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.

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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.