Hindu Shruti(s) (ancient verses that were ‘heard’ by Sages, like Vedas and Upanishad(s)), Smruti(s) (ancient scripts that have been passed down over the ages by memory like Purana(s) and Manusmriti) and epics (like Ramayan and Mahabharata based on ancient history) all depict the cycle of creation and dissolution of the universe. The cycle is continuous. The creation starts during the dawn of the Brhamadeva day and the dissolution is complete by last quarter of the Brhamadeva night. We all know that by any scale of imagination this has to be a period of considerable magnitude and probably our unit of measurement of calendar years, months is very small to measure the period. This is similar to the units used for astronomical measurements like distance covered by light is measured in ‘light years’ to measure the distances between celestial bodies. The ancient ways to measure the time and period between creation and dissolution of the universe had the provision of different sets of units.
The period between the birth and death of the universe was measured in terms of the Brhamadeva’s one day, Brhamadeva’s one year, God’s one day and God’s one year and so on. The relationship between these units and our calendar or in terms of man’s day, man’s year is given in shruti(s) and smruti(s).
We all know that our Gregorian year consists of 365 days. According to the Hindu calendar it is around 360 days. Let us refer to Hindu calendar year. It has 12 months of thirty days each.
- Uttarayan (Vernal equinox to Summer Solstice) – Six months – 1 Ayan. – God’s 1 day.
- Dakshinayan (Autumnal equinox to Winter Solstice) – Six months – 1 Ayan – God’s 1 night.
- Therefore man’s 360 yrs is God’s 1 year.
Many man’s years make one god’s Yug. These are four yug(s). Namely Krutayug – which has 4000 god yrs, Tretayug – having 3000 god yrs, Dwaparyug – 2000 god yrs and Kaliyug – of 1000 god yrs. The start and end of one yug is not one after another, but it has some intermediate years before start and end of each yug (like dawn and dusk of the day). Kruta has 400 yrs before and after the yug, Treta has 300 yrs before and after the yug, Dwapar yug has 200 yrs and Kaiyug has 100 yrs. This gives another 2000 yrs for a group of four yug(s) totaling to 12000 god yrs (10000 yrs + 2000 yrs).
12000 god yrs covering these yug(s) means our 4,320,000 years. This is our Mahayug. God’s one yug consists of 12000 yrs. Now god’s such 71 yug makes one Manwantar. Each Manwantar has one ‘Manu’. Such 14 Manwantar(s) each having intermediate Kruta yug before and after each Manwantar (15 Kruta yug(s)) makes around 1000 god’s yug (4,320,000,000 man years). 1000 god yug(s) make one Kalpa. 1 Kalpa is one day of Brhamadeva and one more Kalpa means one night of Brhamadeva. It is this one day and night of Brhamadeva (8,640,000,000 yrs) is the life of the universe where one cycle of creation, sustenance and dissolution is completed. 200 Kalpa(s) makes one year of Brhamadeva. His life is around 100 Brahmadeva years that means 20000 Kalpa(s) means life of Brhamadeva. or 86,400,000,000,000 around 86 trillion, 400 billion years.
Today we are in the first day (Shvetavarah Kalpa) of the 51st Brhamadev year. In this Shvetavarah Kalpa, 6 Manvantar(s) have been finished and we are in the seventh ‘Vaivaswat’ Manwantar. Out of 71 Mahayug of Vaivaswat Manwantar, 27 Mahayug(s) are over and we are in 28th Mahayug. In this 28th Mahayug we have finished with three yug(s) (Kruta, Treta and Dwapar) and are in the 1st quarter of Kaliyug. In Shak (Hindu Calendar) 1821 (year 1899 as per Gregorian Calendar), 5000 yrs of Kaliyug has been over. If we convert the period of Kaliyug, it is of around 396000 yrs, and then around 390890 years are left for ‘Pralay’ (of Kaliyug). One can calculate the date of ‘Pralay’ in the present Kaliyug as depicted in the Purana(s). This ‘Pralay’ is a ‘local’ phenomenon if the life of universe is considered and is limited to ‘our’ world signifying end of one yug and entry into the next yug. This ‘Pralay’ may not be only in terms of natural calamity, this can be manifested as wars, broken societies, low level of civility and other man made or rather man authored calamities. In fact this is one way of ‘our’ world getting cleansed and ready for ‘next episode’.
These mind boggling figures shows the magnitude of the period between the creation and dissolution of the universe of which ‘our’ world may be just a miniscule part. Important questions emerge from these figures about the existence of the universe. Some are discussed here, some are left for pondering and some are open for scientific validation albeit with the limited wisdom of the existing man.
Shruti(s) are claimed to be uncreated, unoriginated, unwritten (by mankind) but manifested as visualization and insight of the sages by unknown and unmanifested. Therefore many times in shruti(s) there are proclaimations rather than explainations. Smriti(s) are evolved, adapted, thought and researched by the sages. Are these figures correct? This may be debated and validated but why these figures? Why not any other? Like there are 71 yug(s) and 14 Manwantar(s) may be just to bring the addition to 1000 yug(s). Then what about other figures and the names of all those Kalpa(s), Manwantar(s)? Was it just imagination of the sages? If it was just imagination then what was the purport? After all the Hindu Calendar also has 360 days (like Gregorian 365 days) and adhikmas to compensate for the shortfall of 5 days per year and to bring equanimity between solar and lunar months, which also corresponds to one revolution of the Earth round the Sun (Gregorian has a leap year with additional day).They could have just done away with saying – the period between the creation and dissolution of the universe is thousands of years instead of convoluted figures where attention gets diverted to these figures which ultimately point out to just – many years. Then there is reference of where we are in the present context in all these mind boggling figures when it is told that we are in Shvetavarah Kalpa and in the Vaivaswat Manwantar! This shows again and again our serious attempts at peeping deep in to the black hole called the origin of universe, its sustenance and ultimate dissolution. It shows the futility of time, projections and created mental and physical edifices as if they are permanent.
As per some of the studies on age, earth is around 4.7 billion years old. Error of 10 % (which could be a possibility) offsets it by half a billion years! The age of universe is around 13.75 billion years (as per studies). The studies are in the nascent stage and no comments are offered on accuracy and error margin.
BhagwadGita (VIII.18), Manusanhita (1.66-73), Mahabharat (Shantiparva 231) and Vishnupuran (1.3) refers.