Jain cosmology_

 considers the loka, or universe, as an uncreated entity, existing since infinity, having neither beginning nor end.
This Universe is made up with dravya or reals or substances (such as living beings, matter, space, time etc.)  is based on seven (sometimes nine, with subcategories).
The first two truths or fundamental principles also known as tattva or navatattva, are the two ontological categories of the soul jīva and the non-soul ajīva, namely the axiom that they exist.
The third truth is that through the interaction, called yoga, between the two substances, soul and non-soul, karmic matter flows into the soul (āsrava), clings to it, becomes converted into karma and the fourth truth acts as a factor of bondage (bandha), restricting the manifestation of the consciousness intrinsic to it.
The fifth truth states that a stoppage (saṃvara) of new karma is possible through asceticism through practice of right conduct, faith and knowledge. An intensification of asceticism burns up the existing karma – this sixth truth is expressed by the word nirjarā.
The final truth is that when the soul is freed from the influence of karma, it reaches the goal of Jaina teaching, which is liberation or mokṣa.
Some authors add two additional categories: the meritorious and demeritorious acts related to karma (puṇya and pāpa). These nine categories of cardinal truth, called navatattva, form the basis of entire Jain metaphysics. The knowledge of these reals is essential for the liberation of the soul.
Jīva_Living Substances_
Jainism believes that the souls exists as a reality, having a separate existence from the body that houses it. It is characterised by chetana (consciousness) and upayoga (knowledge and perception). Though the soul experiences both birth and death, it is neither really destroyed nor created. Decay and origin refer respectively to the disappearing of one state of soul and appearing of another state, these being merely the modes of the soul.
Ajīva_Non-Living Substances_
is classified as solid, liquid, gaseous, energy, fine Karmic materials and extra-fine matter i.e. ultimate particles. Paramāṇu or ultimate particle is the basic building block of all matter. One of the qualities of the Paramāṇu and Pudgala is that of permanence and indestructibility. It combines and changes its modes but its basic qualities remain the same. According to Jainism, it cannot be created nor destroyed.
Dharma-dravya_Principle of Motion_ and
Adharma-dravya_Principle of Rest_
Dharmastikāya and Adharmastikāya are distinctly peculiar to Jaina system of thought depicting the principle of Motion and Rest. They are said to pervade the entire universe. Dharma and Adharma are by itself not motion or rest but mediate motion and rest in other bodies. Without Dharmastikāya motion is not possible and without Adharmastikāya rest is not possible in universe.
is a substance that accommodates the living souls, the matter, the principle of motion, the principle of rest and time. It is all-pervading, infinite and made of infinite space-points.
is a real entity according to Jainism and all activities, changes or modifications can be achieved only through the progress of time.


Asrava (influx) refers to the influence of body and mind causing the soul to generate karma. It occurs when the karmic particles are attracted to the soul on account of vibrations created by activities of mind, speech and body.
The karmas have effect only when they are bound to the consciousness. This binding of the karma to the consciousness is called bandha. However, the yoga or the activities alone do not produce bondage. Out of the many causes of bondage, passion is considered as the main cause of bondage. The karmas are literally bound on account of the stickiness of the soul due to existence of various passions or mental dispositions.
Pāpa_spiritual demerit and Punya_spiritual merit_
are counted among the fundamental reals. But in Tattvārthasūtra the number of tattvas is seven because both punya and papa are included in āsrava or bandha. Both punya and papa are of two types — dravya type (physical type) and a bhava type (mental type).
is stoppage of karma. The first step to emancipation or the realization of the self is to see that all channels through which karma has been flowing into the soul have been stopped, so that no additional karma can accumulate. This is referred to as the stoppage of the inflow of karma (saṃvara). There are two kinds of saṃvara: that which is concerned with mental life (bhava-saṃvara), and that which refers to the removal of karmic particles (dravya- saṃvara). This stoppage is possible by self-control and freedom from attachment. The practice of vows, carefulness, self-control, observance of ten kinds of dharma, meditation, and the removal of the various obstacles, such as hunger, thirst, and passion stops the inflow of karma and protect the soul from the impurities of fresh karma.
is the shedding or destruction of karmas that has already accumulated. Nirjarā is of two types: the psychic aspect of the removal of karma (bhāva-nirjarā) and destruction of the particles of karma (dravya-nirjarā). Karma may exhaust itself in its natural course when its fruits are completely exhausted. In this, no effort is required. The remaining karma has to be removed by means of penance (avipaka-nirjarā). The soul is like a mirror which looks dim when the dust of karma is deposited on its surface. When karma is removed by destruction, the soul shines in its pure and transcendent form. It then attains the goal of mokṣa.
means liberation, salvation or emancipation of soul. It is a blissful state of existence of a soul, completely free from the karmic bondage, free from samsara, the cycle of birth and death. A liberated soul is said to have attained its true and pristine nature of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge and infinite perception. Such a soul is called siddha or paramatman and considered as supreme soul or God. In Jainism, it is the highest and the noblest objective that a soul should strive to achieve. It fact, it is the only objective that a person should have; other objectives are contrary to the true nature of soul. With right faith, knowledge and efforts all souls can attain this state. That is why, Jainism is also known as mokṣamārga or the “path to liberation”.


