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
continues forever.

The six aras are:
(1) Sukham Sukham Kal (very good).
(2) Sukham Kal (good).
(3) Sukham Dukham Kal (good bad).
(4) Dukham Sukham Kal (bad good).
(5) Dukham Kal (bad).
(6) Dukham Dukham Kal (very bad).

1)  Sukham Sukham Kal:
 This is a time of absolute happiness.  During this phase people are
very tall and live for a very long period of time.  Children are born
as 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).
The trees provide places to live, clothes, pots and pans, good food,
fruits and sweets, harmonious music, jewelry, beautiful flowers,
radiant lamps, and a bright light at night. There is no killing, crime,
or vice.

2) Sukham Kal - This is the phase of happiness, but it is not absolute.
The wish-giving trees still continue to provide for the people’s needs,
but the people are not as tall and do not live as long.

3) Sukham Dukham Kal - This is a phase consisting of more happiness than
misery.  During this period the kalpvrikshas 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 also 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 also known for his strength, and Brahmi who devised eighteen
different alphabets were Rushabhdeva’s children.

4) 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.

5) 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 observe true
religion.  It is said that by the end of this ara, the Jain religion
will be lost.

6) 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. There will be days of rain which will provide nourishment so
that seeds can once again grow.  Miseries will diminish and happiness
will increase until absolute happiness is once again reached.

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