Jainism, Quantum Physics and Evolving Spiritualism

Published: 02.10.2012
Updated: 30.07.2015

0. Introduction

I am a senior retired DRDO scientist presently engaged in research on Jain Agams. Our research is unique and different from others. We are searching science in Jain Agams. We believe Mahavir’s spirituality is not about religion, God or rituals but it is about Truth and oneness of the universe. He preferred education to devotion and knowledge to faith. Jainism is more relevant to the modern times because Jainism is not a religion or philosophy in the conventional sense. The goal in life of a Jain monk is not to search heavenly abode or proximity to God but to achieve Godliness through knowledge or Kewal Gyan.

Jain Shramans followed radically different path, the path of education and knowledge. They believed that correct understanding of the universe, self and body is very essential for liberation. Samyag Drasti, Samyag Gyan and Samyag Achar [1] or ‘Right Vision, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct’ can only lead to eternal peace and bliss. A person with right vision and right knowledge can differentiate between Absolute Truth (Sat), Relative Truth or Reality (Asat), and falsehood or Mithyatwa, emphasized Mahavira. Absolute truth is eternal while the relative truth varies with frame of reference and therefore truth may have different meaning for different people. Kewal Gyan or knowledge of absolute and relative truth is the state of Nirvana or liberation.

Unlike Buddha Bhagwan Mahavir made scientific statement that Truth is ‘Absolute’ as well as Relative. Absolute Truth is known only to the universal observer. The human beings know truth only relative to Space, Time, Mass and Phase. Hence according to the frame of reference, Truth may have different meaning for different people. About 2500 years later, Einstein came out with similar statement which made him the greatest scientist of the world but Mahavir remained in oblivion.

Like modern scientists Mahavir also believed that the Atom is the ultimate particle of matter and beyond matter is pure consciousness or pure energy. Max Plank repeated Mahavir’s sentiments- “I regard consciousness as fundamental and matter as derivative from consciousness. Everything that we see and talk about as existing postulates existence of consciousness.” Several cosmologists now believe that Consciousness in the form of ‘Awareness’ is also fundamental to the universe.

We have been able to establish conclusively that the Jains had deep understanding of the universe, the conservation laws, quantum and continuous nature of matter and anthropomorphic consciousness. Our research findings reveal that important modern discoveries like Space-Time Continuum, Theory of Relativity, Dual Nature of Matter, Uncertainty Principle, Bohr’s Quantum Atom, Unified Field Theory, Atomic Quantum Jumps, Radiation Emission and Selection Rules etc. find their origin in Mahavir’s Teachings.

Mahavir also developed the first ‘Theory of Everything’ that describes every particle and force which constitute this universe and provided answer to the question, why I am here? He proposed existence of atomic size space element Akash Pradesh which is equivalent to what the scientists today call as Plank’s Length over which all the forces weak or strong are unified to produce the God Particle or Higgs Boson. According to Jain belief the atom is a particle yet it is equivalent to one Akash Pradesh. Thus atom exhibits dual nature- particle as well as space like features. The importance of dual nature of matter can be appreciated from the fact that De Broglie, a French scientist was awarded Nobel Prize for rediscovery of this principle in 1935. Spiritually it means Akas Pradesh is the basic space element that constitutes the universe.

Jains believe in Dwaitvad as well as Adwiatvad. Eternal existence of two element- Atom and Consciousness constitutes Jain Dwiatwad whereas the Astikaya nature of the universe or the Pradesh form of atoms and consciousness constitute Jain Adwiatwad. The universe is a body of Asankhyat Pradesh and the cosmic space is body of Anant pradesh.

Regarding consciousness, Mahavir says consciousness has been present from the very beginning of the universe but its emergence needed the eventual development to an appropriate minimum level found in Ekendriya Jeeva. The purpose of the life is to evolve from this first raw level to enlightened state. This is a very slow process lasting over millions of years. As a result of evolution most simple Ekendriya Nigodh (single sense micro organism) is likely to be converted to most complex Panchendriya Jeeva (organism with five senses). The evolution is carried over long ‘Birth-Death’ cyclic path rather than a straight path. There are fourteen levels of development and at the last level the jeeva becomes Godlike. Most great thinkers and masters who have divine matrices reach levels of 9 to 10. Evolution is also considered as one of the greatest discoveries of modern time for which credit is given to Darwin and proponent of Evolutionary Spiritualism. But mostly people are not aware of Jain contributions.

Mahavir and other Jain Tirthankars never claimed that they were founders of a religion. They were seekers of truth and eternal peace and bliss. They developed scientific principles to explain ‘Creation’ of the universe and did not use philosophical arguments and mythical God as used by other religious preachers. Mahavir discovered basic natural laws that govern the creation. He was Kewalgyani and a Tirthankar for the Jains but for others he is like a multidisciplinary scientist who laid the foundation of Space Science, Atomic physics, Chemical Science, Life Science and other related subjects.

Details of our research work are being published in the book- “Jain Agam Me Vigyan’ which is in press. However a brief account of the same is being presented in this article. Emphasis is being placed on Akasha as space-time quantum field and achievement of godliness through evolving spiritualism.

1. Mahavir’s Concept of ‘Knowledge Based Religion

Religion is an empirical science which is not concerned with knowing the Truth of the Universe or the Nature but only focuses on finding solutions to human problems and sufferings through faith, devotion and rituals. Religious leaders all over the world were enlightened people but they never forced enlightenment on their followers. They developed simple concepts and rituals like meditation, complete surrender to unknown forces, devotion, prayers, animal sacrifices etc. which were easily understood and accepted without asking any questions by their followers.

