Prakrita Dissolution – the elemental one

After the 3 types of Dissolutions, It is time for us to look at the most elemental of them all – The Prakrita Dissolution.

The Prakrita Pralayam occurs at the end of the life of each Brahma (You can recollect that the life span of a Brahma is 100 divine years) after He completes two parârdhas. At the end of the Hundredth year, the seven basic elements – Mahat or Mahan, Ahankara and the 5 Tanmatras are subject to destruction.(We will see more about these elements in the next post). Thus this dissolution is called elemental annihilation, since it is elemental in nature. Then all calamities will occur one by one starting with extreme drought resulting in a great famine, followed by the fire of destruction. Then a terrible wind will blow for 100 years which will be followed by the last, but not the least, heavy rains for the next 100 years. At the end of this rain, the universal egg will be one big form of water.

Let us see now, how the Pancha Bhoota or gross elements are destroyed one after the other. Each element is associated with one very basic elemental character. Earth is associated with Smell, Water with Taste, Fire with Form, Wind with touch or feeling and Ether with Sound. Each element will be destroyed when this character is robbed off it. Let us see how.

The excessive water drives away the quality of fragrance of the Earth. Earth dissolves.

The great fire will take away the most basic character of water-Taste. Water dissolves.

The terrible Wind takes away the quality of Form from fire. Fire dissolves.

The Ether robs Wind of its basic character-touch or feeling. Wind dissolves.

The elemental nature takes Sound off from Ether. Ether dissolves into nature or Ahankara.

Ahankara dissolves into Mahaan and Mahaan dissolves into the Pradhana or the Root.

According to Srimad Bhagavatam – “This is the prâkritika pralaya or elemental dissolution wherein all the material elements of nature and energies of the unseen Original Person are completely dismantled by Time and helplessly merge.”

It is clear now from where we come and to where we all go and how helpless we are in the grand scheme of things. Yet we don’t realize all this and behave as if we are the greatest in this universe. How Silly, eh?

Enough of all the negative posts about Dissolution. In the next few posts we will see how creation happens and what happened at the very beginning.

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.