Jaina Perceptive to Bio – Medical Ethical Issues with Special Reference to Organ Donation and Transplantation

January, 2021 by Parul Sanghavi


We live in the era of science and technology. The growth of scientific knowledge and technology has given new dimensions to our lives and influenced each of its areas. Science has rendered great services to humanity by providing pleasant life services and has saved the human race from many miseries and uncertainties of the primitive past. He has also destroyed many superstitions and religious dogmas. However, at the same time, he has also uprooted the moral, religious and cultural values ​​of our society. This growth and this perspective of scientific knowledge have abandoned most of our values and traditional religious beliefs. We know a lot about the atom, but not enough about the moral values ​​necessary for a life full of meaning. Our life is full of emotions, emotional turmoil, and conflicting moral values. It seems that we live in a state of chaos. We live not only in the age of science, but also in the age of anxiety and mental tension. What we need today is peace of mind. Complete integration into our personality and integration into the social environment.

Science creates a problem of annihilation of values but offers the comfort of living better. The Organ transplant is a blessing. However, this poses many ethical problems. There seems to be a contradiction between organ transplantation and the basic teachings and perceptions of religions. There are many examples of positive attitudes toward tissue and organ transplantation in religions. Together, cultural and religious perspectives play an important role in forming beliefs about organ donation. When considering differences in this respect, health professionals can respond appropriately. In addition, the opportunity to consult a religious leader about organ donation can help struggling families make the best decision.

This article highlights the faith of man in science and technology as a solution to all his problems. “But this tremendous faith is lost and is astonished to see that science and technology punctuate the “modern world”, terribly sick by the problems of suicide, euthanasia, abortion, clinical trials on human beings, loss of values, organ donation and transplants, etc.” stresses the need for introspection on the above issues and stresses the importance of lost values ​​in the modern world. An organ transplant is another problem that, moreover, is considered favorably, but still needs to be addressed with some related problems.

Bioethics has been used over the last twenty years to describe the research and study of how decisions made in medicine and science affect our health, our passions, our society, and the environment. Bioethics concerns issues related to fundamental human values ​​such as the right to life and health, the good or bad of certain developments in health care institutions, life technologies, medicine and health professions as well as the responsibility of society for the health and health of its members. Bioethics deals with issues related to the beginning and end of life, issues related to in vitro fertilization and abortion to euthanasia and palliative care. It has an impact on all levels of the human community, from the local nursing home to major international conferences on topics such as the human genome. Bioethics is a branch of “applied ethics” that requires the experience of people working in a wide range of disciplines including law, economy, politics, psychology, philosophy, theology, medicine, science and nursing social sciences etc. It is a difficult ethical issue for everyone: families, hospitals, governments, and civilization.

What is organ transplantation?

An organ transplant is a surgical operation in which a defective or damaged organ is removed from the human body and replaced with a new one. An organ is a mass of specialized cells and tissues that work together to play a role in the body. The heart is an example of an organ. It consists of tissues and cells that work together to perform the function of pumping blood into the human body. Any part of the body that performs a specialized function is an organ. Therefore, the eyes are organs because their specialized function is to see, the skin is an organ because its function is to protect and regulate the body, and the liver is an organ that acts to eliminate waste from the blood. A graft is similar to a transplant. It is the process of extracting a tissue from one part of a person’s body (or the body of another person) and surgically re-implanting it to replace or compensate for damaged tissue. Grafting is different from transplantation because it does not eliminate or replace a complete organ, but only a part. Not all organs are transplanted. The term “organ transplant” generally refers to solid organ transplants: heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas and intestines. Animal and artificial organs can also serve as transplantable organs. Other types of transplants that are less invasive or may require specialized procedures include Pancreas, Intestines

Other organs: Eyes, Ear & Nose, Skin, Bladder, Nerves, Brain and Spinal cord, Skeleton, Gall bladder, Stomach, Mouth & Tongue, Muscles

What is organ donation?

Organ donation is about giving an organ to help a person who needs a transplant. Transplants can save or greatly improve the lives of others. Nevertheless, it depends on the donors and their families who agree to donate their organs.

