YugaThe units of time larger than a year are called yugas. The word yuga has been derived from yoga and yoga from samyoga, or conjunction of heavenly bodies. So one finds the origin of every unit of yuga to a specific conjunction of the heavenly bodies in the sky. In Indian astronomy, starting from a mere 5 year yuga to a vast Mahāyuga of 4,320,000 years are in vogue. Every 5 year, a conjunction of the sun and the moon occurs at the asterism Dhanişthā in the zodiacal sign Makara (Capricorn). The sun enters Makara, in the month of Māgha. Hence the conjunction recurs every 5 year on the new-moon day in the month of Māgha and that is the basis of counting a 5 year yuga. The Vedānga Jyotisa provides special names for these five years and they are Samvatsara, Parivatsara, Idāvatsara. Anuvatsara and Idvatvatsara [VS: 26/45, 30/16; TB: 1/4/10;111/4/1-4).
The planet Vŗhaspati (Jupiter) takes 1 year to cover a zodiacal sign and hence takes 12 years to complete its journey through all the 12 signs of the zodiac. This is the basis for counting a 12 year yuga and since it originates from the motion of Vŗhaspati, it is often called the Vrāhaspatya-yuga. It would be relevant to mention here that the Kumbha-Mela is held when Vŗhaspati enters the house of Kumbha (Aquarious) and hence the festival recurs every 12 years.
From the facts narrated above, one observes that a conjunction of the sun and the moon at Dhanişthā, while the Vŗhaspati (Jupiter) at makara (Capricorn), occurs every 60 years and that is the basis for counting a 60 year yuga. Hindu scriptures provide separate names for all the sixty years of a 60 year yuga. The rare occasion when the sun, the moon and Vŗhaspati (Jupiter) meet at dhanişthā repeats at an interval of 865 million years. Such a conjunction occurs five times in a Kalpa.
Mahayuga (Chaturyuga) — The Yuga CyclesBeyond this level there are 4 epochs or yugas, namely, Krita Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga. All these four yugas together is called a chatur yuga, which means "four epochs"or also termed maha yuga that means "great epochs". Together a chatur yuga constitutes 4,320,000 human years and the lengths of each chatur yuga follow a ratio of (4:3:2:1:).
|1 chatur yuga (mahayuga)||4,320,000 human years|
|Krita Yuga||Treta Yuga||Dvapara Yuga||Kali Yuga|
|other name||Golden Age or Satya Yuga (age of Truth)||Silver Age||Bronze Age||Iron Age|
|climate||virtue reigns supreme||three quarters virtue and one quarter sin||one half virtue and one half sin||one quarter virtue and three quarters sin|
|human stature||21 cubits||14 cubits||3.5 cubits|
|human lifespan||lakh of years and death occurs only when willed.||lifespan is 10,000 years.||lifespan is 1,000 years.||lifespan is 100 or 120 years.|
Time of the Devas — The Cosmic Years
|1 day of the Devas||1 human year|
|1 month of the Devas||30 days of the Devas|
|1 year of the Devas (1 divine year)||12 months of the Devas|
Kalpa — A Cosmic Day of BrahmāIn this cyclic process of time, 1000 chaturyuga or mahayuga period is called a Kalpa, and period of time is equal to a daytime for the Brahma, the creator of the universe. A thousand and a thousand (i.e. two thousand) chaturyuga-s are said to be one day and night of Brahmā (the creator).
