Monday, April 03, 2006


Time Scale

I've been studying Indian history and culture the last few weeks (including stocking up on Bollywood flicks from Netflix), and I'm constantly amazed by the sheer scale of Hindu cosmology. I mean, dig this:

(from Ramesh Menon's The Ramayana)
"A chaturyuga, a cycle of four ages [the kritayuga - 4,800 divine years long; the treta - 3,6000 divine years; the dwapara - 2,400 divine years; and the kali - 1,200 divine years], is twelve thousand divine years, or 365 times 12,000 human years long. Seventy-one chaturyugas makes a manvantara; fourteen manvantaras, a kalpa. A kalpa of a thousand chaturyugas, twelve million divine years, is one day of Brahma, the Creator.

"Eight thousand Brahma years makes one Brahma yuga; a thousand Brahma yugas makes a savana; and Brahma's life is 3,003 savanas long.

"One day of Mahavishnu is the lifetime of Brahma."

So if I've done my math right, and there's no reason to think I have, then the lifetime of Brahma is equivalent to 4x10^22 human years. That's a pretty damned big number. Not as big as the 10^10000 it's currently theorized that the universe will take to reach its low energy state (assuming there's no Big Crunch), but quite a bit bigger than the 6x10^3 years at which James Ussher placed the age of the universe (with the clock starting on October 23, 4004 BC, to be precise). That there are still people in the US who think Ussher was right on the money is just flat embarrassing.

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