Naimittika or Occasional Dissolution

In the last post, we saw about the 2 types of dissolutions- Nitya and Atyantika Pralayams- that are closest to us (relatively at least). In this post, let us gain some knowledge about the first 2 types.

Naimittika Pralay.

A thousand cycles of the Chathur Yuga (4.32 million solar years) or the 4 Yugas is called a Kalpa. 14 Manus preside over this time period (approximately 71 chathur yugas each).  At the end of this, a Brahma’s day ends and He goes into sleep. The Brahma’s night is of the same duration as that of his day during which time, the Naimittika Pralayam happens.

At the end of thousand years, total dearth ensues and there is a severe shortage of food at first. Then the water dries up leaving all beings to perish. There is absolutely no water on Bhu Loka, Bhur Loka, Suvar Loka and on Patala loka as well. The Supreme Being takes the form of Rudra and comes down to bring together all creatures with himself. The seven rays of the Sun are split to form seven individual Suns.  The 3 lokas and the Patala are set on fire by these Suns.  First Patala is burnt, followed by Bhu Loka. The remnants of the upper 2 lokas move to the Mahar loka, the residents of which move to the next loka – Janaloka. After the fire that engulfed the entire Earth and its higher spheres is followed by heavy and incessant rain for 100 years during which the whole world is enveloped in darkness. The water reaches the world of the seven rishis and stops raising beyond that point. Then the clouds are dispersed away by the breadth of Vishnu. This wind blows for another 100 years. After all this, Brahma wakes from his nightly slumber and is ready to create the world again.

This is the intermediate dissolution that occurs at the end of each Kalpa. If we do our math, we can easily realize that we are not anywhere near the occurrence of the next Naimittika Pralaya. So, people who really thought the world would end in the near future can take solace from the fact that the next dissolution is slated after 500 Chathur Yugas (We are presided by the 7th Manu of Svetha Varaha Kalpa. There are 7 more Manus remaining with the combined life term of 500 Chathur Yugas-7 * 70 Chathur Yugas).  We should be focusing more on the Nitya and Avyantika Dissolutions instead and lead a life that will take us closer to our ultimate goal of liberation from the cycles of birth and death.

We will see about the Prakrita or Elemental dissolution in the next post.

Dissolution and Us

I ended the last post with some lingering questions about the first half of Brahma’s life and about the previous Manus. If you wonder what happened to them, Pralayam or Layam or dissolution – is what happened.

There are 4 types of Pralaya that is mentioned in our scriptures like Vishnu Puranam and Srimdad Bhagavatham. They are

  1. Prakritika or Elemental dissolution
  2. Naimittika or Occasional dissolution
  3. Atyantika or Absolute or Ultimate
  4. Nithya or Perpetual

In this post, let us see about the last 2. I will take a bottom up approach and start with Nithya Pralayam.

Nitya Pralayam – is the constant and perpetual destruction of all that is born(everything that is born has to die). This happens on a daily basis to all living things. This is the opposite of Nitya Sarga or constant creation. We all undergo this dissolution. This is the Pralayam that is closest to us and the one that we experience the most.

Next is the Atyantika or Absolute Dissolution – This happens when the atman is finally dissolved and cut-off from the cycle of birth and death. An atman that attains Moksha undergoes the ultimate annihilation of the bondage of the soul and develops a firm realization of the unfailing supreme soul.

Nitya and Atyantika Pralays are directly related to us-the Atmans. It is clear that while Nitya takes place automatically depending on our Karmas and deeds, Atyantika is something that we should work towards attaining and can only be achieved by the direct knowledge of the Supreme Being.

But, either of these 2 dissolution happened when Brahma’s first 50 years (Padma Kalpa) ended. What happened then is what we will see in the next post.

Sankalpa Manthra and Geo Tagging

Anyone who has performed a religious function would have chanted a Sankalpa Manthra. Like any other Manthra, we would have chanted this without knowing its meaning. But this manthra is the one which enlightens us about our current position and how we got here from the beginning.

The Sankalpa Manthra goes like this.

“Aadhya Brahmanah, Dwdheeya Paraarthe, Swetha Varaha Kalpe, Vaivaswatha Manvantare, Astavikum Sathitha me, Kali Yuge, Prathame padhe, Jambooth Dweepe, Bharata Varshe, Bharata Kande, Sagaapthe Meroo, Dakshine parsve, AsminVarthamane, Vyavahaarike, Prabhavaathi Shasti Samvathsaraanam, Madhye …….(name of the year) nama samvathsare, Dakshinaayane /Uttarayane(movement of the SUN to Cancer to Capricorn),…….(Name of the season among the six seasons) Ritau,…..(Name of The Month) maase, …….pakshe(indicate the Waxing and Waning of the Moon) Punya Thithou …..(mention the Day) ”Vaasara  Yukthaayaam …mention the Nakshatra/Star Yukthaayaam…”.

