Religion & Science

By Dr. D. C. Jain


It is said "Religion without science is lame and science without religion is blind".

To explain above saying, I wish to quote a story of 4 learned scholars they were expert in modern medicine. While returning back after specialized training, they saw a skeleton of a lion. One of them anatomist assembled the bone in articulate way. The second one was a physiologist. He made all organs to function. Third one was neurologist. He put consciousness into him. The fourth one was clever. He ran away from the scene, knowing the lion, once alive, will eat all of them. It actually happened. Once the life was infused into the skeletal, it became alive. He killed all the three, except the fourth one. He was saved because his scientific knowledge was backed by wisdom. It is not knowledge but wisdom that is great. It is the religion which guides.

Science alone is dangerous. In the modern age it has actually happened. Man has made weapons of mass destruction (W.M.D.). It is one day, some mad man woman will use them and will destroy this beautiful world. The only solution is to check this menace is religion of non violence. Non violence should be the supreme religion but unfortunately it has been put in the lowest category.

Second part of saying "Religion without science is lame" is also very pertinent. In the present age many religions have come up, all claiming to provide solace and liberation of soul. However most of these religions lack scientific eyes and leading the mankind to disaster. Human health is constantly threatened to be lost. AIDS, CAD, stroke, Cancer and suicides have been identified as major killers in USA. These diseases can be prevented in the human beings by avoiding alcohol, meat eating, gambling, hunting, prostitution, extramarital contacts and enjoying honey. Most of the religions consider them non-essential/ extra-core part of religion but Jainism advocates they are essential part of human happiness and religion. Following basic tenents of religion, can safely protects himself from above dreaded diseases. Thus religion without science will remain lame. Religion has exploited and will continue exploiting the mankind without the knowledge of science.

International summer school for Jain studies has started a commendable job to revive supreme religion of non violence into limelight.

The study of laws of nature is essential part of science. It does not accept an event as an act of God and Godess. Science does not believe solar and lunar eclipse as supernatural event. Science does not believe that epilepsy can be cured by smell of shoes. It does not believe birth of a child is supernatural event. It also does not believe that God decides to whom a male child or a female child should be born. It does not believe on horrors of Dracula. Once upon a time Dracula's entry was considered as entry of Death. However a medical expert took it as a challenge. He transfused the blood into the victims body and revived him to narrate the story of Dracula. How does Dracula looks like? By knowing the features, doctor realized that he is a human being with a criminal mind. He could tame him and finally killed him to free the mankind from superstitious idea. Primitive man was engendered and cradled in superstitious as he was compelled to attribute all natural phenomena to personal being like himself, who he called gods, goddesses, demons, fairies and what not. Superstition was the ubiquitous, enemy of man in the infancy of civilization. But now with the development of science, all ghosts have disappeared.

Religion, Mathematics and Astronomy - A full lecture is required to detail the value of mathematics, but I took it that it should be cultivated for the sake of mental culture. In this programme a full lecture will be delivered by Anupam Jain. I feel the vast world can be understood unless basic knowledge of mathematics is known. Jain religion describes how vast is the world. Its dimensions. How much is above, how much is below and how much is world exist on this earth. Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 of Tatavarth Sutra describe the extent of this unverse.

Religion & Physics : "Utpadavyaya dhrauvyayuktam sat". Sutra No. 30, Chapter 5
Above sutra depicts that matter does not die away. It changes its forms. One of the most famous scientist Albert Einstein put forward energy equation:
E = m c 2
E = Energy
m = Mass
c = Light velocity

Above equation explains that the matter can change into energy and energy can be converted into matter. This concept has opened up a vast treasure of atomic energy. Nature is an immense machine which does this job of conversion of energy into matter and matter into energy.

It is interesting to note that sound shadow/image is a matter and they can be stored. Photography, gramophone, compact disc, floppies of modern age are unique contributions of science based on important sutras No.24, (Chapter 5).

Religion & Chemistry : Jain religion documents that atom is smallest indivisible form of matter. "Anavah skandhasca" (Chapter 5, Sutra No. 25, 26, 27, 28, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37). How atom, molecules exist. How molecules are formed. model concepts put forward by John Daltol Bohr and others support the concept that atom is indivisible and has tremendous energy.