|1 kalpa||1000 chatur yuga (mahayuga)|
|1 day and 1 night of Brahmā||2 kalpas|
ManvantaraA cosmic days includes 14 Period or Manvantaras to 306 720 000 solar years. The next day, a cosmic unity is a Manvantara, there are fourteen pieces. A Manu mastered such a period. We live in the 7th Manvantara. Manvantara the first 6 have gone, 7 more will come. In particular, their names are:
02. Svaarochisha — son of the Self Shining
03. Uttama — Son of the Most High
04. Taamasa — Son of Darkness
05. Raivata — son of wealth
06. Chaakshusha — son of the vision (this was the Quirlung instead of the milk ocean)
07. Vaivasvata — Vaivasvata is the son of the Sun God. <—- We currently live here.
09. Daksha-Saavarni — son of the rituals
10. Brahma-Saavarni — son of Brahma
11. Dharma-Saavarni — Son of the Eternal Law
12. Rudra-Saavarni — son of the Destroyer
13. Deva-Saavarni — Son of the Shining
14. Indra-Saavarni — son of the mighty Indra
|1 manvantara||71 cycles of chatur yuga|
Mahakalpa — Brahma's LifespanBrahma (the creator) lives for 100 years of 360 such days and at the end, he is said to dissolve, along with his entire Creation, into the Paramātman (Eternal Soul). The scriptures put Brahma's age at 100 years in his unique time scale.
Brahma's life span is equal to 311,040,000,000,000 human years. This period in named as maha kalpa. A universe lasts only for one maha kalpa period. At the end of it the universe is completely destroyed together with the creator Brahma and a new universe would be created with a new Brahma. This cycle goes on endlessly. The Vedic universe passes through repetitive cycles of creation and destruction. During the annihilation of the universe, energy is conserved, to manifest again in the next creation.
|1 maha kalpa||100 years of Brahma (311,040,000,000,000 human years)|
Present date in TimeHow old is the universe on this day of Brahma?
The current Kali Yuga began after the Surya Siddhanta at midnight on a change of 17 at 18 February in the year 3102 BC in the proleptic Julian calendar. Since the beginning of the Kalpa until the year 2005 AD passed:
- 6 complete Manvantaras: 6 x 710
- 7-Manvantara twilight before a Manvantara each: 7 x 4
- 27 complete Mahayugas of the current 7th Manvantara: 27 x 10
- 3 Elapsed Yugas the current 28th Mahayuga: (4 + 3 + 2) x l
- 5107 solar years in the current Kali Yuga
Kaliyuga calendarThe Kaliyuga calendar is apparently much older than — and quite out of line with — the other surviving old calendars. It also has a somewhat special standing because of its linkage with the religious account of the history of the world, described with mathematical — if mind-boggling — precision. (It is the last and the shortest of the four yugas, meant to last for 432,000 years, and has been preceded respectively by three other yugas, which were in length — going backwards — two, three and four times as long as the Kaliyuga, making up a total of 4,320,000 years altogether.)
The epoch (starting point or first day of the zeroth year) of the current era of Hindu calendar (both solar and lunisolar) is February 18 3102 BC/BCE in the proleptic Julian calendar or January 23 3102 BC/BCE in the proleptic Gregorian calendar. Both the solar and lunisolar calendars started on this date. After that, each year is labeled by the number of years elapsed since the epoch.
This is a unique feature of the Hindu calendar. All other systems use the current ordinal number of the year as the year label. But just as a person's true age is measured by the number of years that have elapsed starting from the date of the person's birth, the Hindu calendar measures the number of years elapsed. As of May 18, 2005, 5106 years had elapsed in the Hindu calendar, so this is the 5107th Hindu calendar year. Note that the lunisolar calendar year will usually start earlier than the solar calendar year.
OutlinePrior to the creation of the universe, Lord Vishnu lies asleep on the ocean of all causes. He rests upon a serpent bed with thousands of cobra-like hoods. While asleep, a lotus sprouts from His navel. Upon this lotus is born Brahma the creator of the universe. Lord Brahma lives for a hundred years and then dies, while Lord Vishnu remains. One year of Brahma consists of three hundred and sixty days. At the beginning of each day Brahma creates the living beings that reside in the universe and at the end of each day the living beings are absorbed into Brahma while he sleeps on the lotus. On day of Brahma is known as a KALPA. Within each KALPA there are fourteen MANUS and within each MANU are seventy one CHATUR-YUGAS. Each CHATUR-YUGA is divided into four parts called YUGAPADAS.
