Computation of Puranic Time Units
We begin our discussion with the four Yugas, namely Satya (Kṛta), Tretā, Dvāpara, and Kali, which are like the four seasons, cycling one after another. The yugas are the basic building blocks from which the other Puranic time units are derived, including Chaturyugas, Manvantaras, and Kalpas. The specific durations of the yugas are defined first in terms of years of the Devas (Vāyu Purāṇa 1.57.16), and later a conversion into Solar years is given.
catvāryāhuḥ sahasrāṇi varṣāṇāṃ ca kṛtam yugam /
tasya tāvacchatī saṃdhyā saṃdhyāṃśaḥ ca tathāvidhaḥ //
kṛte vai prakriyāpādaścatuḥ sahasra ucyate /
tasmāccatuḥ śataṃ saṃdhyā saṃdhyāṃśaḥ ca tathāvidhaḥ//
Four thousand years constitute the Kṛta [Satya] Yuga, which is also called the Prakriyāpāda. Four hundred years constitute the Saṃdhyā and four hundred years the Saṃdhyāṃśa, which are transition periods at the beginning and end of the Yuga, respectively (Vāyu Purāṇa 1.32.55-56).
tretādinī sahasrāṇi saṃkhyā munibhiḥ saha/
tasyāpi triśatī saṃdhyā saṃdhyāṃśastriśataḥ smṛtaḥ//
Three thousand years constitutes Tretā Yuga, with three hundred years of Saṃdhyā and three hundred years of Saṃdhyāṃśa (VP 1.32.57).
anuṣaṅgapādastretāyāstrisāhasrastu saṃkhyā /
dvāpare dve sahasre tu varṣāṇāṃ samprakīrttitaṃ //
tasyāpi dviśatī saṃdhyā saṃdhyāṃśo dviśatastathā /
upodaghātastṛtīyastu dvāpare pād ucyate //
Tretā Yuga, which is also called the Anuṣaṅgapāda, consists of three thousand years and Dvāpara Yuga consists of two thousand years. The Saṃdhyā consists of two hundred years and the Saṃdhyāṃśa is of the same duration. Dvāpara Yuga, which is the third part of the Chaturyuga, is also called Upodaghātapāda (VP 1.32.58-59).
kaliṃ varṣasahasrantu prāhuḥ saṃkhyāvido janāḥ/
tasyāpi śatikā saṃdhyā saṃdhyāṃśaḥ śatameva ca//
Experts conclude that Kali Yuga consists of 1000 years, with a Saṃdhyā of 100 years and a Saṃdhyāṃśa of 100 years (VP 1.32.60).
saṃhārapādaḥ saṃkhyātaścaturtho vai kalo yuge/
sasaṃdhyāni sahāṃśāni catvari tu yugāni vai//
The fourth, Saṃhārapāda, is stated to be the Kali Yuga. Each of the four Yugas has a Saṃdhyā and a Saṃdhyāṃśa (VP 1.32.61).
etat dvādaśasahasraṃ caturyugamiti smṛtaṃ/
Thus, there are twelve thousand years in a Chaturyuga (VP 1.32.62).
Thus, Satya, Tretā, Dvāpara, and Kali Yugas have a duration of 4,800, 3,600, 2,400, and 1,200 years long, respectively, where these are years of the Devas. These numbers include both the beginning Saṃdhyā and the concluding Saṃdhyā (Saṃdhyāṃśa), which are transition intervals between Yugas. These four Yugas combined together make one Chaturyuga. Chatur in Sanskrit means four. In total, a Chaturyuga is 12,000 years of the Devas.
|Satya Yuga||Treta Yuga||Dwapara Yuga||Kali Yuga|
|4800 years of the Devas||3600 years of the Devas||2400 years of the Devas||1200 years of the Devas|
trīṇi varṣaśatānyeva ṣaṣṭivarṣāṇi yāni ca /
divyaḥ saṃvatsaro hyeṣa mānuṣeṇa prakīrttitaḥ //
A year of the Devas equals 360 human years [on Bhū-maṇḍala] (VP 1.57.16).
This verse gives the conversion factor for the years of the Devas into human years on Bhū-maṇḍala.
A year of the Devas = 360 human years on Bhū-maṇḍala
Thus, a Chaturyuga, which equals 12,000 years of the Devas, is 4.32 million human years on Bhū-maṇḍala. As discussed in Chapter 2 of the book, The Big Bang and the Sages, events described in the Puranas do not take place on the Earth of our common sensory experience. They take place on Bhū-maṇḍala or in other Puranic realms. The Earth of our common sensory experience is a four-dimensional projection of the inherently higher-dimensional Puranic Bhū-maṇḍala.