The transplant process

When a person becomes ill because of the failure of one of their organs or a damaged organ following an accident or illness, the doctor first checks whether the person is eligible for a transplant. If this is the case, the doctor returns the individual to a local transplant center. The transplant center assesses the health and mental state of the patient, as well as the level of social support to see if the person is a viable candidate for an organ transplant. If the patient is a transplant candidate, a donor organ must be found. There are two sources of donor organs. The first source of organs takes them from recently deceased people. These organs are called cadaverous organs. A person becomes a cadaveric organ donor, indicating that he wishes to be an organ donor after his death. This decision can be expressed in a driving license or a health care directive. In some states, when a person dies and has not indicated their preferences for organ donation, the family is asked if they would be willing to donate organs from their loved ones. Some state hospitals have policies that require the consent of the family for organ removal, regardless of whether or not organ donation wishes are taken into account. As a result, many organ donation advocacy organizations encourage people to discuss their organ donation preferences with their families to make sure their wishes are known and realized.

How does the Jain perspective affect organ and tissue donation?

Jainism influences in many ways the perception of organ donation. One aspect to consider is the practice of dana (laukika-dāna). This act of selfless giving is important when you choose to save a person’s life by donating organs and tissues. Most Jainists believe that when the soul is gone at the moment of death, the body separates from its earthly purpose. The soul and the physical body are two distinct entities and only the soul is eternal. Therefore, we should not be possessive of our physical body. The given organ is no longer related to the soul of the donor and is separated from the rest of the body.

According to the first principles of Jaina’s ontology, a corpse is worthless and can be removed according to the wishes of family members. Jainism does not discriminate against anyone because of their race, color, class or religion. In Jainism, compassion and charity are considered two great virtues. Organ donation was largely supported by Jain community leaders and monks. In addition, Jains believes in the concept of “Live and Let Live”. The Jains believe that Karma decides in which direction the soul will go in the next life. In addition, the soul and the body are two distinct entities, organ donation not affecting the soul in the next life.

The organ shortage

The main ethical dilemmas surrounding organ transplantation come from the shortage of available organs. Not everyone, who needs an organ transplant, gets it and in fact, the balance leans a lot in the opposite direction. The number of organs donated has remained relatively constant in recent years, while the number of people needing organs continues to increase. Many explanations are offered to explain the length of the list, such as the number of new medical technological advances and the aging of the population. One of the possible explanations for maintaining the static number of donated bodies is related to the increasing effectiveness of seat belt campaigns and the use of airbags. In the past, car accident victims have been an excellent source of healthy cadaveric organs. With a static or decreasing number of deaths from car accidents, sources of healthy human organs for transplants are also decreasing. Proponents of equal access distribution say, “Everyone should have the same access to organs, because everyone could benefit from the system.”

Body Donation

Voluntary Body Donation is a program in which people in general may wish their body to be used for medical education and scientific research. The 1949 Anatomy Act – “An Act to provide for the supply of unclaimed bodies of deceased persons (or donated bodies or any part thereof of deceased persons) to hospitals and medical and teaching institutions for the purpose of anatomical examination and dissection and other similar purposes ’’ governs body donation.

Useful to understand the human body and to progress in science.

  • It helps medical students learn the relationships between human anatomical structures and the development of psychomotor skills through dissection.
  • Each cadaver is a new source of knowledge with variations, better source of medical knowledge, more than any manual or computer.
  • Help surgeons and others experiment with innovative surgical techniques and procedures in the form of body labs, workshops, realistic exploration.
  • Mortuary banks (brain, skin, vessels): molecular research and cadaver transplant.
  • Avoid funeral expenses.

Possible solution

Science and technology have created a new world of prosperity, but material gain has been purchased with a spiritual loss that has global consequences not only for human life on this planet, but also for the planet itself. As a result, there seems to be a tendency, often politicized, for people to return to their spiritual roots. Jaina’s ethic is relevant to the research of modern man, because it responds not only to the orientation of the value of the individual, but also to that of society. They find the basis of these values ​​in spirituality as deep as it is open and tolerant. The writings of Jaina show us how to escape material slavery within this world, but the moral path they prescribe leads us through all the paths and paths of this mortal life. Society is never neglected. Human well-being is always taken seriously. It is known that the Tirthankaras that Jaina venerates led a busy social life before reaching salvation. Contemporary Jainists are a flourishing community. Therefore, there is no custom or modern use to which the Jainists should refrain, provided this does not conflict with the ethical principles of the Jain religion.

