Scientific Spirituality was pervasive in the discourse of Lord Mahavir. Teerthankar, who is worshipped in all three words, was then present in the Sripadma grove in Nalanda. The great jain Guru was seated on a mud Platform beneath a Kadamba tree. Maidens from nearby villages had applied cow-dung to the platform and had decorated it with fragrant flowers. Standing slightly behind him was Pattaganadhar Gautam. His face expressed inner awareness, alertness and sincerity. He was capable of understanding and executing each and every gesture of Lord Mahavir. In the front row were seated ardent sadhaks named Sudharma, Siddha Sen, Samant Bhadra, Hari Bhadra, Patra Kesari, Shri Dutt and others.
Amongst them were the emperor of Magadha Bimbasar Shrenik and empress Chelana. Pattaganadhar Gautam had tried his best to convince them to occupy special seats, but they did not agree to it. In reply they told, “Arya ! This is not a court of emperor where people are given special importance based on their wealth, status and other attainments. This is the meeting where the Tatvajnani Teerthankar is going to shower his grace. The only virtue that counts here can be nothing other than humility.” People of all walks of life were present during the meeting-scholars and uneducated; young and old; men and women. There was no restriction on age, caste, creed or sex. Each and everyone felt the Lord was theirs, someone who was as dear as their lives.
The words of Teerthankar Mahavir were like a gurgling waterfall that was flowing amidst the peaks of enthusiasm and eagerness. He was telling- “Life is not an illusion. It is in fact the most efficient medium of expression of Atman (Soul) and Sarvatma (Supreme Soul). When the equality and capability of expressing the soul increases, the beauty of life increases proportionally. The completeness in expressing the Atman ad Sarvatma is what defines the beauty of the world. It is in this that one experience bliss each moment of one’s life. The unique media of expression are noble thinking and noble actions. The more we orient towards these two, more will be the bliss and happiness experienced by us. There are five obstacles in this path. The first one is lack of discernment. The second one is lack of renunciation because of which one is entangled in attachment and hatred. The third obstacle is laziness because of which a person does not have the tendency to have noble thoughts and to do noble deeds. The fourth obstacle is mental impurity which manifests itself in the form of greed, anger, illusion etc. The last or the fifth obstacle is distortions in our thoughts, speech and actions.”
The nice and simple words of Teerthankar were entering the hearts of people and illuminating them with light. He was telling – “The methods to remove all these obstacles are: Samyak Darshan – Accepting spiritual laws and experiments wholeheartedly. Smayak Jnan – To assimilate the principles associated with those spiritual laws in their entirety. Samyak Charitra – According to this, one should mould oneself in accordance with spiritual laws and experiments such that our entire life becomes an explicit definition of spiritual science. In this state, one has the absolute experience of both existence and truth, whereas in ordinary states one can experience something relative to another.”
Sudharma could not completely grasp the meaning of these words. He sought permission to ask a question in the most polite tone and asked, “Lord! Are existence and truth absolute or relative?”
There was a lot philosophical inquisitiveness behind this question posed by Sudharma. Lord Mahavir was pleased at the question and replied, “Child! Existence and truth are both absolute as well as relative. Understand that existence is nothing but the experience of truth. Only in highest state of knowledge and in Samadhi can one completely experience the infinite powers one’s existence. Existence and truth are always relative to one another. This Sapekshwad (theory of relativity) is also called Anekantwad (polytheism).
Everybody had his/her own deserving place in the vastness of knowledge gained by him through experience. Just beside where he was seated was a mud pot. He looked at the pot, smiled and then asked Sudharma – “Tell me child! Are you able to see this container?” Sudharma replied, “Yes my Lord!” Teerthankar laughed and said, “This is one aspect of knowledge and understanding: ‘Syaat Asti’ (meaning- probably yes). Saying this, he concealed the pot behind his back and then asked Sudharma, “What does your vision say about the pot now?” Sudharma replied, “I am not able to see the pot now.” Mahavir smiled again and said- “Child! This is the other aspect of knowledge that is based on ‘Syaat Nasti’ (meaning – probably not).
After this he again asked Sudharma- Child! Are you truly confident that the pot does not exist? “Sudharma replied – Lord! My answer is both yes and no, because though I cannot see the pot, it is present somewhere.” Based on this Lord Mahavir said- “Child! This is the third aspect which is ‘Syaat Asti Nasti’ (meaning- probably yes or no).” Mahavir again asked, “Can you explain about your experience correctly?” Sudharma said that he could not explain. Teerthankar said, “This is the fourth aspect of knowledge: ‘Syaat Avyakavyam’ (meaning that truth cannot be expressed).” Everyone in the audience found this conversation between Theerthanar and Sudharma very illuminating. Lord Mahavir was smiling and then said, “Sudharma! Are you firm on your opinion?” Sudharma thought for a while and replied – “Lord! The pot is definitely present somewhere but nothing can be said correctly about it.” Mahavir did not smile now but spoke in a serious tone- “This is the fifth aspect of knowledge which is ‘Syaat Asti Cha Avayktavyam’ (meaning that truth exists but cannot be properly expressed).”
Along with Sudharma, others like Siddhasen and Samant Bhadra were also grasping the import of the discussion. Mahavir asked Siddhasen, “Child! Why don’t you tell your vision about the pot?” Siddhasen replied, “Lord! The pot is not in front of my eyes and hence nothing can be clearly told about it.” In reply, Mahavir said- “This is the sixth aspect of knowledge: ‘Syaat Naasti Cha Avyaktavyam’ (meaning that the thing is not there and nothing can be said about it).” After this he pointed to Samant Bhadra and asked – Child! Why don’t you tell something about the pot now?” Samant Bhadra hesitated a little and said – “Lord! The pot is there. But since it is not in front of my eyes, it is not there. Hence it exists and it doesn’t exist also. Nothing can be said clearly about it.” Teerthankar laughed aloud on seeing Samanta Bhadra’s hesitation and said – “This is the seventh aspect of knowledge: ‘Syaat Asti Cha Naasti Cha Avyaktavyam’ (meaning that existence and truth are both existent and non-existent and cannot be expressed properly).”
After saying thus, he became a little serious and said- “Adding ‘Syaat’ (probably) while talking about your experience of existence and its truth is representative of them being relative to each another. This relativity has seven aspects. It is only during Samadhi, the highest state of consciousness that all these Syaats vanish and one can experience this wonderful scientific principle of Syadwad or Sapekshatawad (relativity), Lord Mahavir was silent for a moment and then said- “To raise oneself above from this state of relativity and to experience existence and truth completely, one has to adopt the scientific knowledge and techniques of Yogic science given by our rishis.”
– Pioneers of Scientific Spirituality ( Dr. Pranav Pandya )