|Vol 02.019||Pre-SaraNAgati Issues||
9 February, 1997
|In this Issue:
1. Note from the Editor
2. Excerpts from Chapter 21 of "Hinduism Rediscovered"
on " Evolution and Dissolution of Matter- Space - Time Triad"
1. Note from the Editor
We give below excerpts from Chapter 21 of "Hinduism Rediscovered" dealing with "Evolution and Dissolution of Matter- Space -Time Triad" This issue deals with "TIME- continued".
Excerpts from Chapter 21 of "Hinduism Rediscovered"
on "Time- (Continued)"
You may be tempted to ask whether all this is not a figment of imagination running riot and where is the proof?
What is the proof that today is , say, SATURDAY? The only proof is that yesterday was FRIDAY. Even your date of birth is what your mother who gave birth to you told you so.
Who is your biological father? He is the person whom your mother pointed out to be your father.
You have seen your father and / or mother; They were born out of their parents and these parents were born out of their parents and so on.
If you go on tracing the genealogical tree without faltering, you can arrive at what the Hindus call 'Adhi Moolam" - the primordial origin of the species and with that the time in which they lived. This saga of time unfolding before you can also take you ' back to the future'.
In a similar fashion - through your children, grand children, great grandchildren and great great grand children and so on to the times when they would live and there is nothing to be skeptical about it.
If you still feel not convinced, listen to what these authors have to say on the matter:
"ANACHRONISTIC AS THIS LABYRINTHINE MYTHOLOGY MAY APPEAR TO THE FOREIGN MIND, MANY OF INDIA'S ANCIENT THEORIES ABOUT THE UNIVERSE ARE STARTINGLY MODERN IN SCOPE AND WORTHY OF A PEOPLE WHO ARE CREDITED WITH THE INVENTION OF THE ZERO, AS WELL AS ALGEBRA AND ITS APPLICATION TO ASTRONOMY AND GEOMETRY; A PEOPLE WHO SO CAREFULLY OBSERVEDTHE HEAVENS THAT, IN THE OPINION OF MONIER-WILLIAMS, THEY DETERMINED THE MOON'S SYNODICAL REVOLUTION MUCH MORE CORRECTLY THAN THE GREEKS" 24
And, ROSS continues
"MANY HUNDREDS OF YEARS BEFORE THOSE GREAT EUROPEAN PIONEERS, GALILEO AND COPERNICUS, HAD TO PAY HEAVY PRICES IN RIDICULE AND EXCOMMUNICATION FOR THEIR DARING THEORIES, A SECTION OF THE VEDAS KNOWN AS THE BRAHMANAS CONTAINED THIS ASTOUNDING STATEMENT:
'THE SUN NEVER SETS OR RISES. WHEN PEOPLE THINK THE SUN IS SETTING, HE ONLY CHANGES ABOUT AFTER REACHING THE END OF THE DAY TO WHAT IS ON THE OTHER SIDE. THEN, WHEN PEOPLE THINK HE RISES IN THE MORNING, HE ONLY SHIFTS HIMSELF ABOUT AFTER REACHING THE END OF THE NIGHT, AND MAKES DAY BELOW AND NIGHT TO WHAT IS ON THE OTHER SIDE. IN TRUTH, HE DOES NOT SET AT ALL'"25
"In the Manusmriti, we already find the idea of a periodical creation and destruction of the world, as well as all the divisions of time from the winking of an eye to the World ages. One day and night are made up of thirty muhurtas, each muhurta of thirty kalas, each kala of thirty Kastas, and each Kasta of eighteen nimeshas."26
" We reckon a light year as the distance light travels in a year's time, or 5,878,000,000,000 miles. The number is, of course, unimaginable; the mind cannot grasp it.
To pictorialize a kalpa- that is the time between the initial condensation to the final conflagration of a world system.- an Indian sage of the sixth century BC., Siddharta Gautama, who became the Buddha, reduced this immense concept to singularly vivid terms.
'Imagine, he said, a mountain of the very hardest rock, a mountain much larger than any peak in the Himalayas, and suppose that a man, with the piece of the very finest, sheerest silk gauze from Benares comes just once every hundred years to touch that great mountain with the gauze ever so lightly. The time it would take him to wear away the entire mountain would be about the length of a Kalpa"27
The Sun divides days and nights, both human and divine; A year is the day and night of the departed ancestors; That is why performance of annual Sradda ceremony is observed whereby the departed souls are fed and remembered- which is another way of saying their being fed and honored on ' THEIR daily basis '
WHATEVER THEIR FAILURES , IF ANY, IN OTHER FIELDS, INDIANS HAVE BEEN DOING AN EXCELLENT JOB IN TERMS OF KEEPING TRACK OF TIME AND DISTANCE. THIS, THEY DID BY KEEPING A SORT OF DIARY BASED ON THE ALMANAC.
It may be noticed that any rituals which a Hindu performs on auspicious as well as inauspicious occasions always start with a fixation of the precise time, the star, the day, the Thithi, the fortnight, the month, the season, the half year , and the year on the micro side as also the quarter of the yuga, the name of the yuga , the name of the cycle, the Manvantara, and the Kalpa on the Macro side.
In fact, orthodox Hindus do this reckoning daily in their ' Nitya karma Anushtana' the daily routine Puja ( honoring) of their Ishtadevata. In this way the formula for describing the exact time in the eternal cycle has been passed on from generation to generation.
This is what we call the "Sankalpa' before commencing any rituals. This is also true of fixation of the exact location where the ritual is performed. as already discussed in the 'Section on ' Space'.
