Chairs of BMIRC
- Anthropological study of Jain Sculptures and Monuments
- Critical Interpretation of Jain myths
- Textual criticism of Jain Manuscripts
- Comparative study of Jain and Hindu Mysticism
- Jainism in Maurya Empire
- Jainism in Mughal Empire
- Jainism in British Empire
- Political philosophy in Jain Literature
- Elements of Psycho-analysis in Jainism
- Formal logic in Jainism
- Scientific interpretation of Cognitive abilities in Jainism
- Treatment of cognitive distortion through Jain Principles
- Creativity and Jainism
- Number theory in Jainism
- Mathematical and Scientifical ideas in Jain Karma Theory
- Metaphysics and physics in Jainism
- Scientific concept of consciousness in Jainism
Jainism is one of the oldest religions and philosophical streams of the world. It was born and flourished with many other religions in India and has great influence on other religions. Jain philosophy encompasses all aspects of life. At personal level it enables one to keep healthy by dietary control and self discipline, mentally alert and peaceful by meditational techniques and provides methods to develop one’s consciousness to higher stage leading to enlightenment. At social level, Jain philosophy provides ways to live in harmony, not within human society but also amongst all living creatures through non violence, tolerance, forgiveness and by minimizing ones requirements.
As far as scientific content of Jainism is concerned, it was the first religion to propound non-creationism. It emphasized that the Universe is without beginning or end and it exists forever through its ‘svabhava’ (by natural laws). Its supreme tenet of ‘ahimsa’ (non-injury to all sorts of living beings from smallest insects to the most developed human beings) made its ancient scholars to study the biosphere thoroughly. It came very near to modern science as regards connection between organic and inorganic matter by venturing to predict some sort of living organism in earth-bodied, water-bodied, air-bodied and fire-bodied living organisms. Much of these practices are traditional, passed from one generation to the other or are taken from scriptures or propagated by Jain saints and have little proof of their effectiveness.
Human beings are the most evolved creatures on this planet. Brain is the centre of the human nervous system and is highly complex organ. It has virtually unlimited power to function to do. Its working, changes with environment and improvement with meditation and other religious practices are current areas of research across the globe. In the living brain, millions of nerve cells communicate with each other by emitting tiny electrical impulses. In this way, the brain is active night and day throughout one’s life. Brain neocortex is actively involved in emotion and social behaviour processing. With the mushrooming of the cortex, we started to entertain alternatives of our own rather than nature’s making. We can choose to enjoy fear. We can choose to make art of our loneliness. Most other animals have no such options. Affectively, we can choose to be angels or devils, and we can construct or deconstruct ideas at will. We can choose to present ourselves in ways that are different from the ways we truly feel.
Human beings are social animals, and the tenor of our social life is one of the most important influences on our mental health. Without positive, durable relationships, both our minds and our bodies fall apart. Our survival as a species similarly hinges on our capacity for social living. Social intelligence is the key to a satisfying life. Those people who are self aware and sensitive to others manage their affairs with wisdom and grace, even in adverse circumstance. It is claimed to be positively related to academic achievement, occupational success and satisfaction and emotional health and adjustment.
A rich supply of afferent projections from the association cortex in brain provides the amygdaloid complex with visual, somato-sensory, auditory and viscero-sensory information. In addition, the amygdaloid complex has dense, reciprocal connections with hypothalamus and several brainstem nuclei, which allow it to coordinate a wide range of autonomic responses. These anatomic pathways suggest that amygdala plays a role in mediating emotion, personality, and other psychological processes. Humans have the capacity to influence the electrochemical dynamics of their brains, by voluntarily changing the nature of their mental processes. Involuntary social brain consists of orbitofrontal cortex, superior temporal gyrus, amygdala thalami, hypo- and subthalamic areas and brainstem. Voluntary’ (or a self-driven) system originates in the premotor/frontal areas and leads through the motor cortex and pyramidal tract to the ventral brainstem. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is implicated in executive control and working memory, whereas orbito-frontal cortex has been associated with emotional and affective processing. The right hemispheric system plays an executive role in modulating attention and vigilance in anxiety, especially in anxious arousal (e.g. panic and fear).
One of the important components of Jainism at personal level is meditation. In essence, meditation is an ancient Eastern tradition and its different forms are being practiced in most of the world’s religions. It is considered a way of life with various benefits. However, it was the teaching of religious gurus and was believed by his disciples and general public. Lack of physical evidences is responsible for its diminishing acceptance and popularity.
Meditation reverses the roles of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems so that the normally dominant sympathetic nervous system takes a back seat to the normally secondary parasympathetic nervous system. Over the last three decades, the study of brain function has witnessed a pivotal change with focus on localization of specialized brain areas and their functional networks.
