Scientific Jainism in Nutshell

Posted: 27.10.2015
Updated on: 28.10.2015


‘The world or ‘Loka’ we perceive through our senses is a Physical Reality of eternal Panchastikaya that has time changing characteristics, finite dimensions and multiplicity’ said Bhagwan Mahavir long ago. Existence of Panchastikaya Loka is Absolute Truth (Sat), which is devoid of all limits, diversities and distinctions. But the physical universe Loka, which we see is limited by space and time and is Asat or Relative Truth. Transformation of Panchastikaya in to visible Loka consisting of six Dravyas is a natural process taking place according to the law- Uppaneiva-Vigneiva-Druveiva, which today we know as law of conservation of mass and energy. Therefore instead of ‘Creation’ Jainism talks of ‘Evolution’ of  the universe out of five Astikaya Dravyas existing as Panchastikaya. God becomes irrelevant for such phenomenon.  Jain Shramans could acquire this knowledge about Truth, God and the Universe using scientific and spiritual wisdom instead of faith and superstition.

More than 2600 years later, Einstein presented the above Jain concept independently as Theory of Relativity and received the recognition as ‘Greatest Scientist of the World Ever Born’. Nevertheless, even today, Mahavir is worshiped as Bhagwan, Arihant, Sarvgya, Omniscient or Kewalgyani. It is a well known fact that science cannot describe timeless events, which is the exclusive domain of spiritualism. Science generates information only with respect to space and time which is Relative Truth. Mahavir and Einstein both recognised this fact when they said ‘Absolute Truth is known only to Sarvgya or universal observer. Human beings can know only Relative truth.’ Science can thus get some information about the body consciousness but cannot describe the universal consciousness present in Panchastikaya or in a quantum field. But Jain Tirthankars being omniscient souls could observe Absolute Truth and bridge the gap existing between science, spiritualism and religion.

Jainism is all about raising the level of human consciousness so that one can witness timeless events what Einstein called as Absolute Truth and experience bliss or Ananda. This state of consciousness is referred in Jainism as the state of Kewalgyana (omniscience) or Moksha. In modern scientific language it is cyber space-like knowledge field. A Kewalgyani can observe Astikaya Dravyas turning in to particles and particles building molecules and molecules getting embedded with soul to produce Jiva. All these observations of Jain Tirthankars are described in Jain scriptures as Tattwagyana, which forms the foundation of Jain religious practices, rituals and life style. 

For the benefit of techno-savvy readers, Jain Tattwagyana in scientific format is presented below. Details can be found in my book ‘Modern Science in Pre Christian Ancient India’, which is likely to be available by end of this year. The book would be an eye opener for those who do not believe that ancient Indians knew science much similar to what we know today. Ancient Indians knew that Science is essential for inner peace and technology for worldly happiness. Our ancestors being more spiritual and less worldly used scientific methods to improve their behaviour, social life and universal brotherhood instead of developing a touch stone for converting iron in to gold.


Jain Science in Nutshell

Jain religion rejects the concept of God and his creation. Instead, like quantum physics it believes that the universe as Panchastikaya is eternal which evolves in to galaxies, stars, planets, people, plants and everything on time scales of billions of years. At the same time Jainism straightaway rejects scientific theory of Big bang and the biological concept of ‘First Atom then Life’. It believes that both atoms and Life element are eternal and co-exist as Astikaya Dravya, maintaining their individual identities. This life element in the form of Jivastikaya is similar to built in consciousness of a quantum field.   

Jain Samyagyana is science of God, universe and Truth. It says from material point of view, the universe is eternal but evolutionary in character. Therefore, the universe neither has a designer nor a creator God. It neither has beginning (Genesis) nor an end (Apocaypse) but only cyclic evolutionary form. The Order and harmony apparent in the universe need not be traced back to God but to laws of nature (Physics), which the constituents of the universe follow faithfully. Non material, non physical Astikayas made of field elements Akash Pradesh evolve in to everything physical we see around.  The evolution follows the law in which Material atoms (Parmanu) and non material consciousness Jivastikaya are conserved. In other words existence of God is neither logical nor necessary for existence of the Universe.