Now let us see how we are tagged using this ancient Manthra.

dviteeya Parárddhae – in the 2nd half of Brahma’s life- We know that Brahma’s life consists of 100 years. We are in the second half.
Svetavaraha kalpe – in the Kalpa of Sveta-Varaha or the White Boar. The previous Kalpa –which was also the last of the first 50 years of Brahma-was called Padma while the first Kalpa of the dviteeya Parárddhae or the second half is called Sveta-Varaha.
Vaivaswatha manvantare – in the period of the current Manu Vaivaswatha who is the 7th Manu.
Ashta Vimsati tame – in the 28th Chathur Yuga of the current Manu
Kaliyuge – in this kali yuga
Prathame Padhe – in the current Yuga’s first quarter

The time tagging stops here and Geo-tagging starts.
Jambudvipe – The earth has seven great islands- Jambu, Plaksha, Shaalmali, Kusha, Kronch, Shaakh and Pushkar. The Jambudvip is situated at the center.
Bharata Varshe, Bharata Kande –  Bharata varsha is the first landmass towards the south of Sumeru/Meru Mountain.
Sakhabde Mero, Dakshine Parsve – to the South of the Meru mountain

Geo-tagging stops here and Calendar-tagging starts.

Asmin Varthamane Vyavaharike – in the current period now reigning
Prabhavadi Shasti Samvatsaranam Madya – in the middle of the cycle of 60 years according to Hindu calendar- starting with Prabhava
Nama Samvatsare – the name of the year in the 60 year Hindu calendar
….Ayane – Dakshinayane or Uttarayane (denoting the two halves of the year)
….Ritou – The rithus are six in number each consisting of 2 months.-Sisira, Vasantha, Greeshma, Varsha, Sarad and Hima. Thus 3 ritus make an ayana and 2 Ayanas make an year.
….Mase – one of the 12 hindu months
….Pakshe – either Shukla Paksham (Waxing moon) or Krishna Paksham(Waning Moon), denoting the part of the lunar month.

This is followed by one of the 15 days in the Paksham and the day’s star, thus completing the tagging.

We started with Brahma and reached our current day in about a minute (It takes just a minute to recite this Manthra). So many questions will arise, the minute we get to know the meaning of this Manthra. If we are in the second half of Brahma’s life, what happened to the first half? If we are under the 7th Manu, what happened with the previous 6?

We will see in the next post!

Understanding the four Yugas

In the last post, we saw the units of measurement as narrated by Parasarar in Vishnu Puranam. We also saw that 1 mortal year is equivalent to 1 divine day and that 12,000 divine years make one Chathur Yuga-comprising of Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yugas.

4,000 divine years make up one Krita Yuga. 3000 years make up one Treta Yuga, 2000 one Dwapara Yuga and 1000 divine years one Kali Yuga. Thus 10000 divine years are spread across the 4 Yugas, which results in 2000 years being left out of the original 12000 years. The period that precedes a Yuga is called a Sandhyá, and it is of as many hundred years as there are thousands in the Yuga: and the period that follows a Yuga, termed the Sandhyánsa, is of similar duration. One Chathur Yuga or the collection of 4 Yugas, is made thus.

400 (Sandhya before Krita Yuga) +4000 (Duration of Krita Yuga) +400 (Duration of Sandhyánsa after) = 4800

300 (Sandhya before Treta Yuga) +3000 (Duration of Treta Yuga) +300 (Duration of Sandhyánsa after) = 3600

200 (Sandhya before Dwapara Yuga) +2000 (Duration of Dwapara Yuga) +200 (Duration of Sandhyánsa after) = 2400

100 (Sandhya before Kali Yuga) +1000 (Duration of Kali Yuga) +100 (Duration of Sandhyánsa after) = 1200.

A thousand such Chathur Yugas make one day-time of Brahma. (You would be surprised to know that Brahma is actually a designation that is given to one Soul (or atman)). At the beginning of every creation, the Supreme Being or the Brahman(don’t mistake this with the word Brahmin, as both are different) appoints one soul to this post.  The age of a Brahma is 100 years.

So how does Brahma manage all of this? Well, these 1000 Yugas and His 100 years are divided between 14 Manus. The duration of each Manu is called a Manwantara. A half of his 100 years (or 50 years) makes one Parárddha.

In the next post, we will see our bread crumbs ( where and in which age we are, now) and about Pralayams.

Ciao, for now.

Units of Time according to Hindu Mythology

I wanted to write about Pralayams, but realized that it cannot be understood fully without first knowing the Units of measurements of time described in Vishnu Puranam.

According to Parasarar in Vishnu Puranam,

Fifteen twinklings of the eye make a Kásht́há; thirty Kásht́hás, one Kalá; and thirty Kalás, one Muhúrta. Thirty Muhúrtas make our one day (a day and night of mortals). 30 such days make a month and 12 such months make a year (360 days a year, only). One mortal year is divided into 2 parts or Ayanas, Uttarayana and Dakshinayana.