The jain doctrine postulates an eternal and ever-existing world which works on universal natural laws. The existence of a creator deity is overwhelmingly opposed in the Jain doctrine. The universe has a firm and an unalterable shape which is measured in the Jain texts by means of a unit called Rajju which is supposed to be very large. The Digambara subsect of Jainism postulates that the universe is fourteen Rajju high and extends seven Rajjus from north to south. Its breadth is seven Rajjus at the bottom and decreases gradually till the middle where it is one Rajju. The width then increases gradually till it is five Rajju and again decreases till it is one Rajju. The apex of the universe is one Rajju long, one Rajju wide and eight Rajju high. The total space of the world is thus 343 cubic Rajju. The svetambara view differs slightly and postulates that there is constant increase and decrease in the breadth and the space is 239 cubic Rajju. Apart from the apex which is the adobe of liberated beings, the universe is divided into three parts. The world is surrounded by three atmospheres: dense-water, dense-wind and thin-wind. It is then surrounded by infinitely large non-world which is absolutely empty.
The whole world is said to be filled with living beings. In all the three parts, there is the existence of very small living beings called nigoda. Nigoda are of two types: nitya-nigoda and Itara-nigoda. Nitya-nigoda are those which will reborn as nigoda throughout eternity where as Itara-nigoda will be reborn as other beings too. The mobile region of universe (Trasandi) is one Rajju wide, one Rajju broad and fourteen Rajju high. Within this, there are animals and plants everywhere where as Human beings are restricted to 2.5 continents of middle world. The beings inhabiting lower world are called Naraki (Hellish beings). Deva (roughly demi-gods) live in whole of the top and middle world and top three realms of lower world. Living beings are divided in fourteen classes (Jivasthana) :
1. fine beings with one sense.
2. Crude beings with one sense.
3. beings with two sense.
4. beings with three sense.
5. Beings with four sense.
6. beings with five sense without mind.
7. beings with five sense with a mind.
These can be under-developed or developed which makes it a total of fourteen.
Total number of life forms are said to be eighty-four Lakhs.
Out of these, there are seven Lakh Nitya-nigoda, seven lakh itara-nigoda, ten Lakh plants, two Lakh each two-sense up to four-sense, four Lakh of five-sense and fourteen Lakhs of humans.
Among these, one-two-three-four sensed beings can be born either as animals or humans.
Fire, wind beings (elementals) can be born as animals. animals with five-sense can be born as all stages.
Beings from hell can be born as developed animals or human beings.
Gods as humans or earth-water crude beings or animals with five senses.
Human beings get any form of existence and are the only ones which can attain salvation.
The early Jains contemplated the nature of the earth and universe and developed a detailed hypothesis on the various aspects of astronomy and cosmology. According to the Jain texts, the universe is divided into 3 parts:
Urdhva Loka_the realms of the gods or heavens_Upper World
_is divided into different abodes and are the realms of the heavenly beings (demi-gods) who are non-liberated souls.
_is divided into sixteen Devalokas, nine Graiveyaka, nine Anudish and five Anuttar abodes.
