The Kālchakra

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Continuing from our last class discussion on time, today let’s talk in detail about the kālchakra. Infinite kālchakra have passed by, and infinite would come, and currently we are in one of them. Every kālchakra extends over a time period of 20 sāgar, and have a typical format. A kālchakra is divided into two 10 sāgar long equal parts, called the avsarpiṅī (deteriorating) kāl (period) and the utsarpiṅī (improving) kāl (period). And each of these are further divided into 6 parts, each called an ārā.

“Why such naming, which means deteriorating and improving?”, questioned Indriya.

It is with respect to the general deterioration and improvement of qualities & quantities of various stuff, like life span, health, prosperity, happiness, etc which happens in these periods, especially in the bharat and airāvat regions of the madhya lok. For example, the happiness is at its peak in the beginning of the avsarpiṅī period. Then, it keeps deteriorating till it reaches its worst at the end of the avsarpiṅī period. From there begins the utsarpiṅī period, in which it again starts improving and reaches its peak at the end of the utsarpiṅī period.

(Side note: Want to know more about these various regions of the madhya lok? Check out the off the class discussion with Danḋak.)

“Why only these specific regions? What about all other regions?”, asked Danḋak.

In all the other regions, the specified characteristics remain more or less same. For example, in the mahāvideh region, it is always like the 4th ārā of the avsarpiṅī kāl. That’s why, the divisions and subdivisions of kālchakra are mainly in context of bharat & airāvat regions. The names & durations of the 6 ārā of avsarpiṅī kāl could be tabulated as follows. For utsarpiṅī, these will be in exact reverse order.

+ Ārā – Name – Duration
+ 1 – suṡmā-suṡmā – 4 sāgar
+ 2 – suṡmā – 3 sāgar
+ 3 – suṡmā-duṡmā – 2 sāgar
+ 4 – duṡmā-suṡmā – 1 sāgar – 42000 years
+ 5 – duṡmā – 21000 years
+ 6 – duṡmā-duṡmā – 21000 years

NB suṡmā – happiness, duṡmā – sorrow.

As we are in bharat region, which ārā are we currently in?

We are currently in the 5th ārā, and even in that over 2500 years have already passed. You’ll be able to connect more, when we talk about the various characteristics of each ārā. 1st & 2nd ārā are the yougalik period – the period of yugal aka couples. Each couple would in turn give birth to a couple, which would be fully-grown up into giant heights in 6 months, and then the parent couple would extinguish. Each couple would live their complete life between 1 to 3 palyopam. When last 6 months of their life are remaining, they would give birth to a couple, and the cycle continues. These are the happiest periods. Population the least, resources the most abundant. Desires the least, satisfaction the most – leading to the highest levels of happiness. Purity at its utmost, soil at its sweetest. Complete harmony between nature, plants, animals, and humans. All these balance, leading to human dietary need of a grain of pulse to a berry-size, just once in 2-3 days.

“Wow! What a dream world? So, were we there once in those levels as well?”, exclaimed Ātmā.

Our belief in the rebirth cycle, gives the possibility of an affirmative answer.

But then, why did all those deteriorate and we are all in today’s state? And, possibly it is going to worsen further till the end of 6th ārā?

Yes, it is going to worsen till the end of the 6th ārā, and then it is going to start improving again, but that’s around 40000 years from now. Answer to your why, has multiple aspects to it. As time passed, resources became scarce, greed became more. Feelings of ownership developed. People started fighting for ownership. That’s when need for guiding principles arose to bring in discipline. Families, societies, communities, and kingdoms were born. Life span reduced from 1 palyopam in the beginning of 3rd ārā to just 1 crore pūrva towards the end of 3rd ārā. Quality & quantity reduced. People started needing to eat from alternate day to everyday.

How does the Darwin’s theory of evolution fit into all this?

Darwin’s theory of evolution is needed only when we assume a beginning of life – plants, animals, humans. If these various kinds of life forms have been there without any beginning, as we have already discussed, they don’t really need to evolve from one form to another. However, the structures, forms, shapes, sizes, etc of the respective living beings must have, still are, and would be continuously evolving and adapting to the ever changing environment & circumstances around. Darwin’s theory may be really applicable to explain these evolutions pretty well, without the need to convert a living form from one to another.

“On one side, the deterioration sounds really bad. On the other, it feels like theory of evolution, with humans getting more civilized”, quipped Jāti.

Not really civilized, but rather being organized into civilizations, because of getting more uncivilized. That’s the deterioration, that self-discipline has converted to discipline by others, and then enforcement by others. In the 4th ārā things further deteriorated with life span reducing to just a maximum of 125 years, by its end. Heights reducing to just around 10 feet. Dietary requirement of at least a couple of meals per day.

Those were we a few thousand years ago.

Yes. And we know, what we are currently in this 5th ārā, further deteriorating. We already see the state of forests, quality of air, scarcity of water, etc. By the end of this ārā, around 18000 years from now, the human heights would reduce to around 1.5 feet, maximum age of 20 years, no count on how many times one eats, which would further continue and reduce more towards the end of 6th ārā to its worst.

“So, if we know all these are destined to be, why do we bother about / take care of all such stuff as global warming, water scarcity, air pollution, etc?”, asserted Gati.

We know that it is destined to deteriorate but the levels of worstness is in our hands. In fact, it is good that we know the destiny, as then we could focus on doing our best to reduce the worst. If we don’t take care, then it is highly possible that the levels we expect to reach in thousands of years, might be reached in hundreds, or even tens of years. Science could definitely help us reduce the worstness. But it is the philosophy part, driving our conscience, which would make us more strongly determined to do it.

Wow! For the first time, I really felt the power in the science-philosophy combo. And a real life example, where the knowledge from philosophy could actually give us a positive perspective to the things we deal with.

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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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