The cycle of time.
One kalpa or cycle of time from creation to dissolution (day of Brahma), lasts 4.3 million years. These cycles continue on for the life of Brahma (100 years of 360 Brahma days and nights). The process then, with variations, repeats itself.
- Shiva's role in Kalpa is to return everything to the spiritual.. to dissolve it.
"Kalpa vriksha" = "the wishing tree"
Small Yuga ∞
2,000 years. The axis of the earth spends 2,000 years in an astrological sign and the moves on to the next sign, going backwards through the signs of the zodiac. Since we are finishing the Pisceaen cycle, we are ready to enter the Aquarian cycle for the next 2,000 years. We commonly refer to entering Aquarius as the "dawning of the age of Aquarius."
Complete Cycle of Small Yugas ∞
24,000 years. This is the amount of time needed for the earth to spend 2,000 years in each of the twelve signs of the zodiac.
The Great Cycle ∞
In addition to the earth's axis moving in an arc as it travels through the signs of the zodiac, there is another cycle. This is a cycle which involves the revolution of the entire solar system around the Central Sun of the Galaxy. The orbit is elliptical rather than circular. To make the elliptical movement of the solar system around a great central point more understandable, the analogy of "seasons" is used. This is a useful analogy because changes in overall states of consciousness are represented as "seasons" through which the solar system passes on its journey.
|Spring||Treta Yuga||<10%||1,296,000 years||Begins with the planetary axis into Aquarius|
|Summer||Satya Yuga or Krita Yuga - The Age of Truth||90%||1,728,000 years|
|Autumn||Dwapara Yuga||<10%||864,000 years|
|Winter||Kali Yuga||<1%||432,000 years||Ends with the entrance of the planetary axis into Aquarius - 1998 = 5,090 years from the beginning of Kali Yuga of the long cycle.|
First, it is easier to make progress in the "'winter of consciousness." The analogy is often used that if one tries to row one's boat in air, very little progress will be achieved. But when the oars are placed in water, much more rapid progress can be made. This is because compared to air, the resistance of water is much higher enabling the work of the oars to bear fruit. It is the resistance itself which provides a route to rapid progress. Similarly, in spiritual winter our efforts to achieve spiritual growth produce much faster results than they would in any other age of consciousness because of the great general resistance to things spiritual.
There is no disagreement among all the sages, pundits, gurus and swamis that Kali Yuga, the present spiritual winter, affords an opportunity for more rapid spiritual progress than any other age. Further, the medium for rapid growth is almost universally prescribed by these same classes of spiritual teachers as divine sound through the medium of mantra. Here are the various seasons and ages of the universe as measured in human years.
Total Time for One Cycle or Manvantara: 4,320,000,000 years
- This is called "A Day of Brahma" and is followed by a night of equal length.
- One complete day and night of Brahma: 8,640,000,000 years
360 of these days is called "One Year of Brahma": 3,110,400,000,000 years
- 100 of these years constitute the life of Brahma called a Maha Kalpa: 311,040,000,000,000 years
At the end of a "Maha. Kalpa" or cycle of creation, Shiva manifests his destructive influence and the universe is dissolved. [Actually the entire universe becomes spiritualized] The ancient texts call this the cosmic dissolution. All the levels of the manifest universe disappear. After a great cosmic rest cycle, another creative cycle begins as a new Brahma emerges out of the navel of Narayana and the universe is created anew.