Time as per Jain Philosophy
Jainism and Cosmology:- Jainism has explored the colossal structure of the universe in its entirety: its shape, size, origin, purpose, and inner workings. Jain texts have meticulously defined the elements of the universe as existing in 6 Dravyas: medium of motion (Dharma-tattva), medium of rest (Adharma-tattva), space (Akasa), time (Kaal), matter (Pudgala), living substances (Jiva). Out of these 6 Dravyas, first five are known as non-living substances (Ajiva). Just as modern scientific cosmology maintains that the universe is governed by universal natural laws, Jainism holds the belief that all elements of the universe are constant and have always existed.
Taking a turn from every major religion except Buddhism, Jainism does not support a belief in a creator deity. Instead, it cites the theory of causation, in which a cause and its effect are identical in nature: actions that carry moral significance cause certain consequences to naturally occur. In this framework, an immaterial entity like God can’t create a material entity like the universe. Interestingly, the Jain stance on non-creationism and causation parallels the Law of Conservation of Mass, in which matter cannot be created and thus, the sum of total matter in the universe is always constant. Rather, time in Jainism (Kaal Dravya) is “beginningless” and eternal, portrayed in a cosmic wheel of time (Kaalchakra) which rotates ceaselessly. The shared scope of Jainism with cosmology in its aim to understand the universe further demonstrates its compatibility with science.
Jainism is an independent and the most ancient religion of the world. It is a belief with the past and the present day leaders of the religion that there is no start or end to Jainism. It is- they say from “Anadikal” – (No time period), and this is no exaggeration.
Time (Kaal):- Time in Jainism is defined as Kaal, one of the six eternal substances, with no beginning or ending. A child becomes a young person, a young person becomes an old person, and the old person dies. In other words, something which is new becomes old, worn, and torn with time. All of these changes involve time. The past, present, and future are the different modes of time and are measured in terms of years, months, days, hours, minutes or seconds. For all practical purposes a second happens to be the finest measurement of time. Jainism however, recognizes a very small measurement of time known as Samaya which is an infinitely small part of a second. Shirsapahelika is the highest measurable unit of time in numbers, and in a power of ten, it roughly equals to 10^194 years.
Kaal is ordinarily understood as Time. It is the principle underlying all changes. It is to be observed, however that things change in accordance with their own nature and that Kaal is not the substance actively effecting any change in them. Like Dharma and Adharma, it is a passive principle, – an indispensable condition of phenomenal changes occurring in things. It is eternal and formless. Kaal is not conceived by the Jainas as one single pervasive substance, as in other systems of philosophy. Kaal with the Jainas is a continuous series of atomic moments, although each of these is strictly separate from the other – a series, which is compared to “a heap of jewels.” The Nyaya and Vaisheshika schools of philosophy in ancient India agreed with the Jainas in admitting the reality of time but that even in modern time’s thinkers or scientists like Bergson recognize it. Newton spoke of “absolute, true and mathematical time” as an independent reality.