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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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ALL ABOUT COSMIC CYCLES AND AGES
4/9/2010 1:46:54 AM

Introduction

One of the most self-evident truths with regard to history is it cannot be conceived outside of time. Can you approach the study of any people, culture, country or civilization, for example, without at least an approximate idea of what its place is in history within a given timeframe? In other words, can you understand the history of any people if you cannot insert it, say, within the Paleolithic, the Middle Ages, and so on?

Moreover, is there any truth in the notion of history repeating itself? And if so, does it stem from a sort of recurring, or cyclic, time?

What can we say, for example, of the countless proven parallelisms in the history of different human societies occurring at a great distance from one another, both in space and time?

So concerning time, the question can be formulated like this: Is time only linear, as even some of the greatest scientists, mainly in the western world, contend; or is it cyclic, as some of the most important world's religions, and many lucid philosophers have always taught?

When I started my first version of The Wheel of Time - A Study in the Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles, I was motivated by very special circumstances. A most precious, monumental Hindu holy scripture, the Third Canto of Bhagavata Purana, had come to my hands as if by accident, and I was marveled to learn about the huge lengths of time mentioned in relation to cosmic cycles. For instance, the Kali-yuga o "Dark Era", a cycle which clearly corresponds to the Age of Iron of the Greek and Roman traditions, would actually extend over 432,000 terrestrial years, a tenth of a human cycle of 4'320,000 years; and if its start was in 3102 BC, as recorded by Hindu astronomical texts, its end would arrive as late as 429,000 AD, without doubt a reassuring date in times of enormous global crisis as we are living now, but which does not absolutely correlate with data from other traditions announcing an imminent end for our troubled civilization.

The answer to my deep uneasiness would come a bit later, mainly in the form of a remarkable article by René Guénon: Some Remarks on the Doctrine de Cosmic Cycles, originally published in French in 1937. Thanks to it, I was finally satisfied that such figures were essentially symbolic, as suggested by the fact that they are all multiple of nine – which precisely makes them "circular" o cyclic – and that they must be basically assimilated to the great cycle of precession of the equinoxes, a key period of time in the development of mankind whose traditional length, 25,920 common years, also is a multiple of nine. True, at the same time I concluded that in the light of the most recent scientific discoveries, such lengths could also be taken in an approximately literal manner, something that Guénon could not be acquainted with in his time; but for the moment, it was fairly enough.


It was only relatively recently, however, that I was able to finish the book.
On the other hand, I hesitated as to the convenience to keep some sections, but was dissuaded by the fact that, while they are not essential to a better understanding of the matter, they can be profitably read, in particular the latter, which briefly depicts the Kali-yuga of the present cycle – virtually the history of our so-called civilization.

Now, it is understandable that this particular view of history will frontally crash with that of the majority of readers, who, save for one or two exceptions, know very little about oriental doctrines. In this sense, it is essential to understand the concept of maha-yuga, the Hindu cycle of four yugas or decreasing ages whose lengths are proportional to 4, 3, 2 and 1 and which, in fact, can be assimilated to any temporal cycle, as another fundamental point of the doctrine is that there exists a total correlation among them all; and then stop at the concept of Manvantara, this one referred to the total human cycle and whose length must be calculated as two cycles of precession of equinoxes or a total 51,840 common years.



The cycle of precession of the equinoxes


One more step, and it must become clear that if the yugas sum up proportionally 10 (because 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10), the length of the Kali-yuga will be one tenth of that total, i.e. 5,184 common years. Yet another step, consistent with the previous one, will make us understand that the characteristics of the present Kali-yuga, by virtue of the correlations to which I have referred, reflect accurately – yet in a more incisive way – those of the full cycle of 51,840 years; this, in practice, will give us a small-scale image of this cycle, including, also in a small scale but with lengths always proportional to the scale 4, 3, 2 and 1, that of the four descending yugas. The last step will be to focus on the last of them, which we may call the kali-yuga of the present Kali-yuga: a period of time of little more than five hundred years, extremely rich in historical events and great material achievements but which unfortunately, precisely by reason of their being merely material, would appear to be leading us towards disaster at an ever increasing speed...



