PanchiKarana and the Pancha Bootas

At the end of the last post, we saw how the basic 24 elements came into existence. We also saw that each Pancha Bhoota or Gross Element is just associated with its own Subtle element or Tanmatra and how it is not so in actuality. Now let us see what happens to bring the gross elements to the current state they are in.

Panchikarana is what happens. Lord Vishnu first takes Ether and divides it into 2 halves. He takes one half, divides it into 4 equal quarters and shares them each with the other 4 elements. He does the same to all the 5 gross elements. At the end of this process, all elements are a mixture of 50% of itself and 12.5% of the other 4 elements.

The Creation that happens till this point of time is called Samashti Creation (Creation done by the Supreme Being himself).  At the end of the Samashti Creation, there are millions of eggs or Andams floating in the cosmos. As seen in our very first post, Each of this Andam contains 14 lokas – Satya, Tapa, Jana, Mahar, Svar, Bhuvar, Bhur Lokas at the top  and Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala and Patala Lokas under the ground. It is also covered on the exterior by seven natural envelopes – Water, Fire, Air and Ether- in the same order-followed by Ahankara, Mahat and finally by the Indiscrete Principle. Each layer is ten-fold than the previous one.

Inside each such Egg, all the worlds that would be created, are in an embryonic state. Our world contains Mountains, Rivers, Land, Ocean etc… The egg also contains, Asuras, Devas, Humans and all other living things.

The Supreme Being then appoints one very pure Soul (Atman) as Brahma of each Andam.  He then becomes the Antharyami  (or the Inner God) of Brahma and starts Vyashti Srishti. Brahma goes on to create Asuras, Devas, Rakshasas, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Plants and animals, basically everything that lives and is a part of our Lokas. Detailed description of how Brahma achieves the progeny is given in our ancient scriptures like Vishnu Purana and Srimad Bhagavatam. (by the way, Asuras are different from Rakshas. We tend to mix them up in our stories. A topic for another post may be)

The very first creation at the start of the new Brahma’s first day is called Sarga. The creation that happens after every dissolution or pralaya is called Prati-Sarga.

Now that we have seen Dissolution and Creation, it is time to get into the original goal of this blog – bringing out interesting and not so frequently heard stories from our scriptures. I thought I will start with Varaha Avatar (although this is an oft repeated story, there are some misconceptions which I would like to do something about).

Until we see Mr Varaha…

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.

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.