Structural View of the Universe
Jain Philosophy does not give credence to the theory that the God is
a creator, survivor, or destroyer of the universe. On the contrary,
it asserts that the universe has always existed and will always exist
in exact adherence to the laws of the cosmos. There is nothing but
infinity both in the past and in the future.
The world of reality or universe consists of two classes of objects:
|Living Beings||Conscious, Soul, Cheta, or Jiva|
|Non-living Objects||Cunconscious, Achetan, or Ajiva|
Non living objects are further classified into five categories:
|Time||Kal or Samay|
|Medium of Motion||Dharmastikay|
|Medium of Rest||Adharmastikay |
The five non living entities together with the living being,
totaling six are aspects of reality in Jainism. They are known as
six universal entities, or substances or realities.
These six entities of the universe are eternal but continuously
undergo countless changes. During the changes nothing is lost or
destroyed. Everything is recycled into another form.
Concept of Reality
A reality or an entity is defined to have an existence, which is
known as Sat or truth.
Each entity continuously undergoes countless changes. During this
process the old form (size, shape etc.) of an entity is destroyed,
the new form is originated. The form of a substance is called
In the midst of modification of a substance, its certain qualities
remain unchanged (permanence). The unchanged qualities of a
substance are collectively known as Dravya.
Hence, each entity (substance) in the universe has three aspects:
Origination - Utpada
Destruction - Vyaya
Permanence - Dhruvya
Both Dravya (substance) and Paryaya (mode or form) are inseparable
from an entity.
The same principle can be explained differently as follows:
An entity is permanent (nitya) from the standpoint of its attributes
or qualities (Dravya). This is known as Dravyarthik naya.
An entity is transient (anitya) from the standpoint of its form or
modification (Paryaya). This is known as Paryayarthik naya.
The modification that an entity undergoes either naturally or
artificially is nothing but the transformation of its various shapes,
sizes, and forms.
A natural description of reality takes into consideration these three
Permanence in the midst of change
Identity in the midst of diversity
Unity in the midst of multiplicity
A human being through the process of growth undergoes various
changes, such as childhood, youth, and old age. These changes are
the natural modifications.
- Childhood, youth, and old age are transient forms known as Paryaya
- Soul of a living being is permanent and known as Dravya
Clay is molded by a potter into a pot. Gold is crafted by a
goldsmith into various ornaments. These changes are artificial
modifications of the nonliving substances.
Ornaments and pot are transient forms known as paryaya
Gold and clay are permanent and known as dravya
While undergoing various modifications, either natural or artificial,
the basic dravya of a substance remains unchanged and is permanent.
Six Universal Substances
As explained above Jainism believes that the universe is made from
the combination of the six universal substances. All of the six
substances are indestructible, imperishable, immortal, eternal and
continuously go through countless changes.
|Soul of Consciousness||Jiva||Living Being|
|Medium of Motion||Dharma||Nonliving Being|
|Medium of Rest||Adharma||Nonliving Being|
|Time||Kal or Samay ||Nonliving Being |
Soul (Jiva) or Living Being
Soul's essential characteristic is consciousness. This is the only
knowing substance. It possesses knowledge, vision, power, and bliss.
It also possesses the property of contraction and expansion like
that of light. They are of innumerable numbers. Living being can
not be created or can not be destroyed. The total number of living
beings remains same in the entire universe at all the time. All
living beings are classified into two major categories.
Liberated or Free (Mukta) Soul:
Liberated or Free soul is defined as a pure consciousness, a soul
that has completely exhausted all of its karma. It is also known as
Siddha. All Siddhas are defined as Gods in Jainism. All
Tirthankaras and other Arihants become Siddhas at the end of their
human life (death). Liberated soul has the following qualities:
Worldly (Samsari) Soul:
Infinite or perfect Knowledge
Infinite or perfect Vision
Infinite or perfect Power
Infinite or perfect Bliss
Does not possess a body
Lives in Moksha, which is located on the top of Lokakas.
