Jain Biology

Published: 04.03.2010
Updated: 31.07.2012

The chasm between Religion and Science is quite deep. This is because the scientific mind does not like to accept anything that cannot be experimentally proved while the religious mind needs no proof for anything laid down in the sacred scriptures. The chasm has, unfortunately, prevented mutual interaction, preventing each of them to be benefited by a constructive study of the other side of the chasm.


The wisdom buried in the Jain scriptures and other ancient literature produced by the Jain savants is unlimited. Students of Jainology admit that, many problems of human interest would remain unresolved in the absence of a study of this literature. Regrettably, however, interpretation of this vast literature in modern scientific terms is rather in a scrappy and haphazard form. This essay is an humble attempt to build a small bridge across the chasm with a hope that, "new, interesting and the most fruitful developments will take place" as said by Werner Heisenberg.


Bhagavan Mahavira, being an omniscient, directly apprehended the entire reality and being able to distinguish between what was animate and what was inanimate, he recognized, identified and enumerated six N1KĀYA - groups of living organisms. Of these, only two, the mobile organisms with organic bodies and endowed, more or less perceptibly, with the ability of voluntary motion (trasakāya) and the plants {vanaspatikāyd), and recognized by science.


The other four groups of living organisms - earth-bodied, water-bodied, fire-bodied, and air-bodied - are not accepted by it.


Bhagavan Mahavira, however, clearly recognized the psychical entity in these four elements and declared them to be animate, adding that these four were much more primitive, i.e., the development and evolution of consciousness in these four were of a very low degree. Nevertheless, they were living organisms and belonged to the psychical order of existence and not to the physical order and it was positively a sinful act to kill or injure them. He not only stressed their existence but threw enough light on their ability to experience pain, their life-span and other characteristics also.


Authors: J.S. Zaveri / Muni Mahendra Kumar
Publisher: Jain Vishwa Bharati University, Ladnun, India
Read online: Jain Biology
Bookshop: Jain Biology
Pages: 135
Dimensions: 13.90 x 21.40 x 0.70 cm (W x H x D)
Weight: 174 g


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  1. Consciousness
  2. Heisenberg
  3. J.S. Zaveri
  4. Jain Vishwa Bharati
  5. Ladnun
  6. Mahavira
  7. Muni
  8. Omniscient
  9. Science
  10. Trasakāya
  11. Werner Heisenberg
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