Recent scientific research is trying to resolve many facts and doubts associated with meditation. Various modalities adopted to investigate meditation are psychosocial evidences (through questionnaire), biochemical and hormonal assays, imaging techniques (CT, fMRI, SPECT, PET, etc) and electrophysiological studies (EEG, evoked potentials, galvanic skin resistance, etc). All these techniques have their own merits and limitations. Identifying these changes with modern techniques will provide a physical model to meditation.
Many studies over past three decades have demonstrated direct, positive, physiological and psychological long term changes as a result of practicing meditation. Benefits have been demonstrated even with short term practice meditation. Studies on meditation have linked positive therapeutic impact on many diseases such as chronic pain, cardiovascular diseases, obsessive compulsive disorders, anxiety and panic disorder, dermatological disorders and symptoms of distress for cancer patients. Several investigations have been made on Preksha Meditation (PM) too. The results acquired by these studies reveals that PM too has optimistic impact on human body and mind. Positive benefits have been recorded for cardiac and respiratory variables and cardiovascular functions and blood profile. PM has been beneficial in many aspects of emotional and mental health. PM have also shown to have therapeutic benefits on many diseases such as diabetes, anxiety, delinquent behavior, adolescent and childhood asthma. Thus many of the personal, social, environmental and international problems can be resolved by taking recourse to Jainism.
Inspite of many studies in India and abroad, systematic and scientific studies demonstrating the qualitative and quantitative change in brain are lacking. Different components of meditation and other religious practices on brain functions and on other body systems have not been adequately addressed. In addition there is a need for standarisation of meditation techniques and recording of data. Thus it is essential to document scientifically the effects of the Jain practices in the modern language to be acceptable. There is an urgent need to start study and research initiative on Jainology and make its benefits available to the mankind. We must plan for an organized research on scientific lines on various spheres of Jainology, reinterpret them in current colloquial language, bring out their benefits in a quantitative way, apply them in daily life and compare them with concepts in science, using modern scientific tools.
There are a large number of manuscripts on mathematics and science awaiting light of the day. Jain Vishva Bharati, with a rich Library on Indology and Jainology is willing to undertake research in Jain Mathematics and Science on the backdrop of contemporary science and modern science. It can garner suitable faculty for guiding such research by virtue of its contacts for its existing programmes.
To scientifically analyse and validate concept of Jainism and other religion and philosophies.
- Evolution of animal kingdom including human
- Evolution of brain across the ages
- View of Jainism vs Darwin and other current scientific knowledge
- Concept of brain and mind in religion and current scientific perspective
- Comparative study of different types of meditation etc.
- Evolution theories of aging;
- Aging in human across the globe in historical perspective.
- comparative study of different types of meditation etc.
Assessment of brain and other body functions is based physiological (EEG, autonomic, ECG, Respiratory etc), psychological, imaging (fMRI, SPECTS, Doppler blood flow studies etc), biochemical and hormonal parameters, and genetic studies. Initially we will concentrate on electrophysiological including autonomic functions and psychological functions.
A modern laboratory facility will be set up during 2015-2018 .The Laboratory building will be provided by JVBI but it has to be converted into a laboratory by making it dust proof, temperature control etc. Three labs are envisaged for biology, medical science, and bio-chemistry. Only elementary instruments which are commonly used will be set up in these laboratories for use by scholars. More advanced machines will be used in other institutions, wherever they are available on payment basis.
- Regular camps for 7-10 days for Preksha meditation are held at JVBI complex. These subjects will be evaluated for “Short Term Effects of Meditation”.
- Students of Kalu Kanya Mahavidyalaya will be motivated for PM training and will be evaluated for “Effects of Meditation at 2 and 4 Months”.
- Expert meditators e.g. teachers of meditation.
- Meditation done at centres outside Ladnun.
- Enhancing Ahimsa & Peaceful Coexistence Through Spiritual Practices: I. Psycho-biological Studies to Investigate Effects of Yoga and Preksha Dhyan on Aggressiveness and Academic Performance of School Children.
- Preksha Meditation and Health of Elderly.
- To Review Karma Theory using Scientific Methodology of Radionics.
Somatic diseases: e.g. sleep disturbances, headache, intelligence, control of hypertension & reversal of atherosclerosis, control of diabetes, respiratory diseases, irritable bowel syndrome.
Psychological disorders: behavioural problems, stress related problems, inadequate school performance, inadequate job performance.
