Scientific Vision Of Lord Mahāvīra ► [07] Conclusion ► Conclusion

Posted: 24.09.2009

It is not easy to summarize and interpret the philosophical as well as scientific concepts embedded in a staggeringly vast, and exhaustive work, the Bhagavati Sutra, within a short thesis; yet, it is sufficient to interpret the hietherto unknown doctrines and present their relevancy and validity in the context of modern scientific discoveries. I have chosen a few topics, which are ever fresh, and not to be relegated to the background as outdated. The Jain philosophers, Mathematicians, Astrologers, Geographers, etc. had a clear vision of the formation of the Universe. They never accepted the doctrine of any creator or God and held the view that the universe is beginningless and endless. They realized the futility of speculations, and hence concentrated their intellectual power on understanding the mystery of life and existence. In the process of their rigorous thinking, they were never dogmatic but very meticulus and had a scientific analysis of problems besetting life. In each and every chapter, one can discern knotty problems and my efforts at their interpretation. The solutions offered to these problems in the Bh.S. are only scattered and in order to develop on integrated and consistent meaning I had to deal with these problems in a more systematic and objective manner. Psychology, Biology, Geography, Cosmology and Mathematics have been handled objectively.

In this thesis a humble attempt has been made to espouse the doctrines spread in the Bh.S and interpreted them as far as possible in the light of modern scientific theories.

The Eastern spiritual philosophies are concerned with the timeless suprasensory knowledge which lies beyond logical reasoning and is not an amenable to verbal expression. In the Eastern Philosophies, the Jain philosophy is primarily one that is concerned with such knowledge that is beyond the sense organs and mental approach. That's why whatever has been presented here is not an outcome of a rigorous scientific pursuit but only a product of a hypothecated interpretation of relevant concepts inshrineat in Bh.S. vis-a-vis, modern scientific developments that have taken place in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics etc. It is an attempt to see the harmony, to some extent, lying between principal theories and model of modern physics and the views of the Jain thinkers. One motivating factor, which has worked behind this thesis, is to mention something unknown or unpopular regarding the atomic properties, cosmology, matter, universe, the structure of a living organism etc. to the scientists like Physicists. So that they can pay attention to this philosophy and take help from it for their concerning subjects or problems.

According to Non-absolutism every statement has partial truth. Each and every branch of knowledge is nothing but a search for truth. Whether it is scientific view or spiritualistic view all emphasize different aspects of one truth. All are valid and useful in the context in which they arose. All of them, however, are only descriptions or representations of reality and are, therefore, limited. None can give a complete picture of the world.

Frittjof Capra concluding his book 'The Tao of Physics' expressed the difference between the approach and subject of physics and that of philosophy. This is the reason, whatever invented by spiritual experience or 'organic' worldview, as he named, cannot be proved thoroughly by the mechanistic worldview of classical physics. It will be better to refer his view as it is. The view follows:

"The mechanical world view of classical physics is useful for the description of the kind of physical phenomena we encounter in our everyday life and thus appropriate for dealing with our daily environment, and it has also proved extremely successful as a basis for technology. It is inadequate, however, for the description of physical phenomena in the sub-microscopic realm. Opposed to the mechanistic conception of the world is the view of the mystic, which may be epitomized by the word 'organic', as it regards all phenomena in the universe as integral parts of an inseparable harmonious whole. This worldview emerges in the mystical traditions from meditative states of consciousness. In their description of the world, the mystics use concepts that are derived from these non-ordinary experiences and are, in general, inappropriate for a scientific description of macroscopic phenomena. The organic worldview is neither advantageous for constructing machines nor for coping with the technical problems in an overpopulated world.

Nevertheless, like non-absolutistic worldview he accepts that both the mechanistic and the organic views of the universe are valid and useful; the one for science and technology, the other for a balanced and fulfilled spiritual life. Beyond the dimensions of our everyday environment, however, the mechanistic concepts lose their validity and have to be replaced by organic concepts that are very similar to those used by the mystics. This is the essential experience of modern physics that has been the subject of our discussion. Physics in the twentieth century has shown that the concepts of the organic worldview, although of little value for science and technology on the human scale, become extremely useful at the atomic and subatomic level. The organic view, therefore, seems to be more fundamental than the mechanistic. Classical physics, which is based on the latter, can be derived from quantum theory, which implies the former, whereas the reverse is not possible. This seems to give a first indication why we might expect the worldviews of modern physics and eastern mysticism to be similar. Both emerge when one enquires into the essential nature of things—into the deeper realms of matter in physics; into the deeper realms of consciousness in mysticism—when one discovers a different reality behind the superficial mechanistic appearance of everyday life."

