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

Posted: 03.06.2009

The universe does not only exist eternally but it also has a particular eternal shape. According to the Bh.S,[55] the shape of the universe resembles the shape of a Supratiṣṭhaka, which is expanded at bottom, contracted at middle, and again vastly expanded at the top. A Supratiṣṭhaka is a configuration made up of conjunction of three conical bowls with the shape of chopped of pyramids in the manner—one bowl placed convex wise (upside down) at the bottom, the second bowl placed concave wise (with the face upward) above it, and the third one placed convex wise again upon the second. The resultant configuration arising from the above-said adjustment is styled Supratiṣṭhaka (see figure-1).[56] Since the universe has three parts; viz. [1] horizontal (madhyaloka), [2] upper vertical (ūrdhvaloka) and [3] lower vertical (adholoka)[57] and each part is located in an order and the shape of the above mentioned bowls; the resultant figure would be same, i.e. Supratiṣṭhaka. Besides the configuration of the universe as a whole the text depicts particular shape of each section of the universe. Accordingly the shape of the lower section as like that of a lead of a vessel (Tappāgārasaṇṭhie).[58] The shape of the middle section is like that of a cymbal (Jhallarisaṇṭhie).[59] The shape of the upper section is like that of a vertically placed drum (Uddhamuiṅgākārasaṇṭhie).[60]

Generally, the cosmos is detected like a palm tree or a human standing with legs apart and palms resting on his waist and, is, therefore, known as "the cosmic person."[61](see figure-1)

In the figure as generally found, the universe has been depicted through the plane lines but according to Mahavir Raj Gelra, the figure should be of elliptical shape. It is because the eleptical shape can be scientifically stable for a longer time. This view supports the figure prescribed in the Bh.S. So far as the configuration of transcosmos is concerned, it is stated to have a round shape with perforation in the center.[62](see figure-2)

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