Saturday, February 11, 2012

"SRI CAITANYA MATH: FOREST OF VRINDAVAN IN MAYAPUR"/Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Appearance Day

Hare Krishna! On 12 Feb'12, Sunday is the Appearance Day of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. (Fasting is till noon.)
The spiritual master of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
and foremost scholar & Lord Krishna's devotee of his day
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura called this place "Vrindavana Pattan", which means the place where the forest of Vrindavana is manifest. By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's spiritual potency, Syama-Kunda, Radha-Kunda and Giri-Govardhana of Vrindavana are all manifest here. Established by Sarasvati Thakura in 1918, this temple was the headquarters of his Krishna Consciousness preaching throughout India. During its peak time, there were 800 devotees here to cope with the daily influx of visitors.
Born on 6th Feb 1874, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is the child that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura prayed to Lord Jagannatha for, wanting an able assistant to preach Krishna Consciousness. His divinity was evident from birth. When he was born, his umbilical cord was wrapped around his body like a brahmana thread. He was six months old when Lord Jagannatha had His Rathayatra festival in Jagannatha Puri. Lord Jagannatha's chariot was outside of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's house for three days and Srimati Bhagavati Devi, Bhaktivinoda Thakura's wife, took this opportunity to go up onto the chariot and present her new son to Jagannatha Gosvami. Immediately upon placing the child in front of Lord Jagannatha, the child grabbed Lord Jagannatha's feet and a garland also fell from Lord Jagannatha onto the child. Upon hearing this, Bhaktivinoda Thakura knew this was the child he had prayed for, and so he gave him the name Bimala Prasada, the mercy of Bimala Devi. [In Jagannatha Temple in Puri, Lord Jagannatha's maha-prasadam is offered first to Bimala Devi and then she gives it for public distribution. In the same way, Bhaktivinoda Thakura considered his son to be her mercy coming originally from Lord Jagannatha.]
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave his son the Harinama Maha-mantra and Nrsimha mantra at five years of age. At seven, he received the Kurmadeva mantra and began worshiping a self-manifested deity of Kurmadeva. As a child, Bimala Prasada inadvertently ate a mango which was not yet offered to Lord Krishna. When asked about this by his father, Bimala Prasada was so upset over this offense to Lord Krishna that he took a vow to never eat another mango throughout his life. He also kept a life-long vow of celibacy. He took this vow when he formed a club at high school for those who wanted to avoid family entanglement. He excelled in all subjects at school, but spent most of his time reading his father's books on Bhakti. He entered the Sanskrit University in 1892 and received the honorific title of "Siddhanta Sarasvati" in recognition of his vast knowledge of astrology and Bhakti. He then left university as he understood that if he continued on this path, he would become entangled into material life. He then spent all of his time serving his father who trained him in editing and publishing.
In 1900, while staying with his father in Godrumadvipa island of Sri Navadvipa-Mayapur Dham, he took initiation from Srila Gaura-Kisora Dasa Babaji and received the name Sri Varsabhanavi-Devi [meaning the servant of the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, Srimati Radharani.]  Five years later, he took a vow to chant one billion (ten crores) Holy Names of Lord to prepare himself for Krishna consciousness preaching. It took him 10 years to fulfil his vow, during which time he lived in a small bamboo hut chanting Hare Krishna Maha-mantra,
in front of his deity, Gauranga Mahaprabhu which is in the Rudradvipa island of Navadvipa Dham. Then, in 1918, on Gaura-Purnima day, he accepted sannyasa order of life at Candrasekhara Bhavan and took the name Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. He then began to preach Krishna Consciousness all over India, establishing Lord Caitanya's mission with such vigour no one had seen before. He established sixty-four mathas (one for each of the sixty-four limbs of Bhakti), initiated over 60,000 disciples, and re-established Vraja-mandala and Navadvipa-mandala Parikramas. He also established printing press in Mayapur, Delhi, Chennai and other major cities. Publishing and distributing magazines and books was the major thrust of his preaching.
On 31st December 1936, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura left his body in Kolkata surrounded by his disciples singing bhajans. His life-size murti is worshiped at Sri Caitanya Math in Mayapur.
"SRI SHYAM KUNDA" - This beautiful manifestation of Syama Kunda in Mayapur is in front of Srila Bhaktisuddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's Samadhi
v  The main deities, Sri Sri Radha Gandharvika-Giridhari were the personal deities of Srila Bhaktisuddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
jaya gandharvika-giridhari gandharvika-giridhari radhe
(saraswatir prana-dhana he)
"All glories to Gandharvika and Giridhari, the treasure of Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's heart!" -Vaishnava song "Jaya Radha-Krishna Giti"
v  Next to Them are two deities of Lord Caitanya with His right-hand raised.
v  Walking around the Deities, there are murtis of the acaryas of the four Vaishnava sampradayas. They are Sri Madhvacarya (Brahma sampradaya), Sri Visnusvami (Rudra sampradaya), Sri Nimbarka (Kumara sampradaya) and Sri Ramanujacarya (Sri sampradaya).
SRI MADHVACARYA (Brahma sampradaya)
Walking around the Deities Sri Sri Radha Gandharvika-Giridhari, there are murtis of the acaryas of the four Vaishnava sampradayas.
