There are many ways to interpret the oft-repeated cliché “Knowledge is power”.
Popularly understood, this phrase simply means that the more knowledge we have, the more powerful we become as new opportunities emerge.
Knowledge is Power:
Vidyā – Jñāna – Cetanā
In Indic philosophical systems specifically, knowledge is often referred to as vidyā, jñāna, or cetanā as Arihanta Academy’s logo indicates. It is an integral component of most any spiritually liberating path and, in addition to power, is associated with higher consciousness, awareness or intelligence. In the Jain tradition, “correct knowledge” (samyag-jñāna) is one of the three jewels (ratna-traya) comprising the path to liberation. There are five classical types of correct knowledge in Jain philosophy, of which two are necessary to enter the spiritual path, and which are thus instructed here at Arihanta Academy.
The first type of correct knowledge is empirical knowledge (mati), because in the Jain tradition, the spiritual path requires that one have correct and clear knowledge of the world. Empirical knowledge is that knowledge which comes through our sensory perception of the world. Today, the sciences rigorously apply sensory observation to the world around us to provide us with the most accurate empirical knowledge. By studying with experts from various scientific fields at Arihanta Academy – whether they be environmental, social, psychological, medical, etc. – one acquires correct empirical knowledge and thus begins to satisfy an all-too-important prerequisite that allows them to perceive the world clearly, honestly, and for what it is.
The second form of knowledge in Jain philosophy is that which comes from the study of Jain scriptures (śruta) containing the teachings of the Jinas (24 omniscient teachers of the Jain tradition). By carefully studying Jain principles such as non-violence (ahiṃsā), one’s worldview is transformed and their commitment to living a more simple, less destructive, and compassionate life is instilled.
By acquiring correct empirical knowledge (mati) and carefully studying philosophy in Jain scriptures (śruta), one is inspired with a “correct worldview” (samyag-darśana) and is thereby motivated to alter the way that they inhabit and act in the world by embodying “correct conduct” (samyak-cāritra). Together, right knowledge, worldview, and conduct comprise the three Jewels of the Jain tradition. From the ongoing cultivation of empirical and philosophical study in everyday life, one can, according to Jain teachings, eventually penetrate into deeper, more direct forms of spiritual knowledge and experience. The first step, however, is to acquire requisite empirical and philosophical knowledge, a process we strive to democratize for all here at Arihanta Academy
The images that you see in the center of the Arihanta Academy logo itself (in order from largest to smallest) are that of the sacred sounds of Hreem, Oṃ and Arhum. According to Acharya Sushil Kumar, these three sounds “symbolize knowledge of the external, the internal and the Supreme” and are themselves representative of the three jewels (ratna-traya) of the Jain tradition: correct knowledge (Arhum), correct worldview (Oṃ) and correct conduct (Hreem).
On the outermost and largest part of the logo we find the sacred sound Hreem, which represents the dense material reality in which we find ourselves. This reality is comprised of the empirical universe, nature and the five gross elements of earth, water, fire, air and space.
Inside of the Hreem and slightly smaller is the sacred syllable Oṃ, “whose positive energy,” according to Acharya Sushil Kumar, “moves in one direction to the Supreme”. Following this unidirectional movement toward the center of the logo, we thereby finally find the sacred syllable Arhum, which, Acharya Sushil Kumar tells us, “is the Arihant, the soul in its perfected state”.