Gems from Jain Literature- 1 (Post No.11,134)


Post No. 11,134

Date uploaded in London – –    24 JULY 2022         

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Gems from Jain Literature- 1

Big numbers

Jains were great mathematicians. Mahavira, who was senior to Buddha lived in North India 2600 years ago. We may say that he lived before the famous Greek philosophers. The teachings of Jains are almost similar to the Hindus. Jains also believed in the Karma theory, re births and Moksha. They practised stricter Ahimsa/non violence towards all living beings. Like Hindus, men and women became ascetics. One sect of them did not wear clothes and they were called Digambaras meaning Sky clad. Another sect wore white clothes, and they were called Svetambharas. English word White came from Sanskrit word Swetha.

Jains were fascinated with numbers and they have their own classification of Time.

The following is taken from Jain scriptures

The smallest or indivisible unit of Time-  1 Samaya

Countless or innumerable Samayas –      1 Aavalikaa

Numerous Aavalikaas ——                      1 swaasa/ breath

Two Svaasas/ breaths ——.                      1 Praana

Seven Praanasankatam —-                     1 Stoka

Seven Stokas——-                                   1 Lava

77 Lavas ———-                                       1 Muhuurta

30 Muhuurtas—-                                       1 Day / 24 Hours

15 days—-                                                 1 Paksha

Two Pakshas —                                        one month

Two months —                                          one season

Three seasons —-                                    one Ayana

Two Ayanas——                                      one year or Samvatsara

100 years—-                                              one century

Ten centuries—                                         1000 years

84000 lakhyears —                                   one Puurvaanga

84 Lakh Puurvaanga s —                         one Puurva

Thus one Puurva consists of 7056 0000000000 years

The ancient seers have calculated figures even beyond these. But as figures are of no avail in calculating and arriving at those figures, they have resorted to comparisons. Thus, if you have a well, one Yojana/8 miles in length, one yojana in breadth/ circumference and one yojana in depth, and fill it with extremely thin human hair and press them down in such a manner that even if an army were to march over it, the hair would not go down; and if you were to empty that well out one piece of hair at an interval of 100 years, then the time required to empty the well constitutes one Palyopama.

Ten crores into ten crores of Palyopamas constitute one Sagaropama.

20 crores into20 crores of Sagaropamas make one Kala Chakra and countless Kala chakras make one Pudgalaparaavarta.

One may think these are not useful in practical life. But the modern day astronomers use the computers for biliions of calculations before launching a satellite. When they talk about the distance of stars and galaxies they use huge numbers. Laymen may think they are not useful.

Rig Veda divided a year into six seasons. Tamil literature also followed the Vedas. We see the same division in Jain literature. Number 84,000 plays same role in both the religions. The number of living creatures is 84 lakhs. The big calculations in time is also similar to Hindu calculations of Manvantara.

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita also gives very big numbers (Sahsra Yuga Paryantham) ; the day of Brahma is 1000 Chatur Yugas and the night of Brahma is again 1000 Chatur Yugas. And he lives for 100 years. That is one Param. One Chatur Yuga is equal to 4,32,000 years. We cant even write one Brahma’s age in numbers. These calculations show that there are Extra Terrestrial Civilizations where the calculation of Time is different. If a May fly knows mathematics it will tell its babies some huge numbers when it talks about human lives. The May fly lives for only one day. So Hindus know that we are small pebbles on the shores of mighty oceans. When Krishna showed Arjuna Viswa Rupa Darsan, he described his brightness equal to 1000 suns (Divi Surya Sahasrasya); when a little Hindu girl begins his studies, she praises  Lord Ganesh as bright as ten million suns (Koti Surya Smaprabha); when other religions talked in terms of 40s, Hindus thought about billions.

Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar talks about 10 times ten millions or ten to the power of ten millions (Paththu Adukkiya Koti in Tamil)

Jains lived a peaceful life in North India, but in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka they involved in politics 1400 years ago. That resulted in big clashes between the Saivaites and the Jains in Tami Nadu. They made a big contribution to Tamil literature. They started writing and painting in Tamil Nadu caves. Hindus followed them. Jains who came to Tamil Nadu probably copied Emperor Asoka.

Source :-

The Teachings of Lord Mahavira (with my inputs)

Sri Mahavira Vacanamrtam

Pronunciation— Srii Mahaaviira vacanaamrtam

To be continued

tags- Mahavira, Mathematics, Jains, Gems, Literature

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