Banaras Hindu University
CONCEPT OF KÁLA IN HINDU ASTRONOMY
“Man lacked the enchanted hands of the unseen forces that created the universe brilliantly; but how he attempted to explore the mysteries with his limited talent and skill is no less splendid. The moment he opened his eyes he observed: on the one side lay stupendous beauty and on the other stood unyielding principles. Looking with curiosity into the laws that connect things in nature, he tried to grasp ideas from this. His ventures pass on from one generation to another and finally he has created an artificial world of his own”1
There is nothing beyond Kála in this world. Everything is contained in Kála. When the human being was born he would see the planets rising and setting every day. He must have been surprised to see that all activities occur at fixed intervals. This same surprise inspired him to discover the interval of these events, which is called Kála. People in every corner of the world started defining it in their own way. First and foremost, the discussion about Kála is described in the Rig Veda2, the earliest available literature in the world. After this, being a part of the Vedas also gave Kála a minor scale in Hindu astronomy.
Almost all the texts of Hindu astronomy describe two types of Kála: one is Sukshma and other is Sthoola Kála. Some texts like Aryabhatiya had a different point of view about classification in Sthoola Kála, but all scholars unanimously accept the two different distinctions of Kála. In these two types of classification, Sukshma Kála is that which is not measurable by man without a machine. In describing the concept of Sukshma Kála, Bhaskaracharya says,
Trutirnimeshaih dhritibhishcha Kaasthaa
Naadeedwayam taih khagunairdiinam cha.
Shadbhirpalaih taih ghatikaa khasadbhih
Maasodinairtaih dwikubhishcha varsham
Kshetre samaadyen samaa vibhaagah
The time it takes to blink an eyelid is called Nimesha. The 30th part of Nimesha is called Tatpar and the 100th part of Tatpar is called Truti. Similarly there is a Nimesha of 18 Kastha; one Kála equals thirty Kastha and one Ghatika equals thirty Kála. This is called a constellation. There is a Muhurta of two Ghatika and a day equals thirty Muhurta 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11. If we measure it in SI units then Truti = ≈ 35.5 μs, Tatpara=≈ 3.55 ms, Nimesha = ≈ 106.7 ms, Kastha= ≈ 3.2 s, Kála=≈ 1.6 min, Muhurta= ≈ 48 min, Nakshatra Ahoratra (sidereal day)= ≈ 24 h. Every scholar of Hindu astronomy describes the smallest classification of Kála in this manner. On the other hand, however, there are nine types of Sthool Kála (Gross Period). (1) Brahma Mána (2) Divya Mána (3)Paitra Mána (4) Prajapatya Mána (5) Gaurav Mána (6) Saur Mána (7) Saavan Mána (8) Chaandra Mána (9) Naakashatra Mána.
1. Brahma Mána
The period related to Brahma is called Brahma Mána. According to Brahma Mána, the age of Brahma is one hundred years. The day of Brahma equals 1,000 mahayuga and night is the same. An era of 1000 Mahayuga is called Kalp and it shows that the value of the day and night of Brahma is two kalpa. One Brahma Year is equal to seven hundred and twenty Kalpa. The full age of Brahma is 7,200 Kalpa. According to the belief of Hindu Astrology, great geographical changes happen during this period. As the beginning of the Sat Yuga and at its end, there will be a conjunction period of 14,400 solar years. Similarly there will be a conjunction of 108,000 solar years in the Treta Yuga and 72,000 solar years in the Dwapar Yuga and 3,600 solar years in the Kali Yuga. Thus a Maha Yuga is 4,320,000 solar years and a kalpa of 1,000 Mahayug means 4,320,000,000 solar years. If we multiply 432,000 by 4, 3, 2 and 1, we will get the length of every yuga12.
Sat Yuga = 432,000*4 =1,728,000
Treta Yuga = 432,000 *3 = 1,296,000
Dwapar Yuga = 432,000*2 = 864,000
Kali Yuga = 432,000*1= 432,000
At the beginning and end of each Yuga, the conjunction period equals the sixth part of that particular era. The value of the Maha Yuga includes the conjunction periods. The day of Brahma equals one Kalpa and night is the same. This means the whole value of night and day of Brahma is two kalpa. In solar value, it equals 8,640,000,000 solar years. The value of the year will be 8,640,000,000×3600, so Brahma lives 8,640,000,000×360×10013 solar years according to this value. This period called MahaKalp and Bramh Mana.