Bhagwan Mahavira did not preach blind faith as religion. At the time when contemporary religions were advocating mitigation of human sufferings through rituals, faith and unconditional surrender to God, to prophet, messiah or anybody whosoever claimed to be the representative of God, He was researching and discovering the science of the universe and purpose of human birth. He believed that we encounter sufferings by false apprehension of reality and happiness. True knowledge about the universe and self helps to reduce sufferings and improves conditions of living. If one has coherent understanding of the universe, natural laws and processes governing physical reality then one need not look for reward or punishment at the hands of external authority like God. Any living being can make its own fate without worrying about pre-destiny.

Centuries ago, Bhagwan Mahavir made the first scientific statement about Truth which is of utmost importance. He said the universe is neither created by God nor it is an illusion. The simple fact that for self –awareness, there ought to be an external object to be aware of, God cannot be called the ‘designer and creator’. The universe is eternal reality and therefore it must contain eternal components. First of all like the present day scientist, Mahavir classified all the materials, objects and substances found in the universe in two groups namely Living and Nonliving. All living things are conscious of their existence while all nonliving things lack the consciousness. Therefore consciousness ought to be fundamental to the universe. He referred nonliving objects as Pudgala andsaid they can be divided into smallest particles’ He called the last indivisible Pudgal particle as Parmanu having the same properties as atom. Thus Mahavir said the universe is not the creation of God but it is a creation of atoms and consciousness or atman. Two or more atoms unite to form Skandh (Molecule) and Skandhs unite to form all types of Physical forms. The living objects are created by mutual co-operation of atoms and consciousness.

Thus Bhagwan Mahavir discoversd the science of creation based on the union of atoms and consciousness. These two eternal components of the universe combine to form all types of living and nonliving objects according to the conservation law-‘Upneiva, Vigneiva, Dhruveiva’, [2] which the scientists call as the law of conservation of mass and energy. In the process of creation and destruction, neither the atom nor the soul is created or destroyed. Eternal existence of Atoms and Consciousness is the universal truth or Absolute Truth (Sat) known only to the universal observer free of motion. Human beings know the truth only with respect to Draya (matter), Kshetra (Space), Kal (Time) and Bhav (mode or state). [3] This is Relative Truth (Asat) what Buddha called as Reality. Einstein, the greatest scientist of the world simply repeated what Mahavir said. He formulated a set of equations to prove mathematically Mahavir’s concepts of Space, Time and Truth.

What did Mahavir preach- Religion, Philosophy or Science? It is really a very difficult question to answer because Mahavir gavediscourse on religion, philosophy, logics and basics of space science, atomic science, life science etc. People with religious bent of mind may call Jainism as Spiritual science but our in depth study of Jain Agams clearly establishes that Jainism is in fact ‘Science of Creation’ and ‘Science of Spiritual Evolution’.

Mahavir was not discovering a new religion but merely stating that the purpose of the human birth is to evolve and cultivate the soul to the level of fourteenth Gunsthana’, Evolution is a very slow process and cannot be completed in one or two births but over a cycle of deaths and births. Death means the release of the immortal soul from the confines of the mortal body and rejuvenation by acquiring new body. But it is not liberation. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth is an unending process until the soul evolves to fourteenth Gunsthana.

2. Jain Agams as Ancient Science Books

Jain Agams are religious books but their contents look very differently from the conventional philosophy and mythology books. Any reader having some knowledge about science will immediately notice that majority of the subjects dealt in the Agams are related to the universe, life science, physical and chemical science, psychology, genomics etc. Some learned people describe Jain science as Meta Physics [4] which according to us is a complete misnomer. Because of old and difficult script, misunderstanding of Agams’ science is not surprising. But Mahavir, by any definition cannot be called a Meta physicist because Metaphysics is a science of mysticism and Jainism is science of ‘Creation’ and Spiritual Evolution’ which are akin to modern concepts. Jain Agams narrate vividly Mahavir’s scientific contributions. Mahavir was Kewal Gyani and could have not spoken Mithayatwa. Whatever he spoke was from spiritual point of view and therefore any deviations from modern science simply illustrate his indifferent attitude towards the physical world.

Mahavir who rejected the idea of ‘Creation and Creator God’, had to develop various scientific principles to explain all types of creations and natural phenomena including life on the earth. For Kewalgyani Mahavir, the physical forms of objects were Asat and only the eternal flow of consciousness and atoms constituted the universe which is sat. Servagya Mahavir said that atoms and consciousness and not God created the universe observing the conservation law-‘Upneiva, Vigneiva, Dhruveiva’. It is said thatafter learning this conservation law and knowing the Relative and Absolute Truth, Ganadhara, the disciples of Mahavir wrote Fourteen Purvas containing Mahavir’s teaching which are now extinct. But Mahavir.s preaching is partly preserved in the form of Agams.

Jain Agams describe in details how two or more atoms combine to produce a molecule and how molecules unite to form infinite varieties of living and nonliving objects which constitute the universe. Rules governing formation of Visrasa Parinat Skand (Inorganic compounds) by atoms and formation of Prayog Parinat Skandh (Organic Molecules) by atoms and catalytic action of Atman are clearly mentioned in the Agams. It may also be noted that according to Jain concept only those molecules which form the body and body organs are organic compounds. All other are Visrasa Parinat Pudgal or inorganic compounds. Nails, hair, teeth etc. are placed in a special category called Misra Parint Skandha because they are detachable from the body.

Desire, Greed and Ego are the basic causes of unhappiness. Jains call them as Karma which has quantum or atomic nature and abilityto form subtle body or Karman Sharira. Consciousness should get rid of this subtle body in order to get freedom from birth and death. Jain Agams describe how this subtle body is acquired and how it acts as a blue print of birth and body structure. Jain Agams also narrates in great details natural way of conception through sexual union of male and female, artificial methods of conceptions, formation of zygote, weakly development of embryo and finally different ways of deliveries. Does any religion book describe the human birth in minute details like this?