SRI NIMBARKA (Kumara sampradaya)
SRI VISNUSVAMI (Rudra sampradaya)
"SRI RADHA-KUNDA": This kunda is the manifestation of most sacred place in the universe in Navadvipa Dham. It used to be most beautiful with flowering lotuses on the water
"GIRI-GOVARDHANA": The manifestation of Giri-Govardhana in Mayapur is another example of the merciful mood of Navadvipa Dham.
The same spiritual benedictions one gets from Parikrama of Govardhana in Vrindavana, are bestowed in Mayapur from a fraction of the austerity. In Vrindavana, Praikrama of Govardhana takes 8-14 hours, depending on how fast one walks. But here, that same Parikrama takes only a few minutes. If one go for the full mercy and do a dandavata parikrama, many months of severe austerities are reduced down to 15 mins.
"GIRI-GOVARDHANA": There is a small blue Deity of Lord Sri Krishna on top of this Giri-Govardhana
Candrasekhara Acarya (also known as Acaryaratna) is an intimate associate of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and this is where his house was located. He was a very close friend of Jagannatha Misra (father of Lord Caitanya) and, as his wife was the sister of Sacimata, he was also the uncle of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Candrasekhara Pandita had a deep fatherly affection for Nimai and he brought Him here on a number of occasions and played with Him on his lap. Candrasekhara took up the role of Nimai's father and the protector of Sacimata when Jagannatha Misra left the planet.
In 1506, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was 20 years old, He wanted to enact a drama of Lord Krishna's pastimes. He chose the roles for everyone and also the costumes that were supplied by Bhuddimanta Khan. The pandal was set up here and all the Vaishnavas assembled in great excitement. Gauranataraja played Rukmani and danced so perfectly even his own mother and wife did not recognize Him. Gadadhara Pandita played Laksmi Devi, while Haridasa Thakura wore a full moustache to play a guard from Vaikuntha. Srivasa Pandita played Narada Muni and Lord Nityananda played Paurnamasi. Sri Advaita Acarya could not decide whom to play, so he played himself displaying the mood of Lord Siva. Only the very close associates of Lord Caitanya were allowed to see this play, which was saturated in pure unalloyed Krishna-prema. It kept everyone so enrapt in condensed bliss that no one noticed the passing of seven days and seven nights. They began to cry when play ended, but Gauracandra personally embraced all of the devotees and consoled them.
Lord Caitanya came here in Candrasekhara Bhavan to tell Candrasekhara that He was going to leave and take sannyasa. Overcome with intense pangs of separation, Candrasekhara fell down on the ground when he heard Lord Gauranga's plan to take sannyasa. "Are You going to plunge Nadia into darkness by going away?" he asked the Lord.
With tears spilling out of His lotus eyes Lord Gauranga embraced him and replied, "Acaryaratna, although I may accept sannyasa, I will forever remain bound within the temple of your heart. Please be patient, for you must assist in My sannyasa ceremony." Candrasekhara was with Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He took sannyasa in Katwa, and he reported it to all the devotees in Mayapur upon his return.
Sri Candrasekhara was one of the main branches of Sri Caitanya's Harinam Sankirtana movement. From the beginning of Lord Caitanya's Navadvipa lila he and his innumerable disciples faith­fully served the Lord. In Sridham Mayapur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established the headquarters of Sri Caitanya Math at the site of Candrasekhara Acarya's original home. Sri Candrasekhara Acarya's samadhi is behind the Madana-Mohana temple and next to Sanatana Gosvami's Samadhi at Sridham Vrindavan. He is Subhadra or Candra-deva (moon god) in Lord Krishna's divine pastimes.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Hare Krishna! On 6 Feb'12, Monday is "Nityananda Trayodasi", the Appearance day of Lord Nityananda (Nitai). Fasting is till noon.
I perpetually worship Sri Nityananda, the root of the tree of Krishna-Bhakti, who wandering around in Bengal approached the door of every home. With upraised arms he exclaimed: "O Brothers! Please constantly chant the holy names of Hari. If you do so, I will take the responsibility to deliver you from the ocean of material existence." --Sri Nityanandastakam by Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura
Lord Nityananda appeared about twenty years before the appearance of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Nityananda Trayodasi is an important celebration for devotees, as without His mercy one cannot get the mercy of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One must take the shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, for He is the original spiritual master. It is by the mercy of Nitai that we can obtain love of Krishna. The eve of Nityananda Trayodasi is celebrated for the purpose of invoking auspiciousness.
Nandana Acarya is an associate of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Navadvipa-Mayapur pastimes. His house is where Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda met for the first time. Advaita Acarya and his wife Sita Devi also came here to hide when Advaita Prabhu issued a challenge to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to test His claim that He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Gauranga Mahaprabhu also hid here for one night, creating intense feelings of separation in His associates. This temple is between ISKCON temple and boat ghat to Navadvipa. The area from confluence of Ganga and Sarasvati rivers to samadhi mandir of Srila Prabhupada (ISKCON) is known as Isodyana, the Lord's garden.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains in Navadvipa-bhava-taranga: "In this garden, my Lord Sri Sacinandana performs His midday pastimes along with His devotees. Seeing the brilliance of this grove, I will remember Radha-kunda in Vraja. May all these be eternally visible to my eyes. Amid the huge trees and dense vines, various types of birds are singing the glories of Gauranga. There is a large lake and a golden temple covered with diamonds as well as blue and yellow sapphires. Materialists with their eyes bewildered by the illusions of material sense perception, and who are envious of Lord Sri Krishna, can never see these groves. Rather they see only a small piece of land covered with thorns, periodically thrown into utter disruption by the forceful flooding of the river."