Inspite of different approaches of physicists and mystic's one thing that inspires us to study science and philosophy is their method to observe reality. The chief method used by the Eastern philosophical systems is supra sensory or intuition. However, the Jain philosophy lays more emphasis on supra sensory to have the correct vision of Reality. On the other hand, various scientists have used intuition in a different way; for example, Einstein is more explicit in admitting the role of Intuition. Bergen, professor of Biology and Physics, has sublimated the status of Intuition in his philosophy. Scientists like Eddington, James Jeans and Whitehead have assigned the role of insight and intuition to the major discoveries and original writings in the field of science. Undoubtedly Eddington stands as a towering personality in espousing the role of consciousness.

The crux of Eddington's argument is rooted in his conviction that the internal power of 'the mind is the supreme one beyond which there is no other power'. Similarly, James Jeans has accounted for some invisible force behind the mental powers of man. Unlike the views maintained by Western scientists, Eastern mystics with the comprehensive enlightenment could perceive directly and formulate such theories that are wonder evoking and thought provoking.

Yet, most of the schools of philosophy are of the view that speculative daring is necessary to broaden the vision and strengthen the understanding and deepen the knowledge of physical as well as spiritual world. Scientists, mathematicians, Astronomers are of the view that the whole universe is interconnected and inherently coherent system. It is not an exaggeration and myth-oriented humbug. The question arises whether such a coherent system can be an object of experience. The Jain thinkers have made provision for the total grasp of the total reality. The total comprehension of reality or knowledge, in true sense of term must be all embracing.

In the words of Einstein "We can know only the relative truth. The absolute truth is known only to the universal observer." This comes close to the Jain doctrine of omniscience (kevalajñāna). The perfect knowledge of complete reality seems to be beyond reach for ordinary mortals; but it is a daily and spontaneous experience with the omniscient. The scientific knowledge, on the other hand, interprets the world in ascending (spiral) order of the degrees of truth and reality.

In the Jain doctrine of Logic and Epistemology one can find the exposition almost savagely logical. What the Jains have propounded much of it comes to be validated. The Jain theory of knowledge and reality are complimentary to each other. The theory of Pudgala (matter) has been espoused and made the core of Jain doctrine of reality. The 'to reality' approach and its corollary the doctrine of epistemology are well balanced. No where is there any contradiction between these two aspects according to Non-absolutism.

The knowledge of physics and philosophy presupposes an incisive insight into the nature of reality. This gives rise to the problem of unity and plurality. Jain Acaryas have looked upon nature as a system of interconnected events and believed that nothing existed outside this realm. In the words of the German scientist and philosopher the whole universe is one organic unity; as such, nothing lies outside the framework of this grand totality. We find in the absolute systems that the monstrous unity of all the parts of the existence are only postulates. For Hegal, singular parts are not abstract but concrete realities. There is no such thing as the parts torn away from the absolute, but the absolute cannot be thought of in absence of its parts.

Contrast to these views maintained by the absolutists like Bradley, Hegel, Heckle, the Jain non-absolutists emphatically deny the absolute separateness or absolute organic inseparableness. According to the Jain philosopher, the conflicting reals are complementary and supplementary to reality and the world is a systematic whole. It is not a motley crowd (disorganized group) of independent elements; the unity implies the expression of a single element in and through a complex web of constituents' differentiated unity. In a complete system every part has its own significance. The individual elements themselves are nothing but parts of an infinite complexity. The picture of Non-absolutism offers spectacle of unity in which each aspect of reality is in consonance with other aspects. They retain their individuality and persist through their inherent nature. True to their realistic, pluralistic and rationalistic position, the Jain Acharys have presented the theory of Non-absolutism built upon the doctrine of Pudgala. But the theory of Pudgala itself does not represent the total magnitude of Non-absolutism.

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