How male sperms mix with female eggs resulting in fertilization? how does this grow into a baby? How do the fetes take Ahar (food) in mother’s womb? Who tells the embryo to grow into a human baby or in a plant or in an animal? Who decides the number of arms, legs, eyes and other body organs and how? Where are the seeds of personality? All these questions are meticulously answered in the Agams as functions of subtle Karman and Tejas Sharira. ‘The Karman Sharira is in fact a diary of previous birth and a guide for subsequent births.’ say the Agams. Modern scientists call this as Genomes which throw light on the history of the evolution of a single cell into complex organism.

Mahavir through the process of meditation and ‘Thought Experiment’ developed various scientific principles to govern the creation of life and pudgal dravya on earth. He also said that during Maha Pralaya or on Dooms Day, the seeds of the universe will continue to exist as consciousness and parmanu. The eternity of the universe is further ensured by the nonzero velocity of Atom. Today scientists repeat his statement by saying that atomic motion cannot be made zero and therefore the universe cannot be annihilated completely. Agams contains several scientific statements confirming thereby that Mahavir was sarvgya or omniscient. Jain Agams in particular Bhagavati Sutra, Uttradhyayan Sutra, Tatwart Sutra and Dravyanuyog have scientific contents.

3. Jain Concepts of Truth and Reality versus Einstein’s Relativity

Centuries ago, Bhagwan Mahavir declared that the universe is not an illusion but an eternal reality created by mutual co-operation of atoms and consciousness according to the conservation law-‘Upneiva, Vigneiva, Dhruveiva’. Because of the ever continuing process of creation and destruction, the universe appears as an illusion. The eternal existence of the universe is Absolute Truth while its changing face is Relative Truth. The body is formed by the atoms and the consciousness endows it with life. Since both atoms and consciousness are conserved, it is said that neither the birth is the beginning nor is death the end of life. Birth and death are just biological events. The soul has no form and physical dimensions and therefore the soul is beyond the confines of time.

Religion and philosophers hardly differentiate between Truth and Reality. But scientists draw a fine line of separation between Truth and Reality, so did Mahavir historically known as founder of Jain religion. Mahavir coined three terms - Sat, Asat and Mithaytwa respectively corresponding to three scientific terms - Absolute Truth, Relative Truth and Falsehood. Sat (Absolute Truth) is eternal but Asat (Reality) is neither opposite of Sat nor is Mithyatwa. Reality is Asat which is not eternal but varies according to system of reference, vision, individual opinion, sensing organs, place and time of observations etc. If it is day time in India it is night in USA at the same time. A woman may appear beautiful to our eyes but for those with eyes sensitive to X rays, the beautiful woman looks a fearful skeleton of bones. The sky is not blue though it appears blue. Reality is an illusion of this type.

If Reality is represented by a single letter R then according to Bhagwan Mahavir, R is a function of Dravya (Mass), Ksetra (Space), Kaal (Time) and Bhav (Phase). Scientists reduce the four variables to two variables - Space and Time, the other two variables being derivatives of space and time, and express the Reality by R(x, y, z, t) where (x, y, z) represent the three co-ordinates of space and (t) is the time co-ordinate. The variables x, y, z, and t are constants in case of consciousness and therefore the soul is Sat or Absolute Truth. The body is an illusion which on death may disintegrate in to atoms. Therefore the body is a function R(x, y, z, t) and a reality or Asat. Identifying self with body or name is Mithyatwa. Science agrees with Jain concepts of Truth and Reality. But Buddha disagreed and said there is nothing absolute in the universe. ‘Nothing can exist without cause. Everything in the universe is relative and nothing is eternal’ said Buddha

Einstein.in 1905 proposed the ”Theory of Relativity’ which is simple formulation of Mahavir’s concept of absolute and relative truth in terms of four dimensional space or a mathematical function R(x, y, z, t), the geometrical shape of which is an open ended plane. “Absolute truth is known only to the universal observer (sarvgya). We know only relative truth. All laws of physics are relative to inertial frame of reference” said Einstein confirming what Mahavir said centuries ago. Einstein also presented The General Theory of Relativity’ considering the cosmic space as infinite gravitational field which gets curved due to presence of other dravya. The curvature of the space opens the possibility of traveling into the past. It is obvious that Einstein was merely repeating Jain concept of Astikaya Akash which represents an eternal Space-Time Quantum Field. In this field a Kewalgyani can see drayva and its past, present and future Paryays (All states of existence). Einstein called this as ‘ walk in the past and future’.

According to Jain Agams liberated souls reside in Siddhasheela, a place outside the inertial frame of reference which is free of motion and time. The liberated souls therefore know the Absolute Truth. Human habitats are not stationary and are also constrained by time. Therefore humans cannot sense absolute truth and so did Buddha who declared that everything in the universe is impermanent and necessarily relative.

4. Jain Concepts of Being, Non-being Permanence and Impermanence

The notion of ‘being’ is opposite of the notion ‘non-being. This is the concept of Buddha and others about reality. They think that Being and nonbeing cannot have existence at the same time. The belief that the ‘self is there before I was born and will continue after I die’ is a belief in permanence, which is not acceptable to Buddha. ‘Everything is impermanent and necessarily relative, conditional, finite, dependent and subject to birth, death and decay’ says Lord Buddha. Every phenomenon hangs between reality and nothingness. A butter fly is borne out of the egg. The egg turns into caterpillar, the caterpillar grows in size, sheds its last skin and grows a tough, flexible shell and from this shell emerges a fully grown butterfly. In few days the butterfly may also die. Buddha says all the forms of egg, caterpillar and butterfly are impermanent and each one dies giving birth to its successor. There is no element of permanency involved at any stage.

