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A Brief History of Time The Real One

From: psrinivasan99 (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 09:42:31 PST

A Brief History of Time  The Real One

Modern man is in a dire predicament. Living a day-to-day 
existence, he always thinks about the `now', the `today' and 
perhaps the `tomorrow'  but can hardly bring himself upto 
anything in the distant future or the distant past. Living in tiny 
cocoons of time, he has little knowledge or appreciation of recent 
history, not to speak of ancient history. Tightening his time-
cocoon is the present-day European-influenced notion that human 
civilization itself is worth studying only after it got `modernized' 
in the last 4 centuries. And the Semitic religions (Judaism, 
Christianity and Islam) have added their part by treating the advent 
of their masters as the worthy beginning of any serious study of the 
world. (One Christian saint went as far as to mention that Creation 
itself happened only recently in 4004 BC.) Thus man tightens his 
time cocoons and suffocates himself.

In contrast to this normal view of humanity, is the modern view of 
scientists (such as Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and many others) 
in which the universe is conjectured to have passed through many 
millions, perhaps billions of years in existence. This brings in a 
tiny ray of light into the otherwise narrow notions of Time held by 
contemporary man. 

In striking contrast to both the above groups of people are the 
Bhagavathothamas who incessantly serve the lotus feet of Lakshmi 
and Narayana. In them there arises a Total Illumination, called 
para-gnana, by which the Truth of the Totality of Existence is 
revealed as a fruit in one's own palm. One such Bhagavathothama, 
who intimately knew Time as well as its Master, is the sage Vyasa, 
to whom all of us owe our very breath. He too has written a "Brief 
History of Time"  but this one, unlike its secular counterpart, is 
supremely Real and has the sole intention of generating in the 
hearts of listeners, parama-bhakti, supreme devotion to 
Mahavishnu. The merciful sage has written about Time and its 
Ruler in many of his Sookthis, one of which is Srimad Bhagavatha 
Purana. Here is a brief summary of Vyasa's wisdom on Time 
culled from that delightful text. adiyen would beg the pardon of all 
vaishnavas for any mistakes in the narration.
1) We are currently living in Kali Yuga, the fourth of Yugas, 
which is constituted of 4,32,000 years. 
2) Twice the duration of Kali Yuga, that is, 8,64,000 years 
make up the third Yuga, Dwapara Yuga.
3) Thrice the duration of Kali, that is, 12,96,000 years form
the second Yuga, Threta Yuga.
4) Four times the duration of Kali, that is, 17,28,000 years 
go into the first Yuga, Sathya Yuga or Kritha Yuga.
5) These four Yugas put together constitute one Chathur Yuga, 
which is 43,20,000 years (43.2 lakh years or 4.32 million years). 
6) One thousand such Chathur Yugas constitute one day for 
Brahma which is 4,32,00,00,000 years (432 crore years or 4.32 
billion years). A day of Brahma is called a Kalpa.

7) At the end of a day of Brahma, there is a Pralaya called 
Naimittika Pralaya meaning Occassional Dissolution, in which the 
whole universe is dissolved into the elemental condition and 
Narayana reclines on Adi Sesha. This Yoganidhra of Ranganatha is 
considered the night-time of Brahma, who is said to sleep or take 
rest in Emberumaan.
8) The night-time of Brahma, that is, Perumal's Yoganidhra, 
continues for the same duration as a day-time of Brahma, i.e., for 
4.32 billion years. 
9) One full day of Brahma (day-time + night-time) therefore comes 
to 8.64 billion years. 

10) At the close of Brahma's night, Padmanabha rises from Adi 
Sesha and recreates the universe (Shristi) starting with the same 
Brahma and thus another Kalpa follows.
11) One year of Brahma is constituted of 360 Brahma days (or 360 
Kalpas) which totals up to 3,110,400,000,000 years (3.11 trillion 
12) 50 such years of Brahma constitute a Parardha (half-life) for 
Brahma which boggles the mind at 155,520,000,000,000 human 
years (155.5 trillion years).
13) 2 such Parardhas constitute a lifetime for Brahma and 
comprises 311,040,000,000,000 human years (311 trillion human 
years). A lifetime of Brahma is called a Maha Kalpa.

14) At the end of a Maha Kalpa, that is, at the end of Brahma's 
lifetime, Narayana, the Kaalaswarupi, engages in Prakritha Pralaya, 
Total Cosmic Dissolution, in which the whole universe including the 
elements are dissolved in Vasudeva. 
15) At the close of this Cosmic Night, Sriman Narayana initiates a 
new Maha Kalpa by recreating the universe along with a new 

16) The Supreme Being, Narayana, has created an INFINITE 
number of such Maha Kalpas in the past. Hence there is no 
absolute beginning for creation.
The Maha Kalpa is the highest unit of time for even Brahma. It 
comes to 311 trillion human years. To give an idea about how this 
stupendous amount of time relates to the Supreme Being 
Vasudeva, sage Vyasa, at first, remarks that it is the time that 
"Mahavishnu takes to wink His eyes". But he quickly admits that 
even this analogy is imperfect, for Narayana is the Eternal Being, 
Narayana is that Infinity in whose fear even Time functions.

Such, then, is Time. Such, then, is Time's Master. Thus ends 
Vyasa's Brief History of Time.
There are also accounts of Sandhis or intermediate periods mentioned 
in some texts. Already blown out by the stupendosity of Time, I have 
not included them here. 

Alright, where are we now in this mind-boggling maze of Time?  we 
will see in the next post.
As an aside, it is a soul-stirring wonder that this same Narayana, 
for whom 311 trillion human years is less than an eye-wink, was 
tied to a mortar-stone by an innocent rural lady - an incident that 
melted Nammalvar's soul so much that he could not come out of 
his supremely ecstatic Samadhi for as long as 6 months.

To add just one more: It was this same Narayana, whose eye-wink 
creates and dissolves universes, who voluntarily took up "washing 
the feet of the guests" as his duty during Yudhistira's Rajasuya 
sacrifice, impelled by His unquenchable love for His bhaktas.

One can keep enjoying millions of such anubhavams for endless 

Glory to Narayana !
Glory to Lakshmi !
Glory to Vyasa !
Glory to Nammalvar !
Glory to Ramanuja !
Glory to all Servants of Vishnu !


           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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