Thursday, March 31, 2011

KALPA –The Hindu TIME Element

Om! Gam! Ganapathaye! Namaha!

Om! Sri Raghavendraya Namaha!

Om! Namo! Bhagavathe! Vasudevaya!

Om! Ham! Hanumathe! Sri Rama Doothaya Namaha!


Having understood the concept of Ugadi (Yuga + Aadi) as a time element let us now try to understand the arithmetic of Hindu time element and certain related terminologies that will help us in understanding the time element called Kalpa Para that refers to the life span of the Universe and Lord Brahma. Reference to Hindu time element is said to have been scripted in many Vishnu related puranas like Maha Bhagavatha, Matsya Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Mahabharatha and Bhagavath Geetha.

Hindu sages describe time as cyclic and an endless process of creation, preservation and dissolution. The Universe is cyclically created and destroyed. Hindu religion and philosophy which strongly believes in Vedas has clearly spelled out the time element of the universe at different levels. Understanding of time element in Hinduism is as old as the Hinduism itself. Several pouranic texts have mentioned about the time element in Hinduism.

It is said that before commencement of Creation (Srushti) there was only water every where and Lord SriManNarayana the primordial person (Aadi Purusha) only was present in deep meditation. Desired (Sankalpa) to start the creation, He first created the Universe and Omkara from where the Vedas got originated. It is also said that Vedas are (swayambhu) Lord SriManNarayana himself. He then created Lord Brahma from his navel to take further the process of Creation.

A Kalpa is a Sanskrit word meaning an aeon (immeasurably long period of time) in Hindu cosmology. In Hindu philosophy a Kalpa is equal to 432 crores of years. It is a day in the life of Lord Brahma. It is equal to 1000 Mahayugas measuring the duration of the world. Each Kalpa is divided into 14 Manvantharas each one lasting 306,720,000 years. Two kalpas constitute a day and night of Lord Brahma.

A Kalpa is also called as Vedanga, the hand of VedaPurusha. Kalpa is also referred to as the Sasthra that involves one to carry out the injunctions of Kalpa. Various kinds of spiritual rituals to be performed come under the province of Kalpa. Kalpa is one of the six disciplines of Vedanga.


Yuga is a period or an Era in which we live. As per Kalpa Pramana there are four Yugas viz. Krita Yuga known as Sathya Yuga which is also called as the Golden age an era of total virtue, Thretha Yuga called as the Silver age an era of 3/4th virtue, Dwapara Yuga called as bronze age with half virtue and half sin in its era, and Kali Yuga called as iron age (Black age) with 1/4th virtue and 3/4th sin in its era.

Life span of these Yugas will not be equal. The Yugas get progressively worse from morality point of view as one proceeds from one Yuga to another. As a result each Yuga is of shorter duration than its previous one. It is as follows,

Krita Yuga (Sathya Yuga) 1728000 years

Thretha Yuga 1296000 years

Dwapara Yuga 864000 years

Kali Yuga 432000 years

Total 43, 20,000 years


One cycle of four Yugas (Krita, Thretha, Dwapara and Kali) is called as Maha Yuga (Chatur Yuga); its life span will be 43, 20,000 years. It is also called as a Divine Yuga.


During every Kalpa Lord Brahma creates 14 Manus one after the other, who in turn manifest and regulate the world. Manvanthara is Manu’s cycle the one who gives birth and govern the human race. Manvanthara is reckoned with the age or period of Manu. The period of each Manvanthara consists of 71 Mahayugas (Chaturyugas) that is 71 x 4320000 = 306.720 million human years. After each Manvanthara there follows a Sandhi Kala of the duration of Krita Yuga years. (1728000). It is said that at the end of each Manvanthara it is followed by a Pralaya during the Sandhikala.

There are 14 generations of Manus they are, Swayambhuva, Swarochisha, Outtama, Tamasa, Raivatha, Chakshuva, Vaivaswatha, Savarni, Daksha Savarni, Brahma Savarni, Dharma Savarni, Rudra Savarni, Deva Savarni, and Indra Savarni. At end of the 14th Manu, the cycle repeats again and Brahma creates fourteen additional Manus. Each Manvanthara will have a set of seven sages called Saptha Rishis who will live through out the Manvanthara period.


A Kalpa is a day (12 hours) in the life of Lord Brahma. Each Kalpa is ruled by a succession of 14 Manus and the period of reign is called Manvanthara. A Kalpa (day period of Brahma) consists of a period of 17,28,000 years called Aadi Sandhi followed by 14 Manvantharas and Sandhi kalas that will be equal to 1000 Maha Yugas.

One day (Kalpa) of Brahma is also divided into 10000 parts called charanas equivalent to 1000 Maha Yugas of 10 charanas each. Each Maha Yuga consists of 10 charanas (Krita Yuga 4, Thretha Yuga 3, Dwapara Yuga 2 and Kali Yuga 1 charana).

