Science In Jainism: [00.01] Blessings - Foreword - Preface

Published: 18.01.2007
Updated: 06.10.2008

Blessings

The history of investigating truth is very old. Here 'truth* is being used in two senses:

  1. Existence
  2. Principle-universal principle

Both historical and pre-historical metaphysicians endeavoured to investigate truth and they did succeed in their aim. Their research was not laboratory-based. It had two main means:

  1. Ingenuity of the senses
  2. Trans-sensual knowledge

The modern scientist is carrying out researches through laboratories equipped with sophisticated instruments. It should cause no surprise that the laws being investigated by the scientists were investigated by the ancient metaphysicians too. The laws that the latter discovered are being discovered by the former also. Therefore metaphysics, philosophy and science should not be thought as altogether unrelated. They have some commonness too, that is why there is scope for making a comparative study of metaphysics, philosophy and science. Dr. Mahavir Raj Gelra has exploited this scope by making such a study. The present study is a very good example of the unity of the past and the present.
Jain canonical literature contains many universal laws. They have been scantily studied. A few scholars have made some efforts, in this direction, but they are not notable. Dr. Gelra's attempt to fill this void is truly commendable.

Acharya Mahapragya
Chhapar (Rajasthan)


Foreword

Science in Jainism: Perspectives, Issues and Futuristic Trends is both abstruse and empirical given the complexity of philosophy rooted in Jain doctrines. Philosophers and Scientists are constantly grappling with the problem of bridging the chasm between science and religion to unfold the hidden realities of the universe. This is indeed a Herculean task. To put thoughts into written words in a logical and convincing fashion with an accent on intellectual and moral persuasion combined with rigours of research is perhaps a major challenge before us. The author of this volume Dr. Gelra has justified it beyond any shadow of doubt.

On the eve of 26th Birth Centenary celebrations of Lord Mahavira, I deem it befitting to write a few words about the monumental work of Dr. M.R. Gelra who is Emeritus Professor, Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, (Deemed University), Ladnun in Rajasthan. I am struck by his solid scholarship while advancing various perspectives and futuristic trends in the science of Jainism. His deep insights into myriad strands of the Jain Philosophy with his scientific bent of mind will certainly generate productive and creative debate among scholars and intellectuals. This is not a small contribution to the further advancement of the knowledge in Jainism. Dr. Gelra, with his science background, has reinterpreted several dimensions of Jainism, which have not been flashed out so far in the existing literature. His chapter fifth entitled "The concept of eight point centre of universe in Jain Cosmology: a critique" is his a major contribution. Hopefully, it will open new avenues for researchers to reinvent or unfold the mysteries of the cosmological order within the parameters of Jain Mathematics. Also I am proud of Dr. Gelra's contribution to Anekantvad, which he has examined in a holistic perspective, while offering innovative approach to deal with it in the fast changing social, cultural, political and psychological milieu.
I am hopeful Prof. Gelra will not stop his pen in mapping out the unchained field of Jain Philosophy.

Upadhaya Maniprabh Sugar


Preface

Mahavira's teachings on non-violence are well known. There are a considerable number of books on Jain thought and culture. There are not many books available on Jainism and science and research in the field of science is advancing continually. Philosophical schools having relevant of scientific thought in their literature should review their concepts and doctrines in the light of modern science. During recent years some of the theoretical physicists have made a valuable contribution to the field of Cosmology. I was tempted to give shape to this book after reading 'A brief history of time' by Stephen Hawking. I felt that various concepts of the Jains could be understood now in a better and logical way in the scientific context.I have tried to give readers different aspects of Jainism, which may provide a critical perspective, and a three-fold relevance for present day scientific thought under the following heads:

  1. The Philosophy of Nature.
  2. The Philosophy of Science.
  3. The Sociology of Science

The chapters on 'Anekant' and 'Sellakhana' are representative of the philosophy and religion of the Jains. The chapters on the 'Eight point centre of Universe' and the "Universal space' are based on Jain Cosmology. The Jain Agamic literature is so vast and archaic that any final judgement on the concepts contained in it is difficult. The same is the case with modern science where new researches provide with new inferences. However, it is my sincere hope that this book will help the general reader to know about the relevance of science in Jainism.

I acknowledge my gratitude to Acharyashri Mahapragyaji, the fountain of Jain scholarship at the present period who has been kind enough to write a few words of blessing. I pay my respects to Upadhyaya Shri Maniprabhsagarji who has done me a favour by writing the foreword of this book, I am extremely grateful to professor R.P. Bhatnagar who has checked the language edited of the text and I shall fail in my duty if I do not acknowledge my wife Mrs. Gulab Gelra for the constant inspiration. For inaccuracies or misinterpretation of any part of the text, the responsibility is fully mine.
I am sincerely thankful to the Vice-chancellor, Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun for publishing this book.

Dr. M.R. Gelra
Professor Emeritus
Jain Vishva Bharati Institute
Ladnun

Sources

  • Science In Jainism by Dr. M.R. Gelra ©
  • Edition 2002
  • Published by Jain Vishva Bharati

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Mahapragya
  3. Anekantvad
  4. Chhapar
  5. Dr. M.R. Gelra
  6. Jain Cosmology
  7. Jain Mathematics
  8. Jain Philosophy
  9. Jain Vishva Bharati
  10. Jain Vishva Bharati Institute
  11. Jainism
  12. Ladnun
  13. Mahapragya
  14. Mahavir
  15. Mahavir Raj Gelra
  16. Mahavira
  17. Maniprabh
  18. Non-violence
  19. R.P. Bhatnagar
  20. Rajasthan
  21. Science
  22. Science In Jainism
  23. Upadhyaya
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