What is a day of Brahma

Bernhard Peter
Calendar and time calculation:
Creation Mathematics of India

According to the Hindu tradition, the world goes through continuous cycles of different, sometimes very large-scale ages. A phase of activity is always characteristic, initiated by creative activity and ended by destructive activity, which is then followed by a new cycle, often separated by a phase of rest, night or twilight. This constant ups and downs accompanies the history of time. Even the god Brahma is subject to the cycle of becoming and becoming, even if in completely different time dimensions than man.

Handling extremely large numbers is characteristic. Even if some people today try to interpret the cycles in esoteric enthusiasm as an expression of detailed knowledge of the large-scale processes in the solar system up to the Big Bang and Supernova or Martian years - you can simply prove everything with them -, the real intention of these large periods of time is more likely another. The immense numbers set up a kind of scale of meaning, depicting the size, power and possibility of the gods, while the individual person becomes a temporal marginality.

Mathematics and the nesting of the cycles create a different sense of time, a sense of time in its periodic form, a sense of time as a state, yes, time is experienced as a separate value of a divine nature. Time (kala) becomes a manifestation of the divine.

Furthermore, the message of the nested cycles is also that of the power of renewal and the transience of the existing, or let's call it the continuation of change alone - panta rei. The flow of time alone is eternal, there is no end point and no starting point, such points are always relative in relation to even larger cycles. Everything that flows with time can partake of their blessings. The lifetime of an individual becomes insignificant against the backdrop of immense dimensions. Conversely, humans only become part of the system through rebirths through participation in the cyclical nature of time.

The nesting of the cycles also gives time a cosmic dimension. Due to the seamless connection of all time units and the recurring numerical relationships, every little thing is integrated into relationships of cosmic size and dimension.

This also closely connects the past, present and future, because all three coexist in the absolute.

Creation is the manifestation of the absolute in a concrete time frame. At the end of a cycle, the universe falls back into the absolute, and we experience a phase of non-manifestation again as a prerequisite for creation again to be possible. These are the days and nights of Brahma. Creation takes place in order to perish, what is created goes under in order to be able to arise again. Everything is fleeting - as far as the bad news. Creation is infinitely possible - that is the good news.

Kalpa - A cosmic day of the creator god Brahma
Kalpa is a cosmic day of Brahma and lasts 4,320,000,000 (4.32 billion) solar years. Creation begins at the beginning of a day of creation. At the end of the same, everything that has been created merges again into the absolute. A kalpa is thus a cosmic cycle of becoming and becoming, of creation and annihilation.
A cosmic day comprises 14 periods or manvantaras of 306 720,000 solar years.
The next smaller unit of a cosmic day is a manvantara, of which there are fourteen. A manu masters such a period. We live in the 7th Manvantara, the first 6 have passed, 7 more will come. In detail their names are:

  1. Svaayambhuva - son of the self-born - this is where creation began
  2. Svaarochisha - son of the self-illuminating
  3. Uttama - son of the Most High
  4. Taamasa - son of darkness
  5. Raivata - son of wealth
  6. Chaakshusha - son of the vision - here the whirling of the milk ocean took place
  7. Vaivasvata - this is where we currently live. Vaivasvata is the son of the sun god.
  8. Arka Saavarni (or Savarnika) - is related to the sun god
  9. Daksha-Saavarni - son of rituals
  10. Brahma-Saavarni - son of Brahma
  11. Dharma-Saavarni Son of Eternal Law
  12. Rudra-Saavarni-son of the destroyer
  13. Deva-Saavarni - son of the shining one
  14. Indra-Saavarni - son of the mighty Indra

After the seven Manvantaras still to come, cosmic night will envelop the world. If you have included this, you will find: 14 x 306 720 000 = 4 294 080 000. There is still something missing to 4.32 billion (10 000 l). The Manvantaras are not directly connected to each other, but at the beginning and at the end of the Kalpa as well as between each two Manvantaras there are times of twilight, the Manvantara-Twilight of 4 l each. 1 l is the basic unit of 432,000 solar years. For twilight, 15 x 4 l = 25,920,000 solar years must be estimated in a Kalpa. The time of twilight is called Sandhi Kala. During twilight, the entire earth is submerged in the ocean. With these times of twilight we come to 4.32 billion years in a Kalpa. The duration of a kalpa is equivalent to 1000 mahayugas, the next smaller unit of the manvantaras. In truth, however, one must subtract the times of twilight, so that only 994 of the number remain for actual Mahayugas. A Mahayuga lasts 10 liters, i.e. 4,320,000 solar years, and 60 liters are times of twilight. 994 mahayugas are distributed over 14 manvantaras, so that 71 mahayugas remain per manvantara.

