Jain Spiritual and Material Science: Brief Summery

Posted: 11.12.2014
Updated on: 30.07.2015


We present below in brief, the findings of our research on Swetambar and Digambar Jain scriptures conducted during the period 2008- 2013 under the supervision of a quantum physicist. The research team consisted of eminent Jain saints, Ph. D. students, university professors and some followers of the two Jaina sects. The research team evaluated the scientific contents of both Swetamber and Digamber literature without being influenced by their faiths and beliefs.

Our objective was to evaluate Agam Science visa-vies modern science.  Unlike Biblical concept of Genesis (Beginning) and Apocalypse (end), the Jains like modern scientists, believed in Anadi (No beginning) and Anant (No end) form of the universe and life.  They studied the physics and biology of the living and non living species. They discovered the laws which govern the evolution of the universe and our inner self using Sadhanas and ‘Awadhi Gyana’,  which have great resemblance with scientific ‘Thought Experiments’. Today these laws form the foundation of modern cosmology, quantum physics and bio physics.

Our research work published in the form of research papers, articles and books provide unquestionable evidences to prove that the Jain Agamas contain descriptions of law of conservation of mass and energy, quantum nature of matter, biocentrism, biological evolution, quantum atom and laws of chemical combinations as we know them today. Their concepts of Space, Time, Absolute and Relative Truth, Field Unification Theory and even the much hyped God Particle are similar to their modern versions. 

The world recognizes Indians as the history makers in human culture. Our research proves beyond doubt that the Indians were also the history makers in the field of science. The Jain Shramans who followed the path of knowledge to understand the ‘self’ and the ‘universe’ were known as Dhundias or ‘seekers’ of truth and eternal bliss. They never mentioned or discussed God. They only advocated spiritualism which is based on the principles of physics, biology and cosmology. This was a radical move in faith based doctrines of those times. They could make history by providing spiritual dimensions to modern science.

Jain saints were great theoreticians who practiced spiritualism that holds great promise for those who seek spirituality in science, in nature and in self rather than in God and superstition. We do not find conflict in Jainism and science. In today’s terminology, the Jain seekers of yesteryears were in fact scientists who could draw information on Absolute Truth from observations and data collected on Relative Truth. This is similar to Einstein’s imagination of his voyage of the universe by riding a beam of light.    

Some differences are apparent in writings of Jaincharyas of different sects, scholars and sponsored research possibly because of confusion created by mix up of statements made in Vyavahar Naya (variant form) and in Nishchaya Naya (Non Varient form). For example according to Vyavahar Naya, the atom is a particle but according to Nishchaya Naya, it is equivalent to a field element or one Akash Pradesh. Obviously the nature of Karmic Bonds and resultant products will vary according to one’s understanding of Particle binding and Pradesh Binding.  Knowing the nature of Karmic bond is in fact called Samyag Gyana. 

We find that technocrats, engineers and science graduates who helped the Jain scholars in translation and interpretation of Agam Sutras failed to appreciate the duel nature of matter as mentioned above and described vividly in the scriptures. They did not make distinction between the Pradesh and particle form of Parmanu as well as between Astikaya (Continuous) and discrete nature of dravyas. Consequently they missed highly significant contributions made by Jain Shramans in Space Science, Relativity, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Quantum Physics and Bio-science.


Relevance of Jainism to Science and Technology:

Jainism is not a religion that believes in mythical God. It believes and promotes scientific spiritualism. ‘God and Truth are subjects of knowledge and not of faith’ says Bhagwan Mahavir. Jain priests do not ‘sell’ salvation like priests of other religions. They only insist on acquiring knowledge of the self and the universe which opens the gate way for self attempted salvation. It believes that a human being can evolve to omniscience which it calls as state of Moksha or Nirvana

The Jain religion advocates Samyag Gyana (Right Knowledge) of the self and the universe, Samyag Darshan (Right Vision) and Samyag Achar (Right Conduct) as the path of liberation. In modern times, Samyag Gyana or right knowledge of the self and the universe is Science.  Obviously the knowledge of living and nonliving things which was developed by the Jain Tirthankars ought to be similar to that developed by modern scientists over past five centuries or more.

