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Living System in Jainism : A Scientific Study

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Living System in Jainism : A Scientific Study
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Living System in Jainism : A Scientific Study

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Item Code: NAU090
Author: Narayan Lal Kachhara
Publisher: Kundakunda Jnanapitha, Indore
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 818693362X
Pages: 356
Other Details: 8.50 X 5.50 inch
weight of the book: 0.43 kg
About the Author

Born in Udaipur district in 1937 Dr. Narayan Lal Kachhara passed B.E. (Mechanical) in 1961, M.E. (Mech) in 1969, and Ph.D. in 1973 from University of Salford, UK. He taught at various Universities of India and abroad and was Director of Kamala Nehru Institute of Technology, Sultanpur and Principal of Motilal Nehru Regional Engineering College, Allahabad. He also served as expert and adviser to various institutions, Universities, Organizations and Boards in India and abroad.

Since retirement in 1997 he has been working for religious and social cause. Scientific spiritualism is his fond subject. He is particularly exploring the scientific nature of Jain philosophy on which he has authored half a dozen books and has lectured and presented papers in many National and International Conferences, Seminars and forums.

Presently, Dr. Kachhara is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Jainology and Comparative Religion & Philosophy, and Adviser to Bhagwan Mahavir International Research Centre, Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun.

He was honoured with Jain Agama Manishi (Scholar of Jain Scripture) Award 2008, by Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun, and M.G. Saraogi Foundation, Kolkata and was invited by Parliament of World's Religions at Melbourne in Dec 2009 to present a program on Jainism.


My friend, Dr. Narayan Lal Kachhara, has devoted many years to the study of the soul/consciousness from the modern as well as ancient perspectives. The outcome of his study in the form of this book entitled Living Systems in Jainism: A Scientific Study looks interesting and highly valuable. I am thankful to Dr. Kachhara for his invitation to write a z detailed Foreword. In response, I thought that I should try to present my understanding of the soul based on ancient descriptions as well as the views of modern scientists.

The spiritual Science starts with the consideration of soul. When somebody talks of soul, many persons think that this is against modern science. This attitude is not rational because modern science has neither proved nor disproved the existence of soul. How can anyone prove anything without any serious attempt? If we look at the budget of scientific research of any nation, we will find that almost the whole " budget is spent for those projects which are important either for business or for defense. Little is spent for research on soul. Even in the study of subjects like Biology and Medicine the scientific community is mainly interested in procreation and the functioning of different parts of animal and human bodies. Under these circumstances also, many scientists have i come forward to provide the logic in favor of the existence of soul. Science deals with space, time, matter, motion and the resting of matter. These five aspects of the universe are attributed to the five non- living Dravya of Jainology. For details regarding these, one may refer to the fifth chapter of the Tattvarthasutra, authored by Acharya Umaswami 2000 year ago. Jiva is considered to be an independent Dravya in Jaiology. Thus in all, according to Jainology there are six kinds of a Dravya. If the Jiva or soul is established in science, then there would not me much difference between the basic descriptions of science and that of jainology. This statement is significant because of the fact that, like science, Jainology also admits that the universal intelligence is exhibited through the natural properties of Dravya occupying the universe. Acceptance of eternal soul by Nobel Laureate George Wald The soul as an eternal substance or Dravya is not formally geoognized by modern science. However, several great scientists have advanced their own logic in favor of the soul. Dr. George Wald of Harvard University (USA) won the Noble Prize for medicine in 1967. He advocated the existence of the soul as a real eternal substance different from the matter and waves of Physics and Chemistry. In his words:"And as Upanishads tell us, each of us has a share in Brahman, the Atman, and the essential Self, ageless, imperishable.

Wald discussed in detail the logic behind the acceptance of the soul. For soul he used several different words, such as mind, consciousness, Atman, and essential self.

Location of Consciousness The Noble Laureate Wald argues that when light falls on his eyes he responds to it. Similarly, a photo-electrically activated door also responds to the radiations falling on it. Just as a computer does not feel elated when it beats a human player at chess, the photo-electrically activated garage door also does not know about its performance. He also Says that as far as his performance is concerned, he knows that he sees......With this assumption that he knows but a garage door or the computer does not know, he further proceeds to the light falling on the eyes of a frog. As a scientist, Wald says, he is sure that a frog reacts to the light falling on its eyes, but as a scientist he cannot prove that the frog is self-aware of its reaction. In his own words.

But I know that I see. Does a frog see? It reacts to light; so does a photo-electrically activated garage door. Does the frog know that it is reacting to light, is it self-aware? Now the dilemma: there is nothing whatever that I can do as a scientist to answer that kind of question.


