The Vedic concept of time, is cyclical, like that of the ancient Egyptians and the Mayans. in addition to the cycles of day and night, and the cycles of the seasons, there exists another cycle of time known as the Yuga Cycle. ‘Manu Smrithi’ says Yuga Cycle is of 12,000 years duration, and is comprised of four Yugas – Krita or Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali. As humanity moves from the Krita Yuga to the Kali Yuga, the level of virtue and human capabilities, both physical and mental, gradually decrease, and reaches its lowest in the Kali Yuga, the age of darkness, in which we currently find ourselves.
the renowned Vedic seer, Swami Yukteswar, In his book The Holy Science (1894), says that a complete Yuga Cycle takes 24,000 years, and is comprised of an ascending Yuga Cycle of 12,000 years when virtue gradually increases (Kali, Dwapara, Treta, Krita) and a descending Yuga Cycle (Krita, Treta, Dwapara, Kali) of another 12,000 years, in which virtue gradually decreases.
The interpretation of Swami Yukteswar can be justified, since everything in nature moves in ascending and descending cycles.
The belief in the Yuga Cycle was widely prevalent in the ancient world. Giorgio de Santillana an American philosopher and historian of science mentions approximately thirty ancient cultures that believed in the concept of a series of ages, with alternating Dark and Golden Ages, as documented in the book Hamlet’s Mill (1969). The Greeks, Romans, Celts, Hopi Indians – all have detailed accounts of the World Ages which are surprisingly alike in their descriptions.
Interestingly, the complete Yuga Cycle of 24,000 years closely matches the ‘Precessional Year‘ of 25,765 years. which is the time taken by the sun to ‘precess’ i.e. move backwards, through the 12 zodiac constellations. In recent years, it has been observed that the rate of precession is ‘increasing’ which means that the duration of the Precessional Year is ‘decreasing’. It is possible, therefore, that the current precessional value of 25,765 years is simply a temporary deviation from its ‘average’ value of 24,000 years, as documented in the ancient Vedic texts.
In addition to the Yuga Cycle, the Vedic texts also tell us of another large cycle of time known as a ‘Day of Brahma’, also referred to as a ‘Kalpa’ which is equal to a 1000 Mahayugas or Yuga Cycles.
The Vishnu Purana tells us that at the end of a ‘Day of Brahma’ the physical universe is destroyed. This is followed by a ‘Night of Brahma’ which is of equal duration as the ‘Day of Brahma’ when no life forms exist. At the end of the ‘Night of Brahma’, the universe is once again created by Vishnu from unmanifested matter.
In order to derive the value of a ‘Kalpa’ i.e. a ‘Day of Brahma’ we need to remember that as per the Vedic and Puranic texts, the Yuga Cycle (also known as a Mahayuga), consisting of the four yugas, is considered to be of 12,000 years duration, which is half the duration of the Precessional Year. Therefore, a ‘Day of Brahma’ lasts for 12,000×1000 i.e. 12 million years, which is followed by a ‘Night of Brahma’ of equal duration.
The implications of this are fascinating:
all life forms on the planet earth are extinguished after 12 million years! These life forms then remain in a dormant, unmanifested form for a further 12 million years. And then, at the end of the ‘Night of Brahma’, new life forms are brought forth by the creative process from unmanifested matter.
recent paleontological evidence revealed that every 26 million years there is a mass extinction of species on the earth!
66 million years ago the dinosaurs were thriving on the earth. However, today we can only find their bones and fossils in natural history museums. What happened to them? Scientists believe that 65 million years ago the earth went through a period a rapid death, called a mass extinction. Butthis episode is not the only mass extinction recorded in the fossil record. There are many more. And in recent years paleontologists have suggested that these mass extinctions occur in a regular cycle.
In 1984, paleontologists David Raup and Jack Sepkoski published a paper in the Journal of the Geological Society of London (vol 146, pp 7-19), claiming that they had identified a statistical periodicity in extinction rates over the last 250 million years. They were surprised to find that life forms on earth seemed to disappear drastically exactly every 26.2 million years.
The extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago has been followed by two more extinction events. We can find a surprising correlation between the extinction dates calculated by Raup and Sepkoski and those arrived at from the Vedic texts.
The Vishnu Purana states that we are now at the middle of the first day of the 51st year of Brahma. Since a Day of Brahma lasts for 12 million years, this implies it has been roughly 6 million years since the beginning of the current cycle of creation i.e. the current ‘Day of Brahma’.
Therefore, as per the Vishnu Purana, the previous destruction events should have taken place as per the following timeliness,
- 18 million years ago,
- 42 million years ago and
- 66 million years ago. This matches very closely with the dates calculated by Sepkoski: 11 million years ago, 38 million years ago and 65 million years ago.
While the extinction of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago, nearly coincides with the date arrived at from the Puranic calculations, there is a slight deviation in the other cases. We should remember that the dates calculated by Sepkoski are approximate, and depend on the sample characteristics and various assumptions inherent in the model.
Besides, we know the duration of the 24,000 year Precessional Year is not constant, but appears to fluctuate between 26,000 and 22,000 years, with ‘mean’ value of 24 million years. The periodicity of these fluctuations need to be understood and considered in order to correctly calculate the previous dates of cosmic destruction.
Certain variations of the 26 million year cycle have also been identified by other researchers. In 2005, two scientists of UC Berkeley, Muller and Rohde, relooked at the data investigated by Raup and Sepkoski, and identified a 62 million year cycle of mass extinction, which appears to be a ‘multiple’ of the 26 million year cycle identified by Sepkoski.
The presence of enhanced levels of iridium in the soil layers at the geological boundaries, as well as the discovery of impact craters on the earth that match with the extinction periodicity, have led scientists to propose that the extinction events have been triggered by large body impacts from outer space, possibly from periodic comet showers.
The Mahabharata tells us that
“a fire from the mouth of the underground serpent will burn the lower worlds, then the surface of the earth, and will set the atmosphere ablaze. This mass of fire will burn with a great noise. Surrounded by these circles of fire, all animate and inanimate objects will be destroyed.”
Similar accounts have been preserved by the Nordic people of Ragnarok– the final destruction of the world.
They believe that during Ragnarok, ‘Jörmungandr, the Midgard serpent, will rise from the deep ocean bed to proceed towards the land, twisting and writhing in fury on his way, causing the seas to rear up and lash against the land. The stars will come adrift from the sky and the giant sun will set the entire earth on fire; the universe will become an immense furnace. All living things, all plant life, will be blotted out.’
These descriptions seem to suggest a cosmic catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. But the exact nature of this phenomenon still eludes us. What is certain, however, is this: the ancients were aware of the mass extinction events that are recorded in the fossil history of the earth, as well as the cosmic phenomenon that triggers these periodic catastrophic destructions. And this information has been transmitted down to us for uncounted millennia, couched in various mysterious symbols, myths and metaphors. It is now up to us to decode this information.
Source : Graham Hancock- works of Bibhu dev Mishra
Dr Sindhu Prashanth