Now, let us have a look at this Sankalpa: It goes on like this: Dviteeya parardhe In the second
half of Brahma's life Svetavaraha Kalpe In the Kalpa of Sveta Varaha Vaivaswatha Manvantare In the reign of Vaivaswatha Manu Ashta Vimsati me within the 28th cycle Kali Yuge In the Kali yuga Prathame Pade In the first quarter thereofThen, the Sankalpa refers to the geographical position of the place where the ritual is performed. and this has been explained in the section on ' Space'. Resuming the reference to time, the Sankalpa proceeds further as follows:-
Asmin Varthamane Vyavaharike In the current period now proceeding Prabavadi Shashti Samvatsaranam Madye Among the cycle of 60 years starting from Prabhava ..... Nama Samvatsare in the year named.......... Dakshinayane or Uttarayane in the Soutern/ Northern movement of the Sun .......Ritou in the season named....... ...... Mase in the month of........... ........Pakshe in the bright / dark fortnight thereof ........Punya Thithou in this holy Thithi numbered........ .........Vasara uktayam on the day called......... ..........Nakshatra uktayam when the star called.........holds swayThen, the Sankalpa proceeds to say that the ritual called..............is performed for the pleasure of the Lord.
THE DESCRIPTION OF THE YUGAS
The Mahayuga is visualized allegorically to a cow standing on its four legs of Dharma in the Krita yuga.
In the Treta Yuga, it loses one leg and supports itself on 3 legs.
In Dwapara Yuga as Dharma degenerates, the cow loses another leg, but somehow manages to survive on just 2 legs.
When Kaliyuga begins, it is left with only one leg.
As Kali Yuga advances, even the single leg is lost and the cow just exists breathing and vegetating in its struggle for life having lost all Dharma that once sustained it.
The present Kaliyuga lasting 432,000 years is characterized by degeneration, violence, ignorance, sorrow, materialism, waning religion, chaos and evil.
The Puranas indicate that in Krita or Satya yuga (golden age) average life-span was 100,000 years;
In Tretayuga ( Silver age ) it dropped to 10,000 years;
In Dwaparayuga ( Bronze age ) it further dropped to 1,000 years.
At the beginning of Kaliyuga ( Iron age ) it came down to a mere 100 years and
At the end of Kaliyuga ii could be expected to last no more than say, 22 years.
JOYCE in his " Finnegans Wake " is quoted as expressing similar views::
"HISTORICAL CYCLES OCCUR RECURRENTLY THROUGH THEOCRATIC, ARISTOCRATIC, DEMOCRATIC AND CHAOTIC FORMS OF RULE- THE LAST PHASE CHARACTERIZED BY OUR OWN STERILE INDIVIDUALISM WHICH INDEED SEEMS READY TO REINSTATE GOVERNMENT BY GODS"28
This corresponds to the description of the various yugas given in our scriptures . They depict the yugas as follows:
Krita yuga , the golden age, the perfect age when Dyana ( meditation) was the chief virtue.
Treta Yuga was the Silver age when the chief virtue was Yajna (Sacrifice),
Dwapara Yuga became the bronze age when Archana (Intense worship) assumed importance.
And, Kali yuga, the age of chaos, the age of discord was characterized as the iron age when mere recitation of the Lord's name and Daana (Gift) are regarded as of equal value.
The extent of deterioration of standards has been vividly portrayed in various Puranas especially, Vishnu Purana 29
A glimpse is given below:
A HINDU VERSE SAYS THAT KALIYUGA IS SO ABOMINABLE THAT IF A PERSON TELLS THE TRUTH, HE WILL BE BEATEN BUT IF HE LIES, CHEATS AND BLUFFS, HE WILL BE LIKED AND ACCEPTED.
KALI MAHTMYAM says:
"SINCE IT IS MORE THAN 5,000 YEARS SINCE KALI AGE STARTED, THERE WILL BE DEBASEMENT OF CASTE, DECLINE IN RELIGION AND VEDIC STUDIES, DEGENERATION, VIOLENCE, IGNORANCE, SORROW, MATERIALISM, CHAOS, EVIL, ABSENCE OF DEVOTION, UPSURGE IN LUST AND ANGER IN GENERAL AND ABUSE OF VIRTUOUS PERSONS"
1.RVS-( Purusha Suktam), 10.90
2.Nasadiya Suktam, 10.129
3. Brih. Up. 1.4.3 and 1.4.4
4. ibid 10.129
5. MB,Adhi Parva, 1.45 and Sk. P.5.13
6. VR., 1.45
7. ibid.,1.57 and 58
8. Bhag. P.,3.8.15
9. Mats. P.16.9.2
10 MB,Vana Parva., 273.45
13. VP., 6.3 to 5
14. Dr. Hoyle quoted by Ross, p.65
15A. Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers in 'The Power of Myth' (p.278)
16. Klostermier, p.113
17. ibid., p.124
18. ibid., p.116
19. Haught (1) p.200-201
20. 3 Ms, Vol 6 / p.1558-1559
21. Vishnu Suktam, verse 12
22. Basham, p.493( appendix)
23. Radhakrishnan Dr. S, President of India quoted by Ross., p.64
26. Klostermier, p.112
27. Ross., p.65
28. Coats, Joseph Chief Times Book reviewer and the Chicago Tribune book critic's comment on Harold Bloom's book ' American Religion-: The emergence of the Post Christian Nation ' published by Simon & Schuster,1992.
29.VP.6.1 and 2
30. Kali Mahatmiyam quoted in Almanacs