The above Jain theory of creation now stands vindicated by modern cosmology and quantum physics that describe the infinite empty cosmic space as the primary source of everything existing in the universe. What was once thought to be an infinite vacuum is in fact an active energy quantum field (Astikaya) that transforms in to subatomic Particles, galaxies, stars,  atoms, molecules, planets, microbes, plants,  animals and finally human beings. What scientists call as subatomic particles are in fact Akash Pradesh and 148 varieties of Karman parmanu or phonons described in Jain Agams.  Both Jainism and science recognise the atom as the smallest material particle that perform different types of motions and exhibit dual nature as wave (Pradesh) and particle (Parmanu).

Einstein who defined the cosmic space as infinite gravitation field conveys the above Jain message of creation through the equation E= MC2. In recent years Peter Higgs and other cosmologists addressed the cosmic space as Higgs’ Energy Field and space element as Higgs Boson or God particle and developed the theory that explains how everything physical is created out of the empty space. Energy present as electromagnetic field in space and material atoms then create the universe in accordance with the laws of conservation of mass and energy. Jain scriptures describe that the information on the universe exists in the Astikaya form as Jivastikaya, which is analogous to electromagnetic field or universal consciousness.  

Consciousness may appear in different physical forms both as human beings and less evolved species, but its universal cosmic form remain intact in all the physical bodies. Jain Karma theory explains how actions (phonons) bind with consciousness to create life. Jain Samyag Achar deals with personal efforts to break the Karmic bonds to usher as pure consciousness or knowledge field. These epigenetic efforts referred as “Purusharth” in Jain vocabulary in fact are similar to Darwin’s concept of Natural Selection which ended in evolution of a single cell organism into human being. Darwin assigns ‘Survival Instinct’ as primary cause of the evolution, while Bhagwan Mahavir says to evolve continuously and get liberated from karmic bonds is a basic property of the soul. Therefore the biological evolution started with appearance of life on earth will continue past human being and will stop after achieving Moksha which is the state of zero entropy.     

Jainism holds great promise for those who seek spirituality in science, in nature and in self rather than in God and superstition. The human being is both body and soul. The body is material and the soul is spiritual. More than three thousand years ago, The Jain Sharamans developed the science of birth, death and body metabolism and postulated theories which resemble those found in text books of modern physics and biology. The soul being the operating software-system of the body needs a divine understanding because it is inaccessible by body senses and external tools. Jain Shramans used Awadhi Gyana, Meditation, Tap and Sadhana as ‘Thought Experiments’ to access the ‘Soul’ and develop its science which we know today as Jain Religion. Thus Jainism represents material science in spiritual dimensions. In fact they provided a sense of meaning and direction to human existence by developing the science of who and what we are.  

The Jain law of Karma is very similar to the modern concepts of genetic codes that adequately explain the differences found among the living beings and the multiplicity of their species. The law of Karma says ‘Birth’ is a biological phenomenon in which the Karman Sharira inherited from previous births builds a body in a womb where favourable conditions exist. Entrance of karman sharira in to the womb may be sexual or asexual where it grows into a full body by absorbing food. Living species like human being, animal, plant, microbe, bird etc represent different modes of Karmic Bonds.  This simple but highly effective science of creation and evolution brings about inner transformations while performing worldly duties. This Karmic Law establishes harmonious balance between material and spiritual worlds.

It is obvious that Jain Shramans were more spiritual than religious. Tirthankars were walking souls who could visualise the past, present and the future of the universe. They preached the art of achieving godliness or omniscience in one’s life time and enjoy the bliss while alive and not after death. Science believes in conquering space and time by technology, Jain Tithankars believed that understand the self and the universe enables to break boundaries existing between mortality and immortality.     