Religion & Zoology : Study of animal life is called zoology. There are millions of live forms. Modern zoology classifies them based on varying form of denominations namely chordate, non chordate, vertebrate, non vertebrate. Among vertebrate pieces, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals. This classification uses varying morphological, reproductive, behavioural, locomotive parameters. Single parameter is not used. However jain religion classifies them as unisensual, bisensual, trisensual, tetrasensual and pentasensual. In ths classification, all animals can easily be categorized without much difficulty. It serves useful purpose Sutra - Chpater 2, Sutra No. 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 23, 24. Reproduction among the live form is also described Chpter 2 Sutra 31, 32, 33, 34, 35. Other characteristics of these live forms, Sutra 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53.

Religion & Botony : Jain religion advocates existence of life in plants, trees, herbs, shrubs. Once upon a time majority believed that plants are lifeless. Whenever they were destroyed, deforestation resulted. Fertile land become barren. There was no rainfall. Human habitation were uprooted. Man very existence was threatened. Redwoods of California, Amygalina of Australia, the Macrocystis of Antarctic seas, the Kaveri pines of New Zealand, the talipot palms and the giant bamboos of Ceylon, the cruel carnivorous Apocymum and asoemifolium, the sensitive Mimosa pudica, the telegraph plant of (Desmodium gyrans ) of Bengal, the luminous Rhizomorpha subterranean and Agaricus gardneri, the mummy wheat of Mohenjodaro, the curious giant dwarf welwitoschia mirabilis, the umbrageous banyan, the long lived baobab, enormous parasitic Reflesia arnoldi, the Victoria regia waterlily, the beans of the Dimorphandra oliefera, and other interesting botanical products found in different parts of the world. Jain scrips provide detail account of different types of vegetations, which to be eaten and which not to be eaten. Jainism believes that plants do have feelings. Remember that a plant looks prettier and lives longer in to free plant home than in a vase indoor. You may perhaps feel sympathy with a sick rose, as William Blake did or begin to say with Wordsworth:

"And it is my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes".

Religion & Medical Science : W.H.O. definition of Health (1948): Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity.

Recent Added
A. Ability to lead a socially and economically productive life,
B. Spiritual dimention.

All above components of health can be taken care of by pursuing jain life style.

Physical well being : Jain life style envisages all good principles of physical well being. It consists of

* Physical growth
* Nutrition and dietary assessment
* Hygiene
* Normal functioning of heart, stomach, lungs, brain, eyes etc.

Jain life style pattern is designed that the infections are minimized. Food hygiene and personal hygiene has great emphasis. Personal hygiene includes daily body bath. Jainism advocates vegetarian food which is easily digestive, full of anti oxidants, sufficient in all minerals, plenty in fibre contents beside being eco friendly and economical. Jainism advocates specific time when food should be taken. It prohibits late night meals because late night meals are not digested properly. At times invisible living and non living matters spoil the food. Allergic diseases often develop because of such contamination. People taking late night meals, fall victim of constipation, piles, fissure, varicosity. They also become victim of addictions like smoking, tea and coffee, tobacco chewing.

Mental Health : A good mental health implies ability to respond to the varied life experiences both pleasant and unpleasant with flexibility and a sense of purpose.

Recently mental health has been redefined as a state of balance between the individual and the surrounding world, a state of harmony between oneself and others, a coexistence between the realities of the self and of other people and environment. 

"A sound mind lies in sound body". However unsound mind makes the body unhealthy. A number of psychosomatic illness are due to unhealthy mind.

According to Jain religion suppressed unfulfilled desires and compulsion of several kinds which mislead the individual astray. Mastering the such type of mind, one can attain highest level of emotional equilibrium. Who expert committee on mental health (1950) expressed that mental health is constantly influenced by biological and social factors. A mentally healthy individual is one who can adjust with such varying environment.

Magnitude of the problem :
500 million people are believed to be suffering from neurotic, stress induced and somatoform problems.
In addition 200 million suffer from mood disorders, such as chronic and manic depression.

