Jainism is one of the oldest religions originating in India. Jains believe that every soul is divine and has the potential to achieve God consciousness. Any soul which has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called jina.

According to Jain beliefs, the universe was never created, nor will it ever cease to exist. It is eternal but not unchangeable, because it passes through an endless series of cycles. Each of these upward or downward cycles is divided into six world ages or yugas. The present world age is the fifth age of one of these cycles, which is in a downward movement. Each age is known as an aaro. There are no specific names assigned to each age. Instead they are referred to numerically. All these ages have fixed time durations of thousands of years.

In Jain thought, the shape of the inhabited universe has been described as that of the figure 8 or a man standing arms akimbo. The dimension from the top to bottom has been described as 14 rajjus. One rajju or is the distance covered by a deva flying for six months, or 216.5 light years. At the top and at the middle point the universe is 1 rajju wide but the width of the bulges varies from 5 to 8. Thus, the distance between the two ends of the middle world is approximately 5.2 billion light years.


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