A day of Brahma (Kalpa) is equal to 14 (Manvantharas) x 71(Maha Yugas) = 994 Maha Yugas + Sandhi kalas (equal to 6 Maha Yugas) = 1000 Maha Yugas. Sandhi kala is arrived at as follows; For 14 Manvanthara 14 sandhikala periods equal to the age of 14 Krita Yugas = 1728000 x 14 = 24192000 + 1728000 (Aadi Sandhi period) = 2,59,20,000 /43,20,000 years = 6 Maha Yugas. In terms of number of years, a Kalpa will be of 1000 Maha Yugas x 4320000 = 432 crores of years. A night of Brahma is of equal duration of another 1000 Maha Yugas = 432 crores years. Thus a full day (day + night) of Brahma is the period of Two Kalpas equal to 2000 Maha Yugas (864 crores years)

At the end of Brahma’s day time there will be a deluge (Pralaya) when the Universe will temporarily get dissolved by way of a Naimittika Pralaya. Then that will be the night time of Lord Brahma which will be equal to another Kalpa. During this time Lord Maha Vishnu reclines into meditative pose (Yoganidra) before Brahma starts recreation in the new Kalpa that will be the beginning of a new day for Lord Brahma. Thus in a full day’s cycle of Lord Brahma there will be creation during day time and destruction during night time.

There are 30 Kalpas as per Matsya Purana which gets repeated cyclically. They are Swetha, Neelalohita, Vamadeva, Rathanthara, Rourava, Deva, Bruhath, Kandarpa, Sadhya, Eesana, Tamah, Saraswatha, Udaana, Garuda, Kaurma, Narasimha, Samana, Agneya, Soma, Maanava, Tathpuman, Vaikunta, Lakshmi, Savithri, Aghora, Vaaraah, Vairaja, Gouri, Maheswara, and Pithru Kalpa. It is said that Vayu Purana gives a different list of Kalpas which are 28 in number.

Reckoning of time for Lord Brahma:

In Bhagavath Geetha a day of Lord Brahma has been defined as 1000 Maha Yugas (Sahasra Yuga paryantham ahar-yad brahmano vidhuh meaning a day of Brahma is of 1000 Mahayugas). According to Mahabharatha 12 months of Brahma is equal to 360 days that constitute his year and 100 such years is his life time and that is the life cycle of the Universe.

Fifty years of Brahma are supposed to have been elapsed and we are now in the 51st year of Lord Brahma in Swetha Varaha Kalpa. At the end of the Kalpa, Brahma rests for one night that is equal to the day during which time the world is annihilated (destroyed) that is called as Pralaya.

As per Vedamana the life span of Lord Brahma is said to be 100 years called as Brahma Kalpa. Though Brahma Kalpa had started from the day of his origin, first half of his life (50 years) was spent in knowing and understanding the tatva of Lord SriManNarayana.

As per the directions of supreme Lord Sri Maha Vishnu, Brahma started creation in his 51st year that is the current year in the life of Lord Brahma. Life span of Lord Brahma is reckoned as follows in terms of human years

· 1000 Maha Yugas = 1 Kalpa = 1 day (12 hours) of Lord Brahma = 432 crores of years

· 2000 Maha Yugas = 2 Kalpas = 1 day (24 hours) of Lord Brahma = 864 crores of years

· 30 such days of Brahma = 30 x 864 crores of years = 259.2 billions years = 60 Kalpas

· 12 such months (one year or 360 days) of Brahma = 12 x 259.2 billions years = 3.1104 trillions years = 720 (360+360) Kalpas

· 50 such years = 1 Paraarddha = 50 x 3.1104 trillion years = 155.52 trillions years = 36000 Kalpas

· 2 such Paraardhas = 100 years of Brahma = 311.04 trillions years = 72000 Kalpas

As per the above arithmetic life span of Lord Brahma will be 311.04 trillions years.

Reckoning for the Current Date:

(The time elapsed since the current Brahma has taken over the task of creation)

Some of the words in Sankalpa sloka that we recite daily during Sandhyavandana or before commencement of any divine prayer or ritual contain the time element viz. Aaadhya Brahmana, Dwiteeya Parardhe, Swetha Varaha Kalpe, Vaivaswatha Manwanthare, Kaliyuge, Prathama Pade, Salivahana Sakhe. In these words there is reckoning of the current date as per Vedamana since the birth of Lord Brahma.

Aaadhya Brahmana Dwiteeya Parardhe:

That means first half of the life time of Lord Brahma is over and we are in the 2nd half called Dwiteeya Parardhe in the 51st year of Lord Brahma (50 years of Lord Brahma is equal to 155.52 trillions human years)

Swetha Varaha Kalpe:

That means we are in the first day (only day) called Swetha Varaha Kalpa in the 51st year of Lord Brahma. In Swetha Varaha Kalpa (first day of Lord Brahma) after passing through 6 Manvantharas out of 14 we are currently in the 7th Manvanthara called Vaivaswatha Manvanthara. In terms of number of years after taking into account the sandhi kalas we have passed through 185.2416 crores human years (4320000 x 71 x 6) + (17,28,000 x 7) in the current Kalpa (during the previous six Manvantharas)

Vaivaswatha Manvanthare:

And in the current Manvanthara (Vaivasvatha) we have passed through 27 Maha Yugas out of 71 and we are currently in the 28th Maha Yuga. That means in this Manvanthara we have passed through 11.6644 crores human years during the last 27 Maha Yugas.