On the contrary Mahavir and the modern science say death of butterfly is not the end of the story. On death, the butterfly decays into atoms and realign again as molecules of manure used by plants as food. A young butterfly feeds on the plants, takes the nectar from the flowers, turns it into protein and lays the eggs and the life cycle of the butterfly continues. The different physical forms of egg, caterpillar, and butterfly are impermanent but there ought to be something permanent which is acquiring these forms. Mahavir calls this permanent element Atman and science calls it energy quanta which can also take solid forms. Jains believe that at the time of death, the old body being incapable of sustaining the life process any longer perishes along with senses and intellect leaving soul and Karman Sharira intact to space. Karman Sharira stores all karmas and memoire of previous birth like a computer hard disc. This soul-karman Sharira combination then enters a new embryonic body, the matrix of which is determined by the Karman Sharira.

Bhagwan Mahavir says ‘being’ and ‘nonbeing’ both exist simultaneously and appear as facts or reality. Being and nonbeing are two sides of the same coin. They are not opposite word but they are relative words. Thus Sat is not opposite of Asat, Lok is notopposite of Alok, Jeev is not opposite of Ajeev, Dharm is not opposite of Adharm, They all have independent existence. They all are dravyas with Guna and Paryay. Depending on the level of our knowledge, perception and vision, a thing which is illusionary and non-being appear existing and ‘being’.

Reality is not self-explanatory and has to be analyzed by theories. Mahavir says the analyst should first of all develop Anekant Vision or have an open mind. Next the reality should be analyzed with reference to dravya, khetra, kaal and Bhav. If more than one solution is possible, then use Saptabhangi which is a science of Permutation and Combination to arrive at absolute and relative truth. Scientists approve this Jain method of analysis of truth. Vow! This is certainly a big tribute to Mahavir from the science community. Jains should feel proud that Mahavir was giving sermons on present day science at the time when most of the humans were still living in caves.

5. Jain Concepts of Sat, Akas (Cosmic Space) and Universe

In Jainism anything that has existence is called dravya (matter) or sat. [5] Very much like the present day scientist, Jains identify a dravya by its characteristic Guna or properties. ‘A dravya cannot exist without Guna and Guna cannot exist without dravya. [6] This type of statement can only be attributed to a scientist and none else. The scientist Mahavir declared -‘Upneiva, Vigneiva, Dhruveiva’ isthe principle property of all dravya. ‘Another most important property of the dravya is their Astikaya nature’ said Mahavir. Kaal (Time) is also a dravya but it is not Astikaya.

There are six eternal dravya namely Akash (Cosmic Space), Dharm (State of Motion), Adharm (State Of Rest), Jeev (Consciuosness), Pudgala (Mass and Energy) and Kaal (Time) which together constitute the universe. Out of these six dravya only Pudgala has shape and physical form. All other dravya are colourless and formless. Each of these dravya has common properties and characteristic properties by which they can be identified.

Akas (Cosmic Space)is a dravya which is sat and eternal. Giving Avagahan (shelter) [7] to other dravya is special property of Akas. It is boundless, infinite and Astikaya. It means it is infinite single body or field. A miniscule area of Akas is visible and contains above five eternal drava. This visible Akas is called Visible Lok [8] or ‘Lokkadse Loyye’. It is also called Panchastikaya i.e. a single body (field) formed by five eternal Astikay dravyas namely Akas, Dharm, Adharm, Jeev and Pudgal. Time is not universal. Liberated souls and Parmanu live in Mokha Sthala where time has no existence.

Despite presence of five dravya, infinite Akas is empty and contains no other dravya. This empty Akas is called Alok. [9] The concept of Alok is unique and fundamental concept of Jainism. No other religion or philosophy could ever conceive the existence of empty space except modern science. ‘Existence of Alok.is essential for the existence of Lok’, said Bhagwan Mahavir, It is interesting to note that Lok and Alok are neither opposite nor two different parts of Akas but represent respectively visible and invisible Akas. Co-existence of lok and Alok is absolute truth which outwardly appears to violet laws of physics according to which empty space or vacuum cannot coexist with matter because matter gets sucked in by the vacuum. Mahavir solved this puzzle by saying Alok is not empty or vacuum but contains Akas Dravya. Modern Cosmologists boast that existence of empty space is one of the most exciting discoveries of modern times.

Jain Agams [10] also describe that Lok cannot become Alok and Alok cannot become lok. From the scientific point of view this is one of the most significant statements. This means lok with finite dimensions cannot become infinite Alok i.e. universe cannot expand to touch the boundaries of Akas or cosmic space. In modern science this is called Theorem of Expanding Universe according to which the universe is expanding continuously ever since it was born. But it cannot fill the cosmic space.

The post Agamic Jain Acharyas [11] however interprets the above Agam-statement in a different way. They believe that Akas is divided into lok and alok by Dharm dravya. There is no Dharm dravya in Alok and therefore Lok cannot enter Alok. This view does not appear to be logical because Akas is infinite and it is not possible to divide an infinite arupi dravya by another arupi dravya like Dharm dravya. It is also not possible to know the exact position of Lok in the infinite Akas. Since there is no boundary between Lok and Alok, it is meaningless to talk of lok being forbidden from entering into Alok.

In our view the Agamic statement that ‘Lok cannot become Aloka’ and vice versa expresses infinite and finite dimensions of the two and also reflects upon the modern concept of Expanding Universe.