- Medical Ethics in Jainism
- Meditation and Ethics
- Human Rights in Jain Philosophy
- Gender Equality in Jainism
- Jainism and Business Ethics
There have been considerable amount of work on Jain philosophy, religion and languages. In comparison, social scientific studies of the Jain community and its various aspects, namely demography, social organization, economic and occupational structure, migration in India and abroad, political participation, Jain ethics and the way of life, inter-ethnic relations with Hindus, Muslims and other communities, etc have been few and far between. With rare exceptions, not a single Jain academic institution in India is devoted to carry out research on these themes from the perspectives of social science disciplines such as anthropology/sociology, demography, history, political science, psychology, ethics, environmental science, etc. Undoubtedly, the Jains are the least researched community in India. Clearly there is an urgent need for identifying the knowledge gaps in the social scientific studies of the Jain community as well as religion. The Jain community and its leadership, both sacred and secular, need to be sensitized to the importance of the Jain social studies. Before it is too late, a well thought out strategy by Jain research institutions, associations, business houses and NGOs to plan and execute social science research projects on the Jain community is the need of the hour.The lack of specialists and funds appear to be the major stumbling blocks in this regard. But then, for a relatively prosperous community like the Jains it should not be difficult to overcome such hurdles. In this regard, the Jains can certainly learn a lesson or two from the Jews who constitute one of the most researched communities in the world.
Jainism is often considered an “other worldly” religion which puts great emphasis on asceticism and salvation. This is however only one side of the coin -- the other being the fact that Jainism equally emphasizes the “in worldly” things, the individual wellbeing and human welfare in society. The Jain religious values and ethics, especially ahimsa, aparigraha and the philosophical doctrines of karma, anekantvaad and syadvaad are all gheared to a better social as well as individual life.It is often said, particularly by non-Jain scholars that it is very difficult to practice Jain way of life. Most Jains however believe that Jainism, with its four-fold organization of followers, provides a very positive, meaningful and practical approach for Jains to live a peaceful, happy, prosperous and socially sensitive and involved community life.
It is also maintained that Jain philosophy lays more emphasis on personal conduct and practices and less on social and political aspects. This is perhaps for two reasons. First, the former is important from the point of view of liberation whereas the latter is not so significant. Second, the social and political behavior is ultimately rooted in personal conduct and therefore by specifying rules for personal behavior the social and political aspects are essentially taken care of. Another fact is that the social and political systems are society dependent and vary from one society to another. Therefore Jain Acharyas insisted only on personal code and left the social and political codes open to be decided by shravakas depending on the circumstances, for instance such codes could be different in India and USA. Ethics are also society based and are seen to vary say in East and West.
The question is what is the relationship between Jain code of conduct and (i) quality of life (ii) social system (iii) political system (iv) ethical system (v) family life (vi) social structure and conduct, etc. leaving aside the goal of liberation.
I think these questions need to be addressed in the research plan for the Center. We must know what is the role of prescribed Jain practices and codes in the above context and to what extent they are helpful in creating a healthy family, healthy society and a healthy world. What is the present status and what is required to be done to see that the prescribed codes achieve what they are supposed to do. Field studies and carefully planned experiments can generate information to assess the effectiveness of Jain ideas in social, national and global context and validate the philosophy propounded by Arihants.
To establish a premiumacademic center for promoting research and studies on Jain ethical principles and their assumed and potential impact on environmental, and social issues in India and abroad.
The following are the major objectives of the chair on Ethics, Environment and Social Sciences :
- To revisit the ancient and medieval Jain texts on ethical code of conduct and their relevance for modern times.
- To study and analyze the Jain ethical principles in relation to the present-day environmental issues.
- To analyze the impact of Jain doctrines of ahimsa, aparigraha and anekant on the evolution of Jain communities in India and abroad.
- To study from various social sciences perspectives a whole range of demographic, educational, economic, socio-cultural, political and allied issues faced by the Jain community in India.
- Promote publication of hitherto unpublished texts on Jain ethics.
- Research activities in the Unit would continue on a regular basis throughout the year subject to the availability of funds and other resources at JVBI, Ladnun.
- Award of Visiting Professorship/ Fellowship would be based on the submission of a 500-words research proposal/ synopsis which is to be approved by the research committee of the Unit/ Center.
- During the last week of the tenure of fellowship, scholars would be required to give a seminar on the topic of his/her work.
- Scholars would be required to submit the final draft of his/ her work within 2 months from the date of completion of the fellowship.
- Appropriate arrangement would be made by the Center to get these papers/ monographs published.
The following themes/topics will be considered for comprehensive academic studies and research :
- Ethical principles of Jainism
- Jain Ethics in comparative perspectives
- Ahimsa and the Evolution of the Jain community in India
- Jain Ethics and the Environmental issues
- Jain ways of life in India and abroad
- Jain population and demography, migration and diaspora
- Jain education – sacred and secular
- Jains in Indian economy – regional variations
- Jain business ethic, Jain enterprises and entrepreneurship
- Jain social work and philanthropy
- Historical Studies – national. regional, city
- Indian politics and Jain participation
- Jainism, sects and monastic/social organization
- Jain law and the status of Jain women
- Modernization, consumerism and life style changes
- Health surveys of Jain population
- Jain psychology and Jain personality
- Jain pilgrimage, tourism, entertainment, sports and leisure-time activities
- Jains in Society: Inter-ethnic relations in India.