* * *

I know, I know: this last part
sounds pretty pessimistic, and we were supposed to be talking about the new coming Golden Age, where all is going to be perfection and bliss. But another equally valid point in the present discussion is that we are now in the last or end days announced in the Gospels, however terrible they may be, and that they must be gone first before the new, Golden Age can ensue. Let's all hope that won't take long.

Blessings,

Luis Miguel Goitizolo

"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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RE: ALL ABOUT COSMIC CYCLES AND AGES
4/10/2010 10:44:22 AM

The Four Ages of Mankind and the
precession of the equinoxes


In a strict sense, the “myth” of the Four Ages of Mankind is generally assumed to have originated in Greece around the eighteenth century BC, back in the days the country was plunged into desolation by the Doric people’s invasion. Around that time, the poet Hesiod, probably influenced by obscure legends about past cataclysms and the happier times that preceded them, is said to have set to the task of composing, in the solitude of the countryside, his Works and Days, the most intriguing of the two famous poems attributed to him – the other being his famous Theogony.

In the former, Hesiod relates how up until his time, the human race had lived four main ages: the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age, with an additional age, that of the Heroes, apparently inserted between the Bronze and Iron ages only to accommodate the great heroes of the Iliad.

Within the same tradition but many centuries later, the Latin poet Ovid (43 BC – 18 AD), in his Metamorphoses, additionally alludes to the deluge that ensued at the end of the Iron Age and from which were spared Deucalion and Pyrrha, who gave birth to a new humanity.

So far the classical version. In a broader sense, however, the tradition would have an older, possibly Oriental origin. According to scholars, it would have originated in the primitive peoples’ longing for a natural life, which, coupled with considerations about the recurrence and regularity of the disasters that afflict the world as well as the speculation inspired in such quaternary cycles as the four yearly seasons, four phases of the Moon, four stages in the life of man, and so on, would have crystallized in the “myth” of the Four Ages of the World brought to light by Hesiod. As to the place of origin itself, some are inclined to believe it was India, considering the manifest identity between the four ages of the Greek tradition and the descending cycle of four yugas of the Hindustan tradition. In this connection, however, we would still need to determine whether this is also the origin of many other myths in which the notion of four ages is equally prominent, such as the Maya and Inca and many other traditions; and even of all other “myths of return” where – irrespective of the number of ages – there stands out the universal, most ancient belief in the “fall” of man, a tradition that evokes the decline and alienation of mankind from a golden, paradisiacal condition to one of total degradation – usually ending in a catastrophic deluge – a most familiar and characteristic version of which can be read in the first pages of the Bible, from the “fall” of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from Paradise to the events that led to the Flood.


The Cycle of Precession of the Equinoxes

But let’s go back to the Four Ages and our next logical step, i.e. determine their lengths. In his Timaeus, Plato asserts that the seven planets, once the time to balance their respective speeds has elapsed, return to their starting point. This revolution is a “perfect year” and, considering the great significance it has for different traditions, must exert some sort of influence in the total length of a cycle of four ages. In turn Cicero, while recognizing the difficulty of estimating the length of this vast celestial period, rates it as 12,954 common years, although the precise length appears to be 12,960 years (180 x 72), as certain concurring data suggest. And in effect, this latter period, also called “great year” by both Greeks and Persians, is the exact half of the great astronomical cycle known as the precession of the equinoxes (or “Zodiacal Year”), the length of which has been traditionally calculated as 25,920 common years (360 x 72) and, as is widely known, is the one during which the projection of the Earth’s axis, responding to the rotation and oscillation (or “wobbling”) motions of the planet along its orbit, makes a full circle at a rate of one degree every 72 years and returns to the exact point of departure in relation to the Zodiac constellations so that the equinoctial point, one of the two times of the year in which the night lasts exactly as the day does, turns out to be the same again as it was at the beginning of the period.

Another consequence of the slow circular motion of the Earth axis projection is that it will successively point to a different Pole Star in the course of those 25,920 years.


