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Quite often when we achieve something which is slightly above average (be it wealth, fame, intelligence or beauty) a sense of pride and ego creeps in. All of us know one such person who is very intelligent or very beautiful yet very full of himself/herself. Why is it that we get filled with pride when we achieve a little bit of success? Very often the answer is in our ignorance of how insignificant we are and the false sense of self-worth.

There is a beautiful story on pride in Hindu scriptures titled "Indra and Ants". But in order to fully understand the gravitas of this story, one needs to first understand how long the time is and how big space is. Our ego mostly stems from our ability to influence some part of the space for some time. If we know how small we are in space and time, probably it will keep our arrogance in check.

I shall pick two explanations on time and universe to explain the story of Indra and Ants better. For time I shall rely on Hindu scripture Srimad Bhagvatam and for space, I shall go to Hubble Telescope of modern science.

How long Time?

Srimad Bhagvatam Canto 3 Chapter 11 explains the scale of time from subatomic to the age of the universe itself.

SmallestTruti the smallest unit of time is defined as the time required for a hexatom (Hexagonal rings like Benzene ring or Honeycomb) to combine

LargestKalpa the largest unit of time is defined as one day in Life of Brahma

How long is one day of Brahma?

Hinduism divides time into 4 eras or yugas viz Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali in the ratio of 4:3:2:1. Kaliyuga is equal to 432,000 human years.

·        One Mahayuga comprises 4 yugas viz. Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali in the ratio 4:3:2:1.

·        4 Yugas = 1 Mahayuga = Life of Deva = 12,000 divine years = 4,320,000 human years

·        In one day of Brahma, called Kalpa or aeon, there are 14 Manvantara and 15 Sandhya which come in cycle one after another like phases - Try fitting 14 light and 15 dark strips in a line.

·        Now the interesting fact is that the duration of Manvantara and Sandhya is NOT equal. The ratio is 710:4 i.e. the universe is active 710 times and not active 4 times. The 710 times the universe is active represents 71 Mahayugas (equal to 710 Kaliyuga duration)

·        Brahma is the creator of the universe. Think of Sandhya as the “quick power nap time” for Brahma during his working day

·        At the end of his day Brahma goes to sleep after working for 1 day (Kalpa). This is Brahma’s night. His sleep is as long as his day (working time). The universe is fully destroyed when Brahma is sleeping. Duration of day and Night is equal and translates to 1000 Mahayuga or 4,320,000 * 1000 human years i.e. 4,320,000,000 years i.e. 4.32 billion years

·        Brahma lives for 100 years. Each year has 12 months of 30 day (kalpa) duration. So in all Brahma lives for 4.32 billion human years * 2 (day and night) * 100 year * 12 months * 30 days = 311.04 trillion years

For a more detailed presentation on time, you may refer my slides here

How does this stack up against the modern science version of how long time is? Well, modern science says that it has been 13.8 billion years since the birth of big bang. How does this match with Brahma’s one day of 4.32 billion years? Why don’t the two reconcile? Well, I shall leave this discussion for another day.

Hierarchy of Gods

·        Having read above it is clear that Brahma lives for very very very long time. But how is Brahma himself created?

·        The entire life of Brahma is just one breath of Mahavishnu (the Absolute)!

·        When Mahavishnu exhales infinite numbers of Brahmas (and hence universes) emerge from the navel of Mahavishnu, all seated on lotuses.

·        When Mahavishnu inhales infinite numbers of Brahmas (and hence universes) get destroyed. Shiva the Hindu lord of destruction and absorption is invoked for this.

·        Our Brahma is 4 headed and is considered the simplest of all Brahmas. Our Brahma is the creator of universe which has 4 dimensions i.e. time, length, width and height.

·        As mentioned, one day of this Brahma has 14 Manvantaras which literally means the duration of a Manu or his life span.

·        In each Manvantara one Manu, one Indra, and seven sages ‘Saptarishi’ are created and destroyed. Vishnu comes in each Manvantara as a different avatar.

·        We know from above that each Manvantara has 71 Mahayuga cycles.

·        Indra is the king of Gods. It is a post and not a person. Each Manvantara has one Indra.

·        Thus, in 1 day of Brahma 14 Indras (corresponding to 14 Manvantaras) appear and die! Each Indra lives for 1 Manvantara or 71 Mahayuga duration which is equal to 306 million years.

Part 1: Why this ego? - Time

Part 2: Why this ego? - Space (Universe)

Part 3: Why this ego? – Indra and Ants: Confluence of Mythology, Science and Sociology

#Gyanalogy #Gyan #Ego #Time #Space #Universe #Indra #Ant #Pride #Gyana #Wisdom

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[…] Part 1: Why this ego? – Time […]


[…] the previous two weeks, we discussed time and universe. This sets the ground ripe for the grand finale: The story of Indra and Ant. From […]