Further 83 million people suffer from Metal Retardation, 30 million from epilepsy, 22 million from domestic and 16 million from schizophrenia. Suicide is extreme form of mental problem. India does not appear in the 50 to 60 countries (from the list of 192 member countries of WHO) that report suicide mortality statistics regularly to the WHO. The annual statistics for India are collected by the National Crime Records of the government. The figure available for the year 1990 was 8.9 per 100,000, a rise of more than 40% from 1978. However, in India there are large variations between the states. The mortality rate was 26.3/100,000 for Kerala, 117/100,000 for Bihar, and 50/100,000 for the Union Territory of Pondicherry. These discrepancies are possibly due to local reporting methods by the institutions. On the other hand, the field researches by independent workers provide more reliable figures. For example, the rate for the city of Jhansi was reported as 29/100,000, for a rural area in West Bengal, the mortality rate was 43.4/100,000, and for Madurai and surrounding areas, it was 43/100,000. Earlier in 1961, the estimate for Bangalore based on records was around 10/100,000. Recent epidemiological study in Bangalore yielded a figure varying from 33 to 35/100,000. These rates are five to six times higher than the national rate.

The official data on non-fatal suicidal behaviour are difficult to obtain. It is generally believed that there are 10 to 20 suicidal attempts for every completed suicide in the USA. In the elderly, more suicide attempts result in death, yielded the ratio of 7:1 to 6:1.

In the present era of stress and strains - people are often falling victims of depression, suicides, excitement, mania, violence, aggression. Number of people suffering from depression suicides is increasing steadily. Cases of aggression, mania, violence are reported in increasing number. Jain life style keeps the mind balanced. It prepares the mind of an individual to every adverse situation. Some of these principles are observing fast, pilgrimage. Every jain recites "Meri Bhavana" to keep the mind balanced. Thus he keeps the mind free from internal conflicts. He is not at war with himself. He is well adjusted i.e. he is able to get along well with others. He accepts the criticism and not easily upset. He searches for identity. He has a strong sense of self esteem. He knows himself, his needs, problems and goals. He has good self control balances rationality and emotionality. He faces problems and tries to solve them intelligently i.e. coping with stress and anxiety.

Characteristics of mentally healthy person :
1. He feels comfortable about himself. He does not under estimate, nor over-estimate his own ability. He accepts his shortcomings. He has self respect.
2. Mentally healthy person feels right towards others. He understands the problems of others. He has friendships that are satisfying and lasting. 
3. He is able to meet the demands of life. He is able to think for himself and take his own decisions. He sets reasonable goals for himself. He shoulders his daily responsibilities. He is not disturbed by his own emotions of fear, anger, love or guilt.

Signs of Unhealthy Mind :

Menninger's Criteria :

1. Always worrying.
2. Unable to concentrate because of unrecognized reasons.
3. Continuously unhappy without cause.
4. Looses temper easily and often.
5. Has Insomnia.
6. Wide fluctuations in mood from depression and elation, which incapacitable the person.
7. Continuously dislike to be with people.
8. Upset if the routine of life disturbed.
9. Gets disturbed by own children on trivial matters.
10. Always afraid without real cause.
11. Feels himself always right and other persons always wrong.
12. Has aches and pains for which no doctor can find a physical cause.

Role of Jainism in prevention of mental disorders :
"Sa gupti samiti dharamanupreksa perisahjaya caritraih"
"Samyag yoga nigraho guptih"
"Iryabhasaisanadan niksepotsargah samitiya"

Prepare the mind to face untoward situations :

1. Exposure to adverse situation of thirst, hunger, cold, heat, reward, punishment, knowledge, lack of a situation to be naked without cloths.
2. Control on speech - practice for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, ……, 1 hr, 24 hrs.
3. Control on mental desires
5. Minutes - 24 hrs - 7 days - 1 month.
4. Control of body

* How to walk
* How to sit
* How to run
* How to sleep

5. Control on food intake

* Amount to be consumed
* Hygienic condition 
* Cruelty free
* Who is feeding - emotions of the person who is offering food.
* Means of earning.

6. Training of mind from childhood to abstain from

* Meat eating
* Alcohol intake
* Honey avoidance
* Extra martial sexual contact
* Prostitution
* Gambling
* Hunting

7. Worshipping of Arihanta, Digamber Jain saints.
Most of the depressive states, excitements, manic situation can be controlled just by looking at, worshipping the Arihants, and digamber jain saints, who despite of possessing nothing walk in this would fearlessly with tremendous peace of mind.

