Jainism: The Eternal and Universal Path for Enlightenment: 01.1 Universality of Jainism

Published: 19.09.2011
Updated: 22.09.2011

Fossil record on Earth,
Nature’s chosen path,
Universality of Law,
Self, Foundations of Jainism.

Universality of Jainism

Life is made up of a sequence of situations and we continuously move from one situation to another, sometimes struggling and sometimes getting the desired outcome. In this process we quickly realise that this struggle has taken up all our life. At the end it appears that the life has been wasted in trivialities. In the ultimate analysis, as far as the physical assets are concerned, life is a zero sum game. One is born with no assets and upon death, leaves all of them behind. The net outcome would not have been different irrespective of the way we chose to lead our life. This can hardly be the purpose of life. This, however, is not true of the conscious assets. One is born with his sanchit karmas and, upon death, carries with him the arjit karmas. As we will discuss in this chapter, in the scheme of nature, it can be shown that life on earth exists for a specific purpose. Any "religion" is expected to guide us to understand this purpose and help us realise it.

Every age has its specific problems and a "true religion" is expected to show the path to resolve these problems at all times, in all domains and in all possible situations. In this respect a religion has an eternal role. Problems of conflict at all levels (personal, societal, and national), consumerism, terrorism, impact of the life style on environment, to cite a few, are the hallmarks of current era and mental peace or satisfaction is hard to achieve, as many will admit. Much of these conflicts have arisen because science and technology is progressing at such a fast pace, much faster than the human mind can adapt to, and the mental, philosophical and spiritual faculties are not able to cope up with the physical changes thrust upon us. In this era of competitive development of different faculties there is no time to think what is right and what is wrong. Once there is a scientific discovery, technical progress can proceed with a rapid pace and can take control of our lives. It takes the mind significant time to comprehend, philosophise transform and understand its implications. Failure of all religions to cope up with the progress of science is resulting in loss of their relevance in day to day life. To make philosophy and religion relevant to modern way of life requires that it be reinterpreted in modern, scientific language to meet the contemporary challenges. When contradiction is found between science and religion, the tendency is to choose the former, because it has made itself relevant to our daily needs. Science has made tremendous progress in the past 400 years and cannot be ignored. Rather it should be synthesized and integrated with religion to make the philosophy more wholesome and comprehensive. Instead the puritans stick to the age old interpretations and follow them even if they cannot be applied to day to day problems and appear irrelevant. This probably is the reason why people, even those who sincerely follow their religion, end up with gradual erosion of their conviction.

In an absolute sense, there is no measure or absolute criteria for right and wrong. What is right today in a given situation can be wrong tomorrow in another situation and what is nectar (amrut) for one can be poison for another. In this ambiguous situation it is difficult to decide the correct path, except that we must realize that we are the products of nature and the Mother Nature is all powerful and is always right. We must therefore take clues from nature.

Scientific studies show that over the 14000 million years since the Universe formed from a great explosion, the "Big Bang" and 4500 million years since the Earth came into existence, jiva and ajiva, both have evolved in a certain direction. It seems that the Mother Nature is proceeding with a goal, a goal of development of consciousness. on Earth. We should therefore first determine the direction in which the nature is going and then decide the direction in which we should proceed, that is, with it or against it; help nature in achieving its goal faster or choose our path without caring about it. We seem to have a choice. We take the help of science or guidance from nature to find and define the "path" the Earth has taken and then we can exercise this choice. Such an approach would not be subjective, nor would it be wrong.

Sources

Jainism - The Eternal and Universal Path for Enlightenment - Narendra Bhandari- jainismbook_final_28-5-2011.pdf

Edited by:
Acharya Vijay Nandi Ghosh Sūri

Published by:
Research Institute of Scientific Secrets from Indian Oriental Scriptures (RISSIOS), Ahmedabad

Online Edition 2011: HN4U

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Ajiva
  2. Consciousness
  3. Consumerism
  4. Environment
  5. Jainism
  6. Jiva
  7. Karmas
  8. Science
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