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In Sanskrit, Samay means "appointed or proper time, right moment for doing anything."[1] On a general parlance, samay is a unit of time.


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.


  1. ^ Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, sv. "samay."

See also[edit]