Dharm and Adharm are other two important dravya which find no mention in any religious and philosophical work. Mahavir knew that ‘creation’ would have not been possible without the existence of these two vital dravya. Jain Agams [12] describes Dharm as dynamic property and Adharm as static property of matter. These two dravya bring atoms and Atman close so that creation can take place But in post Agam-period, perception about Dharm and Adharm dravya changed respectively to medium of propagation and medium of rest. [13] Accordingly Dharm dravya helps in motion of living and nonliving drvya and Adharm dravya helps in bringing the moving objects to rest. Science also does not support this perception. It supports Agams views which states that Dharm dravya.is natural state of motion and Adharm dravya.is natural state of rest and not medium of motion or medium of rest as perceived by some Jain Acharyas.

The Jain concept of kaal or time is similar to modern scientific concept. Time [14] is indicative of change and it is not Astikaya like all other dravya. This simply means time does not exist as independent dravya everywhere in the universe. Kaal has independent existence only in Adhaii Dweep [15] i.e.in human habitats which indicates that time is creation of human mind. Time is not absolute and only indicates change, what the Agams call as Vartana. It is obvious that according to Mahavir time is created by human mind and consciousness is in the timeless realm. According to modern science time is a concept dependent upon the physical world.

The Astikay nature of dravya is also an important concept of quantum physics in which a particle is considered as a quanta arising from field continuum. Scientifically speaking the Astikaya nature of the drayvas represents Quantum Fields or Potential Fields. The five quantum fields produce five perceptible quanta. The quantum particle of Akashastikaya is Akas Predesha, (Gravity quanta), that of Dharmastikaya is dharm dravya (motion or kinetic energy quanta). Adharmastikaya gives rise to adharm dravya (potential energy quanta), Jeevastikaya give rise to Jeev (electromagnetic energy quanta which has information acquisition and transmission capability similar to Upayog Guna) and Pudgalastikaya generates parmanu or atom which is a mass quanta.

Modern cosmology owns its existence to Einstein who proposed the theory of cosmic space in 1905 which has many similarities with Mahavir’s Akas dravya. Like Mahavir, Einstein also said cosmic space is infinite gravitation field which contains small amount of matter and energy. What Jains call as Lok, Einstein called it visible space or universe. What Mahavir called as Alok, Einstein called infinite empty space. Since physics does not allow existence of empty space, Einstein suggested that the so called empty space contained dark matter and dark Energy. Mahavir on the other hand suggested that Alok is not empty but contains Akas Dravya which is closure to reality than dark energy and dark matter. Now physicists say Alok is the most dynamic seat of nature and is the source of creation of the universe where vibrating quantum fields produce fundamental particles, yet it remains unchanged on an average. Scientists are not yet clear about dark matter and dark energy and therefore they echo the words of Mahavir calling Cosmic Space as infinite gravitation field having quantum nature as well.

Lord Mahavir is perhaps world’s first scientist who said Alokakas, the empty cosmic space is not empty or vacuum but contains gravitational field or a subtle material substance out of which perceivable matter is formed. Akas is made of infinite numbers of Pradesh, [16] field element of the size of an atom. However the pradeshas cannot be separated from the parent body. In the Astikaya state Kaal (time) and Ksetra (Space) do not have useful meaning rather space and time merge to form Space-Time as observed by Einstein. Jain Agams say that every Akas Pradesha is associated with a kaalanu.

Mahavir’s discovery of Akashastikaya is unknown to the world but Einstein’s discovery of Space-Time captured all attention making him the world’s greatest scientist ever borne. Einstein throughout his life time never agreed on quantum nature of the space. He had heated arguments with other Nobel Laureates like Neil Bohr whom he said “God does not play dice” meaning probability theorem cannot be applied to cosmic space. Unlike Einstein, Mahavir said Akas is Astikaya as well as an ensemble of Pradesha. Thus Mahavir announced that space has dual nature- continuum and quantum. Einstein did not accept quantum nature of space. Twenty First century proved him wrong. Now physicists know that the empty space is not empty it is a quantum energy field fluctuating at all points in space in an unpredictable way, yet on an average they have remained the same everywhere, at all time. The vacuum fluctuations give rise to virtual particles that continuously arise out of nowhere only to disappear into nowhere again.

Bhagvan Mahavir says the primary elements of reality are atoms and consciousness but their underlying Astikaya (Field) nature isthe universal permanence, He said Lok is Astikaya and so is Alok. Universe is a closed system in which the total numbers of atoms and soul are conserved. The universe is continuously evolving and in the process takes different forms - galaxies, stars, planets, animals, plants and humans. All form arises from the universe and dissolve into it. Thus quantum physics is completely in agreement with Jain Concepts ofbeing and nonbeing by accepting existence of vacuum quantum fields.

The Jain quantum concept is also established by the fact that all the six dravyas are integral multiple of a Pradesh [17] or an atom. The smallest unit of all Astikaya is Pradesh. Fraction of Pradesh does not exist. If a draya is divisible then its smallest unit is parmanu. Fraction of parmanu does not exist. The unit of Time is samaya which cannot be fractioned. This clearly indicates that Jain science is digital. Pradesh, parmanu and samay are all integers and cannot take fractional value.All the forms of Jeev and Ajeev are integral multiple of these three basic units. This is in fact beginning if computer science.

6. Jainism and ‘Theory of Everything

Mahavira discovered millennia ago that Atman (pure consciousness) and Parmanu (atom), the two components of nature, have to be understood in terms of Cosmic Field Elements what he called atomic size Pradesha similar to what the scientist call as Plank Length.He said Parmanu is equivalent to one Akas Pradesh, Jeev is equivalent to Sankhyat Pradesh and Akas which contains ‘Something’ as well as ‘Nothing’ is equivalent to Asankhyat Pradesh. Both ‘Something’ and ‘Nothing’ have characteristic properties and together constitute the nature and form natural laws for self-governess.