Here is a drawing representing the Earth's circular motion which will better help understand this latter consequence.




Precessional movement (Wikipedia)


Although this cycle is said to have been discovered in 139 BC by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus, some authors believe the first to calculate its duration as 25,920 common years were the ancient Egyptians, who would have come by this figure by matching the equinox with the same Zodiacal sign during 2,160 years; and still others say the first to know about it were the old Brahmans of India, which knowledge would have been spread to Iran and Sumer and then to Egypt, where it was picked up by the Greek Hipparchus. Be it as it may, the Egyptians, according to the hermetic tradition, were trying to establish the length of the Divine Year, which was then fixed as approximately 168 Zodiacal years (or “creation days,” as they used to call them). This itself is extremely suggestive, as 168 times 25,920 is 4’354,560 common years, virtually the length of a Hindu cycle of four yugas (4’320,000 common years) with a difference of “only” 34,560 years. However, since the consideration of such remarkable coincidence would take too long, for the moment I will leave it here.


Thank you,

Luis Miguel Goitizolo



"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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RE: ALL ABOUT COSMIC CYCLES AND AGES
4/10/2010 4:56:14 PM

The Egyptian Tradition and Cosmic Cycles


Like most of the old traditional cultures, the ancient Egyptians are known to have conceived a universe built on mysterious numerical relationships in which the various orders of magnitude matched each other both quantitatively and qualitatively. In this way, they believed that the Divine Year of 168 zodiacal years consisted of three “divine times of work” each divided in 56 zodiacal years (168 : 3); each “divine time of work” of four “seminal seasons” consisting of 14 zodiacal years each (56 : 4); each “seminal season” of two “divine conception weeks – equivalent to Day and Night – consisting of seven zodiacal years each (2 : 2); and each “divine conception week” of seven “creation days” of 25,920 common years each (7 : 7), this being the duration of a cycle of precession of equinoxes or Zodiacal Year. This established a first analogy between the Zodiacal Year and a “creation day.”

Additionally, they divided the “creation day” of 25,920 common years in 12 “differential hours” – equivalent to 12 zodiacal months – of 2,160 common years each (25,920 : 12), i.e. the period during which the equinox coincides with the same sign of the Zodiac.


Now, since the ascent of every new sign is considered to be escorted by events that are catastrophic or in some other way crucial to the Earth, this “differential hour” or zodiacal month of 2,160 common years has received particular attention from the hermetic tradition. For example, it is said that
the downfall of Atlantis took place when the Age of Leo was coming to an end and the one of Cancer was about to arrive, about 10,000 - 12,000 years ago. In turn, the shift from Cancer to Gemini would have witnessed the passage of an enormous comet that shook up the Earth. The shift from Gemini to Taurus, about 6,000 years ago, is supposed to have marked the start of new civilizations and the beginning of the worship of the bull – and the goat – at several places of the world: the ox Apis in Egypt, the winged bulls in Babylon and Assyria, as well as holidays associated to the spring and procreation. In turn, the arrival of Aries, about 4,000 years ago, is known to have concurred with the appearance of the paschal lamb, a symbol of Judaism. Finally, the shift from Aries to Pisces would have heralded the appearance and propagation of Christianity, the main symbol of which, at least at its beginning, was, as we know, the fish.

Be it as it may, as a “differential hour” within the “creative day” of 25,920 common years, and continuing with the hourly analogy, the Egyptians divided the period of 2,160 years into 60 “minutes” of 36 common years each (2,160 : 60) and the “minute” of 36 common years into 36 “specific tasks” of one common year each (36 : 36), thus establishing two important hourly analogies by matching, first, the common hour with the “zodiacal month”; and secondly, each minute of that “hour” with a cycle of 36 common years, equivalent to a half of a degree of the zodiac circle. Finally, they divided the “specific task” or common year into seven “creative aptitudes” of 52 weeks and fraction each (365 : 7) and the “creative aptitude” into seven “human virtues” of seven days and fraction each (52: 7), which established a correspondence between the common week and the Divine Year of 168 Zodiacal Years and fundamentally, although by resorting in this case to imperfect divisions and fractions, between the common week and the seven “creation days” of 25,920 common years each.


