Scientific Vision Of Lord Mahāvīra ► Preface ► Preface

Posted: 11.05.2009

I feel highly privileged to be invited to write this preface to the book "Scientific Vision of Lord Mahāvīra (With Special Reference to Bhagavatī Sūtra)" which I regard as the greatest philosophical work that has come out of Jain Vishva Bharati Institute (Deemed University). Samani Chaitanya Pragya has been awarded the degree of doctor of philosophy on this remarkable thesis, which has all the boldness and brilliance of thought characteristic of Jain Scientific mind. This thesis seeks to communicate and revitalize in relevance to modern science. It is well known that Bhagavatī Sūtra is the encyclopedic work on Jainism. The author has very widely and rightly selected the issues, which are philosophical and scientific both from the voluminous Bhagavatī Sūtra. The vital issues are on the universe, space and time, the theory of pudgala, the theory of atom and the biological elements discussed in the Bhagavatī Sūtra, i.e. the focus remained on the scientific topics related mainly to Physics, Cosmology and Biology.

During nineteenth and twentieth century science became too technical and mathematical that the philosophers reduced the scope of inquiries so much that Wittgenstein, the most famous philosopher of this century said, "The sole remaining task for the philosophy is the analysis of language." But, we find that the author of this book has brought this idea in the forefront that the Jainism has still to give a lot of theoretical concepts in the field of science. Though the subject of the thesis is not a new one but with the advent of science this subject has gained tremendous importance in present time. Earlier writers on Jain philosophy and science tried to discover scientific properties of Jain Concepts but the author's work is unprecedented in magnitude and complexity in the sense that it has interpreted the Jain technical terms in modern phraseology. The author has claimed it to be the main contribution of this thesis.

It is interesting to find that the illustrations and the pictures of the universe described in Bhagavatī Sūtra, has relevance with the Einstein's famous question about whether God had any choice in creating the universe? A living physicist of our time, the Lucasian Professor, Stephen Hawking attempts to write that a universe may be finite but with no boundaries, no edge in space, no beginning or no end in time and therefore nothing for a creator to do. It is true that Jainism is the only religion that has propounded for the universe to be eternal, working by its inherent laws and not created by any God or Supreme Being. In the Jain metaphysical system, there is no place for any such God, who creates and regulates the universe. According to the Jain philosophy, Jīva (Living) and Ajīva (Non-living) are the two realities, which are responsible for the existence of the universe, which has no beginning or end in time. Jain canonical literature contains many universal laws. To my mind, one of the universal laws is the law of opposites' i.e. the universe exists with the realities which have opposite characteristic properties or behavior. The 'opposites' exist simultaneously. For example, Jīva and Ajīva, Loka (cosmos) and Aloka (transcosmos), Dharmāstikāya (the medium of motion) and Adharmāstikāya (the medium of rest), massless matter and matter with mass and so on. We also observe the opposite properties in the eight forms of tactility of pudgala i.e. cold and hot, oily and dry, soft and coarse, light and heavy.

Samani Chaitanya Pragya has done a commendable work by unfolding the hidden realities of the Universe, described in Bhagavati Sutra. She has indeed done a Herculean task in bringing the religion and science closer. I heartily welcome the publication of this book.

Dr. Mahavir Raj Gelara
Former V. C, J.V.B.I.

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