 ‘Nothing’ according to Jain Agams is Alokakash which is really not empty but contains a Dravya (matter) having the property of Gravitation and Astikaya (oneness). Alokakash is an infinite gravitational field having no beginning and no end, yet it has Space-Time characteristics. ‘Something’ is limited in dimensions and is visible to naked eyes. He called it as lok or universe in which the total quantity of its contents remains constant. The universe is constantly evolving and in the process new forms are produced and absorbed in the universe. All these forms are temporary in nature. Only the material atom and formless consciousness are eternal.

How can ‘nothing’ create ‘something?’ If you start peeling an onion to reach its core, you end up with ‘nothing’. How is ‘nothing’ sustaining the onion? The onion peels and the empty space together make the onion because the empty space has the binding force. Exactly the same way Akas is vacuum still it sustains all dravyastikaya. This is the science of universe which Mahavir narrated to his disciples hundreds of years ago. Physicist such as Sheldon, Glashow, Weinsburg and Abdus Salam won Nobel Prize in 1960 for theoretical formulation of how universe emerged from nothing about 13.7 billions years ago.

Physicists are now echoing the Jain concept of Panchastikaya which is union of Akashastikaya, Dharmastikaya, Adharmstikaya, Jeevastikaya and Pdgalastikaya by saying that the empty space is never really empty but filled with fluctuating quantum fields. According to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, the quantum fields are always active and creating virtual particles in an unpredictable manner. Therefore in the quantum field theory, the primary elements of reality are not individual particles but the underlying quantum fields.

The Nobel Prize in Physics in the year 2004 was awarded to Frank Wilczek for ‘Theory of Everything’ according to which everything physical in the universe comes from a single source –The Cosmic Space. Mahavir said nature’s fundamental unit is Predesha and Wilczek said Nature’s fundamental unit is Plank’s Length. Over this length, the weakest gravity force equals the other strong forces like Nuclear and Electromagnetic Forces. Thus at the scale of Plank Length, all quantum fields with their separate identities permeate every point in space. What Wilczeck is telling in the twenty first century, Mahavir told the same to Guatam Ganadhar in 560 B.C. Jain Agams refers universe as panchastikay. But in post agamic period, the word lok containing six eternal dravya also came in use.

Einstein saw the universe as a smooth curved Space-Time surface in four dimensions. Quantum physicists see the space as quantum field. Both these theories are proven success. But together they are out of joint. Wilczek and others found that both the quantum and continuum nature of space is in unison over Plank Lenth. They are simply confirming Mahavir’s concepts of astikay and Pradesha. It is very difficult to say if the scientists got any inspiration from the Jain Agams or not, but the fact remains that Mahavir announced existence of Pradesh hundreds of years before the scientists could postulate existence of Plank Length. Mahavir said Lok cannot be there without Alok. Scientists are now repeating his word by saying the empty space is source of everything.

7. Origin And Evolution of Life - Jain & Scientific Perceptions

How and when life appeared in the universe? According to Agams life is present in the universe as Siddh (Soul without body) and Sansari Atman (Soul with body). Siddha does not incarnate and Sansari jeev pass through cycles of birth and death. It is not known when the soul acquired the body. Seeds of Jeev are present from the very beginning. The lowest form of Jeev is Ekendriya Jeev having one sense organ. Pachendriya Jeev is developed specimen with five sense organs. As human being we have an evolved mind and an evolved intellect. We also have five senses, and an ability to know ourselves and the world around us. All humans are born the same but we have different levels of evolution. Mahavira called these levels as Gunsthana. A form of algaecalled Nigodh having first level of Gunsthana could evolve to higher forms up to human being by self-efforts. The human being can evolve to fourteenth Gunsthana by right conduct and become Sidhatman or Parmatman after attaining Kewalgyan, a condition in which the soul does not see the physical forms but perceive only flow of consciousness and atoms.

The main purpose of the human birth is to evolve and cultivate the soul to the level of fourteenth Gunsthana. According to Jain spiritualism, the consciousness is eternal part of the universe and it has to evolve through millions of different life forms before attaining the level of permatman. [18] Among thousands of different types of species in the world to gain a human birth is extremely rare. [19] According to Jain concept Ekendriya Jeev known as Abhavya Jeeva cannot evolve to higher levels. But accidently some Nigodh, a kind of algae evolved to higher levels of consciousness. This Jain concept is akin to ‘Theory of Accident’ in life science.

Evolution from microorganism to complex human being is considered as one of the greatest discoveries of modern times and the credit of the discovery goes to a British scientist named Darwin. Some Western philosophers like Andrews Cohen have come out with a theory called Evolutionary Spiritualism according to which universe is continuously evolving. The cosmic energy has evolved to human being and the process of evolution is still continuing. These philosophers feel that human beings can evolve to superhuman or God through this natural process of evolution. Bhagwan Mahavir says “No! It requires additional efforts from the conscious soul”. Only human beings can do this, not even devata or celestial spirits.

Perhaps the proponents of this modern philosophy are not aware that the foundation of Jainism is laid on the principal of evolution of consciousness to the stage of Nirwana and independent evolution of body from single cell microorganism to complex organism. Evolution of body and evolution of consciousness are two different phenomena and cannot be clubbed into one as Cohen and others have done. According to Jain Concept soul also evolves to higher levels along with evolution of body from microorganism to complex system. But it is limited by the human body and unless consciousness sheds the Karman Sharira, the highest level of fourteenth Gunsthana that is Nirwana is just not possible.