Again for comparison:

  • 1 kalpa = 10,000 l = 4,320,000,000 years = 14 manvantaras + 15 twilight
  • 1 Manvantara = 710 l = 306 720,000 years = 71 Mahayuga
  • 1 Sandhi Kala = twilight = 4 l = 1,728,000 years
  • 1 Mahayuga = 101 = 4,320,000 years = 4 Yuga of different lengths
  • 1 l = 432,000 solar years

The fine structure of a manvantara
A manvantara is one of the 14 sub-units of a cosmic day of creation and lasts 710 l or 306 720,000 years. A Manvantara is divided into a total of 71 Mahayugas ("great Yugas"). We are currently living in the 28th Mahayuga of the 7th Manvantara. Each Mahayuga is again divided into 4 Yugas. The Mahayugas connect seamlessly without being separated from each other by a phase of twilight.

The fine structure of a Mahayuga
There are four yugas (ages) in a mahayuga. This quartet of ages is also called Chaturyuga and lasts 4,320,000 solar years or 10 liters. The current 28th Mahayuga includes the following four Yugas of different durations:

  • Satya-Yuga or Krita-Yuga, "4-Yuga", duration 4 l = 1,728,000 solar years, Golden Age, Sri Ranganatha
  • Treta-Yuga, "3-Yuga", duration = 3 l = 1,296,000 solar years, Silver Age, Sri Rama
  • Dvapara-Yuga, "2-Yuga", duration = 2 l = 864,000 solar years, Bronze Age, Sri Krishna
  • Kali-Yuga, "Dark-Yuga", duration = 1 l = 432,000 solar years, Black Age, Iron Age, Srinivasa

We are currently living in Kali-Yuga, the last and shortest age of the present 28th Mahayuga. The Kali-Yuga consists for the most part of the central period of 360,000 solar years (5/6 of 1 l). At the beginning and at the end there is a twilight of 36,000 years (each 1/12 of 1 l) to be added to the Kali Yuga. And we? We are only a twelfth of the early twilight of Kali Yuga behind us, so we have not even entered its central period. Our entire history, from the Indus civilization to the third Gulf War, all just a thin line at the bottom of the smallest, last age of the 28th Mahayuga of the 7th Manvantara of a single day of Brahma's creation!

The following applies to the incoming and outgoing twilight:

  • Satya-Yuga or Krita-Yuga, twilight = 1/12 each of 4 l = 144,000 solar years, central period 1,440,000 years
  • Treta-Yuga, twilight = 1/12 each of 3 l = 108,000 solar years, central period 1,080,000 years
  • Dvapara-Yuga, twilight = 1/12 each of 2 l = 72,000 solar years, central period 720,000 years
  • Kali-Yuga, twilight = 1/12 each of 1 l = 36,000 solar years, central period 360,000 years

In the sequence of the four individual Yugas on top of one another, there is also the message of constant decline until the next complete renovation, until the next "high-boot" of the system. Due to moral and physical decline, the length of the yugas gradually decreases. In the golden age the world is still in order, then the depravity increases so that the phases can last less and less long, after all only destruction helps against the depravity of the world, so to speak the "reset button" to get back to experience a new golden age carefree.

  • Satya-Yuga or Krita-Yuga, best age, spiritual age free from unhappiness and full of truth
  • Treta-Yuga, Age of Mind and Discovery
  • Dvapara-Yuga, scientific age full of inventions
  • Kali-Yuga, lowest age, loss of spirituality, the physical aspect of existence dominates, maximum human power

By the way, Vishnu's incarnation Rama from the Ramayana lived in Treta Yuga. And his incarnation as Krishna was born in Dvapara Yuga. Our Kali Yuga began at the time of the events of the Mahabharata.

For the sake of completeness it should be mentioned that towards the end of the 19th century AD there was a different scheme by Sri Yukteswar with shorter time units.

How old is the universe on this day of Brahma?
The present Kali Yuga began after the Surya Siddhanta at midnight on the change from February 17th to 18th in the year 3102 BC. Of the proleptic Julian calendar. From the beginning of the Kalpa until 2005 AD:

  • 6 complete manvantaras: 6 x 710 l
  • 7 Manvantara twilight in front of a Manvantara: 7 x 4 l
  • 27 complete mahayugas of the current 7th manvantara: 27 x 10 l
  • 3 elapsed yugas of the current 28th Mahayuga: (4 + 3 + 2) x l
  • 5107 solar years in the present Kali-Yuga

This results in a total of 1 972 949 107 solar years as the age for the universe on this day of Brahma's creation. Gigantic dimensions in which a human life does not even last a moment. Why these dimensions? Perhaps it is a kind of standard of meaning to celebrate all the creative greatness and power of the god Brahma and to mathematically approach immortality.

