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The Ashoka Chakra has a spoke for each of 24 hours in a day

In Sanskrit, Samay (समय) is the, "appointed or proper time, [the] right moment for doing anything."[1] On a general parlance, samay is a unit of time. The samay chakra is the great chariot wheel of time which turns relentlessly forward.


In current usage, samay means "time" in Indian languages such as Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Gujurati.

In Jainism[edit]


Samay represents the most infinitesimal part of time that cannot be divided further. The blink of an eye, or about a quarter of a second, has innumerable samay in it. 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 samay, which is an infinitely small part of a second.


The following are measurements of time as adopted by Jainism: Indivisible time = 1 samay
Innumerable samay = 1 avalik
16,777,216 avalik = 1 Muhurt
30 Muhurtas = 1 Day and night
15 Days and nights = 1 Paksha (fortnight )
2 Pakshas = 1 Month
12 Months = 1 Year
Innumerable years = 1 Palyopam
10 millions of millions of Palyopams = 1 Sāgaropam
10 million of millions of Sāgaropams = l Utsarpini or 1 Avasarpini
1 Utsarpini + Avasarpini = 1 Kālchakra (One time cycle).


When an Arihant reaches the stage of moksha (liberation), the soul travels to the Siddhashila (highest realm in universe) in one samay.

In Hinduism[edit]

Samay was the basic unit of time in ancient Hindu mythology. Currently, it is used synonymously with time.

Samay in music[edit]

Samay is a term used in Indian classical music to loosely categorize ragas into times of day. Each raga has a specific period of the day (prahar) when it is performed.

In Gandharva-Veda the day is divided into three-hour-long intervals: 4-7 a.m., 7-10 a.m. etc. The time concept in Gandharva-Veda is more strictly adhered to than it would be, for example, in Carnatic music.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Monier-Williams. Sanskrit-English Dictionary, sv. "samay."[full citation needed]

External links[edit]

  • "Samay",