Nov 28, 2007

Jainism and Science

By Dinesh Vora

An inquisitive man once came to Srimad Rajchandra and asked him, "Is the earth round like a dish or round like a ball as science claims?"

Srimad put a counter question to him, "Tell me how does it hurt you if it is round like a dish or round like a ball?"

The man said, "Well it really does not hurt me at all whatever way it is."

Srimad told him, "If it does not hurt you, then why don't you just trust the knowledge of Jineshwar Bhagwan which reallly effects you and get on with your work?"

The debate over the differences between Science and Jainism often times keeps bothering an honest Jain. A stiff stand based on blind faith against the proven and tested science does not lend credibility or an assurance to the future generation of Jains.

Jainism believes that only Kevalis and Teerthankaras possessed cent percent pure true knowledge. Teerthankaras communicated in their Samvasaranas or religious congregations through the divya dhwani or divine sound also known to be OMkar dhwani to the samsaari souls of the universe of one, two, three, four, or five senses. Though the divine sound could be felt and go through any soul of any language, or sense. However, interpretation and comprehension of what lord said depended on the capacity and stage of development of that individual soul. A copy from another copy is somewhat distorted and is not same as absolute original. A word round can very well be interpreted to be believed as the dish like round by the people of that time. Someone today is very likely to interpret it as a round like ball.

Science and Jainism are complementary to each other. With the changing times and better facts known through modern science, Jainism as we know will have to be flexible to stay credible, and reliable. We are not changing the original truth, we are only modifying our understanding and interpretation to align itself more with proven, tested, verified scientific data and facts.

It is also true that advancing science of today may prove itself inaccurate tomorrow. Jainism always asks its followers not to accept anything blindly but to thoroughly think, test, reason and experience the facts before accepting and implementing. Often times one has to ask himself "Have I understood the subject matter or what the other persons have been telling me correctly?" What if you misunderstood something and then twisted and misrepresented the fact, though ignorantly? The burden of accomplishing the absolute truth is entirely yours. The soul in its' search for that eternal blissful position will have to keep on acquiring knowledge until there is no doubt left in his mind. Even if that ultimate state of the soul may not be achievable in this lifetime, one can strive to accomplish the maximum true knowledge through true preceptors, true scriptures, conscientious self-effort and self-help.

It is known in many cases that great saints brought the knowledge of their past lives with them. It is the true knowledge that transmigrates with the soul and not the material world until that knowledge fully blossoms into Keval gnaan or state of Moksha.

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