According to modern theory of spiritual evolution, subatomic particles or Higgs Bosons were formed by vacuum quantum fields. The subatomic particles so created united to form atoms. Atoms unite to form molecules and the molecules unite to form cells. Cells form living organism. In words of Drian Swimme, [20] the story of evolution of the universe is very simple - ’13.7 million years ago the universe burst as hot gas of elementary particles which took three hundred thousand years to cool enough to form hydrogen atoms. When the universe was a billion year old, galaxies started to form. Thus hydrogen transformed into helium and helium transformed into carbon, so on and so forth. Eventually around three and half billions years ago, life began to form. Thus according to these philosophers ‘if you take hydrogen Gas and leave it alone, it turns into roses, bushes, giraffes and humans’.

Jain view is similar to the modern thinking that the cosmic energy is the source behind the creative process. But Maahavir puts a rider and says ‘Hydrogen a dead material, colouless, odourless stuff can turn into a body cell but cannot turn into living cell’, According to Agams the universe is constantly evolving’ and greater complexities may emerge from simple one in the form of Paryay. But consciousness cannot emerge from dead matter because consciousness is fundamentally a different kind of material. Therefore consciousness does not emerge from cosmic space but it is a constituent of cosmic space.

Mahavir said our body is made of the same dead atoms as the stars, planets, the sun and moon. All these objects do not have consciousness and in the absence of consciousness these celestial bodies are as good as dead. Atoms can bind with consciousness to produce Karman Sharira or subtle body which is living and grows into complex organisms like a living cell. Jain Agams describe how a single cell algae develop into full human over a period of millions of years.

All types of motions are called as Karma in Jainism. The karmic energy can bind with the consciousness and form Karman Sharira. According to Jain concept motion or karma is basically atomic in nature what the scientists call as quantum nature. Mahavir says Consciousness’ does not have natural motion. It moves only with the help of an atom or Karman Sharira which is like the DNA molecule. The basic life element DNA is in fact a dead chemical but when encased into permeable cell body it becomes alive. Obviously Life did not emerge in the DNA molecule by conversion of food molecules permeated through the cell body. The cell body only provided environment conducive for the built in consciousness to emerge into perceptible form. Thus evolution of of dead DNA molecule into living cell is similar to evolution of Karman Sharira into full living body. The modern proponents of evolutionary spiritualism need to understand the science of consciousness in a mode different from the atomic mode which they are propounding. Centuries ago Kewal Gyani Mahavir presented the science of emergence and evolution of soul and body as two independent evolutions.

Mahavir postulated existence of soul and atom as two independent but perceptible forms of cosmic energy. Today the quantum physicists agree that consciousness is built in the cosmic energy in the form of awareness which can develops into perceptible quanta like gravity develops into perceptible material quanta what we call as atom. Andrews Cohen, one of the proponents of modern philosophy of Evolutionary Spiritualism questions why Moksha? He says we are evolving into something greater and far better than what we are today, so why to talk of Moksha? Mahavir says our body may evolve into a better one but that does not ensure that our soul will also evolve to perfection. The final level of perfection is Nirwana which is not possible unless you accept existence of soul and cultivate it by right conduct. Hydrogen atom may evolve into human body but cannot evolve into Permatman or God. Only consciousness can evolve into Kewal Gyani or God or Permatman.

8. Jain Parmanu, Quantum Atom not Dalton’s Classical Atom

Ancient philosophers from India, Greece, China etc. describe atom as the smallest material particle beyond which matter does not exist. But for Mahavir the Atom is not only the smallest indivisible material particle but is also the ‘Creator’ of the universe. The atom has special properties which are essential for creation and Jain Agams describe these atomic properties which are similar to those of Quantum Atom or Vector Atom discovered by Nobel laureate Niels Bohr in 1913 and subsequently upgraded by several Nobel Prize winning scientists between 1913 and 1930.

‘Dalton’s Atomic Theory’ is considered as the pioneer work in science that led to scientific understanding of formation of chemical compounds. Dalton said atoms have chemical affinity and two or more atoms unite chemically to produce varieties of chemical compounds. In a chemical or physical process atoms are neither created nor destroyed nor subdivided. Atoms are conserved. Jain Agams [21] describes in details the process by which two or more atoms combine to form di-atomic, triatomic, and multi atomic molecules. Agams [22] also mentions that atoms execute different types of motions which results in emission [23] of light, heat, darkness, brightness, sound etc. Bohr and other scientists confirmed this fact and received Nobel Prize for prediction of atomic motion and energy emission by quantum jumps. Jain Agams cites the following properties of atoms which were rediscovered by scientists which opened new branches of Quantum Spectroscopy, Atomic physics, Molecular Physics etc.

  1. Parmanu (Atom) is dimensionless, formless and indivisible particle of Pudgal dravya. It has no length, no height and no thickness. [24]
  2. Parmanu is unit of Pudgala. Matter and energy cannot exist in quantity less than a parmanuanu. Since parmanuanu is also a measure of Pudgala which is rupi and murth, Parmanu is expected to have one unit of colour (monochromatic), two units of sparsha (Two types of charges), one unit of smell (olfactory) and one unit of taste. taste. This does not mean at all that Jain Parmanu has colour, odour and taste. It simply means all thase properties of matter and energyare measured in units of Parmanu. In other words Jain Parmanu is not simply an atom but a Qunta of modern science.
  3. Permanu is always in motion. It executes translatory, vibratory, rotatory and several other types of motion. [25]
  4. Parmanu has cold or hot Sparsha (Ground and Excited Energy States), [26] and Ruksha or Snigdha Sparsha (Positive or Negative Charge). [27]
  5. Parmanu is a particle having no dimensions yet it occupies an area equal to one Akash Pradesha32. This statement is equivalent to saying that Parmanu has particle as well as field nature.
  6. Two ormore Parmanu unite to form diatomic, triatomic, etc. molecules. The Ruksha or Snigdha Sparsha binds the atoms into molecules. [28] The sparsha can take only integral values like 1, 2,.3 etc. Agams describe in details the selection rules for chemical combination of atoms. [29]
  7. Based on the permutation and combination of 5 colours, 5 tastes, 2 smell and 4 touches, Jain Agams describe 5x5x2x4=200 types of Parmanu. [30] Modern science claims to have discovered 104 varieties. All heavy atoms unstable and radioactive.
  8. Sound, light, heat etc. are upkar of parmanu.