Main altar: Centre of the altar has beautiful big neem Deities of SRI SRI GAURA-NITAI and also LORD NRSIMHADEVA.
Left altar has two Deities of GAURANGA MAHAPRABHU with Their right arm raised and GIRI-GOVARDHANA.
SRI SRI RADHA-VINODA BIHARI preside on right side of the altar.
Their Lordships are very charming!
On the left hand side of the main altar is another altar with the Deities of SRI ADVAITA ACARYA & SRIMATI SITA THAKURANI (the eternal wife of Sri Advaita Acarya), LORD SRI GAURANGA MAHAPRABHU and LORD SRI NITYANANDA PRABHU.
This is the exact spot of Nandana Acarya's house, where Lord Nityananda hid.
Other points of interest at Nandana Acarya's house:
Main hall is on left inside the front gate. It is very nicely maintained with painted terracotta reliefs showing the pastimes of Lord Caitanya and Krishna. From here one can see a murti of HH Bhakti Saranga Goswami, a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura who established this temple.
On right, just inside the front gate of and up a flight of stairs is a series of moving dioramas showing the pastimes of Krishna and Lord Caitanya.
Lord Nityananda left his childhood home of Ekachakra when He was 12 years of age and travelled on pilgrimage for approx 20 years. He then went to Vrindavana where He waited for Lord Caitanya to reveal His sankirtana pastimes. He spent His days roaming around the forests of Vraja absorbed in the ecstasy of his previous pastimes as Balarama, roaring loudly and rolling in the dust of Gokula. He would play with local cowherd boys and their cows. Upon hearing that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was revealing His true identity as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His sankirtana pastimes, Lord Nityananda immediately came to Navadvipa-Mayapur Dhama. He waited here at Nandana Acarya's house for His younger brother, Gaurasundara, to find Him.
Nandana Acarya was a very elevated devotee and he was very happy to have Lord Nityananda stay with him. He looked after the Lord with great care and attention. He saw that,
-      the Lord was very effulgent like the brilliant sun.
-      the Lord had a large body and was dressed in the clothes of a travelling renunciate.
-      He was always grave and equipoised. Day and night He chanted Lord Krishna's holy name.
-      His beautiful, glowing face could have easily defeated a thousand shining full moons.
-      A captivating smile played sweetly on His exquisite lips.
-      So white and radiant were His teeth that if a pearl were held next to them the pearl would look like a faded and discarded piece of glass.
-      His long, languid eyes stole the pinkish tinge of the early rising sun.
-      His arms were long and reached down to His knees, and He possessed a robust chest and broad shoulders.
-      His lotus feet were soft and His gait was graceful.
-      He spoke to everyone with kind words which severed the bonds of material attachment within everyone's heart.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu understood that Lord Nityananda had reached Navadvipa. He felt great happiness with His heart and informed all the devotees, "O, My dear brothers! A great personality will come to here with few days." But no one could understand about whom Lord was talking. Then, gathering all His associates together, Gaurasundara told them of a dream He had the previous night. The Lord said, "Today I had a very wonderful dream. A great chariot called Taladhvaja came and stopped in front of My house. Sitting on that chariot was a great personality with huge body. He was holding a club over His shoulder and in His left hand was a kamandalu pot bound to a stick. He was wearing a blue cloth, had a blue turban on His head, and a wonderful earring was hanging from His left ear. Upon seeing this character I felt He had the mood of Haladhara, Lord Balarama. He asked Me 10 or 20 times, 'Is this the house of Nimai Pandita?' He looked like a great avadhuta. I have never seen such a personality. I felt very respectful to Him and asked Him,
'O, great personality! Who are You? He smiled and said, 'I am Your brother. Tomorrow We will meet with each other.'
From this dream I think a great person must have come to Navadvipa. I have told you before that very soon we will meet with a great personality. O, Haridasa! O, Srivasa! Please go and find out whether He has already arrived."
By the order of Lord, two great spiritual stalwarts, Haridasa Thakura and Srivasa Pandita went to search for Him all over Navadvipa, but they could not find a personality anywhere. After searching for Him all over for 9 hours, they finally came back to Lord Gauracandra and informed Him, "We searched for this personality everywhere, in houses of all the Vaishnavas, sannyasis and grhasthas, even in the homes of all the atheists, we could not find Him anywhere. We have searched all over Navadvipa, but we have not gone to other villages."
Upon hearing this Lord Gauracandra smiled and explained to them how this personality, Lord Nityananda, is very confidential. Not everyone can find Him; unless Lord Gauranga Himself reveals Him, He cannot be found. Lord Gauranga said, "All of you come with Me. We will go and search for Him together." All the devotees became very jubilant and chanted, "All glories to Krishna" and they accompanied the Lord. Lord Gauracandra along with all the devotees went directly to Nandana Acarya's house.
