Scientific Vision Of Lord Mahāvīra ► [02] The Model of the Universe in Bh.S & Its Scientific Assessment ► The Universe is Self-guided

Posted: 01.06.2009

The origin of the universe is shrouded in mystery. Various interpretations that are based on crude dogmas do not stand for the rigorous philosophical analysis or scientific scrutiny. So far as the Jain cosmological view is concerned, it regards that the universe is eternal, self-existent and indepedent. For its existence, the universe is niether dependent upon any one's cognition as the Vij–ānavādin Buddhists say[31], nor it is an appearance of some higher reality, as the Advaita vedantins and Sankhya system conceive.[32] The Vedanta system accepts that the universe is a outcome of the Supreme Being. Likewise the Sankhya system believes that creation is nothing but the manifestation of the primordial reality named as Prakṛti and dissolution means merging of the world into the same reality.[33] The two i.e. manifestation and dissolution come in a cyclic way and the whole process goes on in the presence of the Purusa as a witness (sākśi).[34] The Jain Philosophy is not in favour of any such type of the theory of creation and dissolution. According to it, the universe is eternal, uncreated, indestructible and self-guided. It does not emerge from any higher reality. The nature of the universe itself is such that, after it has completely run down, it re-generates itself by carrying out the cycle in the reverse order.

The Jain philosophy considers that individual things or effects in the world spontaneously or by effort emerge out of their material causes and dissolve into them. Thus, according to Jainism, creation and dissolution take place at the level of individual or better to say at the level of modes and not at the level of the entire universe. To explain the phenomena the Jain philosophers divide the cycle of time into two phases, namely, 'Utsarpiṇī' (ascending time) and 'Avasarpiṇī' (descending time).[35] Each of the two stages, is further divided into six epochs.[36] In the Utsarpiṇī stage, there is a gradual development of the individual things, while during the Avasarpiṇī stage, there is a gradual disintegration of the individual things. Bh.S[37] clearly mentions that in the last phase or the sixth epoch of the Avasarpiṇi stage the situation on the earth will deteriorate to such an extent that life would be in constant danger. Everything including countries and cities would destroy. After the end of the sixth epoch Utsarpaṇī stage would again start and begin gradual development all over the world. This process of gradual development and destruction of the world goes on unintrupted. It is not guided by any spiritual or almighty principle. There are certain natural laws which govern the entire cosmic process.

The theory of reality or existence given by the Jains, which is quite unique and based on the Philosophy of Anekant, has also great impact on the Jain theory of creation and dissolution of the world in the sense stated above. According to the Jain philosophy, reality is threefold, viz; origination, cessation and persistence.[38] Origination here stands for appearance of new modes; cessation stands for disappearance of the former modes; and persistence means the characteristic of not being subject to origination and destruction.[39] For illustration, when butter is produced from curd, the former modes of the curd are destroyed, some new modes appear and at the same time the essence of the curd remains constant in both the states. Thus, a phenomenon or reality flows through modes originating and disappearing. The modes are infinite and ever changing. Because of the inherent quality persistence the real remaining unchanging in its basic nature undergoes endless origination and destruction at every moment. Thus, according to the theory nothing is destroyed absolutely and therefore the world of object is eternal. In the modern science, the 'Big Bang Theory' also endorses the fact that matter is neither created nor destroyed but is merely rearranged.

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