Jain Agamas are the primary source of knowledge preached by Jain Tirthankars. Basic theories of physics, chemistry and biology are scripted in Jain Agamas as natural laws of creation and evolution of the universe and life.The Agamas are difficult to understand because of their old extinct language as well as unconventional style of their verses. The verses known as Sutra or Gatha are like modern ‘Tweets’ which require adequate background knowledge of laws of nature and science, for their correct interpretation.  

We find that   basic concepts and theories of physics, chemistry and biology scripted in Jain Agamas are essentially the same as those proposed by Einstein, Neil Bohr, de Broglie, S. Chandrasekhar and Peter Higgs except for their mathematical contents. One wonders how the Jain ascetics could achieve such high degree of excellence in science without modern facilities. We have reinterpreted the Sutras in light of recent scientific discoveries. We do not find any mismatch with science but we do find some differences with the interpretations made by Jain Scholars belonging to different sects and faiths.

The Sutras/Gathas contain statements made in Vyavahar Naya as well as Nishchaya Naya akin to descriptions of classical phenomena and quantum phenomena. Thus Panchastikaya version of the universe represents 4D as well as quantum nature of the infinite space and the description that the universe consists of six constituents is a physical realty in classical sense.  The astronomers visualize the universe as consisting of galaxies, stars, planets, empty space, celestial junk materials etc. On the other hand for the cosmologists like Mahavir and Einstein, the universe is isotropic and consists of matter (and Energy) which is distributed homogenously. But the astronomers and space technocrats study the space as cluster of billions of galaxies separated by millions of light years.

Jain Scriptures describe space as infinite continuous gravitation field as well as a body made of infinite numbers of ‘Akash Pradesh’ or Field Elements. Even great scientist like Einstein failed to sense universe as a quantum field and cosmologists of twentieth century could alone correct him. In fact, this finding of the modern cosmologists is a great tribute to our saints. Alas! Our invaluable inheritance still remains undervalued and irrelevant to modern times because of arrogance of sectarian saints and their followers.

Jaina school of thoughts consider the universe in the form of Loka and Aloka similar to the version of modern cosmologists like Einstein, Hoyal, Hawkins, Higgs etc. Therefore searching for our earth and other planets in the Madhya Loka, in our view, is a futile exercise. We believe that Madhya Loka represents our galaxy- Milky Way, having Meru Parwat as its axis of rotation and rings of Islands as visible celestial bodies. Research work on this account is still in progress and will be published soon.

According to Jainism all types of living and nonliving substances are confined to the observable universe described in Jain scriptures as Loka.  They are distributed according to their density (Prameytwa) in a shape resembling the body of a human being. The living beings in Jain literatures are classified according to the form of their Kaya or body. We therefore believe that the division of Loka in three parts is not based on the concepts of Hell and Heaven. We believe that Trilokasimply indicates the abodes of Jiva of different body structures.All living beings are souls. God referred as Devata is also a soul which does not have organic body (Audarik Sharira) but has invisible, non physical body (Vaikrik Sharira). Because of this formless light body, God lives above and below the human habitats. The Siddhas do not have physical bodies and forms and therefore their abodes are above those of Gods.

Modern science accepts the Jain concept of Anadi & Anant universe. According to modern cosmology universe has ‘No Beginning and No End’ but it evolved in the present form of billions of galaxies as a result of the matter being thrown out violently in Big Bang about 13.4 billion years ago. The process of evolution is still continuing with old stars dying and new stars taking birth.  Thus the Big Bang is not a creation as commonly assumed but it is a process of expansion of eternal matter into galaxies, stars, planets etc. 