Conclusion and Inferences

The script and scientific message delivered in ancient Jain scriptures have two unique features which are not found elsewhere.

  1. Scientific statements are made in the form of two line verses commonly known as Sutra/Gatha. They are like modern tweets and it will not be out of reference if Bhagwan Mahavir is addressed as ‘First Tweeter of the world’

  2. The scientific explanation of natural phenomena, process or an event is given both in Vyavahar Naya and Nischay Naya which respectively represents common man’s vision and the vision of the universal observer or Sidddha.  This is similar to modern scientific style of describing a phenomena as classical or quantum mechanical. Thus Vyavahar Naya represents Newton’s space-time reference system in which human consciousness works. Nischay Naya represents timeless quantum events or AtmanGyana experienced as Awadhi Gyana and Kawalgyana..


Based on our research on Swetambar and Digambar Jain literature, we conclude the Jain Shramans were original discoverers of the following fundamental scientific principles.

  1. General Theory of Relativity:  
    Jain concept of cosmic space as infinite Akashasikaya Dravya is similar to Einstein’s concept of cosmic space as gravitation field.

  2. Special Theory of Relativity:
    Jain concept of variable Truth known as Jain principle of Satyasat is today accepted as Special Theory of Relativity

  3. Concept of Space:
    Jain concept of Space as infinite Dravya or emptiness having Avagahan Guna is also the definition of space in modern cosmology. This timeless regime was addressed by Einstein as a four dimensional continuum to describe motion in space. On the other hand Jainism divides space in to two regions –one where particles (paramanu) exist and move and the second devoid of both particles and motion. Jainism addresses these two regions of space as Loka and infinite Aloka, which Einstein calls as Observable Space and infinite Space-Time continuum respectively.

  4. Quantum Space: 
    Jain concept of quantum space is unique, not even imagined by Einstein. Akashastikaya, which Einstein referred as four dimensional space is today known as vacuum quantum field vibrating and producing virtual particles. Jain scriptures describe space as made of infinite numbers of space element –Akash Padesh which Higgs and other quantum physicist describe as Bosons and one of the bosons is also called God particle.

  5. Time:  
    Jain concept that ‘Time has no physical existence like other five Dravyas and that time is only human perception of change (vartana)’ is exactly the scientific definition of time used by twenty first century scientists. Newton used time as one of the coordinates to describe motion and Jain also refers time to describe an event in Vyavahar Naya, which represents human perception in space-time coordinate system.

  6. Evolutionary Universe:
    The modern concept that the universe is not created but evolves from Higg’s Field is exactly what Jain scriptures describe as Panchastikaya evolving into visible Tri Loka in billions of years. Animate and inanimate objects having physical forms exist in the middle part of Triloka while galaxies, stars, sun, moon and non-physical and virtual matter occupy the other two regions of Triloka. In spiritual language of Vyavahar Naya used by common people, these two regions are called Heaven and Hell, which do not exist in Panchastikaya which is the quantum description of space in Nischay Naya.

  7. Motion and Space Potentials:
    Jain concepts of Dharmastikaya, Adharmastikaya,  Dharm Dravya and Adharm Dravya respectively represents accelerating, decelerating space potentials and motions and retardations resulting from space gravitation. Jain scriptures also describe that atoms moving from the central part of Triloka continuously retard and comes to rest  near the boundary, which is also the habitat of Sidhhas. 

  8. Dual Nature of Matter and Energy:
    Jain concept of paramanu (atom) as a particle as well as one Akash Pradesh or space element is today known as dual nature of matter according to which an atom is a particle as well as space element or wave function. ‘Because of this dual nature, two or more atoms can occupy the same space’ states Jain scriptures. Einstein named this phenomenon as quantum condensate.

    Karma means action and according to Jainism Karma is a discrete dravya consisting of Karman Paramanu. Now quantum physics addresses Karma as vibrations consisting of phonon particle.

