Jainism and Science

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  • Topic: Jainism, Soul, Science
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  • Published : March 28, 2011
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Submitted To:
Piya Mukherjee
Faculty, SIMSR

Submitted By:
Saurabh Sheth
PGDM-A (Roll no: 53)

To maintain the importance of the concepts, many words used in the article are of ‘Prakrut’ Language. Concept of Jainism
Jainism is the religion professed by the Jains, so called because they follow the path practiced and preached by the Tirthankars or Jinas. It is a religion of soul. This concept or belief is called theism. This self-belief is the most important concept of Jainism. In other words, Jain Philosophy does not give credibility to the theory that the God is a creator, survivor, or destroyer of the cosmos. On the contrary, it asserts that the universe has always existed and will always exist in exact obedience to the laws of the universe. There is nothing but infinity both in the past and in the future. The world of reality or universe consists of two types of objects: * Living beings (Jiva)

* Non-living objects (Ajiva)

Living objects are further classified into four categories:
* Manushya (Soul in Human World)
* Naraki ( Soul in Hell)
* Dev (Soul in Heaven)
* Tirayanch (Soul in Animals, Plant, etc.)
Also, if a soul attains its final goal of Nirvana then the soul is said to be liberated and is said to be eternal, desire-less and not subject to reincarnation.

Non-living objects are further classified into five categories * Pudgal (Matter)
* Akash (Space)
* Dharmastikay (Medium of motion)
* Adharmastikay (Medium of rest)
* Kaal (Time)

Concept of Science
Science is a continuous process. The scientific theories are based on some assumptions. Science attempts to explain the physical world and the phenomena around us, based on experimentation and reasoning. Science doesn’t ask anyone to put ‘faith’ or ‘trust’ in the scientists – because science is for all of us to see from naked eyes and to test and verify.

Are Jainism and Science following the same path?
Jainism and Science are two sides of same coin. The languages are different but both are complimentary to each other. What Science is able to prove has been said by the Tirthankars to believe. The scientific process consists of the following steps:

* Making observations with an open mind without any bias. * Seeking a rational explanation of the observations and building a consistent theory. * Performing further experiments to test and extrapolate the theory. For centuries, science has advanced by way of the scientific process and the state of scientific knowledge is still progressing. A theory is upheld as long as it provides a rational explanation of experimental observations and fits the current structure of scientific knowledge. If any theory proves to be inadequate due to some changes in the state of scientific knowledge or in view of further experimentation, it is discarded and replaced by another theory. There is no room for dogma or preconceived notions in science. The scientific process is similar to the three jewels of Jainism (Ratnatraya). These are rational perception (Samyak Darshan), rational knowledge (Samyak Gyan) and rational conduct (proper lifestyle, Samyak Chaaritra). Rational perception involves observing and studying nature – living and non-living, without any bias or preconceived notion. However, this does not exclude the study of religion, philosophy and science. After careful observation and thought comes rational knowledge. This does not necessarily imply knowing and accepting what is written in the holy books or what is preached by a learned person. The third jewel in the life of a Jain is rational conduct – adopting a proper lifestyle. This leads to the concept of nonviolence in Jainism, which involves living in harmony with fellow beings and with nature. It should be emphasized that rational conduct does not end with such religious activities as worship, prayers, chanting, attending sermons and study of scriptures. On the other hand,...
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