# 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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# 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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