We often consider ourselves as the superior-most species among the whole realm on the basis of our ability to think, plan and execute. We got termed as homo-sapiens—thinking hominids.
For a long period of time survival was the only and the greatest challenge, hence we could not explore into different things. Then gradually with the evolution of our species, when matter of survival was not the first and foremost we racked our brains into everything. From the beginning of the universe till the Doomsday. From micrology to macrology. Calculations which would need years to solve is only a matter of seconds today. We have our whole world to our palms (smart phones). A single click can lead us anywhere we wish to (World Wide Web).
Most certainly modern advancements have saved us time for self-realization too. But have we reached the point of saturation? Are we to our fullest capacity? Do we know everything? (Google Baba does may be?) Definitely not. Well according to Jainism we’re not even nearby.
Even what we know is disputable, due to the reason that our thoughts are strongly infused by our emotions and attachments.
We usually treat everything as either good or bad instead of comprehending it as it really is. A dish of pasta served between two would be delicious for one and despicable for the other. It would be their perception and not the pasta to be good or bad. In Jain technical terms it will be raga—attachment which makes it adorable for the first and it is dvesha—aversion which makes it disgusting for the latter one. So, what really is pasta? This is subject to knowledge only to the keval-jnani—the bearer of transcendental and pure knowledge of all the substances and all of their modes. Such keval-jnani who has annihilated his/her raga and dvesh through the practice of ahimsa—non-violence, samyama—self-discipline and tapa—austerity with utmost rigour can grasp the actual disposition of any substance.
The pursuit of keval-jnan through these rigorous practices cannot be a barren procedure. It’s purpose is to know the truth because the knowledge of the ultimate truth is conducive to the achievement of perfection.
This perfection is constituted by absolute freedom gained by the dissolution of all limitations and bonds, may it be of senses or of body which are all the impositions of foreign matter.
Senses have their limitations. Everything can’t be known through senses. For instance Dr. Jagdeesh Chandra Bose discovered life in plants only 119 years back whereas Jain scriptures have listed plants and vegetations in the classifications of living being as vanaspati kaya—vegetation-bodied beings as long as 2600 years back, at the time when there were no substancial laboratories or instruments of research.
The keval-jnanis have also mentioned earth—soil, salt, gravel, coal, etc,; water—rain water, oceans, fog, pond, lakes, etc.; fire—lightnings, thunders, spark, etc.; air—intermittent winds, whirling winds, etc. to be living organisms even accomplished of instincts and consciousness. Where on the other hand it does not seem to be possible, atleast till now, for science to discover life in these classifications. Even the most powerful of micro-scopes cannot find any hint of life because the bodies of earth, water, fire and air are said to be innumerable times smaller than the bodies of humans, subhumans (animals), plants and even than the science-known micro-organisms. There are plenty more scientific concepts documented in Jain scriptures by the omniscients which have also been rediscovered by modern-scientific studies. Like the concept of Unit Space and Unit Time; Dimensionless paramanu and its motion; Wave—Particle Duality; Shells or spheres around planetary bodies; Black holes and so on.
I personally do not consider science as a tool to prove my spiritual-beliefs, not do I think spirituality and science to be completely contradictory, I repeat spirituality and science not religion and science. Because spirituality and religion are different again. Religion is a platform to achieve spiritual targets but is not spirituality in itself. Even though there are several aspects of cosmology, planetary sciences, biology, etc. where glaring disagreements and found, still the firm predictions of the omniscients coming true are unquestionable because of their superior source of knowledge, where on the contrary modern science it all about assumptions and unstable theories. Yet spirituality and science are not conflicting perspectives on the world, but rather differing approaches to the same end: seeking the truth.
Here is a good news! Unlike other spiritual organizations where God or gods tend to live forever and devotees have to remain devotees till infinity, Jainism propounds everybody to be potent enough to achieve the state of supreme enlightenment through which corporeal, non-corporeal, all substances—subtle or gross with all their modes can be known. This is also the ultimate goal for every living-being irrespective of any species, caste, creed or sex because this is also the path to freedom from sorrow. Then a living-being after accomplishing the state of omniscience—keval-jnana, meets it’s so called final destination Moksha gradually by the gain of intrinsic purity resulting on account of the expulsion of all karmic matters [including (punya and papa)] and its consequences. Mission Accomplished.