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Science In Jainism: [05.06] Concept Of The Eight Point Centre In Jain Cosmology: A Critique - Geometry

Published: 05.02.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Modern cosmology strongly suggests that the universe is expanding with the distant galaxies moving away from us at the rate given by Hubble's law. The expansion described by Hubble's Law and the presence of ubiquitous background microwave radiation suggests that the universe began in a "bigbang" about 15 billion years ago. It has been assumed that when the universe was only 300,000 years old, which was about 15 x 109 years ago, it should have condensed to an oval shape. The Jain view of the shape of the cosmos and its eight-point centre has been projected earlier. The geometrical figures of the universe if seen in a vertical plane, may be compared with the arithmetical number (8) of nearly equal halves. The figure of number (8) appears like a combination of two ovals linked together. The two lobes of the universe, therefore, look like an oval shape.

Let us study the peculiar postulate of Jain cosmology i.e. 'Universe with eight point centre'.
Any rigid solid object can have only one point centre. If the universe were a rigid solid body, one could visualise only one centre. According to modern cosmology, in an infinite universe every point can be regarded as a centre because every point has an infinite number of stars on each side. Hence it is impossible to think of the centre of the universe with an unlimited dimension. As the universe has been given a definite geometrical shape by the Jains, one can locate a centre of that shape. We have to take the following important postulates of the Jain cosmology into consideration.

  1. The force or torque on the external boundary of the universe is zero, because of the presence of void acosmic space.
  1. There is a change in the mass-density with time in the two lobes of the universe due to shift in equilibrium between two forms of matter, i.e. mass to massless and vice-versa. Hence the centre of the universe cannot be static but changes its position.
  2. The main directions (north, south, east and West) are drum shape and originate from a pair of EPC.

These postulates may lead us to locate the centre of the Universe.

  1. Because acosmic space is completely a void space, the stability of the geometrical figure of the universe will depend entirely on its configuration and perhaps on its centre.
  2. Because of the change in mass density with time in two lobes of the universe, the following possibilities arise.
      1. There is a possibility of the continuous variation of centre with time in some small region near the geometrical centre of the universe, which lies somewhere at the half way of the vertical dimension of the universe.
      2. The variation of the centre of the universe can be presumed to be along an oblate sphere (like pressed water-drop)
      3. The oblate sphere intersects the edges of the eight Ruyaga-Padesa, which lie near the geometrical centre of the universe. These Ruyaga padesa are comparable to the udders of a cow.
      4. As per the Jains, these eight points get stabilized and when properly joined give a shape either of a cube or a cuboid or something shape.
  3. The condition for the origination of direction is fulfilled by the shape of a cube; therefore it is logical to accept EPC in the form of a cube. The elongation of main direction in the drum like shape i.e. curved shape in space makes it probable that some voids are left and as such this lacks continuity of direction. However, the idea of a moving centre has far reaching consequences. The directions are an automatic outcome with no gaps.

The sheer scale of the Jain vision of time, space, mass and geometry, a vision that includes the notion of infinity is a tribute to the sophistication and insight of these great mathematicians. In this vision the idea of time and space as co-existents was later identified by Einstein.

  • Science In Jainism by Dr. M.R. Gelra ©
  • Edition 2002
  • Published by Jain Vishva Bharati

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