Jain Agams [31] describe four types of Parmanu-

  1. Dravya Parmanu (Atom)
  2. Kshetra Parmanu (Pradesh)
  3. Kaal Parmanu (Samaya) and
  4. Bhav Parmanu (Karman Parmanu)

The last type represents what scientists call as phonons or mechanical energy quanta.In agamic language it is called karma which can bind with Atman. The binding force depends on the intensity of anger, emotions, psychological reactions etc Therefore. Mahavir, emphasizes on non-attachment and renunciation. One should live in a family and in the society with a feeling of oneness.

9. Conclusion

Even a casual look at Jain Agams reveals that Jainism is not a religion or philosophy in the conventional sense, but it is science of ‘Creation and Evolution’. Bhagwan Mahavir established a new order of spiritualism in which God has no place and the evolution of living beings including humans up to the level of Nirvana is possible through the path of knowledge and right conduct.

Bhagwan Mahavir said Universe is not created by God. Universe has no beginning and no end. It is material part of the eternal gravitation field called Akas or Cosmic space. The perceptible manifestation of Akas appears as atoms and consciousness. All living and nonliving objects found in the universe are created by atoms and consciousness. The fundamental governing principle of creation is - ‘Upneiva, Vigneiva, Dhruveiva’ which is known as law of conservation of mass and energy in modern science. In the creation infinite varieties of substances are formed but in this process Atoms and soul are conserved. No new atom is created and no new soul is borne. One type of Dravya cannot be produced from another dravya. In other words Jeev is produced by Jeev and Ajeev is produced by ajeev. This is the second principle of creation. Biologists call the second principle as Biogenesis of life in which life is produced only by existing life.

The most significant statement of Mahavir is about the dual nature of matter what the Agams call as Bheda-bhed (Dual Nature) characteristics of all dravya whether Rupi or Arupi. Thus by Bhed dristi the dravya is either made of parmanu (atoms) or pradesha (Field Elements). By Abhed dristi except Kaal (Time), all other dravya are Astikaya, i.e. they are Quantum Fields. Accoding to Jain Agams ‘Parmanu’ or an atom is equal to one Pradesha and all other dravya are made of finite or infinite number of Pradesha. In other words the smallest unit of matter including energy is one Parmanu’ or one Pradesha’. All substances are integral multiple of this unit. This quantum nature of matter which was so obvious to Bhagvan Mahavir, proved to be a very big challenge to Noble Laureates like Einstein, Heisenberg, and Schrodinger and many others. They were at loss to explain how particles behave wavelike simultaneously.

According to science atoms do not remain located at some particular place in space. Rather at any given time its mere existence is like a probability of where it could be. But science must observe it, in order to prove its existence. This means a very large numbers of observations have to be made to see the atom at a place because most of the time it is not there. Therefore scientists describe wave function or minimum space volume within which the atom is likely to be present. Lord Mahavir designates this volume as one Akas Pradesh.

Jain Agams contain several revolutionary scientific concepts, principles and postulates which are briefly listed in this article. The readers can find their details in the book Jain Agams me Vigyan co-authored with Jain Sadhavi Dr Sarita ji.


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  1. Abhavya
  2. Abhed
  3. Acharya
  4. Acharya Mahapragya
  5. Acharyas
  6. Adharmastikaya
  7. Agam
  8. Agams
  9. Ajeev
  10. Akash
  11. Akasha
  12. Akashastikaya
  13. Aloka
  14. Alokakash
  15. Anant
  16. Anekant
  17. Anger
  18. Arupi
  19. Asat
  20. Astikay
  21. Astikaya
  22. Atman
  23. B.C. Jain
  24. Bhagavati Sutra
  25. Bhagwan Mahavir
  26. Bhagwan Mahavira
  27. Body
  28. Buddha
  29. Consciousness
  30. DNA
  31. Dark Energy
  32. Dark Matter
  33. Darshan
  34. Devendra
  35. Dharm
  36. Dharmastikaya
  37. Dravya
  38. Dravyas
  39. Einstein
  40. Ekendriya
  41. Environment
  42. Ganadhar
  43. Ganadhara
  44. Greed
  45. Guna
  46. Gyan
  47. Heisenberg
  48. Higgs Boson
  49. Jainism
  50. Jeev
  51. Jeeva
  52. Kaal
  53. Kal
  54. Karma
  55. Karman
  56. Karmas
  57. Kewal Gyan
  58. Kshetra
  59. Life Science
  60. Mahapragya
  61. Mahavir
  62. Mahavira
  63. Meditation
  64. Microorganism
  65. Mimansa
  66. Misra
  67. Moksha
  68. Muni
  69. Muni Mahendra Kumar
  70. Niels Bohr
  71. Nirvana
  72. Omniscient
  73. Panchastikaya
  74. Panchendriya
  75. Pradesh
  76. Pradesha
  77. Predesha
  78. Pudgal
  79. Pudgala
  80. Pudgalastikaya
  81. Purvas
  82. Quantum Physics
  83. Samaya
  84. Samayasar
  85. Saptabhangi
  86. Science
  87. Sharira
  88. Siddha
  89. Skandha
  90. Snigdha
  91. Soul
  92. Space
  93. Sutra
  94. The Pioneer
  95. Tirthankar
  96. Tirthankars
  97. Upayog
  98. Uttaradhyayan
  99. Uttradhyayan
  100. Vartana
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