Never returns again into the cycle of birth, life, and death
Innumerable in numbers
Worldly soul is defined as a soul that is covered by the karma
particles. Hence it qualities are changed from the liberated soul as
Possesses a body (plants, hellish, animal, human, or angel)
Wanders into the cycle of life and death
Suffers from birth, death, pain, and pleasure
Doer of all kinds of karmas (actions)
Enjoyer of the fruits of the karmas
Innumerable number of worldly souls
Capable of becoming free from worldly life
Worldly souls are divided according to the number of senses they
possess. There are total five senses; touch, taste, smell, sight,
and hearing a living being may possess.
One sense (Ekendria) living being:
Possesses one sense only - touch.
- It cannot move own its own accord
- They are subdivided into five categories:
- Soul possesses Earth as its body - Prithvikaya
- Soul possesses Water as its body - Apakaya
- Soul possesses Fire as its body - Agnikaya
- Soul possesses Air as its body - Vayukaya
- Soul possesses Vegetable as its body - Vanaspatikaya
The living beings of vegetables are further classified into two
- Pratyek Vanaspatikaya - Individual soul has its own body of
vegetable (e.g. Cabbage, Okra, Banana, Tomato)
- Sadharan Vanaspatikaya - Many souls share one body of vegetable (e.g. Potato, Onion (root vegetables))
Two sense (Be indriya) living being:
Possesses two senses - touch and taste
- e.g. worms, leeches
Three sense (Tre indriya) living being:
Possesses three senses - touch, taste, and smell
- e.g. ants,
Four sense (Chau indriya) living being:
Possesses four senses - touch, taste, smell, and sight
Five sense (Panch indriya) living being:
Possesses five senses - touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing
- e.g. animals, birds, human, heavenly and hellish beings, etc.
A soul with one to four senses does not a possess mind. A soul with
five senses may or may not possess a mind.Matter (Pudgala):
Matter is a nonliving substance. It is the only substance which
possesses physical body consisting of mass and volume. Its qualities
are as follows:
Possesses physical body
Have senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing)
Does not have consciousness
Does not have any knowledge
Are of infinite number
The smallest particle of matter is known Parmanu (atom). It occupies
only one unit of space called Pradesa.
There are four divisions of matter:
Skandha (whole matter):
- Any object, which has a mass of matter
- e.g. stick, stone, knife, a particle of sand
Skandha desa (portion of matter):
- A part, portion, or division. An undetached portion of
skandha is called skandha desa. When a part of the skandha
(skandha desa) is separated from the whole, it also becomes
- e.g. A hand of a statue is known as a skandha desa but when
separated from the statue is known as skandha.
Skandha pradesa (smallest particle of matter):
- The smallest undetached portion of skandha, which cannot be further
Karma or Karmic Matter (Karma Pudgala): Karma is one of the categories of matter. It is known as karmic
matter (karma pudgala). Karma particles are of very fine matter not
perceptible to the senses. The entire universe is filled with such
karmic matter.Every living being is covered by karmic matter from the beginning of
time. It is the karmic matter that keeps the soul away from
realization of its true nature. It is due to karma one feels
pleasure and pain, reincarnates in the different form of life,
acquires certain types of physical body, and the duration of life.Medium of Motion (Dharma):
Paramanu or Anu (atom):
- When the smallest portion of the matter is separated from its
skandha, it is called paramanu or anu. Parmanu matter can not be
further sub divided, cut, or pierced.
Jainism considers the Medium of Motion a nonliving substance. Its
primary function is to help in the movement of soul and matter. It
possesses the following qualities:
Medium of Rest (Adharma):
Helps in the movement of soul and matter
Does not possess senses, color, or body
Does not have a consciousness or knowledge
Exists in the entire universe (Lokakas)
- e.g. Water provides a medium for fish to move
Jainism considers the Medium of Rest a nonliving substance. Its
primary function is to help to rest the movement of soul and matter.