Let us now see how a mortal year translates to a divine year.

1 Uttarayana or the northern movement of the Sun in the celestial sphere is a day of the Gods and Dakshinayana or the Southern movement of the Sun, a night for them. This means that 1 year in our life is 1 divine day for the Gods. There are 360 divine days in one divine year.

12,000 divine years constitute the 4 Yugas – Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali and 4 Yugas make one Chathur Yuga. There are 1000 Chathur Yugas in a day-time of Brahma.

Let me stop with that for now- too many numbers to crunch and too much information to digest and remember from one post. In the next post, we will see about what constitutes a day for Brahma, how the 12000 divine years are spread across the 4 Yugas, and how Brahma administers the 4 Yugas.

Time travel in Srimad Bhagavatham

People who saw the movie Looper went all agog with the concept of time-travel used in the movie( When the mob wants to eliminate someone, it sends the target into the past, where a hit man known as a looper lies in wait to finish the job)

Something of the same sort happened to Markandeya once- which is described in Srimad Bhagavatham. As we all know, He is the immortal sage who gets his immortality from Lord Siva. He is the only survivor at the end of Brahma’s day when Pralayam happens due to this immortality. Pleased with his austerity and discipline in his immortal life, Lord Narayan appears before him. Markandeya is actually pleased, just to see Lord Narayan, but then wants to see a glimpse of His illusionary Potency (or Maya). Lord Narayan grants his wish and sends him off to his ashram.

One day Markandeya is doing his Sandhya Vandan in the evening, when suddenly there is a big deluge all around him. Water engulfs all that is existent around him. He realizes that it is the Pralayam. He is wandering in this Pralayam Ocean for millions of years. Suddenly he sees a small baby floating towards him in a big banyan leaf, with his toe in his mouth. The baby takes out his toe and inhales, drawing Markandeya into Him.

Inside the baby’s stomach, Markandeya sees the entire universe: the sky, heavens and earth, the stars, mountains, oceans, great islands and continents, the expanses in every direction, the saintly and demoniac living beings, the forests, countries, rivers, cities and mines, the agricultural villages and cow pastures, and the occupational and spiritual activities of the various social divisions. He also sees the basic elements of creation along with all their by-products, as well as time itself, which regulates the progression of countless ages within the days of Brahma. In addition, he sees everything else created for use in material life. All this he sees manifested before him as if it were real.

In this entire melee, he also sees himself in his ashram and performing his daily rituals! This is a completely different and a very advanced time travel concept, where HIS PAST is sent to ITS FUTURE for him to see IT from HIS PRESENT state.

WOW!

Let us see what happens to our beloved Markandeya.

The baby exhales and throws him out and at that moment, everything around him vanishes and he realizes that he is still in his ashram doing his daily evening rituals. He realizes that Lord Narayan just displayed his illusionary powers, showing Markandeya what actually happens during the Pralayam, at the same time.

The simple truth that Time travel was not thought of as an advanced concept back then, but something that was normal, shows how advanced our ancestors were.(Srimad Bhagavatham which tells this story-is of primordial origins).

PS – If You want to see this baby in the banyan leaf, search for Gokul Santol powder Logo. He is Vada Badra Sayee.

We are not alone!

When NASA says  “We are not alone” what do we think? Would your interest be spiked if I tell that the same thing has been said thousands of years ago by a sage called parasarar?

Read on…

We all live on Earth which is called “Bhúr-loka” (or Bhu-Loka). There are 6 more lokas above us which form a higher level of existence. They are

  1. Bhur-Loka – Inhabited by us-Humans
  2. Bhuvar-Loka – Sphere of Sky right above us
  3. Swar-Loka – Planetary sphere where Devas and Indira live
  4. Mahar-Loka – inhabited by saintly souls – This is the intermediary Loka in between the lower 3 lokas and the upper 3 lokas.
  5. Jana-Loka – Sanandana and other pure minded sons of Brahma reside here
  6. Tapo-Loka – inhabited by the deities called Vaibhrájas
  7. Satya-Loka – This is inhabited by souls which never again know death and Brahma

The Vishnu Puranam dwells in detail about the distances between each loka and what actually exists in between them. That’s for another post though.

Now below us, we have

  1. Atala
  2. Vitala
  3. Sutala
  4. Talatala
  5. Mahatala
  6. Rasatala
  7. Patala

These are the regions that are inhabited by Yakshas, Rakshasas, Pisasas, Pretas and Bhutas. Then we have Naraka(m) or hell.

That is not all. If you consider this whole system as an egg (or Andam) then there are the following  layers of coatings, starting with Water and encompassed by layers of Agni(fire), Air(Vayu), Mind and Intellect. AND there ends the boundaries of one egg.

There are thousands and thousands of such eggs in the cosmos, with each egg having its own Brahma for creation and other celestial beings for performing their own duties.

The next time we hear someone say “We are not alone”, let us not laugh at that, but introspect a little to see how small a speck we are in the whole scheme of things.