In month of August 2022, Applied Jainism collaborated with Professor Shri Narendra Bhandari, a space scientist who has worked with ISRO and NASA and is also the founder of Jain Academy of Scholars and Science and Spirituality Research Institute, Ahmedabad.
We have acquired much knowledge about our universe over the past five centuries using the scientific methodology of observation, experimentation and logic and applied it for betterment of our day-to-day life. It has made our lives comfortable, healthy, increased longevity and improved awareness of nature but still some doubt persists whether scientific knowledge is true knowledge or can it lead us to complete knowledge (purna gyan) acquired through meditation as enunciated by the Omniscients.
There are three distinct approaches to find Truth: Science , Philosophy and Darshan.
Science progresses by observing nature, collecting data, systematising it, constructing a theory based on logic, verifying it experimentally, and if falsified, go back to collecting more data and following the same loop, till it can not be falsified. Philosophy is observing nature, followed by mental deductions and constructing a theory; Darshan is what omniscients see during meditation, first purify the body so that there are no physical perversions by penances and self control and then purify the mind (attain an emotion-less, attachment-free state) so that thoughts are not tainted by personal interest and then purify the soul.
|• Science is systematized knowledge about everything in universe.
• Science builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
• Major Branches of Science:-
|Philosophy’s literal meaning is “love of wisdom”. It centers on the intellectual exercise concerned with the nature of reality from human perspective.
It is about making an enquiry into the issues emerging in human life.
(e.g., issues concerned with social, political, moral, religious,
racial, cultural, linguistic and economic spheres, etc.)
|Scientists don’t need to know philosophy.||Philosophies are mental constructs and, to be correct, must be anchored in science.|
|Science is self-sufficient system. Science is objective in nature.||Darshan, what the omniscient (Seers) see, is different from philosophy. It is subjective as well as objective.|
|Science is progresses out of observations, data, experiments, and theories||Philosophy is born out of thinking.|
| Science only tells how things work ? So, the scope is limited.
(e.g., How a car works ? How the universe works ?)
|In addition to how, they also try to explain “Why? ”|
The scope and methodology in the context of knowledge acquisition through Science and Jain Darshan can be summarised as mentioned in table below.
|Science is objective, reproducible, irrespective of observer||Jainism is objective as well as subjective; depends on the observer|
Based on observations, Data to information to knowledge, to hypothesis to experimentation, to modeling/theorizing, Falsification, modification
· Purify the body
· Purify the mind
· Purify the soul
To understand the scope of scientific methodology we compare some basic laws/concepts formulated by scientific approach with those given in scriptures as mentioned in table below.
|Parasparopagraho Jivanam||Coexistence, Entanglement, Mach’s Principle|
|Eternal nature of dravyas||Law of conservation|
|Krambaddha paryaya||Determinism (as in classical mechanics)|
|Purushartha-Free will||Probabilistic (as in quantum mechanics)|
|Nayavad||Complementarity or particle wave duality|
|Syadvad||Limits of knowledge|
|Saptabhangi: avyaktavyata||Indescribability (Quantum mechanics)|
Jain scriptures contain many concepts, facts and figures related to physics, biology and mathematics, which have been rediscovered by western scientists recently in the last few centuries. Titius Bode law of planetary distances, Tamaskaya (Bok Globules) and Krishnaraji (Black holes), climatic cycles and their duration (aara) are clearly stated in Jain astronomical texts, to quote a few examples. Besides, many concepts of macro world (badar) and microworld (sukshma), like Planck’s length (pradesha), Planck time (Kalanu) are similar in concept. Thus, we come to the conclusion that there is much similarity between scientific knowledge and scriptural knowledge.
Science can possibly be incomplete, but it cannot be wrong because it is based on observations. Even so, we cannot be certain that scientific knowledge can lead us to complete knowledge (purna gyan), and there are, of course, differences between scientific knowledge and keval gyan, because science is objective and logic based where as keval gyan also includes experiential knowledge, knowledge of the self and is both objective as well as subjective. At Jain Academy of scholars, we have constructed a Jain theory of matter and shrishtivad based on Jain texts etc. which are consistent with modern scientific concepts. An entropy-based definition of life proposed by us recently shows that fluids, gases and solids, and ionic conglomerates and electricity can be considered as alive as stated in Jain scriptures.
Science has so far only investigated material universe, but it does not seem to have limitation of subject matter, as long as the knowledge can be systematised and logically understood. New logics can be discovered which are applicable to different regimes like classical mechanics is in gross universe, quantum mechanics as in micro-sub-atomic world and new and even more subtle physics may be required for sub quantum regime and spiritual regime.
In Jain philosophy, science is considered as a kind of shrut gyan which is considered as important as keval gyan. The knowledge of outer world is as important as knowledge of the inner world, and one leads to the other.
In view of the above, we argue that all knowledge must be anchored in science otherwise it becomes blind faith, and we never know whether it is right or wrong. Take the case of the moon. According to the Jain scriptures, humans cannot go to the moon, but we have been there starting with Apollo and Chandrayaan missions. Many statements related to astronomy (two suns, two moons, etc.) and geography (static, flat earth) are not consistent with observations and therefore, in order to arrive at the truth, it is necessary to put all knowledge on scientific foundation. May not all the way to omniscience, but science can certainly lead us in that direction and help us in establishing truth and get rid of false knowledge (mithyatva).
Vishal M. Mehta is an engineer by qualification, entrepreneur by profession and pursuing Diploma course in Jainlogy from Mumbai University. He is a co-founder of a research based social sector start-up and a think-tank organisation working on environmental sustainability through ‘techno-social intervention’ for mining ‘social currency’ (alternate / complementary currency) to address India’s obligation towards United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals-2030.