Jainism does not believe in violent Big Bang. It believes that matter in Loka is present uniformly as Astikaya and evolves along a cyclic path into galaxies (dweeps). The modern concept of Quantum Space as Vacuum Vibrations suggests ‘Inflation and Contraction’ of the universe, which is a form of Cyclic Evolution.  For maintaining the density of expanding space matter constant, Hoyal and Narlikar  even made a bizarre suggestion that one particle per meter of space is created out of nothing.  

The second part of the evolution of the universe, involves evolution of Life. Unlike science Jainism believes in eternity of life similar to eternity of matter According to Jainism the soul in the form of Jivastikaya is an eternal component of the universe.  The Jain Agamas describe the eternal soul as Gyata (Knowledge Tank) and Drasta (Observer). The quantum physics also conveys exactly the same message - ‘Existence of an observer is a prerequisite for the existence of the universe’.  Biologists, who failed to find the source of life in the body, are now searching for life in space. The Oparine -Haldane Theory of abiogenetic creation of life on earth is now facing many challenges.

Do we have any proof for the existence of soul as eternal substance? Yes, we do. Soul is knowledge and according to quantum physics, information can’t disappear. A loss of information would imply that the universe itself would disappear. Thus even science indirectly supports existence of soul. Further quantum physics, believes that the universe is a vacuum quantum field and its physical existence is possible only if there is an observer.  Jainism believes that the soul is an observer or Gyata and Drasta.

Jain Tirthankars convey the message of eternity of life and matter through a triplet- Upneiva-Vigneiva-Druveiva. Scientists convey the same message by saying- matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed but conserved in all types of processes of creation.  Unlike the Oparine –Haldane theory of creation of life form non living matter, Jain school of Thoughts believes that nonmaterial Karmic atoms (Phonons) got bonded with eternal Jivastikaya under favorable conditions and produced the Jiva. Nobody knows when did this happen. Therefore Jiva is described in Agamas as Anadi.    

It is obvious from the above discussion that Jain ascetics were highly advanced in scientific knowledge which was assimilated in the form of fourteen Purvas. Unfortunately Purvas have no written records. Very little of Srut Gyanais available as Agamas and other types of scriptures, which need to be interpreted properly and correctly. Our research logically establishes that science could have saved many years and advanced very fast, if the Agamic knowledge was universally available. 


Social Relevance of Jainism to Modern Society:

We live in the age of science, the age of logic and the age of reasons. The feeling that ‘God is dead and the religion is a myth’ is growing fast among the present generation. Recent surveys conducted by social scientists, and media people confirm that 85 % people in Europe and North America  do not believe in religion. But they believe in spirituality. They find their future secure in science and technology.

Therefore there is urgent requirement of blending science with spirituality. We need to teach young people about the scientific evidence for the existence of soul and other dimensions of existence. People are hardlyaware that Bhagwan Mahavir did synthesize science into religion long before science was born in the west. ‘We encounter sufferings because of false apprehension of truth and happiness. Knowledge about the self and the universe reduce our sufferings’, is the philosophy of Jain religion.

Jainism is atheistic spiritualism. It believes in evolution of the universe and evolution of the soul to the level of omniscience. Modern spiritual master Andrews Cohen believes thatevolution is perhaps one of the greatest ideas of modern science. The old oriental theories of Mokhsa are challenged by evolutionary theory of the universe’. Perhaps Andrews Cohen is not aware that Jaina Theory of Mokha is based on the theory of evolution of life to eternity.   Unlike science Jainism believes that we live with body and we can also live without body. We live on the earth with the body but if we desire to live in the space or in the abode of God, we have to get freedom from the earthly genetic code. Jainism is the art of shedding the genetic code - ‘Karma’ for acquiring the status of ‘Universal Observer’ (Gyata+Drasta) that is Moksha.

Jain religion seeks to give a sense of meaning and direction to human existence by providing the understanding of who and what we are.  Our identity as individuals, spouses, members of families, communities and nations, each has its place and value but what the Jain religion emphasizes is our accountability to self. According to Jain doctrine soul is knowledge and knowledge is soul1. All living beings have basic knowledge of their existence and therefore all living beings are souls. However they have different levels of consciousness according to their Karmas which also determines their species {Jati) and subclass (Gotra). We have evolved biologically2 from a one sense organism to five sense human being and we are capable of achieving omniscience or Kewal Gyana by pushing forward the process of evolution, what the Jaina calls as Purusharth and biologists call Epigamic.