Whatever the practical value of the above calculations, it is clear that the ancient Egyptians, as well as the Greeks, Persians and Chaldeans, dispensed a most special relevance to this cycle of 25,920 years (or its half of 12,960 years), which would very likely represent the length of a full cycle of four ages. If so, what would be the length of each age?

According to the hermetic tradition, the “Adamic race,” which we belong to, would have evolved through four ages of 6,480 years each and would now be nearing the end of the full cycle. These four ages, naturally equivalent to the same number of “zodiacal seasons” of three “zodiacal months” each, would have been marked by four key events:

(I) Formation, from the start of the Zodiacal Year to the Sin or “downfall” of man;

(II) Sin, from the expulsion from the Garden of Eden to Tribulation, which began with the Flood;

(III) Tribulation, from the Flood to Redemption; and

(IV) Redemption, consummated by Christ. Thus, while the Sun is about to enter the first degrees of the Aquarius constellation – after retrograding past the Taurus, Aries and Pisces constellations – the Zodiacal Year would be about to complete its last cycle, and the “Adamic race” that of its redemption and deliverance.


I would like to make some observations here. These periods or “seasons” – the description of which certainly sounds a little bit fanciful – which some traditions automatically round up as six thousand years, clearly correspond to a more general, and therefore more extensive, cycle than the one made up by the ages depicted by Hesiod, who was clearly talking about more local and contingent periods and about cycles already concluded in his time. On the other hand, they strongly crash, both in their magnitude and by their equal lengths, with the four yugas of the Hindu tradition, which are of an incredible elaboration and whose lengths, proportional to the scale 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10, are amazingly 1’728.000, 1’296.000, 864,000 and 432,000 common years respectively, equaling a total length of 4’320,000 years for the full cycle. Incidentally, it is most significant that this scale, although reversed, is the same as the Pythagorean Tetraktys expressed as 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10. Let me briefly address the latter.


Among the Greeks who exposed on the doctrine of cosmic cycles – great philosophers like Anaximander, Empedocle, Heraclitus, and subsequently Plato and the Stoics – there clearly stands out Pythagoras, whose intellectual interests were primarily mathematic. It is said that his most transcendental discovery, which would signify a sort of disclosure of the nature of the universe, was that certain intervals of the musical scale can be arithmetically expressed as relationships among the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 – which combined sum up 10, a symbol of the Supreme. Originated – according to legend – in the pitch of the sounds issued by an anvil on which hammers of different sizes were beating, this discovery demonstrated the existence of an inherent order in the nature of sound and, moreover, a mathematical organization in the formation of the universe, of whose structure, harmonious and beautiful as music itself, time participates as a key element.


Now, in times of Pythagoras, as well as later on, the Greek scholars used to make study journeys to various countries, mainly Egypt and Mesopotamia and even beyond, to India itself, considered throughout history as the ultimate goal of the lovers of knowledge. It is uncertain whether Pythagoras undertook such journey; if he did, it could explain the real origin of his famous Tetraktys – the “Hindu version” of which I will deal with shortly.

Blessings,

Luis Miguel Goitizolo



The image of a huge reclining lion with a human head facing due east, the Sphinx of Giza, in Egypt, is fraught with dense mysteries. One of them is its age, which could be far greater than that of any of the oldest Egyptian dynasties - approximately 12,500 years old,
which would place it in the age of Leo, as the glaciers of
the Ice Age were already melting, very probably
about the time the sinking of Atlantis and
the biblical Flood occurred.



"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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RE: ALL ABOUT COSMIC CYCLES AND AGES
4/14/2010 4:52:06 PM

Among the many attempts at making sense of the questions made in connection with time along history, there stands the Hindu doctrine of cosmic cycles as the best example of the most elevated and profound teaching in this regard. Let me give you a short compendium of it in what follows.