The existence of the soul has been accepted in most Indian philosophical traditions as well as Western religious traditions in some form. The soul is attributed with some properties that are not found in matter or other substances. Modern science has explored the realm of the physical order of existence in great detail and is trying to explain the processes taking place in the bodies of organisms on the basis of physical laws. Modern science accepts the property of consciousness as a special characteristic of living beings, but pleads that this is an emergent property of matter in some way. This theory, however, is not able to explain all of the observed phenomena and behavior in human beings and other organisms, and scientific opinion is divided on this particular issue. Some scientists do not hesitate to accept the existence of consciousness as a property independent of matter, but they are not able to offer any experimental proof for it. According to Jainism and other Indian philosophies, consciousness is a property of the soul, and the soul, being non-physical, cannot be directly verified by experiments.

This perspective makes it very interesting to study the concepts of Jain philosophy in the light of modern science, to highlight the properties of the soul which are exclusive to it but important to understand the structure, processes and other phenomena taking place in living organisms.

The Jaina conception of Jiva (Soul) occupies the first place among the doctrines of independent soul. The Jaina view of soul appears to be older than the views of other Indian systems of thought; it was well established as the object of meditation for liberation of Lord Parshvanath in the eighth century B.C. The Jaina doctrine of the soul has not changed between long ago and the present, as happened in the Buddhist and Vedic traditions.

In Jain metaphysics the universe is comprised of six kinds of substances. Two of them, Jiva (soul) and pudgala (matter), are active substances. Soul is a sentient and matter is a non-sentient substance, and the two can combine according to defined rules. The soul is a non- corporeal, living, eternal and permanent, and fixed (constant) substance of the Cosmic Universe, having the attribute of consciousness (Chetana). Consciousness and upayoga (manifestation) are the differentia of the soul. Consciousness is the generality of the attributes that distinguish the soul from the inanimate. Intelligence (jnana) and self-awareness or awareness (darshana) are agreed to be the two main manifestations of consciousness. Consciousness in mundane souls manifests itself in several ways: intelligence, knowledge, awareness, bliss, perception (cognitive elements), emotions, will, attitude and behavior, and the awareness of pleasure and pain. Life and consciousness are coextensive: wherever there is life there is consciousness and vice versa. Soul and consciousness in Jainism refer to the same entity and each is meaningless without the other.

The mundane soul is in impure state due to its association with karma pudgala. The mundane soul exists as a system with other components in the form of the karmic (information) body, fiery (energy) body and gross material body. This impure soul experiences transformation in its state according to the rules of karma and is forced to transmigrate and assume different forms in the living realms. The soul in such existences cannot realize its true nature and is made to suffer in many ways in each birth. The only way to experience natural bliss, the inherent property of the soul, is to remove one’s impurities by shedding one’s karmic load. Jain philosophy describes the soul in great detail and deals with the methods and process of its purification. The aim of spirituality is to attain the pure state of the soul by terminating its association with the body; the aim of science is to study the body. Jain philosophy describes the relationship between the soul and body also ow to meet the spiritual needs of separating these two.

Jainism is known as scientific religion. Why? There are three possible arguments. l. Jainism, like science, recognizes nature as the fundamental principle and has no need for another supernatural power for its creation, structure and operation. The difference between science and Jainism is that science recognizes three substances (matter, space and time) in nature while Jainism admits the existence of six eternal substances.

2. In science, changes in the physical world are described by the cause and effect theory. Jainism generalized this principle and Stated that it also holds good for living systems. Thus the-cause and effect theory is a universal principle and is applicable to all orders of existence. In Jainism, the soul substance is governed by rules in a manner similar to science’s rules for matter, although the set of rules for the two substances differ.

3. Jnana is a property of the soul. The knowledge of external objects, including body(s), obtained by the manifestation of jnana is called vijnana (non-soul knowledge including science), which also is a part of the worldly soul. Vijnana is vaibhavik (other than the self)- Jnana, but it becomes a big driving force in determining the states of the soul. The working of the mundane soul is guided by both the jnana and the vijnana; therefore the performance of the soul, religion, is vaigyanik (scientific), i.e. influenced by the properties of both the self and the non-self.

Science, including modern science, studies the universe as one _ consisting of three substances (matter, space and time), at the micro and macro levels. This study, handicapped by factors like distance and the limits of the laws that govern them, is far from complete; new discoveries are being made as new methods and means are devised for study. An entirely new scenario of nature emerges when the number of substances in the universe is increased from three to SIX, as suggested in Jain philosophy. Out of these three additional substances, the soul substance interacts with matter and substantively changes the way of looking at nature.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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