a particular event on the basis of time and space, but we forget that time and space are relative. It was a scientist who talked about the relativity of space and time, not any Jains believing in anekanta and syadvada. In fact the Jains did not accomplish any important work in this direction. How wonderful it would have been if some Jain philosopher believing in anekanta had set forth what Einstein said. Were all these concepts, the idea of relativity, not clear to them? All the assumptions and ideas were clear, but no one thought of enunciating them in the context of the present. Do the Jains believe in absolute time? Not at all. For them, time is wholly relative.

We have divided time into three parts - the past, the future and the present. Why have we done so? Because time is indivisible, a continuous stream. Time right now never lies in the past. Modern scientists are engaged in experimentation with a view to showing to the present-day man some great teacher born 2 thousand or 5 thousand years ago, like Mahavira, Buddha or Krishna, etc. delivering his message in person, Can it be done? To an ordinary person, it seems impossible, because those who are dead and gone, whose material bodies have been cremated-how is it possible to show them as living? They have become a thing of the past. How can the past be recreated in the form of the present? For me and you it may be a thing of the past but for a scientist believing in the relativity of time and space, it is not.

All is relative - the big and the small. 'Light' and 'heavy', too, are relative, terms. Within the sphere of the earth’s gravitational pull, things are 'heavy', and 'light'. But beyond that sphere nothing is 'light' or 'heavy'. 'Smooth', 'soft' and 'hard' - all three are relative. What is smooth? What is soft? What is hard? All are relative. All are conjunctive. All our actions are relative. When we disown the word, 'perhaps' when we ignore the relativity of things, it creates a big problem. We are told that the life-span of the gods extends to crores of years. It appears to be an astounding statement. But there is nothing very strange about it. Let us not be oblivious of relativity. In the space beyond the range of earth's gravitation, the frontiers of time stand dissolved. The measure of a thousand years on earth falls short of a second in timeless space. In Jaina Agamas, there is told the story of man who, on his death, ascended to heaven. He had a sudden urge to go back to the world of human beings and to meet the members of his family, his teachers and friends. He got ready to go. The gods asked him, "Where are you going?" He said, "I am going to the earth, to meet my dear ones." The gods said, "You've just arrived! Stay for a minute or two. Relish the enchantments of heaven before you go." The man stayed there for a moment. Then he descended to the earth. He sought his mother, father, brother, sister and friends, but all in vain. He made queries but none could offer him any clue. A million years had elapsed. Thousands of generations had passed into oblivion. He thought he had stayed in heaven but for a moment. But there on earth lakhs and lakhs of years had passed.

  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Agamas
  2. Anekanta
  3. Buddha
  4. Einstein
  5. JAINA
  6. Jaina
  7. Krishna
  8. Mahavira
  9. Science
  10. Space
  11. Syadvada
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