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Wednesday, 29th November 2023



The best thing I find about this whole experience is the spirit of reflection. I have applied a handbrake on my life, and am introspecting on where I am and where I wish to go. By I, I dont just mean the body, I am now beginning to think about my soul and its own future. In fact, Jains believe that the body is mortal, but the soul is immortal. So the more we can live in 'soul-consciousness' the more we will be peaceful and happy in a sustainable way.

Fasting is actually 'food for the soul'. I find that in the lectures, I am able to absorb difficult concepts more easily, and also in the prayers, I can meditate better than before. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon preparing notes on 'Jain Science' and 'World Problems and Jain Solutions', for my friend Jinay. It is amazing that he has come from India, and is lecturing in English, but is constanlty apologetic about this language and pronounciation. How many of us can give a lecture in a language different from our own vernacular? He is doing this with humility and great courage because he wants his message to reach the young.

In preparing the notes, I discovered how 'science' has in some ways been 'racist', without admitting it. The most important area is in the form of scientific theories and philosophies. Most of these come from the western world, and have anglo-saxon cultural origins. The theories and world-views of other cultures always have to be 'defended' against modern 'science'.

What if the language of these theories is different? What if their basic paradigms are different? Are we right to say that science is 'culturally objective' and free from any bias? I doubt it. Science can be 'religious and fundamentalist' in the disguise of objectivity. A lot of science has been used in the destruction of nature - Jains start from the protection of nature as their very basis. For example, it is written in our scriptures that even after cutting a piece of fruit, we should leave it for 48 mins before eating it, to allow it to die and free it from pain.

Back to my fast. I was a little weak in the morning, but am slowly picking up my energy for the day. Very soon, I will be taking my 86 year-old father to the temple for his morning puja. Then we will together go to the lectures. Another packed festive day. No time to think of food - in fact, fasting saves time because of not eating. And it purifies the soul.

Dr. Atul Shah, Diverse Ethics

Article added on 6th September 2010 at 7:35am