Jains believe that time is infinite,
without any beginning or end. Time is divided into infinite equal time
cycles (Kalchakras). Every time cycle is further sub-divided in two equal
halves. The first half is the progressive cycle or ascending order, called
Utsarpini. The other half is the regressive cycle or the descending order,
called Avasarpini. Every Utsarpini and Avasarpini is divided into six
unequal periods called Äräs. During the Utsarpini half cycle, progress,
development, happiness, strength, age, body, religious trends, etc., go
from the worst conditions to the best. During the Avasarpini half cycle,
progress, development, happiness, strength, age, body, religious trends,
etc. go from the best conditions to the worst. Presently, we are in the
fifth Ara of the Avasarpini phase. When the Avasarpini phase ends the
Utsarpini phase begins. This kälchakra repeats again and continues
The six aras are:
(1) Sukham Sukham Kal (happiness all the
(2) Sukham Kal (happiness).
(3) Sukham Dukham Kal (happiness with
(4) Dukham Sukham Kal (unhappiness with
(5) Dukham Kal (unhappiness).
(6) Dukham Dukham Kal (unhappiness all
Sukham Sukham Kal
- This is a time of absolute happiness. During this phase the people are
very tall and live for a very long period of time. Children are born as
the twins, a boy and a girl. All the needs and desires of the people are
fulfilled by ten different kinds of Kalpavriksha (wish-giving trees).
These trees provide places to live, clothes, pots and pans, good food,
fruits, sweets, harmonious music, jewelry, beautiful flowers, radiant
lamps, and a bright light at night. There is no killing, crime, or vice.
Sukham Kal -
This is the phase of happiness, but it is not absolute.
The wish-giving trees still continue to provide for the people’s needs,
but the people are not as tall and do not live as long.
Sukham Dukham Kal -
This is a phase consisting of more happiness than misery.
During this period the kalpavrikshas do not consistently provide what is
desired. Towards the end of this period in the current time cycle
Rushabhdev became the first Tirthankar. He realized that things were
going to get worse. So, he taught the people useful arts including,
sewing, farming, and cooking which will enable them to depend upon
themselves. He introduced a political system and became the first king.
This era came to an end three years and eight months after the nirvana
of Rushabhdev. The first Chakravarti Bharat, Bahubali well known for his
strength, and Brahmi who devised eighteen different alphabets were
Dukham Sukham Kal -
This is a phase of more misery, sorrow, and suffering
than happiness. The other twenty-three Tirthankaras and eleven
Chakravarties were born during this era which came to an end three years
and eight months after Lord Mahävir's nirvän.
Dukham Kal -
This ara is currently prevailing. It is an ara of
unhappiness which began a little over 2,500 years ago and will last for
a total of 21,000 years. No one born during this period will gain
salvation in their present life, because no one will follow true
religion. It is said that by the end of this ara, the Jain religion will
be lost (only temporarily, to be revied in next half cycle by future
Dukham Dukham Kal -
This is a time of absolute misery and unhappiness. During
this time, people will experience nothing but suffering. There will be
no trace of religious activities. The life spans of people will be very
short, exceeding no more than twenty years. Most people will be
non-vegetarian and the social structure will be destroyed. The weather
will become extreme, the days will be very hot, and the nights will be
At the end of this ara, a period of
Utsarpini will start and the time wheel will take an upward swing.
Miseries will gradually diminish and happiness will increase to absolute
happiness. This cycles will go on forever.