The message of Jain religion is ‘be worldly but transcend yourself beyond the worldly sufferings and discontents by cultivating your inner self’. Jainism does not promote blind faith, worship and rituals but insists on acquiring knowledge followed by adoption of austerity, discipline, simplicity, non violence and universal brotherhood in daily life.

The Jains believe that there is only one universe which has to be shared by all living beings starting from a microbe to most advanced human being and God  in a co-operative manner by avoiding violence. The basic Jain principle-Parsparograha Jivanam conveys this message. It emphasizes on restrained possession and maximum happiness. The Jain principle of happiness as an index of national prosperityis now finding wide acceptability among the economists of the world. Our neighboring country Bhutan is using the happiness index GNH (Gross National Happiness) instead of GDP (Gross Domestic Products) for its planned development.

Another most important social instrument is Anekant which promotes pluralistic views and discourages fundamentalism (Ekantwad). Anekant is in fact nature’s law by which mutually opposite forces form symmetry and co-exist in equilibrium. Unfortunately this beautiful law of nature has generally been misunderstood and misrepresented as a compromising formula for resolving disputes.

Anekant is not a conflict resolving formula. Neither Anekant means accepting every statement as truth. Politicians and social workers believe and promote secularism as a solution to avoid conflicts between different religions and faiths. Does this mean secularism and Anekant are synonymous words?  No, Anekant has much broader sense and purpose. Anekant gives respect to all views as representative facts from different angles and different references. They describe Asat or Paryaya and form a data bank, which when analysed using the techniques of Saptbhangi (Correlation) and a reference system of Kshetra (space), Dravya (constituents), Bhav (Modes of existence) and Kaal (Time) filter out Mityhatwa or knowledge obscuring Gyanavarniya Karma.  Even the final solution should not be expressed in definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’  but only as a probability. The language of expression is described in the scriptures as ‘Syadwad’.

 ‘The most important human endeavor is to strive for inner balance and give beauty and dignity to daily life’ is the message of Jain spiritualism.



We believe that time is ripe for presenting Jainism in its true scientific form as described in old scriptures. Jaina science is not applied science but basic theoretical science developed to explain creation of material world and its evolution without any help from mythical God. It is also not an article of faith and rituals but an article for evolving to the highest position of knowledge. ‘I am soul, I am not body’ is not Samyag Gyana but it is an information that can be obtained from books and other sources. This information needs to be converted into knowledge, nay into Samyag Gyana. Some glimpses of Samyag Gyana arescripted inAgamas. Unfortunately Jaina contributions in the development of science are not recognized by the world. Bhagwan Mahavir, in our view is a pioneering quantum physicist and we are doing our bits to make it known to the world through our research and writings.  We endeavor to get world recognition to the scientific achievements of Jain ascetics.



  1. Jain Vigyan, 2013, by sadwi Dr. Sarita and Dr. M. B. Modi
  2. Vaigyanik Mahavir, 2014, Dr. M. B. Modi
  3. Jain Spiritualism and Modern Science, 2014, dr. M. B. Modi
  4. George Wald, Life and Mind in the Universe, international Seminar on Evolution of Consciousness, sponsored by Jawaharlal University and Delhi University,Jan.8-10, 1979.
  5. Jacobi, H. Jainism, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Ed.  J. Hastings, vol.vii, p. 472.
  6. Glasennapp  Hemuth Von, Jainism-, An Indian Religion of Salvation
  7. Uttaradhyan Sutra
  8. Panchastikaya by Acharya Kund Kund
  9. Tattwarth Sutra Jainagam Samanvay by Acharya Atma Ram
  10. Dravyanuyog by  Kanhyalal Muni
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