There they saw this great jewel among all persons. He was as effulgent as millions of suns. He was in immense meditative bliss and was always laughing. Mahaprabhu understood His great devotion and along with all His associates offered obeisances to Him. All stood there with respect, no one said a word, they just looked on silently. Lord Visvambhara stood in front of that personality. He recognized Lord Nityananda, the Lord of His life. Lord Nityananda also recognized His Lord. In ecstasy Lord Nityananda became stunned and looked upon Lord Visvambhara with undeviated, focused attention in such a way that it seemed as if He was licking with His tongue, drinking through His eyes, embracing with His arms and smelling through His nose.
Thus Nityananda became silent and motionless. Everyone was surprised to see this but Lord Gaura Raya could understand everything. In order to reveal Lord Nityananda's svarupa to everyone Lord Gauracandra devised a plan. He made an indication to Srivasa Pandita to recite a verse from Srimad Bhagavatam. Understanding the desire of the Lord, Srivasa recited the following verse:
barhapidam´ nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram´
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam´ vaijayantim´ ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam´ sva-pada-ramanam´ pravisad gita-kirtih
"Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karn?ikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland, Lord Krishna exhibited His transcendental form as the greatest of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrindavana, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories." (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.5)
As soon as Lord Nityananda heard this verse He immediately fell down and lost His external consciousness. When Lord Nityananda fainted in ecstasy, Lord Gauranga instructed Srivasa to recite more and more. By hearing again and again Lord Nityananda regained His external consciousness and started to cry. Hearing the verse repeatedly increased His ecstasy and He started roaring like a lion. He was jumping high in the air and falling to the ground. Everyone was thinking that His bones would break. Everyone prayed to Lord Sri Krishna, "Please save Him, please save Him!" Lord Nityananda was rolling on the ground, His whole body drenched in tears. He was looking at the face of Visvambhara and breathing heavily experiencing ecstasy within his heart and laughing loudly. Sometimes He was dancing, sometimes He was bending down, sometimes He was beating on His arms and at other times He was jumping which was a very amazing sight. By seeing this most wonderful ecstasy due to madness for Lord Krishna, Sri Gauranga cried along with all the Vaishnavas. Constantly the happiness increased. No one was able to catch hold of Lord Nityananda and after their failed attempts Lord Visvambhara Himself took Lord Nityananda onto His lap. As soon as Lord Nityananda reached the lap of Visvambhara He became quite and surrendered His life to Him. Lord Nityananda was floating in the water of love of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He looked exactly like Laksmana when he was hurt by the sakti weapon of Indrajit, and Visvambhara looked exactly like Ramacandra, holding His wounded brother on His lap. Lord Nityananda fainted, pierced by the arrows of prema-bhakti. Lord Gauracandra was crying, holding Nityananda. After some time Lord Nityananda regained His external consciousness and the devotees started chanting "Hari! Hari!" and "Jaya, Jaya".
Nityananda and Gauracandra just looked at each other without saying anything as tears flowed from Their eyes. Then Lord Gauranga started glorifying Lord Nityananda by saying,
-      "Today is a very auspicious day because I have seen Bhakti-yoga in You, which is the essence of all the Vedas. Without the energy of Isvara how can anyone exhibit tears and other symptoms like these?
-      By serving You one will get Krishna-Bhakti. You have come to purify all 14 planetary systems.
-      You are the personification of Krishna-Bhakti.
-      Now I understand that Krishna has brought You here to give Me Your association which will definitely deliver Me."
After glorifying Nityananda for some time Lord Gauranga asked fearfully, "Kindly tell Me, where have You come from?" Nityananda, who has a childlike nature and was talking like a child, said, "I had set off for tirtha-yatra (pilgrimage). I went to see all the holy places of Sri Krishna but wherever I went I saw only empty places without Krishna. I asked some gentlemen why this was so, 'Why are all these simhasanas empty? O, my dear brothers! Please tell me in which direction Krishna has gone?' They replied that Krishna had gone to Gauda-desa. 'Just a few days ago He went to Nadia after visiting Gaya. There is a great Hari-Sankirtana happening in Nadia.' Some said, 'Lord Narayana has appeared there, I heard the deliverer of fallen souls has appeared in Nadia!' Hearing this great news a fallen soul like Me has come here." Mahaprabhu said, "We are all very fortunate that a great devotee like You has arrived here. By seeing the flow of bliss in You we have been blessed today."
Thus Lord Nityananda and Lord Gauracandra met each other at Nandana Acarya's house. It is stated in Sri Caitanya Bhagavata by Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura: Whoever listens to this description will become free from material bondage and receive pure Krishna-Bhakti.
NITAI-PADA-KAMALA - One must take the shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda, for He is the original spiritual master. It is by the mercy of Nitai that we can obtain love of Krishna.
"Sri Nityananda Prabhu's face is more beautiful and cooling than the autumnal moon. The effulgence coming out from His body is supremely beautiful. He always moves like a mad elephant, since He is always intoxicated with Krishna-prema (love of God). He is always mad after Krishna-prema. His body is completely pure spiritual energy. He always has a smiling face. His eyes are very fickle, moving to and fro. His lotus hand always holds a glowing staff. Yes, that is Sri Nityananda, who by the beating of that staff, destroys all our reactions of Kali-yuga. We should take shelter of Sri Nityananda and cry for the mercy of Sri Nityananda! He is the root of Krishna-prema bhakti-kalpa-taru, the root of the tree of loving devotion unto Krishna. I [Vrindavana Das Thakura] do my bhajana of Lord Nityananda, the very root of the Krishna-Bhakti-Vriskha."
