Exploring The Systems Approach For Better Understanding of Jain Religion

By Dr. S. S. Pokharna


Jain Dharma is one of the oldest and the most organized dharma. The basic philosophy is based on evolving a holistic approach for better living and achieving the highest state of the soul. i.e. moksha. However, their concept of five mahavratas, the four characteristics of a pure soul, six basic constituents of the universe, eight different types of karmas, fourteen gunasthanas describing various states of the soul, twelve vratas for the shravakas and sevel:al other quantitative measures to describe various phenomena clearly indicate the holistic vision of the Jain Acharyas. Finally the seven fold system of syadvad and anekantvada further shows, how brilliantly even the concept of description of a phenomenon has been enunciated in a holistic and quantitative way. One infers that thousands of years ago, the ancient Jain acharyas and tirthankaras had a great interest to systematize and logically organize various aspects of natural phenomena. This appears to be very similar to what is being done now in the modern science. Not only this, they even realized and recognized the importance of multi-dimensional aspects and interconnectedness of various natural phenomena.

Systems analysis can also help in better designing of systematic experiments to study the impacts of various practices and traditions of Jains like upwas, ekasana, aayambil, samayik, pratikramana, noukarsi, porsi etc. on human physiology, human psychology, one's family and the society. They are actually very similar to various control mechanism which are needed to run many machines. It is argued that regular practice of these activities help in maintaining an equilibrium or a balance in one's life.

These practices carl also dramatically improve the capacity to take better decisions in day to day life. To spread the message of Jain Dharma on a larger. scale, there is a need to institutionalize the whole system. A preliminary step could be to start a large number of educational institutions where both Jain Dharma and modern science can be taught together.

The author is a Senior Scientist at Space Application Center, Indian Space Research Organization, Ahmedabad-380015. However, this work is totally a result of his personal interest.



Source : Jain Doctors'  International Conference-2004
Shree Mahavir Jain Aradhana Kendra- Koba


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