From now on, human years on Bhū-maṇḍala will be called Bhū-maṇḍala years. Therefore, a Chaturyuga is 4.32 million Bhū-maṇḍala years. The next Puranic time unit is the Manvantara, which is composed of 71 Chaturyugas.
evaṃ caturyugākhyā tu sādhikā hyekasaptatiḥ /
kṛtatretādiyuktā sā manvantaramucyate //
Seventy-one Caturyugas constitute a Manvantara (VP 1.57.33).
Since the duration of a Caturyuga is 12,000 years of the Devas, the duration of a Manvantara is 85,200 years of the Devas.
triṃśatkoṭyastu saṃpūrṇā saṃkhyātāḥ saṃkhyayā dvijaiḥ //
saptaṣaṣṭistathānyāni niyutāni ca saṃkhyayā /
viṃśatiśca sahasrāṇi kālo ‘yaṃ sādhikaṃ vinā //
manvantarasya saṃkhyaiṣā mānuṣeṇa prakīrttitā /
vatsareṇaiva divyena pravakṣyāmyantaraṃmanoḥ //
According to experts, a Manvantara equals thirty ten-millions, sixty-seven hundred-thousand and twenty thousand human years, excluding the extra [Manvantara-Saṃdhyā]. Next, I shall enumerate the duration of a Manvantara in years of the Devas (VP 1.61.138-140).
These verses state that a Manvantara is 306.72 million Bhū-maṇḍala years, which equals 71 Chaturyugas multiplied by 4.32 million Bhū-maṇḍala years, in accordance with VP 1.57.33 and VP 1.57.16 cited above.
Manvantara = 71 * Chaturyuga
Chaturyuga = 4.32 million Bhū-maṇḍala years
Manvantara = 71 * 4.32 = 306.72 million Bhū-maṇḍala years
Vāyu Purāṇa (1.61.139) states that a Manvantara is accompanied by another unit of time known as the Manvantara-Saṃdhyā. This is a consistent feature of Purāṇic time units – every unit is accompanied by a transition period known as Saṃdhyā. Saṃdhyās are of different sizes according to the unit with which they are associated. A Manvantara-Saṃdhyā will be defined in the next verse.
tato manvantare tasmin prakṣīṇā devatāstu tāḥ /
saṃpūrṇe sthitikāle tu tiṣṭhantyekaṃ kṛtaṃ yugam //
The Devas, whose term of office expires at the end of a Manvantara, are replaced during a period of time equal to one Kṛta [Satya] Yuga (VP 1.61.152).
At the end of every Manvantara, which is 71 cycles of the 4 Yugas, the Devas are replaced. The replacement takes place during the Manvantara-Saṃdhyā, which equals a Kṛta (Satya) Yuga in duration, which is 4800 years of the Devas or 1.728 million Bhū-maṇḍala years.
As cited above, a Manvantara without its transition period (Saṃdhyā) lasts 306.72 million Bhū-maṇḍala years (VP 1.61.138-140). So, a Manvantara with its Manvantara-Saṃdhyā lasts 308.448 million Bhū-maṇḍala years. The next Purāṇic time unit is a Kalpa:
caturdaśaguṇo hyeṣa kāla ābhūtasaṃplavaḥ /
pūrṇaṃ yugasahasraṃ syāttadaharBrahmāṇaḥ smṛtam //
A Pralaya [devastation or mass extinction] occurs at the end of 14 Manvantaras, which equals 1,000 Chaturyugas or a Day of Brahmā (VP 1.61.142).
A thousand Chaturyugas together is called a Day of Brahmā, a Purnayuga or a Kalpa, which equals 4320 million Bhū-maṇḍala years. As discussed above, a Manvantara includes 71 Chaturyugas and a Manvantara-Saṃdhyā. Since there is a Manvantara-Saṃdhyā at the beginning of the first Manvantara, there are a total of 15 Manvantara-Saṃdhyās in each Kalpa. As discussed in VP 1.61.152 above, each Manvantara-Saṃdhyā lasts 1.728 million Bhū-maṇḍala years. Multiplying 1.728 by 15 equals 25.92, which when added to 4294.08 (which is 14 * 71 * 4.32) equals 4320 million Bhū-maṇḍala years, which is the duration of one Kalpa. This confirms that a Manvantara-Saṃdhyā is 1.728 million Bhū-maṇḍala years, which is a Satya Yuga in duration.