  9. Concept of Quantum Atom and Emission and Absorption of Radiations:
    Jain scriptures describe that an atom possesses positive and negative charges and it also executes ten different types of motion which results in emission of sound, heat, light, coldness, hotness, lightening, darkness and brightness. Neil Bohr in 1913, proposed similar theory of emission and absorption of radiations by moving atom. This discovery not only fetched him a Noble prize but also gave birth to Spectroscopy.

  10. Chemical Valency and Laws of Atomic Combination:  
    Two or more atoms carrying 1, 2, 3 etc units of positive and negative charges combine to form molecules and molecules aggregate to form crystals (sanstans) and other geometrical shapes.  This Jain principle has now emerged as the fundamental law of chemical combinations. The charges referred as Shaktansh in Jain literature is now known as chemical valency of the atom. Valency related rules of chemical combinations are also listed in Jain Agamas which broadly form the rules of physical chemistry.

  11. Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy:
    Nothing is created and nothing is destroyed. The total quantity of Pudagal Parmanu (mass and energy particles) and Jiva (life element) in the universe remain constant. This basic Jain law is today known as law of conservation of mass and energy.

  12. Digital Universe:
    Jain concept of quantum space and nonexistence of Space, Particle (matter /energy quanta) and Time less than one Pradesh, one Parmanu and one Samaya respectively, is recognised today by the twenty first century science as ‘Digital World’., which simply means natural existence as space, matter and energy is digital and not fractional. The Jain word Paramanu in fact represents a quanta of space (Pradesh), matter (Dravya & Bhav Parmanu) and Time (Kaal Parmanu).

  13. Origin of Life:
    Jainism does not accept biologist’s concept of life being created in a cell. Like quantum physics, it says universe cannot exist without existence of its information. Jain religion says the information exists as Jivastikaya or universal consciousness. Quantum physics conveys the same message when it says information exists in a quantum field. that information exists in electromagnetic field.   in material body is perceived as life. Consciousness has universal existence as one of the basic constituents of Panchastikaya. Now physicists also say consciousness exists in quantum field.

  14. Biological and Spiritual Evolution:
    Like science, Jainism does not believe in Eve and Adam as ancestors of human beings but it believes like Darwin in creation of single cell Jiva (Nigodh) in salt waters and its evolution via plants, microbes, one to five sense animates culminating in to birth of a human being. While Darwin assumes that ‘Survival Instinct’ is the primary cause of evolution, Jainism believes that desire to evolve spiritually is the cause of biological evolution.

    Science believes in conquering space and time by development of technology. Jainism on the other hand uses science to walk and live in timeless space spiritually. Thus the science of the past and the present is the same but in the past it was used for spiritual evolution and in the present it is used for technology development.

  15. Theory of Everything:
    Jain scriptures describe existence of more than 148 types of Karman Paramanu which are nonmaterial and mass less subatomic particles. They bind due to the Avagahan Guna (gravitation) of space and appear as a Pradesh or an atom. Atoms bind to produce molecules and molecules aggregate to produce a substance. Thus according to Jainism, empty space is a source of everything physical found in the universe.

    Modern theory of everything appears as modern upgrade of the above Jain Theory where gluons, photons and other sub atomic particles gain weight due to space quanta known as God Particle. Proton or hydrogen nucleus is the first atom so produced, This hydrogen atom left itself converts into other types of atoms, stars, sun, planets, earth, cell, plant, microbe, birds, animals and human beings.

It is obvious that spiritual concepts of Jain ascetics are based on the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and cosmology. Jain concepts of space, time, universe, matter and creation are very similar to those developed in twentieth century by Nobel Laureates Einstein, Heisenberg, Max Born, Niels Bohr, Louis de Broglie and Peter Higgs. The work of these eminent scientists appears like mathematical formulation of ancient Jain concepts.

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