Cosmology (or) Cosmic Cycles:
The Jains believe that the religion is timeless and that it has been revealed to humanity by countless Tirthankaras in an infinite series of cosmic cycles, having neither a beginning nor end.
Jain texts conceive of the cosmic cycles as a wheel , its twelve spokes divide it into twelve segments each representing a different phase of the cosmic cycle. These phases are :
Avasarpini Era :
1.Sushama-Sushama (Utmost happiness)
3.Sushama-Dushama (Happiness with some unhappiness)
4.Dushama-Sushama (unhappiness with some happiness)
6.Dushama-Dushama (utmost unhappiness)
Utsarpini Era :
7.Dushama-Dushama (utmost unhappiness)
9.Dushama-Sushama (unhappiness with some happiness)
10.Sushama-Dushama (Happiness with some unhappiness)
12.Sushama-Sushama (Utmost happiness)
The movement of cosmic cycle is comparable to the single rotation of the wheel. The downward movement of the cycle represents the avasarpini era during which time the world succumbs to the influence of the bad serpent, the physical environment as well as the spiritual conditions on earth begin to deteriorate. During this course, suffering steadily increases until it eclipses happiness. The dissipation of piety and knowledge reflects the degenerative quality of the phase. In this era the life-span, physical stature and energy of human become diminutive. When the wheel takes an upward turn, it enters the sphere of influence of good serpent. A new era that of utsarpini dawns. Truth and piety are on the ascendancy. From chaos and despair the environmental conditions of life on earth progress to utmost bliss in six stages each stage happier than the last. Together these two eras avasarpini and utsarpini form one cosmic cycle.