8. Reading the Jain Scripts
It is said that "Swadhyay Paramtapa"
Reading jain scripts rebuilds the mental and moral strength of an individual during the phase of mental crises.

9. Observing the "5" Anuvartas - truth, non-violence, non-stealing, non-possessiveness, avoidance of extra marital and excessive sexual indulgence. These principles help in keeping the mind strong, fearless and healthy.

10. Helping others in period of crises
To keep the mind and body healthy one should always have helping attitude for others. It takes care of the person who is in crises and individual himself to give him a feeling of psychological gratification.

Social Well Being : Social well being implies harmony and integration within the individual, between each individual and other members of society and between individual and the world in which they live. Jainism advocate respect for all life form

"Parasparopragrah jeevanam" - Love All Serve All, Live And Let Live

It promotes harmonium co existence of human beings and animals.

Spiritual Well Being : Spiritual health refers to that part of the individual which reaches out and strives for meaning and purpose of life. It includes integrity principles and ethics, the purpose in life commitment to some higher being and belief in concepts that are not subject to "State of threat" explanation.

Jainism advocates methodology for the evolution of soul to Godhood. It envisages the principles of non violence to all forms of living and non living objects. It also emphasizes the importance of right belief, right conduct and right character. Highest goal of liberation of soul is the ultimate aim of Jainism.

Conclusion - Science and Religion co-ordination approach must be maintained. Non violence in religious affairs should be kept at highest level. Respect for lives of others, environment and ecology should be maintained. Vegetarian diet should be accepted as the best dietary habit. Use of animal product should be discouraged. Practice self restraint. Reduce needs and want as far as possible. Extra things, articles should be dispersed for the welfare of others.

Jainism is eco-friendly and promotes harmonious coexistence of human beings, animals and birds. It limits the use of our natural resources. The principle of non possessiveness and non violence can bring peace and harmony in the world.

(Dr. D.C. Jain)

References :

* Who (1959) Mental illness in the world of today - feature series, 7 April 1959
* Who(1951) Techn. Rep. ser. No. 31, Geneva
* Who(1995) The World Health Report, 1995, Report of the Director Genera WHO
* ABC of Drug Addiction - A collection of articles in the community health John Wright & Sons, Bristol, 1970
* Who(1975) A manual on Drug Dependence, Edited by J. F. Ktamer and D. C. Camerson
* Large Samuel (1962) Canada, J. Public Health 33, 413
* Reality English translation of Srimat Pujyapadacharya's Sarvarthsidhi by Prof. S. A. Jain, Jwalamalini Trust, Madras-600053, 1962
* Tatvarthsutra by Acharya Kundkundswamy
* Hints for self culture by Lala Har Dayal published by Ashwin J. Shah, Jaico Publishing House, 121-125, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Bombay-400023.
* Desjarlais R, Eisenberg L, Good B, Kleinman A. Suicide. World Mental Health : Problems and priorities in Low-income countries. New York : Oxford University Press, 1995.
* Aleem S. The Suicide : Problems and Remedies. New Delhi : Ashish, 1994.
* Shukla G. D, Verma BL, Mishra DN. Attempted suicides in Jhansi. Indian Jounal of Psychiatry 1986;28:59-62.
* Banerjee G, Nandi D. N. Nandi S, Sarkar S, Boral GC, Ghosh A. The culnerability of Indian women to suicide: a field study. Indian Journal of Psychiatry 1990;32:305-398.
* Ganapathy M. N. Venkoba Rao A. A study of suicide in Madurai. Journal of the Indian Medical Association 1971;46:18-23.
* Satyavathi K, Murti Rao DLN. A study of suicide in Bangalore. Transactions of the All India Institute of Mental Health 1961;2:1.
* Gururaj G. Mohan Isaac. An Epidemiological Study of Suicide in Bangalore : NIMHANS Publication, 2001.
* Venkoba Rao A. Depression in the aged. In : Venkoba Rao A, ed. Depressive Disease. New Delhi: Indian Council of Medical Research, 1986:152-163.



Author : Dr. D. C. Jain
Additional Director General Health Services &
Head Department of Neurology, Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi
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