Lord Nityananda is an ocean of mercy, the shelter of all Vaishnavas and the giver of devotion.
Directions: Turn left outside the main gate of ISKCON Mayapur and proceed about 500 meters past Srila Prabhupada boat ghat. Nandana Acarya's house is the first temple on the left side of the road and has ornate main gate.
Mayapur TV:
Live Darshan Sri Krishna-Balaram Temple Vrindavan:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Temple Darshan 1st Nov. 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

THE HINDU THEORY OF WORLD CYCLES In the Light of Modern Science

Traditional Hindu scriptures view history as cyclical in character, with vast repeating series of ages. Each age has its own particular qualities. Interestingly, this system seems to be taken literally by modern Yoga masters such as Swami Muktananda, Baba Hari Dass, Swami Vishnu Tirtha, and so on. As a Western devotee, I found myself wondering exactly what the full system of Hindu cycles is, and how it relates to the findings of modern science. Following is my attempt to explain what I found out.

Traditional Puranic Model
The Hindu Puranas describe a number of cycles within cycles. Discussions of these cycles can become confusing because different cycles are measured in different types of units. For example, the cycles are often described in units of deva years, each of which equals 360 human years.
The following description starts with the smaller cycles and works up to the larger ones. The length of each cycle is given in ordinary human (earth) years, as well other units where appropriate. Large numbers are described using the conventions of American English: thus, a million is a thousand thousand, a billion is a thousand million, a trillion is a thousand billion.
This description is based on numerous sources, which are given in the "References" section at the end of this document.
Maha Yugas
The smallest cycle is called a maha yuga. A maha yuga is 4,320,000 human years. Each maha yuga is subdivided into the following four ages, whose lengths follow a ratio of 4:3:2:1:
Satya Yuga (also called Krita Yuga)
This first age is 1,728,000 human years. Also known as the Golden Age or age of Truth. The qualities of this age are: virtue reigns supreme; human stature is 21 cubits; lifespan is a lakh of years, and death occurs only when willed.
Treta Yuga
This second age is 1,296,000 human years. Also known as the Silver Age. The qualities of this age are: the climate is three quarters virtue and one quarter sin; human stature is 14 cubits; lifespan is 10,000 years.
Dvapara Yuga
This third age is 864,000 human years. Also known as the Bronze Age. The qualities of this age are: the climate is one half virtue and one half sin; lifespan is 1,000 years.
Kali Yuga
The fourth and last age is 432,000 human years. Also known as the Iron Age. This is the age in which we are presently living. The qualities of this age are: the climate is one quarter virtue and three quarters sin; human stature is 3.5 cubits; lifespan is 100 or 120years.
Toward the end of a Kali Yuga, various calamities cause a good deal of destruction. Baba Hari Dass states that creation disappears at the end of a Maha Yuga and remains in seed form inside Brahma. However, other sources do not suggest anything so drastic; it is possible that Hari Dass was really thinking of the end of Brahma's daytime or Brahma's life when he wrote this description.
Brahma Days (Kalpas)
A kalpa is a single daytime period in the life of Brahma, the creator god. Two kalpas are a day and a night of Brahma.
Each kalpa is composed of 1,000 maha yugas. A kalpa is thus equal to 4.32 billion human years.
At the end of Brahma's daytime period, the Three Worlds (Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka, Swarloka) and the seven underworlds (of the nagas) are temporarily dissolved (pralaya); that is, the same folks can be reincarnated when the next day of Brahma begins.
The Vishnu Purana states that at the end of the daytime period of Brahma, a dreadful drought occurs that lasts 100 years, and all the waters are dried up. The sun changes into seven suns, and the three worlds (Bhurloka or Earth, Bhuvarloka or the lowest heaven, and Svarloka or the next higher heaven) and the underworlds are burned bare of life. The inhabitants of Bhuvarloka and Svarkloka flee to the next higher heaven, Maharloka, to escape the heat; and then to the next higher heaven, Janaloka.
Then mighty clouds form and the three worlds are completely flooded with water. The lord Vishnu reposes on the waters in meditative rest for another whole kalpa (4.32 billion years) before renewing the creation.
The destruction that takes place at the end of a daytime of Brahma is referred to as naimittika, which is incidental or occasional. The characteristic of this destruction is that the three worlds continue to exist but are made uninhabitable. The souls of individuals also continue to exist to be reincarnated in the next daytime of Brahma.
Brahma Years
A year of Brahma is composed of 360 day/night cycles of Brahma, or 720 kalpas, or 8.64 billion human years.
Brahma Life
The lifespan of Brahma is 100 Brahma years, or 72,000 kalpas, or 311.04 trillion human years.
At the end of the life of Brahma, all worlds are completely dissolved (mahapralaya). No one is reincarnated from these worlds ever again.
Another cycle that overlaps the others is that of manvantaras. Each kalpa is reigned over by a succession of 14 Manus, and the reign ofeach Manu is called a manvantara. A single manvantara is approximately 71 maha yugas.
Coomaraswamy states: "Each Manvantara is followed by a Deluge, which destroys the existings continents and swallows up all living beings, except the few who are preserved for the repeopling of the earth."
Our Position in History
We are located in the fifty-first Brahma year of the life of our Brahma.
