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.

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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.