It possesses the following qualities:
Helps to rest soul and matter
Does not possess senses, color, or body
Does not have consciousness or knowledge
Exists in the entire universe (Lokakas)
- e.g. People rest in the shade of a tree
Space provides room to all other substances of the universe. Its
qualities are as follows:
Space is divided into two parts:
Provides room to soul, matter, medium of motion, and medium of rest
Pervades everywhere (infinite)
Supports everything and thus it is self supported
Have no form, color, taste, smell, and touch
Does not perform any active action (inactive)
Provides accommodation to soul and matter of their actions
Is one and whole
Lokakas - Where medium of motion and rest substances exist
Alokakas - The remaining space, which is empty and void
Height of Lokakas = 14 rajlok or rajju
The volume of Lokakas = 343 cubic rajlok or rajju (Digambar)
The volume of Lokakas = 239 cubic rajlok or rajju (Swetambar)
The Alokakas is infinite.
Units of Measurements
1 Danda or Bow = 6 feet
2000 Danda or Bow = 1 Kosha
4 Kosha = 1 Yojan (approx. 9.0 miles)
1000 Yojans = 1 Mahayojan
1 Rajju or Rajlok = approx.1.15 x 1021 miles
One Rajju or Rajlok is defined as:
Time (Kal or Samaya):The changes in living being and non living substances (from one
paryay to another paryay of a substance) are measured in the units of
time. However time is not the cause of such changes.There are two views that exist in Jainism with regards to time:
- A deva flies in six months at a rate of 2,057,152 Yojan in one samay
(where samay is a unit of time = approx. 1/4 second). -OR-
- The distance traveled in six months by a ball of iron weighing 1,000
bhar or tolas (@ 25 lbs) let fall freely from Indralok (heaven).
The smallest indivisible portion of time is called Samaya.
Combination of samayas are called moment, second, minute, hour, day,
month, year, etc.
- Time is an imaginary thing; it has no real existence.
- Time has a real existence consisting of innumerable time atoms.
|Innumerable samayas||One avali (time required to blink an eye)|
|16,777,216 avalis||One muhurt (48 minutes)|
|30 muhurts||One day|
|15 days||One fortnight|
|2 fortnights||One month|
|12 months||One year|
|5 years||One Yuga|
|8,400,000 x 8,400,000 years||One Purva (70,560,000,000,000 years)|
|Innumerable years||One Palyopama*|
|10 x 10,000,000 x 10,000,000 Palyopamas||One Sagaropama|
|10 x 10,000,000 x 10,000,000 Sagaropamas||One Avasarpini or Utsarpini (Half Cycle)|
|20 x 10,000,000 x 10,000,000 Sagaropamas||One Time Cycle|
*One Palyopama = The time required to empty Sixty Four cubic Gau (512 cubic miles)
deep well completely filled with hairs of a seven day old newly born
baby and one hair is removed every 100 years.
Time is a continuous Cycle of Decline Era (Avasarpini kal) and Rise
Era (Utasarpini kal). During declining era, human virtues, natural
conditions decline over the time, while during rising era, improve
over the time.
Each era is divided into six parts. The duration and the name of its
part is defined as follows:
Six parts of Declining Era (Avasarpini) Time Cycle:
|1. Happy - Happy||4 x 1014 Sagaropamas|
|2. Happy||3 x 1014 Sagaropamas|
|3. Happy - Unhappy||2 x 1014 Sagaropamas|
|4. Unhappy - Happy||1 x 1014 Sagaropamas|
|5. Unhappy||21,000 years (present Era passed at 2,500 years)|
|6. Unhappy - Unhappy||21,000 years|
Six parts of Rising Era (Utsarpini) Time Cycle:
|1. Unhappy - Unhappy||21,000 years|
|2. Unhappy||21,000 years|
|3. Unhappy - Happy||1 x 1014 Sagaropamas|
|4. Happy - Unhappy||2 x 1014 Sagaropamas|
|5. Happy||3 x 1014 Sagaropamas|
|6. Happy - Happy||4 x 1014 Sagaropamas|