The Hindu Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles

Part 1: Kalpas and Yugas

In essence, the Hindu doctrine of cosmic cycles conceives a qualitative, “circular” time that cyclically affects our universe and everything in it. A universe that on its part is eternal, without beginning or end, and which manifests itself, together with other billions of universes, from a state of development to another of equilibrium, and then to another of decadence, after which there occurs its dissolution – or pralaya – and back to start again, forever. A universe, in sum, governed by recurrence, where everything has a beat, a pulse; in which, from manifestation to pralaya, there flow in countless numbers the immensely vast Brahma’s days, or kalpas, preceded by their corresponding nights; and where within each kalpa there follow, one another, one thousand “human cycles” or maha–yugas – a study of which, reversing the order, I will attempt in the first place.

Let us begin by noting that each maha–yuga consists of four cyclic ages or yugas, of decreasing length, which mark an equal number of gradual stages of degradation of mankind and so correspond exactly with those ages that the Classical tradition has designated always as the Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Iron ages – except for a most important aspect of the doctrine: the magnitude of the durations involved. In effect, the length ascribed to the maha–yuga, 4’320,000 common years, is in appearance so disproportionate to represent a human cycle, that it usually startles the Westerner unfamiliar with these matters; because even without mentioning that we are talking about cycles – of which there are as many as one thousand in a Brahma’s day – such length exceeds that of the existence of mankind on Earth, a span of time which, while in a very broad sense can be traced back some millions of years into the past, in a more strict sense – i.e. in relation to modern man, or Sapiens Sapiens – is nevertheless estimated at best as fifty thousand to one hundred thousand years.


On the other hand, why should the lengths of the yugas be proportional to the scale 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10 and not rather equal, as the four ages of the Classical tradition are? We will see very soon, however, that these difficulties are not unsolvable as might be thought, nor is the problem as a whole as complex as it appears to be; so for the moment, and without further delay, we will take a look into these lengths as can be deduced from the relevant texts.



The maha-yuga or cycle of four decreasing yugas


Apart from the proportion by which the lengths decrease, here we can immediately see that the total length in “divine years”, if translated into “human years”, is the product of the first by 360 – according to the statement in Bhagavata Purana 3, 11:12 that “a day of the demigods is like a year of human beings”.
A careful study reveals, however, what is perhaps the most significant fact in all of this analysis (and a perfectly logic one at that): at least in “human years”, all the lengths are “circular” – that is, not only are they divisible, by reason of their ending in two or more zeros, by 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, etc, but they also are divisible, because the sum of their digits is nine, by 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 72, 108, 144, 180, 360, etc, all of them “sacred” numbers for most traditions. This essential feature not only fits in perfectly with any numerical system based on the circle of 360 degrees, which is most suitable for a circular time as it makes it possible to produce exact divisions, but it also enables the “human” lengths to be related to the period of precession of the equinoxes of 25,920 common years – the sum of whose digits is also nine. Thus, 72 x 60 = 4,320 and 72 x 360 = 25,920 (the total length of the cycle of precession of the equinoxes, and remember the equinox precessions by one degree every 72 years), and again, 4,320 x 6 = 25,920, all of which is actually not surprising, as the division of the circle is naturally effected by multiples of three, six, or nine – the latter being the one that affords the greatest possibilities.


A few numerical considerations of interest

Now, in connection with these two key numbers, 72 and 25,920, there are extremely suggestive coincidences that evidence a perfect correspondence between the life of man, the “microcosms,” and that of our universe, or “macrocosms.” For one thing, 72 corresponds to the average number of beats of the human heart in a minute, and a quarter of 72, or 18, to the human breathings in the same period, so that in one day a man will have breathed 18 x 60 x 24 = 25,920 times. On the other hand, after 72 years, which is the average length of life of man at present, a man will have lived a total 25,920 days (assuming an ideal year of 360 days), while the Earth’s axis will have barely traveled a degree of the equinoctial circle of 360 degrees or 25,920 common years. In other words: from a cosmic view, man’s life lasts only one day.

