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
The six aras are:
(1) Sukham Sukham Kal (happiness all the time).
(2) Sukham Kal (happiness).
(3) Sukham Dukham Kal (happiness with some unhappiness).
(4) Dukham Sukham Kal (unhappiness with some happiness).
(5) Dukham Kal (unhappiness).
(6) Dukham Dukham Kal (unhappiness all the time).
- 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 peoples 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 Tirthankars again).
- 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 very cold.
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.