SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Flügel, Peter (2008) 'Prologue.' In: Jain, Laxmi Chandra and Jaina, Prabha, (eds.), Mathematical Sciences in the Karma Antiquity. Vol.1: Gommaṭasāra (Jīvakāṇḍa) by Laxmi Candra Jain in collaboration with Prabha Jain. Jabalpur: Gulab Rani Karma Science Museaum and Shri Brahmi Sundari Prasthashram Samiti, pp. 1-15.

Text - Draft Version
Download (667kB) | Preview


This prologue to L.C. Jain's book on Mathematical Sciences in the Karma Antiquity Vol. 1 on the late 10th/early 11th century Digambara ācārya Nemicandra's work Gommaṭasāra (Jīvakāṇḍa)and Paṇḍit Ṭoḍaramala's 18th century commentary Samyagjñānacandrikā discusses current debates on the scientific content of Jain karman (action) theory. The comparison of Jaina karman theories with modern sociological theories of action and social systems theory sharpens the eye for the idiosyncracies and the blind spots of both approaches. The most striking formal similarity is that both the developed Jaina karman theory and social theory break with ordinary common sense perception by positing the real or theoretical existence of unobservable entities and processes as explanations for the changes in the phenomenal world. In this sense, both models are essentially theoretical. Yet, they are predicated on different ontologies. Social theory and karman theory explain different phenomena, or rather different aspects of the same phenomenon (action or systems of action). Professor Laxmi Chandra Jain’s pioneering work on the mathematical content of classical Jaina karman theoretical texts deals exclusively with the mathematically refined forms of what he calls the ‘karma system theoretical approach’ or the ‘biocybernetic system functionalism’ of the mathematical passages in the Digambara commentaries on the Chakkaṇḍāgama and the Kasāyapāhuḍa. The question what a unit of karma-pudgala actually represents, how this 'karmic matter' (a uniquely Jaina conception) is formed does not concern these proto-scientific texts themselves who simply presuppose the processes of karmic retribution and formation of karmic matter. The prologue also assesses current theories of the origins of the Jaina karman theory which are still not well understood.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: L.C. Jain, Jainism. Digambara Philosophy, Jaina karman theory, mathematics, Nemicandra, Labdhisāra, Gommaṭasāra (Jīvakāṇḍa),Ṭoḍaramala, Samyagjñānacandrikā, K.K. Dixit, Susuko Ohira, Klaus Bruhn
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of the Study of Religions > Centre of Jaina Studies
ISBN: 9788188981052
Copyright Statement: With the authors' permission.
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2009 12:16

Altmetric Data

There is no Altmetric data currently associated with this item.


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item