The Expanse of Time

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Just as a quick summary, we had started with understanding the relationship between science & philosophy; then talked about the existence of the knowledge holder – the soul; brief on karm theory; what drives this world; what is beyond our current life; and the classification of everything – under which we have gone through non-living things and then details of living beings. After figuring out the structure of our universe, in our last session, now let’s detail out the understanding of time, before we move onto details of matter & energy.

“Time is time. What is there to detail out? May be past, present, future”, quizzed Kāy.

Ok. So, tell me since when does the time exist? And where all does it exist?

May be since big bang.

So, what beyond big bang? Is time relative or absolute?

Relative as per Einstein.

Such and many more deep, possibly unanswered questions about time, is where we need to understand time. So, what is time? First thing to understand about time is that it is not a physical entity. It is more of a concept to understand & operate with the world around us in a step by step way. It is the one which creates the notion of past, present, and future for us, providing the relation between various events. Present is what is happening now, past that already happened, and future is yet to happen. Note that, here we are not referring to our observing the events, just of their happening. With this understanding of time, time is absolute and present everywhere, and everything is moving on its scale. However, this absolute time is of limited use in one’s day-to-day activities. That’s where the devised concept of relative time is more useful, the one based on sun &/or moon, using seconds, minutes, …

So, you mean to say time is both absolute & relative, not just relative as proposed by Einstein, neither totally absolute, as understood earlier.

Yes, both are correct, but in their own context. The overall lok operates on the absolute time frame, whereas our day to day activities (under our observance) operate on the relative time frame. Now, talking about the absolute time, it never began, and it would never end, as it is co-existing with the lok, which also never began, and will never end.

Meaning both the lok & time exists from -infinity and will exist till +infinity.

Yes.

Then, how do we explain the big bang theory?

Firstly, even the scientific community is not sure about it. Secondly, even if they come close to it, it would be just a state of transition or a mode of the universe in its infinite long journey – not a point of its creation.

“That’s an interesting interpretation. Though not a point of creation, can that mark some important milestone in the journey of the universe?”, questioned Tatva.

It could – it could mark the beginning of a kālchakra.

“You mean some sort of time cycle, meaning beginning of time”, interrupted Kāy.

Yes, indeed a time cycle but beginning only in the relative sense of that kālchakra, not the absolute time. As, this infinite long journey of absolute time is constituted of such infinite well defined time patterns or cycles – the kālchakras, all happening one after the other.

So, every kālchakra has a beginning and an end? How big is this kālchakra?

Yes, though it has a beginning and an end in itself, it naturally transitions from the previous one, and into the next one, without any time interruption. Each kālchakra is 20 crore crore sāgar long. 1 crore crore is 100 trillion. And one sāgar constitutes of 10 crore crore palyopam, where one palyopam is unimaginably huge.

Understood, huge. But how huge, for example how many years constitute one palyopam?

That’s where the interesting part comes. The units sāgar and palyopam of absolute time are universal. And an year is a unit of relative time based on sun &/or moon, meaningful only in madhya lok.

Yes. But still some relation should be there between them, because relative time would have to finally fit into the absolute time.

If you ask for it, one palyopam constitutes of innumerous years.

“O! Innumerous again”, exclaimed Dravya.

“What is the point of having such units, when they are so huge?”, continued Kāy.

To understand the subject in perspective through comparative study & analysis. As many hellish & celestial beings have their life span of the order of palyopam and sāgaropam aka sāgar. Hope this gives you an idea or at least some feeling of the hugeness of time. Similarly, at the other extreme – the minuteness of absolute time, we have samay, the smallest (unimaginably small) indivisible unit.

Indivisible meaning it can’t be further broken.

Yes.

“So, all the relative time units must have innumerous of these again?”, quipped Dravya.

Yes. And hence, I hope you also noted with that, time is a discrete entity, not a continuous one, at the lowest level.

“So, is samay far far smaller than all these nano, pico, … seconds?”, furthered Kāy.

Yes. Way too small than the reach of science, i.e. than the smallest possible measurable unit of time by science.

Then, a similar question, as to what is the use of such a unit? Or, rather what happens in the order of such a small time.

There are many things, including the transition of soul from one life form to another, after the death in the previous gati. In fact, the smallest time slicing / switching unit for the activities of soul is samay, e.g. standing inside a river under the sun may give a feeling of both cold & hot. It may feel like together but at the minutest level it would be feeling cold in one samay & hot in the next, and so on.

“I think I have got a feeling of the two extremes of absolute time – samay & kālchakra. However, our thinking is so much tied to our day to day use of relative time, that it is difficult to see these in perspective. To ease our understanding, can we have a units table like in our school days, for this complete time thing, relating from samay to kālchakra?”, requested Tatva.

Ya sure. You may jot it down as follows:

Smallest indivisible time unit = samay
Innumerous samay = 1 āvalikā
256 āvalikā = 1 kṡullak bhav
Slightly more than 17 kṡullak bhav = 1 prāṅ
(To be precise, 4446 – 2458/3773 āvalikā = 1 prāṅ)
7 prāṅ = 1 stok
7 stok = 1 lav
77 lav = 1 muhūrt (= 48 minutes)
30 muhūrt = 1 day
15 days = 1 pakṡ
2 pakṡ = 1 month
2 month = 1 ritu
3 ritu = 1 ayan
2 ayan = 1 year
(5 years = 1 yug)
(70 crore crore 56 lakh crore years = 1 pūrv)
Innumerous years = 1 palyopam
10 crore crore palyopam = 1 sāgar(opam)
20 crore crore sāgar(opam) = 1 kālchakra
Infinite kālchakra = 1 pudgalparāvartan

NB 1 crore crore = 100 trillion

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Anil Kumar Pugalia Anil Kumar Pugalia (95 Posts)

The author is a hobbyist in open source hardware and software, with a passion for mathematics, and philosopher in thoughts. A gold medallist from the Indian Institute of Science, Linux, mathematics and knowledge sharing are few of his passions. He experiments with Linux and embedded systems to share his learnings through his weekend workshops. Learn more about him and his experiments at https://sysplay.in.


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4 thoughts on “The Expanse of Time

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