1 Kalpa = 14 * Manvantaras + 15*Manvantara-Saṃdhyās
1 Kalpa = 4.32 billion Bhū-maṇḍala years
|Years of the Devas||12,000||852,000||12 million|
|Bhū-maṇḍala Years||4.32 million||306.72 million||4.32 billion|
The Matsya, Bhāgavata, Vāyu, Brahmāṇḍa, Brahmā, Brahmā-vaivarta, Viṣṇu, Skanda, Mārkaṇḍeya and Padma Purāṇas all give exactly the same number of years for the Yugas, Manvantaras, Manvantara Saṃdhyās and Kalpas (see, for example, Wilson, 1840, Book 1, Chapter 3, Page 23). From the year 1832 until the year 1860, H. H. Wilson was Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University; in the year 1840 Oxford University published Wilson’s translation of the Viṣṇu Purāṇa. Wilson lists the same values for the Purāṇic time units: Satya Yuga, Dvāpara Yuga, Tretā Yuga, Kali Yuga, Caturyuga, Manvantara, Manvantara-Saṃdhyā and Kalpa. Thus, there is absolutely no ambiguity in the number of years assigned to these Purāṇic time units, which means that there is no scope for speculation regarding the Purāṇic dates at which major events occurred in the history of the Earth, our Solar System and the Universe. This is a key point that skeptics should remember when reviewing the findings presented on this site.
The uniform chronology in all of these Purāṇas is readily acknowledged by all scholars, but some contend that the factor of 360 arising from the conversion to Bhū-maṇḍala years is a recent concoction. If so, it must have occurred prior to the year 1840 because, by that year, it appeared in all of the above-mentioned Purāṇas (Wilson, 1840). However, radiometric dating didn’t exist before the year 1903, and cosmological dating based on extrapolating the rate of expansion of the Universe didn’t exist before the year 1920. Thus, this “concoction,” if it ever occurred, couldn’t have been motivated by a desire to make Purāṇic chronology agree with that of these sophisticated scientific methods, because these methods weren’t even dreamed of in the year 1840, what to speak of earlier.
There is another Purāṇic time unit that has hitherto escaped scholarly attention, and this unit is essential for the rest of this book. This is the Saṃdhyā between consecutive Kalpas, which is known as the Pratisaṃdhi. This time unit is discussed in the following verses from the Vāyu Purāṇa, and it is also discussed in the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa. Although most scholars are not aware of this unit, it is fully consistent with Purāṇic chronology in general because other Purāṇic time units always have a Saṃdhyā associated with them.
sambodhya sūtaṃ vacasā papracchāthottarāṃ kathām /
ataḥ prabhṛti kalpajña pratisaṃdhiṃ pracakṣva naḥ /
samatītasya kalpasya vartamānasya cobhyoḥ //
kalpayorantaraṃ yatra pratisaṃdhiyyratastayoḥ /
etadveditumicchāmaḥ atyantakuśalo’hyasi //
Desirous of further instruction, the son of Kaśyapa asked the intelligent Sūta: O sage, who are conversant with the subject of Kalpa, please describe to me the Pratisaṃdhi, which is the period between the previous Kalpa and the current Kalpa (VP 1.7.2-3).
This verse explicitly states that there is an interval between two Kalpas, and this interval is known as the Pratisaṃdhi. Scholarly and popular presentations (Wikipedia) on the subject of Purāṇic chronology have overlooked this chapter of the Vāyu Purāṇa that describes the time interval between Kalpas. To our knowledge, we are the first to take into account the Pratisaṃdhi.
atra’vo’haṃ pravakṣyāmi pratisaṃdhiśca yastayoḥ /
samatītasya kalpasya vartamānasya cobhyoḥ //
Lomharśaṇa [Sūta] spoke: I will describe to you the Pratisaṃdhi, the period between the current Kalpa and the previous Kalpa (VP 1.7.4).
manvantarāṇi kalpeṣu yeṣu yāni ca suvratāḥ /
yaścāyaṃ varttate kalpo vārāhaḥ sāṃprataḥ śubhaḥ //
asmāt kalpāṣca yaḥ kalpaḥ pūrvvo’tītaḥ sanātanaḥ /
tasya cāsya ca kalpasya madhyāvasthānnibodhata //
O sages of holy vows, Manvantaras are in those Kalpas. This auspicious Kalpa that is current now is the Vārāha Kalpa. The Kalpa that has gone before this Kalpa was the Sanātana Kalpa. Now understand the interim period between that Kalpa and the present one (VP 1.7.5-6).