Kali Yuge:

In the 28th Maha Yuga after passing through the three periods viz. Krita, Thretha, and Dwapara Yugas comprising of 38,88,000 human years we are currently in the 4th Yuga that is Kali Yuga, in which we have already passed through 5110 human years out of the Kali Yuga span of 4,32,000 years. As per scripts it is said that Kali Yuga had begun 3102 years BC.

Counting from beginning of the Kalpa it is (185.24 + 11.67 + 0.39 + 0.005) =197.30 crores human years since commencement of creation by Lord Brahma. That also means out of 432 crores years in the current Kalpa we have already passed through 197.30 crores of years and still 234.70 crores of years have to pass through before end of the Kalpa.

Salivahana Sakhe:

Further reckoning down based on the concept of Sakha, after passing through the Yudhistira and Vikrama Sakhas we are currently in the Salivahana Sakha 1931 years since its beginning in 78 AD.

Tabulating the above it is reckoned as (taking the year 2009 as the base)

· 311.04 Trillions human years is the life span of current Brahma (100 Brahma years)

· 157.49 Trillions human years since the origin of current Brahma (153.55 trillion years still left)

· 197.30 Crores years since the beginning of the Swetha Varaha Kalpa, the time since creation started (234.70 crores years still left in the present Kalpa)

· 12.06 Crores years since the beginning of Vaivaswatha Manvanthara (18.61 crores years still left in the current Manvanthara)

· 38.88 lakhs years since the beginning of this 28th Maha Yuga (4.27 lakhs years till left in this Maha Yuga)

· 5110 years since the beginning of the present Kali Yuga (4,26,890 years still left in the current Yuga)

· 1931 years since the beginning of Salivahana Sakha

It is said that after the life span of Lord Brahma it will take another 100 Brahma years before a new Brahma is born. It is also said and believed that Lord Hanuman is going to be the future Brahma after the expiry of the life span of the current Brahma.

We would have heard or come across statements or news items like the world is coming to end, Pralaya is coming, it is going to be a dooms day, soon the world is going to disintegrate etc., Latest of such statements is that the year 2012 is going to be an end of the world. Behind all its realities, such statements are definitely going to create lot of confusion, chaos, scare, anxiety among the world population. While most of the non Hindu cultures base their cosmologies on familiar units such as few hundreds or thousands of years, Hindu concept of time element based on Vedic scripts believes on immeasurable period of time lasting billions and trillions of years.

Universal repositioning takes place whenever celestial splendors like Eclipses occur. Astronomically lot of changes do takes place in the universe and all such may not and need not lead to a dooms day. Above arithmetic shows that still 18.61 crores human years have to pass through before end of the present Manvanthara when it is expected to be a deluge (Pralaya). So as per this study one can be assured that cyclical end of the Universe is far away and it is a long way to go for a dooms day.

One should always remember the fact that nothing is permanent in this world even the Universe, or even Lord Brahma (Creator). The only permanent entity is the Primordial Person Lord SriManNarayana the creator of Brahma. In Phalastuthi of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Sthothram, Lord Brahma describes Lord Maha Vishnu as

! Namostvananthaya Sahasramuurthaye! SahasraPaadaakshi Sirorubaahave!

! Sahasranaamne Purushaya Saswathe! SahasraKoti Yugadhaarine Namah!!

Salutations to the Infinite, one who has manifested as innumerable number of forms, who has innumerable feet, eyes, heads, arms, one who has innumerable number of names, who is an eternal person, and who holds thousands of crores of Yugas which are uncountable.

NB: One billion = 1000 million = 100 crores - One trillion = 1000 billion = 100000 crores


Sakha Karthas of Kali Yuga:

The legends says that in Kali Yuga six Kings will create new eras (Sakhas) which will be named after them. They are,

· Yudhistira Sakha (Dharmaraja): His calendar started in the year 3102 BC continued for 3044 years.

· Vikrama Sakha: His calendar started in 57 BC continued for 135 years

· Salivahana Sakha (current period): His calendar started in 78 AD and will continue for 18000 years.

· Vijayabhinandana Sakha (future coming): His calendar will start in 18078 AD and will continue for 10000 years.

· Nagarjuna Sakha (future coming): His calendar will start in 28078 AD and will continue for 4, 00,000 years.

· Kalki Sakha (future coming): His calendar will start at the end of Kali Yuga 4, 28,078 AD and will run for 821 years when the Kali Yuga will come to an end.

Time Element for other Entities

For Devathas:

One day for Devathas = One human year comprising of two half years.

Brighter half of the day is called as Uttarayana

Darker half of the day is called as Dakshinayana.

12000 years for Devathas is equal to one Maha Yuga (Chatur Yuga) for human beings.

For Pithrus (Ancestors)

1 day of Pitru = One human month (comprising of two fortnights).

Brighter fortnight (sukla paksha) is day time for Pitrus.

Darker fortnight (Krishna paksha) is night time for Pitrus.

Sri Krishnaarpanamasthu


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