In the other hand, the number 72 appears frequently in connection with cosmic cycles. For example, it appears in the Chinese magical square and corresponded, in the Far–Eastern tradition, to the division of the year in five parts (5 x 72 = 360), out of which three (3 x 72 = 216) were “Yang” or masculine, and two (2 x 72 = 144) “Yin” or feminine. I will mention, in passing, that this division of the year was also used by the ancient Incas. Among the ancient Egyptians, in turn, 72 are the plotters who stand by Seth in his scheme to kill Osiris.

Again, remember that 72 were the disciples of Jesus, 72 the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin and, in the Middle Ages, the articles of the Rule of the Order of the Temple were also 72. But however interesting all of these numerical considerations may be – and they could certainly multiply to tedium – I will leave them at this point so as to turn back again to the maha–yuga.

Thank you,

Luis Miguel Goitizolo



Jai Singh's Jantar Mantar, India (Photo Internetindia.com)


"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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RE: ALL ABOUT COSMIC CYCLES AND AGES
4/16/2010 2:36:04 AM

The Hindu Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles

Part 2: More about the Maha-Yuga


Let me talk a little bit more now about the maha-yuga or Hindu cycle of four decreasing ages or yugas.


Perhaps the most vivid description of this key cycle is the one provided by the story of the bull Dharma as narrated in Bhagavata Purana 1, 4:17 ff. There is depicted how Dharma, “Religion,” steadily loses, one by one, his four legs at every successive age: In Satya–yuga, the primeval age in which mankind fully keeps the religious principles, and which is characterized by virtue and wisdom, he is supported by the four principles of austerity, cleanliness, truthfulness, and mercy; in Treta–yuga, the Era in which bad habits appear, he loses austerity; in Dvapara–yuga, as bad habits proliferate, he loses cleanliness; and in Kali–yuga, the Era of quarrel and hypocrisy and of the biggest degradation and spiritual darkness of all four, in which we are now, he additionally loses veracity and is only supported by mercy, which declines gradually as the time of devastation closes by.


This devastation occurs at the end of a final, ghastly period in which men become like dwarves, have extremely short life spans, and decay to unimaginable extremes of depravity. The description of this last period, which appears on the Twelfth Canto of Bhagavata Purana, usually arouses disbelief and rejection from Western readers, although such daunting images are by far not uncommon in the Western tradition (as attested, for example, on biblical texts such as Deuteronomy 28: 53, 57; 2 Kings 6:28–29; Ezekiel 5:10; Lamentation 4:10, etc., etc.). For the rest, in the current cycle such devastation would still take place about four hundred twenty thousand years from now, a date that awaits reassuringly remote in the future – at least from our limited historical perspective, and as long as we take it literally and not symbolically – and which greatly differs from those that other traditions like the Jewish and Persian establish, within the current era, as the end of time – although, as certain considerations that I will talk about in a subsequent post suggest, on the earthly-and-human proper levels the end of this cycle could very well be, so to speak, as close-by as around the corner.


Additionally, the Supreme Lord himself, as the avatara Kalki, is said to appear at the end of the Kali–yuga to destroy the demons, save his devotees and inaugurate another Satya–yuga, another Golden Age, thus starting a new cycle of four yugas.


As to the beginning of the Kali–yuga – a crucial date in our study, as it should let us calculate, once established its actual (and not symbolic) length, its ending date – the Surya–siddhanta, which is perhaps the oldest astronomical treatise in the world, establishes it at midnight of the day that corresponds in our calendar to the 18th February of 3102 BC, when the seven traditional planets, including the Sun and Moon, were aligned in relation to the star Zeta Piscium. While this date certainly sounds implausible, as it contradicts all our notions about the known history on top of raising an apparently insoluble problem – i.e. the obvious incompatibility between the existence of multiple human cycles, on the one hand, and a single human cycle on the other – for the moment I will just mention that such alignment was not long ago confirmed by astronomical calculations made by computer software published in the United States by Duffet-Smith.