At the beginning of the day of Brahma, creation takes place and at the end of the day there is a catastrophe, at that time all creation is submerged.
2. Divya Mána: (Divine value)
The period related to the gods is called the divine period. When one cycle of the sun is completed, it is called a solar year and the same solar year is called the divine day of the Gods14. When the sun moves from Aries to Virgo, that period called Uttar Gola, which is called the “day of gods”. And when the sun is located in Capricorn to Pisces then it is called the “night of gods”. Thus the divine year of the gods numbers 360 solar years, which value is called the Divine value.
3. Paitra Mána: (Period of the forefathers)
A lunar month is called a day of ancestors, in which 15 days (half dark paksha) have one day of the ancestors and 15 days (the other half, bright paksha) have the ancestral night. Thus we have a year of 360 lunar months of the ancestors.
4. Prajapatya Mána: (Period of Prajapati)
The period of Prajapati is called the Prajapatya Mána. As we know that there are 4,320,000 solar years in one mahayuga, similarly there are 71 mahayugas in one manu. 4,320,000*71=306,720,000=1 manu
According to this value there are fourteen Manus in the day of Brahma (kalpa). They are: Swayambhu Manu, Svarocisha Manu, Uttama Manu, Tapasa Manu, Raivata Manu, Chaakshus Manu, Vaisvat Manu, Savarni Manu, Daksha-savarni Manu, Brahma-savarni Manu, Dharma-savarni Manu, Rudra-savarni Manu, Deva- savarni Manu, Indra-savarni Manu.
At the beginning and end of each Manu, the conjunction period equals Sat Yuga. Thus in Kalpa, there are 14 manus and 15 conjunctions. This period of Manu is considered to be the period of Prajapati.
5. Gaurav Mána: (Jupiter’s Period)
The period in which Jupiter completes 30 degrees of its orbit is called Samvtsas or Barhaspatya Mána. This we know by the rule of three. The revolution of all the planets in an era is given in the book of Hindu Astronomy. Jupiter completes its 364,220 cycles in one Maha Yuga and there are 1,577,917,828 civil days in one Maha Yuga. So, according to the rule of three, if we find 364,220 cycles in 1,577,917,828 days, then how many days will Jupiter take to complete the 30 degrees of its orbit? It will be 361 days, 2 ghati, 4 pala and 45 vipala. It is 9 days, 13 ghati, 25 pala less than the solar year. Jupiter has a cycle of sixty Samvabsaras. It completes its 5 cycles in sixty Samvatsaras. In Agnipuran, these are:
6. Saur Mána (solar period)
As we know, the sun is stable and our earth is moving. But for the calculation we assume that our earth is stable, according to this hypothesis. The time taken to completes one revolution by the sun is called a solar year. When it completes 30 degrees, this period is called a solar month and when it completes one degree it is called a solar day. The changing of the zodiac sign of the sun is called Sankranti. There are different types of Sankrantis (Solstice), i.e. the Sankranti of Capricorn and Cancer is called Ayansankranti and the Sankrarti of Aries and Libra is called Equatorial Sankranti (Equinox). The Sankranti of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces is called Vishanupadi Sankranti (Vishnupadi solstice).
7. Saavan Mána: (Civil period)
The period between one sunrise and another sunrise is called Savan mana (Civil Period)
8. Chandra Mána: (Lunar Period)
When the sun and the moon are in same position (Rashi, Amsha, Kála), that moment is called the new moon. The angular difference between the sun and the moon on the new moon is zero. Similarly, this period between one new moon night and the next new moon night is called a lunar month. There are thirty Tithis (days) in a Lunar Month.
9. Nákshatra Mána (Sidereal Period)
The duration between one star rise and the next star rise is called Nákshatra Mána (Sidereal Period). It contains 24 hours and is a constant value. There are 30 days in Nákshatra Mása (Sidereal Month) and 360 days in Nákshatra Varsha (Sidereal Year).
- Sanjay Kumaar Pandey, thesis, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur,1997, Mathematical modeling of peristaltic transport in physiological systems,
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