The Enigma Of The Universe ► Forword

Posted: 01.08.2014

Foreword (to Hindi Version)

Knowledge is a priori necessity for action, and that is why the whole of our pragmatic life is based on diversified partial knowledge. Be one a sculptor or a businessman, a king or a soldier, everyone is in search of the knowledge necessary for one's career. Such partial pragmatic knowledge becomes more precise and systematic as it undergoes development. A curious and rational mind searches for an essential coherency - a fundamental link in this system. As a result of this search, even the partial and one-sided knowledge takes the form of a discipline, propounding the abstract elements by gradually being interconnected through logical aphorisms. This is termed as science. Even in spite of intending to explain the abstract elements in their entirety, one end of science is tucked with the pragmatic aspect. The ultimate criterion of the scientific concepts and theories is their pragmatic utility and purpose-fulness. On account of this quality only, the science is able to spread and get propagated more and more, and its amazing capacity to make progress continuously while remaining free from the mere verbal jugglery. The pragmatic aspect of life revolves around hapiness and suffering. The ultimate utility of science also lies in helping man to attain happiness and avoid suffering. With the help of science, man gets various types of materialistic means through which he becomes competent to get rid of his greatly painful experiences and obtain pleasures. But man can not attain his ultimate aim - the summum bonum - through science. Basically, the human being is a soul, which tends to return to its original nature, for the soul can not experience perfect bliss even in heavenly pleasures. If the human being would have been only the possessor of 'body' and his life would have been only the activity in the field of matter (prakṛti), then probably science would have been the ultimate and highest branch of learning, but the soul is incessantly writhing in worldly bondage and always tries to find out a way out to free itself from this bondage. No emancipation is possible without self-knowledge (or self-realisation); therefore, man as a worldly being takes assistance of the science of physical knowledge, but as a seeker of beatitude, he looks for the light of the philosophy of spiritual knowledge. This, in fact, is the inherent relation of philosophy and science. Science is extrovert, philosophy is self-inclined. Science provides the means to Bring out changes in the objective world, philosophy the insight which can ultimately make the mind (soul) attain liberation.

Thus, even though there is fundamental difference in science and philosophy, they have remained closely related in their traditional forms. The curiosity to know the entire universe is a common concern of both. In ancient times, the cosmology had remained a regular feature of philosophical endeavors. From this very characteristic of philosophy, the scientific thought that ensued later derived its inspiration. For a long time, the science was called the philosophy of nature. Newton christened his famous work as "The Mathematical Principle of Natural Philosophy". In the west, in modern times, as the science went on developing itself, the philosophy merely considered itself a follower of science in matters of world of nature. Nowadays, many a philosophers assert that philosophy is not at all concerned with the real or objective truths; according to them, the main subject of philosophy is to reflect on knowledge or values. On the other hand, various hypotheses on the nature of the universe have been presented in the scientific field, and they cannot be considered as unrelated with the philosophical considerations. As a result of this situation, a sort of complication has been created. It seems definite that pure philosophers can not determine the nature of the universe without the help of science. On the other hand, pure scientists also can not give a systematic and consistent form to their ultimate theories of universe. A new advanced harmony is urgently needed today to unite science and philosophy, but there are only a few persons who are able to undertake such task.

Muni Mahendra Kumarji holds a distinguished place of honour amongst such scholar-gems. On one hand he has made a deep study of modern science, and on other hand he is an expert of philosophy. He has the same expertise in both the Jain doctrine of syādvāda and the Einsteinian theory of relativity. His Hindi version of the present work stands altogether unique in this field. While presenting the critical discussion of the present-day scientific theories and their philosophical interpretations, the author has elucidated vividly and wonderfully the doctrines of the Jain philosophy regarding the cosmos. His scientific and mathematical genius is as sharp as his philosophical insight. For example, he has explicitly shown that finiteness of universe is possible only in infinity of space. In the same way, he has supported the view that it would be logically consistent to believe that the space, the media of motion and rest, and the pudgala (physical order of existence) are all independently existing substances (realities). Again, although space and time become related with each other in the four-dimensional continuum in context of the description of events, yet they are not one or basically identical. (They have their own independent existence). Moreover, in exposition of the Jain cosmological doctrines, the learned Muni has put forth such interpretation which would indeed make the scientists change their general beliefs about the ancient age. This work of the Muni will definitely occupy a distinguished place in the history of Jain sciences.

I hope that the author would go on enriching the world of scholarship by many more such works in future.

Head of Deptt. of History                
Rajasthan University Jaipur

Govind Chandra Pande

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