The sixteen heavens in Devalokas are also called Kalpas and the rest are called Kalpatit. Those living in Kalpatit are called Ahamindra and are equal in grandeur. There is increase with regard to the lifetime, influence of power, happiness, lumination of body, purity in thought-colouration, capacity of the senses and range of clairvoyance in the Heavenly beings residing in the higher abodes. But there is decrease with regard to motion, stature, attachment and pride.
The higher groups, dwelling in 9 Greveyak and 5 Anutar Viman. They are independent and dwelling in their own vehicles. The anuttara souls attain liberation within one or two lifetimes. The lower groups, organized like earthly kingdoms – rulers (Indra), counselors, guards, queens, followers, armies etc.
Above the Anutar vimans, at the apex of the universe, is the Siddhasila, the realms of the liberated souls also known as the Siddhas, the perfected omniscient and blissful beings, who are venerated by the Jains.
Madhya Loka_the realms of the humans, animals and plants_Middle World
Madhya Loka, at the centre of the universe consists of 900 yojans above and 900 yojans below earth surface. It is inhabited by_
Jyotishka devas (luminous gods) – 790 to 900 yojans above earth
Human, Tiryanch (Animals, birds, plants) on the surface
Vyantar devas (Intermediary gods)- 100 yojan below the ground level
Madhyaloka consists of many continent-islands surrounded by oceans, first eight whose names are_
Continent/ Island
Jambūdvīpa_is at the centre of Madhyaloka
Lavanoda (Salt – ocean)
Ghatki Khand
Kaloda (Black sea)
Puskaroda (Lotus Ocean)
Varunoda (Varun Ocean)
Kshiroda (Ocean of milk)
Ghrutoda (Butter milk ocean)
Iksuvaroda (Sugar Ocean)
Mount Meru is at the centre of the world surrounded by Jambūdvīpa, in form of a circle forming a diameter of 100,000 yojans.There are two sets of sun, moon and stars revolving around Mount Meru; while one set works, the other set rests behind the Mount Meru.
Jambūdvīpa continent has 6 mighty mountains, dividing the continent into 7 zones (Ksetra). The names of these zones are:
Bharat Kshetra
Mahavideh Kshetra
Airavat Kshetra
Hairanyvat Kshetra
Haimava Kshetra
Hari Kshetra
The three zones i.e. Bharat Kshetra, Mahavideh Kshetra and Airavat Kshetra are also known as Karma bhoomi because practice of austerities and liberation is possible and the Tirthankaras preach the Jain doctrine. The other four zones, Ramyak, Hairanyvat Kshetra, Haimava Kshetra and Hari Kshetra are known as akarmabhoomi or bhogbhumi as humans live a sinless life of pleasure and no religion or liberation is possible.
Adho Loka_the realms of the hellish beings or the infernal regions_Lower World
The lower world consists of seven hells which is inhabited by Bhavanpati demigods and the hellish beings. Hellish beings reside in the following hells.
Ratna prabha-dharma
Sharkara prabha-vansha
Valuka prabha-megha
Pank prabha-anjana
Dhum prabha-arista
Tamah prabha-maghavi
Mahatamah prabha-maadhavi


According to Jain scripture, Tattvarthasutra, following are the causes for birth in hell_
Killing or causing pain with intense passion.
Excessive attachment to things and worldly pleasure with constantly indulging in cruel and violent acts.
Vowless and unrestrained life.


Tattvartha Sutra (also known as Tattvarth-adhigama-sutra or Moksh-Shastra) is a Jain text written by Acharya Umaswami, Probably in the fourth or fifth century CE. It was an attempt to bring together the different elements of the Jain path,epistemological, metaphysical, cosmological, ethical and practical, otherwise unorganized around the scriptures in an unsystematic format.


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