Within that Brahma year, we are in the first Brahma day, called the Varaha kalpa.
Within that Brahma day, we are in the seventh manvantara, and in the 28th maha yuga of that manvantara. This would place us at about the 454th maha yuga of the 1,000 maha yugas that comprise this day of Brahma.
Within this maha yuga, we are in Kali Yuga. The 5100th year of Kali Yuga will correspond to the year 2,000 A.D. That means that we are fairly early in Kali Yuga and this age will continue more than 426,000 more years.
Variant Interpretations of Hindu Chronology
The "Traditional Puranic Model" described above is agreed upon by most authors on Hinduism and Yoga. Six different authors, listed at the end of this paper, describe this model identically.
However, several other authors, some of them well-known Hindu teachers, have published descriptions of the cycle of ages that differ from the traditional Puranic model. These variant theories are described below.
Sri Yukteswar
In the introduction to his book The Holy Science, Sri Yukteswar describes an interesting variant of the Hindu theory of ages. According to him,
...the sun, with its planets and their moons, takes some star for its dual and revolves around it in about 24,000 years of our earth-a celestial phenomenon which causes the backward movement of the equinoctial points around the zodiac. The sun also has another motion by which it revolves round a grand center called Vishnunabhi, which is the seat of the creative power,Brahma, the universal magnetism. Brahma regulates dharma, the mental virtue of the internal world.
Yukteswar goes on to explain that the sun's 24,000 year revolution around its companion star takes the sun progressively closer, and then progressively further away from the mystic center Vishnunabhi. In his system, dharma increases as we approach Vishnunabhi and decreases as we draw away from it. The cycle of yugas takes place twice in each 24,000 year revolution. As the sun recedes from Vishnunabhi, the ages pass in the usual order: Satya, Treta, Dvapara, Kali. As the sun approaches Vishnunabhi, the ages pass in the opposite order: Kali, Dvapara, Treta, Satya.
The length of the yugas is: Satya Yuga, 4800 years; Treta Yuga, 3600 years; Dwapara Yuga, 2400 years; and Kali Yuga, 1200 years. The yugas during the approach to Vishnunabhi he calls 'ascending' yugas; those during the retreat from Vishnunabhi he calls 'descending' yugas. The most recent ascending Kali Yuga began in 499 A.D. Since 1599 A.D. we have been in the ascending Dwapara Yuga, with consequent advances in human culture and knowledge.
Yukteswar goes on to say that the Hindu almanacs, which correspond to the traditional Puranic model described previously, are in error. The error crept in during the dark years of Kali Yuga when scholars misinterpreted the scriptures. Regarding the conventional view that we are currently in Kali Yuga, Yukteswar says flatly that it is not true.
Yukteswar's model thus differs from the traditional in the following respects:
·    A cycle of four yugas takes 24,000 years instead of 4,320,000.
·    The yugas alternate between ascending and descending trends instead of always proceeding in the same order. This alternation becomes necessary once you posit that the ages result from our changing distance from Vishnunabhi, rather than a deliberate divine intervention at the end of Kali Yuga.
·    The greater cycles like kalpas, manvantars, and lifespan of Brahma go unmentioned.
Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda was a disciple of Sri Yukteswar and one of the best-known Hindu teachers ever to visit the West. He wrote the perrenial bestseller Autobiography of a Yogi.
In the latter book, Yogananda describes and endorses Yukteswar's theory of world cycles. However, in a footnote, Yogananda adds the following:
The Hindu scriptures place the present world-age as occurring within the Kali Yuga of a much longer universal cycle than the simple 24,000 year ecquinoctial cycle with which Sri Yukteswar was concerned. The universal cycle of the scriptures of4,300,560,000 years in extent, and measures out a Day of Creation. This vast figure is based on the relationship between the length of the solar year and a multiple of pi (3.1416, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle).
The life span for a whole universe, according to the ancient seers, is 314,159,000,000,000 solar years, or "One Age ofBrahma."
The Hindu scriptures declare that an earth such as ours is dissolved for one of two reasons: the inhabitants as a whole become either completely good or completely evil. The world mind thus generates a power that releases the captive atoms held together as an earth.
This statement seems at first to reconcile Yukteswar's theory with the traditional view, but in fact actually contradicts both.
Regarding Yukteswar's theory, in his own writing he clearly states that the traditional Hindu almanacs are in error and suggests how the error came about. He states that the length of the yugas, given in ordindary years in the scriptures, were misinterpreted by later scholars as being counted in units of "deva years" which are much longer. This method led the scholars to believe that the yugas are much longer than they really are. Yukteswar's theory is thus clearly intended to replace, not to supplement, the traditional interpretation.
Regarding the "much longer universal cycle" that Yogananda describes, he states that a Day of Creation is 4,300,560,000 years. This is close but not identical to the traditional number, which is 4,320,000,000 years. Similarly, Yogananda gives 314,159,000,000,000 years the the life of Brahma, whereas traditionally the number is slightly different: 311,040,000,000,000 years. It seems likely that Yogananda arrived at these different figures because he wanted to derive them from some multiple of the ratio pi. The exact manner in which pi enters into the calculation is, unfortunately, not explained in his footnote.
David Frawley
David Frawley is a Westerner who has become a scholar of Vedic scriptures, Jyotish (Indian astrology), and Ayurveda (Indian medicine). He has written a number of books on various aspects of Vedic culture and wisdom.
