Understanding Jain Cosmology

Most religions were created to explain what was unexplainable – why is there day time and night time? why do we have rainbows? Jainism is no different. Jains believe that the Universe in which we live in is real and not some matrix. They also believe that within the Universe there are two different things:

  1. Jivas – which consist of living souls
  2. Ajivas – which includes everything else

Jains believe that the Universe is neither created nor destroyed, just that they change from one form to the other. This is very similar to the Law of Conservation of Energy which states that energy can also not be created nor destroyed.

Jains do not believe that the Universe itself was created by a god but has just always existed and will always exist. Jains also believe in something called Loka. Loka is the world in which we live in now, and the world does contain heaven and hell.

Jains believe that the Universe is broken down into 5 parts:

  1. The Supreme Abode – where liberated souls will live forever
  2. The Upper World – where celestial beings live but not forever
  3. The Middle World – where current human beings live and where they can move upwards in the Universe
  4. The Lower World – where souls are tormented in seven layers of hell but they are not tormented forever
  5. The Base – where the lowest forms of life live

Jains also believe in something called Dravyas or Substances. All of these types of substances are confined within the Universe:

  1. Jiva – the soul
  2. Dharma – motion
  3. Adharma – non-motion
  4. Pudgala – matter
  5. Akasa – space
  6. Kala – time

Jains believe that Jiva is a form of energy that is eternal and conscious. It is believed that Pugdala is what gives the Jiva the sensations of pleasure, pain, birth, and death. It is anything that can be seen, touched, tasted or smelled.

What do you believe? Were Jains onto something with their science?