Let us no longer calculate in human, but in divine years:
1 divine year is 360 solar years. Then the numbers look like this: A Mahayuga or Caturyuga lasts 12,000 divine years.

  • Satya-Yuga or Krita-Yuga, total duration 4800 divine years, twilight = 2x 400 divine years, central period 4,000 divine years
  • Treta-Yuga, total duration 3600 divine years, twilight = 2x 300 divine years each, central period 3,000 divine years
  • Dvapara-Yuga, total duration 2400 divine years, twilight = 2x 200 divine years each, central period 2,000 divine years
  • Kali-Yuga, total duration 1200 divine years, twilight = 2x per 100 divine years, central period 1,000 divine years

Attention: A divine year is not identical to a year of Brahma! see below

Is there also a night after a Brahma day of creation?
Sure, after a creation day there follows a night that lasts just as long, namely also 1,000 mahayugas or 4,320,000,000 sidereal solar years. After a day of creation, everything created is again absorbed in the absolute, and Brahma goes to rest and sleeps. Only Brahma survives between the individual kalpas. Everything else goes back to the absolute in between.

Are there any bigger units?
Sure, 360 days of creation (Diva Kalpa) and subsequent nights (Ratri Kalpa) result in a Brahma year of creation. A year of creation therefore consists of 2 x 4,320,000,000 x 360 = 3.11 x 10 to the power of 12 sidereal years! According to the Puranas, Brahma had already spent 50 such years (Para Ardham), and we are on the very first day of his 51st year of creation. Let's add up how long creation has been around: 50 years * (360 days and 360 nights) x 4,320,000,000 solar years = 1.5552 * 10 to the power of 14 solar years !!! The life cycle of Brahma lasts 100 years of Brahma or 3.1104 x 10 to the power of 14 solar years. Then Brahma dies, Mahapralaya = Mahapralayam = Nirvikalpa Pralaya takes place, the complete dissolution of all worlds. But even then it goes further, because Brahma can be reborn after an intermediate period that lasts exactly as long as Brahma's life (3.1104 x 10 to the power of 14 solar years), then the cycle begins again. And the days of Vishnu are even greater, and with that we come very close to immortality.

1 Brahma Dina = 2 Kalpas = 1 Diva Kalpa + 1 Ratri Kalpa of 4,320,000,000 years each
1 Brahma year = 360 Brahma Dina = 720 Kalpa
1 Brahma life = 100 Brahma years = 72,000 Kalpa = 36,000 Brahma Dina

Are there also smaller units of creation?
If there are creation years and creation days, then there are also creation seconds: 1 creation second = 4,320,000,000 / 12/60/60 = 100,000 solar years. That is, a Mahayuga that exceeds all of our time concepts lasts only 43.2 seconds for Brahma, and our present age Kali Yuga lasts only 4.32 seconds for Brahma, and human history since the beginning of Kali Yuga lasts only 51 milliseconds for Brahma - of the Pharaohs to the Iraq war in less than an instant.

But also in the human dimension there are many time systems, the units of which advance into times that were immeasurably small for the circumstances at that time. The complete list of the terms is not given here, on the one hand because there are different systems that differ from one another, on the other hand because the idea as such is the essential thing: even the smallest times and processes receive their own through the seamless grading of the terms and units Connection to cosmic and divine dimensions.

What will happen at the end of the present age?
In 428,899 AD the Kali Yuga will end. Kalkin, the 10th and future Avatar of Vishnu, will appear and free the world from the calamities within. The universe will be destroyed by Shiva. Then the universe will enter a new Mahayuga and begin again with a Golden Age, created by Brahma on a new day.

To cut a long story short: where are we now exactly?
We are in the year 2005 AD in the 5107th year in the Kaliyuga of the 28th Mahayuga of the 7th Manvantara of the first Brahma creation day (Varaha-Kalpa) of the 51st year of Brahma 2.

The special way of Swami Sri Yukteshwar Giri

Calendar Systems in India: Overview
Timekeeping Systems in India: Overview
The Hindu National Calendar (India)
The Malayalam solar calendar in Kerala (South India)
The Orissa solar calendar (India)
The Tamil solar calendar in Tamil Nadu (South India)
The Bengal solar calendar in West Bengal and Assam (Northeast India)
The Sikh Calendar in Punjab (Northwest India)
The Amantha Calendar, lunisolar calendar in India
The Purnimantha calendar, lunisolar calendar in India
Creation Mathematics of India
Explanation of terms for Indian calendars

other calendar systems, Calendar systems literature
other essays on Indian culture
Home

© Text, graphics and photos: Bernhard Peter 2004, 2005
imprint