ABC Of Jainism: 05 The Universe

Published: 28.10.2010
Updated: 02.07.2015


The Universe

Jainism believes that the universe is everlasting. It has no beginning and no end. On account of the intrinsic properties of its entities or substances which include the forces of nature, the universe continuously undergoes transformations. There are two kinds of entities in the universe-living beings and non-living substances.

Each living being has a soul. In the Universe, souls are of two kinds-the worldly souls and the liberated souls. The worldly souls have bodies, senses, respiration, birth and rebirth. They decay and die. When the worldly soul is free from all bondage of karmas, it becomes pure. Such pure souls are called liberated souls. The non-living substances are of five kinds; the matter, medium of motion, medium of rest, space and time. Puḍgala or matter possess color, taste, smell and touch. It has quality of fusion and fission. Dharma or medium of motion assists in the movement of soul and matter. The Adharma or medium of rest assists the state of rest of soul and matter. Ākāśa or space is one which accommodates all the substances. Space is divided in to two parts. The one where all the substances are found is called the Lokākāśa. The other wherein only the space exists and none of the other five substances exist is called the Alokākāśa, Kāla or time helps in maintaining and measuring the changeability of all substances.

Without matter, all other four substances are immaterial. It is im­portant to understand that the immaterial substances of Dharma, Adharma, Ākāśa and Kāla, all behave in a passive manner. It is only by their presence that they make various functions possible. Active causative force is absent in them. This is the way of their functioning. Being immaterial they can not be perceived with the senses. Their existence is deduced from the functions they perform in the Universe.

Matter and material body of soul can be detected by means of our senses and by using scientific instruments. No other entity of the universe including the soul can be detected by means of our senses or by using any device.

Jaina view of universe preclude the necessity for a Creator. It also affirms that there is no Supreme Being who regulates the events of the world. Natural forces or intrinsic attributes of six substances (Dravyas) govern events. Changeability with permanence is the nature of a substance.

Universe is divided in to three regions: Adho-Loka, Madhya-Loka and Urdhva-Loka. At the lowest of this universe (Adho-Loka) is the seventh hell. In the central region of this universe (Madhya-Loka), there are innumerable continents and oceans. Human beings and all animals, plants, insects etc. are living in this region. The upper most part of the universe (Urdhava-Loka) is known as Heaven. On the top of the universe is the abode of Pure Souls. This place is called Siddha-Sila.


Hell: abode of devils or condemned souls.
Heaven: abode of divine souls.




Jñānodaya Vidyāpeeth, Bhopal, M.P., India


1st Edition 1998


V.K. Jain Suresh Jain



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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Adharma
  2. Adho-loka
  3. Alokākāśa
  4. Body
  5. Dharma
  6. Dravyas
  7. JAINA
  8. Jaina
  9. Jainism
  10. Karmas
  11. Kāla
  12. Lokākāśa
  13. Madhya-Loka
  14. Soul
  15. Space
  16. Ākāśa
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