From the first chapter of Surya-Siddhanta, the most revered authoritative source of Hindu astronomy, we have the following passage:
11. That which begins with respirations (prana) is called real…….Six respirations make a vinadi, sixty of these a nadi:
12. And sixty nadis make a sidereal day and night. Of thirty of these sidereal days is composed a month; a civil (savana) month consists of as many sunrises;
13. A lunar month, of as many lunar days (tithi); a solar (saura) month is determined by the entrance of the Sun into a sign of the zodiac; twelve months make a year. This is called a day of the gods.
14. The day and night of the devas are mutually opposed to one another. Six times sixty of them are a year of the devas.
15 & 16. Twelve thousand of these divine years are denominated a chatur-yuga; of ten-thousand times four hundred and thirty two solar years is composed that chatur-yuga, with its dawn and twilight. The difference of the krita-yuga and the other yugas, as measured by the difference in the number of the feet of virtue in each is as follows:
17. The tenth part of a chatur-yuga, multiplied successively by four, three, two, and one, gives the length of the krita and the other yugas: the sixth part of each belongs to its dawn and twilight.
18. One and seventy chatur-yugas make a manu; at its end is a twilight which has the number of years of a krita-yuga, and which is a deluge.
19. In a kalpa are reckoned fourteen manus with their respective twilights; at the commencement of the kalpa is a fifteenth dawn, having the length of a krita-yuga.
20. The kalpa, thus composed of a thousand chatur-yugas, and which brings about the destruction of all that exists, is a day of Brahma; his night is of the same length.
21. His extreme age is a hundred, according to this valuation of a day and a night. The half of his life is past; of the remainder, this is the firsts kalpa.
22. And of this kalpa, six manus are past, with their respective twilights; and of the Manu son of Vivasvat, twenty seven chatur-yugas are past;
23. Of the present, the twenty eighth chatur-yuga, this krita yuga is past……..
ALL THE BEINGS OF THIS UNIVERSE INCLUDING CHATURMUKHA BRAHMA AND OTHER GODS ARE RULED BY TIME. THEY ARE CREATED, LIVE AND ARE DESTROYED BY ONE SUPREME AND POWERFUL BEING , WHO HAS NO BIRTH OR DEATH.This destruction is of four types:
(1) Nitya Pralaya (2) Naimittika Pralaya (3) Maha Pralaya and (4) Aatyantika Pralaya.
Nitya Pralaya is the sleep or by an extension thereof, Death.
Naimittika Pralaya is the end of a single day of Brahma, when the three worlds (Bhuh:, Bhuvaha: and Suvaha:) disintegrate.
Maha Pralaya is the great deluge at the end of the age of one Brahma ,which consists of 100 Brahmic Years (365 Times 2,000 ChaturYugas).
Aatyantika Pralaya is "the final deliverance or the attainment of Salvation by a Jivan and after that the Jivan is never again in the clutches of Karma nor bound by the tight ropes of Samsara.It is therefore a variable time span conditioned by the practise of the different kind of Yogas or Prapatti.
After these definitions of Units of Kaala and the alloted life spans of the Humans and Gods, we come to the concept of Kaala in the Nitya Vibuthi or Sri Vaikuntam. Since, Kaala is omnipresent, it has to be in Sri Vaikuntam also. However, it does not have the same power as in Leela Vibuthi or the Physical Universe, which serves as the play ground for Sriman Narayana. Kaala in Sri Vaikuntam is powerless and hence does not bring about growth, decay or destruction of any thing. Hence all there have eternal existence. Kaala is helpful there only "to describe one action as taking place before or after another. For instance in the service that the Muktas do to Sriman Narayana , they give a bath (Snana) at a point of time previous to that in which they offer food(Bhojana). It is all day there for ever and there is no division into day and night. Kaala is under the control of Sriman Narayana and he manipulates it as He likes it. It is used as an Instrument by Him in bringing about the modification of the various objects in Lila Vibhuti."