We turn now to the ethical questions of our time. Leading scholars from different religious traditions have approached these issues with deep understanding, but the problems persist. Therefore, we will try modestly to find a solution to these problems in the light of the principles of Jainism. Its message of good will is for all humanity. The state government has decided to attract religious leaders to encourage organ donation. “The initiative to bring all religions together on one platform is unique in India. When spiritual leaders express their opinions, the message resonates with thousands of people. They are in a unique position to burst the myths of organ donation and get more people to compromise their organs. “Physicians from the ZTCC have organized a series of meetings with religious and spiritual leaders in churches, gurudwaras and Jain temples to inform them about the technical aspects of organ donation. The religious leaders will in turn spread the message in their sermons and pravachans to the masses. This will give great encouragement to people wishing to donate; humanity is a service to God.

Jain priests have always advocated organ donation. “Jainism believes in not hurting or killing any living being, be it a tree or an insect. We propagate donation of kidneys, eyes, liver, skin and other organs if need be to save human life,” said Naypadmasagarji Maharaj Saheb. Thus, Jainism includes good faith, good knowledge, and good behavior. This manifests itself in the absence of possession, absolutism and non-violence. By faith, one discerns the nature of the body and the soul and this consciousness generates an attitude of detachment and not of possession. Good knowledge frees us from absolutism and allows it to see things with a liberal and open mind. The discovery of the unity of all living beings leads to non-violent behavior. The centrality of Ahimsa for Jaina’s ethics makes it truly global; its practitioners are citizens of the world.

Who can be donor?

We can all be organ donors, regardless of age, caste, religion, community, current or past health status. Children can also be organ donors after obtaining parental consent. However, active cancer, active HIV, active infection (e.g., sepsis) or intravenous (IV) injection drug use are contraindications. Patients with hepatitis C can still give organs to a patient with hepatitis C. The same goes for hepatitis B, but this happens very rarely. Most cancer patients can give corneas.

How does Organ Donation help patients with organ failure?

For organ recipients, a transplant often means a second chance in life. Vital organs such as the heart, pancreas, liver, kidneys and lungs can be transplanted to those whose organs are failing. This allows many recipients to return to a normal lifestyle. For others, a corneal or tissue transplant means the ability to see or recover mobility and the absence of pain.

What is the importance of a donor registry?

A registry is an essential element in understanding who and where potential donors are. A registry provides the planner with sufficient information to design strategies to enhance public cooperation and engagement in organ donation. Having an established record allows doctors and transplant coordinators to check if a person with a brain dead wants to donate. It then becomes easier to contact the family to obtain their consent. This saves crucial time in the organ donation process. At present, we do not have a central registry in India. Through this initiative, we intend to ensure that the Indian government creates one.

How does organ donation help families of deceased donors to cope with their loss?

Organ donation has the power to comfort bereaved families. It is always difficult to lose a loved one. Many families of affected organ donors are reassured by the fact that their loss can help save or improve the lives of others. Studies to understand how wounds heal have shown that support from family members helps a person to overcome pain. Support from friends and religious and cultural beliefs also helps donor families. Most donor families agreed to donate organs, believing it was the only positive outcome of their loss.

Why Donate?

Every year, thousands of people die waiting for a transplant because they cannot find the right donor. The need for organ donors has never been greater.
In India every year nearly:

  • 500,000 people die due to lack of organ availability.
  • 200,000 people die of liver disease.
  • 50,000 people die of heart disease.
  • 150,000 people expect a kidney transplant, but only 5,000 receive a kidney transplant.
  • 1,000,000 Lakhs suffer from corneal blindness and wait for a transplant.

We understand that it is hard to think about organ donation when you have lost a loved one. However, organ donation is a generous and valuable decision that can save many lives. By donating, each person can save the lives of up to 7 people by donating organs and improving the lives of more than 50 people by donating tissue.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

How to donate

To be an organ donor, it is important to register by signing up for Organ Donation.