The first line of the 5th Verse states that Manvantaras are within Kalpas, which would be irrelevant in these verses about Pratisaṃdhi unless connected with the 2nd line of the 6th Verse. These verses hint that the interim period between consecutive Kalpas has the duration of a Manvantara, which will be explicitly stated in Verse 9.
pratyāhate pūrvakalpe pratisaṃdhiṃ ca tatra vai /
anyaḥ pravarttate kalpo janalokāt punaḥ punaḥ//
First, the Kalpa ends and, subsequently, the Pratisaṃdhi ends. Then, the next Kalpa begins [with life imported] from Jana loka. [This process occurs] again and again (VP 1.7.7).
All life on Bhū-maṇḍala is destroyed at the end of each Day of Brahmā, except for a few sages and progenitors who travel to Jana loka. At the beginning of the next Day of Brahmā, these progenitors return from Jana loka to Bhū-maṇḍala and repopulate it with life. Since the next few verses are of crucial significance, we provide a word-for-word breakdown before we give a fluent English translation.
vyucchinnat Pratisaṃdhestu kalpāt kalpaḥ parasparam /
vyucchidyante kriyāḥ sarvāḥ kalpānte sarvaśastadā /
tasmāt kalpāttu kalpasya pratisaṃdhirnigadyate //
When a Kalpa (kalpāt) ends (vyucchinnāt) [there is] a period of transition (pratisaṃdhe) between one Kalpa and another (kalpaḥ parasparam). Then (tadā), at the end of a Kalpa (kalpānte), all activities (kriyāḥ sarvāḥ) are completely (sarvaśas) terminated (vyucchidyante). Thus (tasmāt), it is called (nigadyate) the period of transition (pratisaṃdhi) between one Kalpa and another (kalpāttu kalpasya).
When a Kalpa ends, a Pratisaṃdhi begins. When this Pratisaṃdhi ends, the next Kalpa begins. At the end of a Kalpa, all activities terminate. Thus, the period between consecutive Kalpas is known as the Pratisaṃdhi (VP 1.7.8).
manvantarayugākhyānām avyucchinnāśca saṃdhayaḥ /
parasparāḥ pravarttante manvantarayugaiḥ saha //
The non-terminating (avyucchinnāḥ) [periods] of the name Manvantarayugas (manvantarayuga ākhyānām) are Saṃdhis (saṃdhayaḥ) and (ca) they exist (pravarttante) mutually (parasparāḥ) along (saha) with Manvantara periods (manvantarayugaiḥ).
A Pratisaṃdhi has the duration of a Manvantara. A Pratisaṃdhi follows the last Manvantara of the preceding Kalpa (VP 1.7.9).
The word “vyucchinnāḥ” has two variations: “avyucchinnāḥ” and “api ucchinnāḥ.” The Purāṇic scholar G.V. Tagare, in his translation of the Vāyu Purāṇa, used “vyucchinnāḥ” (Tagare, 1987, Page 52). Note also that the previous verse uses “vyucchinnāḥ” twice. Moreover, the straightforward translation of the word “api ucchinnāḥ” doesn’t alter the translation of the above verse. It should be noted that it makes no sense to have “avyucchinnāḥ saṃdḥyaḥ,” which means “saṃdhis in the middle of a Kalpa,” because a Saṃdhi always comes at the end of a Kalpa.
Tagare translated this verse as follows: “The joints (transition) between the periods called Manvantara and Yuga are also cut off. Manvantaras function with the inter-connections of Yugas.” This translation is unclear for the following reasons. First, the Saṃdhis (joints or transitions) are time periods of fixed duration, which means that they are not subject to being “cut off.” Second, the Purāṇas have specific time units, such as Satya Yuga and Dvāpara Yuga, but “Yuga” is an unspecified period of time. There can’t be a Saṃdhi for something unspecified. Third, it is vague to say that Manvantaras function with Yugas. A Manvantara is composed of 71 Chaturyugas. Therefore, although Tagare is a sincere scholar, it appears that he didn’t understand what this verse is actually saying.
In conclusion, a Pratisaṃdhi, which has the duration of a Manvantara, is situated between consecutive Kalpas.
|Pratisaṃdhi||85200 years of the Devas||306.72 million Bhū-maṇḍala years|
Someone might suggest that the Pratisaṃdhi is situated inside the Kalpa. This is clearly wrong for the current Kalpa because we know that the first Manvantara in this Kalpa is Svāyambhuva Manvantara, which has much more going on than Brahmā simply setting up the lokas because there are many pastimes described in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa from the Svāyambhuva Manvantara involving human beings and various fauna and flora. Since there are various fauna and flora already present in the Svāyambhuva Manvantara, it couldn’t have been the Pratisaṃdhi, which is intended to set up the lokas before the living entities inhabit them. By logical extension, all other Kalpas must be like the current Kalpa in this regard.