The Immense Cycle of Cosmic Manifestation

Let’s take a look now into the bigger cycles. If we remember, a Brahma’s day consists of one thousand maha–yugas, and his night of an equal number of them. The “day” and “night” therefore are 4’320,000 x 1,000 x 2 = 8,640’000,000 common years long. Now, since Brahma lives one hundred of his years (of 360 “days” each), a simple calculation (8,640’000,000 x 100 x 360) unveils the total length of the immense cycle of cosmic manifestation: 311’040,000’000,000 common years – a duration that theoretically is just that of a breathing period of the Maha–Vishnu, the Great Universal Form, and symbolically corresponds to the two complementary phases into which each cycle of manifestation is divided – in this case a dual, alternating movement of expansion and contraction, exhalation and inhalation, systole and diastole.

Some preliminary remarks are in order here.

In the first place, regarding cosmic cycles, the Hindu tradition, like the Chinese and other ancient traditions, has always expressed their lengths mainly by symbolic numbers so as to conceal a certain knowledge that is considered confidential.
Thus, in some cases, some figures may have been “disguised” by either multiplying or dividing them by a factor, or by adding to them a greater or lesser number of zeros – which does not modify their respective proportions; such may be the case with the maha–yuga of 4’320,000 common years. For those Hindus who would not dare to question them, however, the plain, literal yuga lengths should perhaps be considered not so much strictly referred to the Earth but rather to the cosmic level; and in fact, all the difficulties inherent in the problem would be solved by including within the framework of the doctrine different planetary systems in which the cycles of four yugas unfolded successively. This hypothesis raises, however, metaphysical issues that are beyond the scope of our study, so while not excluding that in a next post I may deal with this cycle more extensively, here I have limited to mention it.

As to the kalpa of 4,320 millions of years, an appropriate study of which would indeed require a whole treatise, I must, for one thing, make it clear that its frequent identification by Western scholars with the total cosmic manifestation has been overrun by the age that modern science attributes to the universe, an age that would place it rather on a planetary level or, at best, galactic. And in effect, according to the orthodox Hindus for whom the kalpa is simply synonymous with a Brahma’s day without its corresponding night, the end of the kalpa comes with a partial dissolution of the universe by water; and as regards its duration, the doctrine abides strictly by the aforementioned figure. Now, the fact that this length of time virtually matches the 4,500 millions of years estimated by modern science for the Earth’s age (let alone the “ultimate” figure of 4,310 millions mentioned elsewhere), certainly points to the possibility that it represents the lifetime of our planetary system; if so, it would not be unlikely that the Earth were currently very close to the end of a Brahma’s day and that its corresponding night was now approaching, even if it takes ten or twelve millions of years yet to arrive... However, all this is not by far that simple: For one thing, the related texts are in some cases quite enigmatic, as suggested, for example, by the reiteration of the phrase “Those who know...” (Bhagavad–gita 8:17), so the possibility remains that the 4,320 millions of years do not actually mean the daytime but the full Brahma’s day, so that the length of the daytime would be 2,160 millions of years, and an equal number of years that of the night. So here again, the possibility that the figures may have been somehow disguised should be taken into account.

Finally, the immensely vast length of 311’040,000’000,000 common years that the texts implicitly assign to the great cycle of cosmic manifestation, accommodates indeed comfortably the 15 billions of years estimated by modern physics as the age of the universe; and even if such length were deemed exaggerate – say it was a thousand times lesser, i.e. the actual figure was only 311,040’000,000 years, which is certainly not impossible if we stick to the foregoing considerations – even so the 15 billions of years would fit comfortably within that period. At any rate, it would mean that our universe is still very young and that we are now, within the immense cycle of universal manifestation, virtually at the beginning of an expansion period.

And indeed, it is amazing that it took literally millennia for the modern scientific circles to again conceive this ancient notion of a universe that “breathes,” i.e. a universe that has two phases, one in which it expands and the other in which it contracts; two phases which, by virtue of the correspondences to which cycles of any order of magnitude are subject, can be respectively assimilated to a Brahma’s day and its corresponding night, as well as to both phases of what the Hindus call a Manvantara – an old Hindu measure of time which, in my effort to integrate what we may call the Western and Eastern sides of the doctrine, I will deal with very soon in some detail.

Thank you,

Luis Miguel Goitizolo



"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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