Like Yogananda, Frawley adopts Yukteswar's 24,000 year maha yuga and views it as a smaller cycle within the larger maha yugas described traditionally. Frawley likewise introduces some twists in the way he interprets both the smaller and the larger cycle.
With regard to the 24,000 year cycle, Frawley begins like Yukteswar by ascribing the cycle to the sun's revolution around a companion star. Frawley says that this revolution varies the amount of cosmic light we receive from the galactic center. Thus, he seems to have identified Yukteswar's Vishnunabhi with the center of the galaxy, which Yukteswar never explicitly does. Still, it is a plausible interpretation.
Unfortunately, a 24,000 year orbit would make only a negligible difference in our sun's distance from the galactic center, which is at a vast remove from us. Presumably because of this, Frawley abandons Yukteswar's notion that it is our varying distance from Vishnunabhi that causes the cycles of yugas. Instead, he posits that our companion star is a dark star, and when it passes between us and Vishnunabhi, tends to eclipse some of the cosmic light from that source, thus causing the decline into the less inspired ages like Kali Yuga.
In describing the greater cycle, Frawley states
The greater cycle consists of 8,640,000 years, and what it corresponds to astronomically is not now known. In this cycle we are in a dark or Iron age, whose duration is 432,000 years. Exactly when it began or when it will end are not clearly known either. (Some begin it at 3102 B.C. but this is just to confuse it with the beginning of the Bronze age or the dark half of the lesser cycle.)
In this passage, Frawley gives the traditional length for Kali yuga while giving double the traditional length for the cycle as a whole. Why? Presumably he considers that the greater cycle follows the same pattern as the lesser, with both ascending and descending yugas. Thus a full cycle would consist of Satya-Treta-Dvapara-Kali-Kali-Dvapara-Treta-Satya. Presumably also the whole cycle follows as a result of our overall revolution around some object more distant than the "companion star" or "dark star."
Alain Danielou
Alain Danielou has written a number of books on the spiritual traditions of India. In the book While the Gods Play, he quotes the Linga Purana and derives numbers from it much different than those in the traditional interpretation described previously. In this version, the life span of the gods is 4,320,000 human years. This period is divided into 71.42 manvantaras. Each manvantara is divided into the four yugas: Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali. As a result, the length of these yugas is as follows:
·    Satya (or Krita) Yuga: 24,195 human years.
·    Treta Yuga: 18,146 human years.
·    Dvapara Yuga: 12,097 human years.
·    Kali Yuga: 6,048,72 human years.
By Danielou's reckoning, Kali Yuga began in 3012 B.C. and will end in 2442 A.D. By that point, the last traces of the present human race will have disappeared. We are supposed to be the seventh manifestation of the human race; the previous ones appeared in 419,964 B.C.; 359,477 B.C.; 298,990 B.C.; 238,503 B.C.; 178,016 B.C.; and 118,529 B.C. Our race appeared in 58,042 B.C., which according to Danielou corresponds to the advent of Cro-Magnon man. Danielou also suggests that Neanderthal man might be the race that precedes ours.
Danielou's version thus differs from the usual theory in the following ways:
·    He takes 4,320,000 as the lifespan of the gods, rather than the length of a maha yuga.
·    He divides the 4,320,000 period into 71.42 manvantaras, rather than dividing a kalpa into 14 manvantaras. His manvantaras are thus much shorter than in the usual version.
·    He states that each manvantara contains a single mahayuga, instead of the usual 71 maha yugas. His maha yugas are thus much shorter than in the usual version.
Danielou makes a couple of other comments worth mentioning. On the subject of why the scriptures portray a year as 360 days in length, he states
The number of days in a year is not constant. The rhythm of the earth's rotation varies over very long periods. A figure of 360 is considered to be the average.
In referring to the cyclical nature of the ages, Danielou also makes the following very interesting statement:
The circle is an illusion, for the cosmic mechanism is in reality always formed of spirals. Nothing ever returns to its point ofdeparture. However, the circle does give us a simplified image.
Unfortunately, he does not expand on this concept any further.
Rishi Singh Gerwal
Rishi Singh Gerwal was the author and apparently also the publisher of a small pamphlet on ancient prophecies, published in Santa Barbara in the 1940s. The pamphlet contains translations of various prophetic portions of the Mahabharata.
In the Introduction, Gerwal gives the following numbers:
1 kalpa = 22 septillion, 394 sextillion, 880 quadtillion human years.
1 kalpa = 2 manvantaras (traditionally this would be 14 manvantaras)
1 manvantara = 71 maha yugas (this is the same as the traditional reckoning)
Gerwal goes on to give the traditional lengths for the Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali Yugas. He then states that the present Kali yuga has 210,000 years to go. He also states that 22,394,880,000,000,000,000,000,000 years have already passed since the start of the kalpa. Since this number is the same one he gave as the length of a kalpa, we are presumably at the very end of this present kalpa.
Oddly enough, if you multiply maha yugas of 4,320,000 years times 71 to make a manvantara and then times 2 to make a kalpa, the result is only 613,440,000 years rather than the 22 septillion Gerwal states as his total.
The 22 septillion number is far greater than the traditional length of a kalpa, and the statement that 2 manvantaras make a kalpa is far fewer than the traditional number of 14.