Only that science is a great and the best of all sciences, the study of which frees man from all kinds of miseries.

Human Right to Health

Every woman, man, youth, and child have human right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health without discrimination of any kind. Enjoyment of human right to health is vital to all aspects of person’s life and well-being and crucial to realization of many other fundamental rights of freedom.

About Author

Parul Sanghavi


Parul Sanghavi



Adjunct Reader in Jainology, practices, teaches, propagating the religion in impressive, effective, scientific way to follow spiritual path. Provides educational & philosophical counselling to young generation as her area of specialization is in the latest technological world of knowledge, literature & interest in the medical

co-edited by Virati J. Visariya.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tushar H Sanghavi
Tushar H Sanghavi
3 years ago

Congratulations for your first ever artical in international magazine
I hope you will continue to keep Writing such type of articals & share your knowledge

Rajesh Gandhi
Rajesh Gandhi
3 years ago

Excellent article, re established Jainism ‘a scientific credentials, also highlights balance required between IQ and EQ

Chandresh B.Sanghvi
Chandresh B.Sanghvi
3 years ago

Very good article at this critical situation.

Lata jain
3 years ago

Great & thought provoking article

Binal Shah
Binal Shah
3 years ago

Very insightful article!! Gave us lot of knowledge on different arena of organ donations ..

Bina mehta
Bina mehta
3 years ago

Amazing write up, science and technology has made it possible to donate and receive organs from one human being to another and the article inspires for organ donation for well being of human kind, the jain religion perspective is well explained.

Darsh Sanghavi
Darsh Sanghavi
3 years ago

Person who are spiritual may utilise their beliefs in coping with illness, pain and life stresses.Those who are spiritual tend to have a more positive outlook and a better quality of life. Healthy spirituality gives a sense of peace, wholeness and balance among the
physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of our lives. However, for most people the path to such spirituality passes through struggles, sufferings and often includes experiences that are frightening and painful.This article is connected to recognising human limitations and supports critical ethical and behavioural guidelines for the practice of organ donation and transplantation with heightened meaning in these stressful times.

Devang Shah
Devang Shah
3 years ago

Quite motivational article!!

Dr. Niketa Shukla
Dr. Niketa Shukla
3 years ago

Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2021 10:07:54 AM
To: ptsanghavi@gmail.com
Subject: Jain Avenue January article 2021

Life after death is a strong belief of Hindus and is an ongoing process of rebirth. This could be seen as reflecting positively on the concept of organ donation and transplantation. No Law prohibits organ donation.

It is very nice to read your views on Jaina perceptive with medical ethical issues.

In UK also we have JHOD i.e. Tha Jain and Hindu Organ Donation since 2018. It is ethically possible within a tention between individual personality in full integrity and the human community of which each member, social by nature, is an organic part.

Major ethical issue : living related donors focus on the possibility of undue influence and emotional pressure and coercion. By contrast, the living unrelated donor lacks genetic ties to the recipient.

Very good article by you and your team. Keep it up.

Dr. Niketa ShUkla

Praful Sanghavi
Praful Sanghavi
3 years ago


Siddhi Talati
Siddhi Talati
3 years ago

In the year 1985 my parents decided to donate their body after death and accordingly they created a separate will. Later they signed an agreement with the V.S. hospital in Ahmedabad so the hospital can accept the body. So 2010 and 2014 respectively when they both had cardiac arrest and system was breaking down we did not insist for life support or keeping them on ventilator for more time. Instead, immediately inform the hospital and remove the temporary life support before the hospital took the body. Following their footsteps, being in the USA, I and my husband has registered as organ donor and are in the process of signing agreement with the local hospital and funeral home.

Akshita Sanghvi
Akshita Sanghvi
3 years ago

Congratulations on your excellent article on Organ donation in perspective of Jainism. You have reached to depth of Jainism Principles and beliefs in respect of Organ donation. Kudos. Keep it up for more such Articles.

Pravinchandra H Shah
Pravinchandra H Shah
3 years ago

MO 9870079608