An Introduction To Jainism: [04] Universe

Published: 29.11.2008

The Jainism has elaborately dealt with the cosmology. According to it, the universe is composed of six substances:

  1. Dharmastikaya (medium of motion)

    It enables Jiva (soul) and Pudgala (matter and energy) to move just as water helps the movement of fish. But it acts only like a passion medium. Without dharmastikaya any movement is not at all possible.

  2. Adharmastikaya (medium of rest or non-movement)

    It enables Jiva and Pudgala to remain at rest just as the shadow of a tree gives assistance to a traveller for taking rest. It is also a passive medium. Without adharmastikaya, no substance can remain at rest.

    and Adharmastikaya donot force or motivate anyone to move or to remain at rest.

  3. The function of Akasastikaya (space) is to provide room for every substance.
    It accommodates all the substances in the universe. It is of two types:

    1. Lokakasa (cosmic)
    2. Alokakasa (super cosmic)


      Space which accommodates other substances is called Loka. The height of Lokakasa is fourteen rajjus. In space, it resembles the shape called  supratishika samthana which is explained as follows:

      One bowl placed upside down at the bottom, the second bowl placed with the face upward, the third one placed upside down upon the second. The resultant configuration is the shape supratishika samthana.

      Lokakasa is divided into three parts:

      1. Lower
      2. Middle
      3. Upper

      We get a detailed mathematical calculation of the dimensions of the cosmic space.


      On account of the absence of the medium of motion and rest outside the cosmic space, the space there remains empty and pure. It is called aloka. It is eternal, infinite and formless. There is nothing init except space.

  4. Pudgalastikaya (physical order of existence or matter).

    What is possessed of touch, taste, smell and colour is called pudgalastikaya. It has form, so it can be experienced. It has the capacity of association and dissociation.

  5. Jivastikaya

    The defining charercteristic of Jivastikayas is consciousness.

  6. Kala

    It assists in bringing about the changes in the modes that take place in the universe. It is eternal, formless and infinite. It is only a conceptual substance.

    There are the six fundamental substances in the universe. The Jain philosophy believes that all the basic substances of the universe cannot be created out of nothing. Hence, all substances of the universe have always existed. They are eternal, only their modes change. The universe has no beginning and no end. Nobody created the universe, nobody protects it and nobody will bring it to the end.

JVB Ladnun © 2007

Editor: Prof. Muni Mahendra Kumar

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Adharmastikaya
  2. Akasastikaya
  3. Aloka
  4. Alokakasa
  5. Consciousness
  6. Dharmastikaya
  7. Jain Philosophy
  8. Jainism
  9. Jiva
  10. Jivastikaya
  11. Kala
  12. Loka
  13. Lokakasa
  14. Pudgala
  15. Pudgalastikaya
  16. Soul
  17. Space
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