Yugas and Science
If we restrict our attention to the traditional interpretation, we find that it makes a number of significant predictions that can be compared with the findings of modern science.
Great Culture Preceded Us
Beginning about 3,894,000 years ago, there is supposed to have been a great civilisation in which people were happier, taller, and much longer lived than they are today.
By contrast, scientists currently believe that homo sapiens evolved from more primitive forbears about 300,000 to 400,000 years ago. Humanity is supposed to have domesticated plants about 12,000 years ago, and animals shortly thereafter. Prior to that point, humans are thought to have been hunter-gatherers and possibly scavengers.
The scientific view is based on fossil evidence. The mystery is how an advanced civilization posited by the Hindu theory could have vanished without leaving any trace for us to find.
Cyclic Catastrophes
A number of periodic catastrophes are described in the Hindu scriptures:
·    At the end of each Kali Yuga, some type of destruction takes place. The most recent instance would be a bit under 4 millionyears ago. Other instances should be found every 4,320,000 years before that.
·    At the end of each manvantara, a great flood wipes out most life on earth. The most recent occurrence would be 120,534,000years ago. Other instances would occur at intervals of 306,720,000 years.
·    At the end of the kalpa, all life on earth is destroyed. The most recent instance would be 2,267,574,000 years ago.
·    At the end of a life of Brahma, the entire universe and all its heavens and hells are destroyed. The current universe would have come into existence more than 150 billion years ago.
Interestingly, current scientific research does support the existence of occasional mass extinctions in earth's history. These include the following major extinctions:
·    At the Ordovician/Silurian transition, about 425 million years ago.
·    Near the Devonian/Carboniferous transition, about 345 million years ago.
·    At the Permian/Triassic transition, about 230 million years ago.
·    At the Triassic/Jurassic transition, about 180 million years ago.
·    At the Cretaceous/Tertiary transition, about 63 million years ago.
Additionally, some scientists have identified what they believe is a cycle of periodic mass extinctions occurring every 26 million years.
Unfortunately, none of these specified dates corresponds to the catastrophes called for by the Hindu theory.
Current scientific estimates of the age of the universe range from 7 billion to 20 billion years. By contrast, the Hindu theory calls for a universe more than 150 billion years old.
On the other hand, the dates ascribed by scientists to the various geologic periods have been revised a number of times on the basis ofnew evidence, and could possibly be revised again in the future. Further, cosmology could reasonably be described as an infant science, and the age it ascribes to the universe as a whole might also change on the basis of new theories and evidence.
Downward Trend
By far the greater divergence from modern science is in the overall pattern of the Hindu theory. The Hindu and scientific patterns differ in the following ways:
·    The main pattern in the Hindu theory is one of cycles.
·    In the Hindu theory, life follows a downward trend most of the time, from the finest age to the worst. At the end of the worst age,Kali Yuga, divine intervention rapidly destroys the wicked and restores everything to its pristine state.
·    In the Hindu theory, humanity is always present. The concept of evolution is confined to spiritual evolution; that is, each soul takes life in a series of lower to higher animal forms before finally incarnating as a human being.
By contrast, the fossil record of life on earth indicates that life began with very simple forms and later developed more complex organisms. The advent of humanity appears to be an extremely recent development when compared to the history of life on earth. Humanity itself does not appear to have existed long enough to have participated in the vast cycles of ages posited by Hindu theory.
There is no scientific support for the Hindu theory of world cycles. Further, current scientific theory contradicts Hindu theory in many respects. It is best to begin by acknowledging this truth, as such an acknowledgement can form the basis for interesting discussions of the different ways of knowing that underly the more specific differences. Such, however, must be the substance of another paper.

Traditional Puranic Chronology
(Anonymous), Introduction to Kashmir Shaivism. S.Y.D.A. Foundation, Oakland, California, 1977. See pp. 69-70.
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy & Sister Nivedita, Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1967. See pp. 392-395.
Baba Hari Dass, Silence Speaks. Sri Rama Foundation, Santa Cruz, California, 1977. See pp. 79-80.
Cornelia Dimmitt & J.A.B. van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas. Rupa & Co., Calcutta etc., 1983. See pp. 19-24, 36-43.
Swami Vishnu Tirtha Maharaj, Devatma Shakti (Kundalini): Divine Power. Pub. Swami Shivom Tirth, 1962. See pp. 29-30.
W. J. Wilkins, Hindu Mythology. Rupa & Co., Calcutta etc., 1983. See pp. 353-360.
Variant Interpretations of Hindu Chronology
Alain Danielou, While the Gods Play: Shaiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind. Inner Traditions International, Rochester, Vermont, 1987. See pp. 194-199.
David Frawley, Vedic Astrology Correspondence Course, Part I, Section 1. Vedic Research Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1986. See pp. 16-18.
Rishi Singh Grewal, World Prophecies: Dictators and Taxation Foretold in Ancient Hindu Philosophy, pub. Rishi Singh Grewal, Santa Barbara, California, 1941. Esp. pp. 1-5.
Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi. Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, 1979. See pp. 193-194.
Jnanavatar Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, The Holy Science: Kaivalya Darsanam. Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, 1984. See pp. 7-20.
Summaries of Scientific Theory
Funk & Wagnall's New Encycopedia, 1986 revision. Various articles.
Rick Gore, "Extinctions," National Geographic, June 1989.


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