Jainism: Basic Jain concept of the Universe
Siddha Shila and Lokapurusha
Manushyaloka, Map of the Human World
Jainism: The eternal and finite Universe
The Universe is eternal entity according to Jainism. It is never created hence beginningless. According to Jainism beginningless substances are also endless. Hence, the universe is eternal.
Most of the religions and philosophies believe that the universe has a beginning and a creator God has created the Universe. However, Jainism does not believe in a creator God and the concept of Universe in Jainism is self-supported. This is the unique concept of Jainism that also matches by and large with modern sciences and astronomy.
Another unique concept of Jainism is that the Universe is finite. No other philosophy or religion speaks of a finite universe. Even the astronomers and modern scientists were speaking of an infinite universe till Einstein came into the picture with his Theory of relativity.
Albert Einstein proved that the universe is finite using his theory of relativity. He also told that no one could get out of universe due to its special curvature hence it is unlimited. Einstein was the first one to differentiate between an unlimited and infinite universe. Jain texts clearly speak of a finite universe at various places.
Jain texts also speak of change phenomenon of the universe. Though eternal, the universe is constantly and continually changing. This is the law of impermanence. The catch, difficult to conceive is, it is permanently impermanent. In other words, it is constantly changing.
I will describe the philosophy and science behind this theory in next paragraphs.
Understanding the universe according to modern science
The Universe is made of Six substances
The universe is consist of six basic substances according to Jainism. These basic substances are
These six basic substances are called Shad Dravya in Jain texts and Jain terminology where Shad means six and Dravya mean substance.
I will try to define these six substances suit to modern terminologies.
The first one is Dharmastikaya. It is the substance that helps as a catalyst or media for Pudgala (Matter) and Jeeva (Soul) in traveling.
It is to be noted that Dharmastikaya is only a media. It neither provokes or motivates any substance to move from a place to place nor it supplies energy for the same. "Kriya" (Movement) is an internal quality of two substances Pudgala and Jeeva and when these substances start traveling due to their own motion Dharmastikaya work as media. It is a mass-less, colorless and invisible substance. Dharmastikaya resembles"Ether" of modern sciences.
Adharmastikaya is just opposite to Dharmastikaya. It helps Pudgala and Jeeva to rest. Other properties are similar to Dharmastikaya.
When Jeeva and Pudgala are in rest Adharmastikaya becomes the vehicle for that and while in motion Dharmastikaya. There is no similar substance described in the modern sciences, however, it can be somehow compared with the field.
Now I will discuss Akashastikaya (Space) according to Jain philosophy. Akashastikaya provides space to live into all other substances. Akasha is infinite and divided into two parts Lokakasha and Alokakasha. Lokakasha is finite and Alokakasha is infinite. All five other substances dwell in the Lokakasha only. There is nothing except Akasha or space in the Alokakasha. Hence, Alokakasha of Jainism is an absolute void.
The entire Universe remains within the Lokakasha according to Jainism. It is clearly depicted in ancient Jain texts that the Lokakasha is finite and gives space to dwell to all other five substances i.e. Dharmastikaya, Adharmastikaya, Pudgalastikaya, Jeevastikaya, and Kala.
Jeevastikaya is the soul. This is the only substance among all six that is living and has wisdom which is referred as Chetana or Upayoga. The goal of mundane souls is to be liberated and to attain Moksha or Nirvana. This is the purpose of spirituality in Jainism.
Pudgalastikaya refers to the matter of modern sciences. This is the only substance that can be experienced through our senses and various machines. It has mass and color, Both matter and energy are Pudgalastikaya. Modern sciences and technologies mainly deal with Pudgalastikaya.
Kala is the sixth substance that refers to time. It is divided into three as past, present and future. Kala or time is the catalyst to all changes in substances.
Travel the universe
Jain universe quiz
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Space-time and Jainism
The universe was considered as three-dimensional till Einstein. Einstein advocated the four-dimensional theory of the universe. The fourth dimension included was the time. According to the theory of relativity three dimensions can not exist without the fourth dimension time. Similarly, Jain texts depict that everything in the universe can be manifested with Kala (time) only.
Five other Astikaya manifest themselves through time frame. Hence, Jain theory of universe fits in the space- time diagram framework of Einstein.
There is no time or other substances in the Alokakasha according to Jainism. This specifically informs us that there is no dimension except space. Hence this is beyond the universe. Though there is an infinite space, no matter or soul can get out from the Lokakasha to an infinite journey to Alokakasha because of the absence of Dharmastikaya, the media of movement.
Einstein, in his general theory of relativity, has claimed that no matter or energy can get out of this finite universe because of its special curvature. And, he advocated for a finite universe.
Jain theory about the universe is very similar to the general theory of relativity of Einstein.
Space- time diagram of Universe expansion
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