Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy New Year!

I know its a bit late to say Happy new year, but there you have it.
A(nother) year has passed by. A new set of sheets on the wall.
What have we achieved over the past 365 days, what we vow to achieve over the next, resolutions, commitments, dreams what not. We feel quite a lot has happened over the past 'year' and some sigh there are more of them to come.

You'd have read about how insignificant we are in this vast universe. How we are a tiny speck in the starry chaos of space. Everything is relative. So if a multi story building appears so large to us but our Earth itself is a dot in space, what about a 'year' long year? It is.

Brahma, the Creator according to Hinduism lives a 100 years of His own time. And He is the 1st Day of his 51st year. His daily routine? Create the world at dawn. Destroy it at night. Pretty boring uh? Not that we know how to 'create' things. I guess विरिन्चि amuses Himself watching us go about our years as His time passes in trutis.

Lets have a closer look at His 'day', known as a Kalpa.
A kalpa is 4.32 billion years. It consists of 1000 mahayugas.
A kalpa is followed by a pralaya or the Night of Brahma which is of equal length.
A mahayuga consists of the four yugas as many of us have learnt; The Kreta (or Satya), Treta, Dwapara and the Kali. The naming is quite meaningful in that the first syllable in them are from the main syllable of Chatur, Threya, Dwa and Eka. The ratios of the yugas are also 4:3:2:1. This ration denotes the length of the yugas in charanas.; i.e Kali is 1 charana long and Satya is 4 charanas long. These yugas are like seasons, where the mix of good and evil changes as time passes. One way to look at it is to say, in the earliest time people are either 100% good or 100% bad, as time progresses you get a mix! Also, people or earlier times are said to be so close to God that they didn't need temples.

A Day of Brahma is also divided into 14 manvantare or manvantaras. In all there are 14*71 (=994) mahayugas in a Day. Each of this 14 is followed by a Sandhi Kala, and the Day starts with a Adi Sandhi, both of which are equal in length to the length of 4 charanas. Hence, 4*15 charanas = 60 = 6*10 = 6 mahayugas. Thus, a Kalpa is 10,000 charanas!

Each manvantara has a designated Manu king (his lifetime is equal to the length of this period); he is also responsible in writing the laws thus applicable called Manu Smriti. the Saptarishis, Indra. As always the case with Hinduism, these Days and 1/14s have names too! We are currenly in the Svetavaraha Kalpa and the Vaivaswatha Manu (7th) and the 28th mahayuga of the current manu. The lifetime of Brahma is 100 years (365 kalpas). Since half of it has gone by, the second half is called Dvitheeya parardha.

The purpose of the manu rajas is to sustain the cycle of creation (Srishti). Time, according to Hindu philosophy is an endless cycle of creation and destruction. Why? Nobody knows. Perhaps there is no destination. As they say, the journey is the reward. Is this true? Could be. Often has Hinduism surprised the scientific world. Does the 100 years of Brahma denote his lifetime or his service time, is not clear. However, after 100 years of His, there is a period of identical length where nothing exists! What a life! I guess this cycle is the bigger version of our own lives where we see quite a lot of cycles both in nature and in the artificial world.

We can continue to wish Brahma "belated happy birthday" everyday and we will be just a 'day' late. I think we should be excused given the fact we weren't there on his last birthday.

Happy living!

PS: I wonder what He had for breakfast...
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