Mathomathis would like to present an article on Indic Cosmology and Time Keepers by Kosla Vepa – Indic Studies Foundation. The following article is a continuation from the previous article Indic Cosmology | Kosla Vepa | Elements of Panchagam | 103.

The Hindu Calendar or more appropriately Almanac(also known as the Panchanga) currently in practice reckons time in terms of very large cycles called Kalpa (4.32 billion years) consisting of 14 Manavantaras (Manavantaras or age of Manu,~ 308 million years). A Manavantaras is made up of Mahayugas (Mahayuga= great yuga consists of 4 yugas: Krta, Treta, Dwapara and Kali). Kali yuga is equivalent to 432,000 years and 1 Mahayuga= 4.32 million years. This system appears to have been in use since the days of the Epics and Puranas, and attested in the Siddhantas. However, the earliest Vedic Calendar was based on a cycle also called yuga, but consisting of only five years. This ancient Vedic Calendar was a lunisolar calendar and used two intercalary months in a five year period and has often been criticized as being very crude. First we have Kalpa, a day in Brahma’s ‘life’ or 4320 million earthly years, and a night of equal length. During the day he creates and during the night he absorbs to begin the cycle each Brahma day . Each kalpa is divided into 14 Manavantaras or 308.448 million years we are supposed to be in the seventh Manavantaras of Vaivasvata Manu. Each Manavantaras contains 71 Mahayugas, plus 1 Kritayuga ,and each Mahayuga is divided into 4 yugas — Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali of 4800, 3600, 2400 and 1200 divine years of the Gods, each of which = 360 human years. We are at present in the Kali yuga which began in 3102 BCE the traditional year of the Mahabharata war.

Table Shown Below | A Day In Brahma’s Life of 1 Kalpa

1 Brahma Day (day and night) = 2 Kalpa
1 Kalpa = 4,320,000,000 earthly years (Y) =14 Manus + 1Kritayuga = 1000 MY =14*71.4+.4 Mahayugas
Kaliyuga = 432,000 Y = 1KY = 1200 divine years (DY) = 1 Yuga
1 DY = 360 Y
Dwapara = 864,000 Y = 2KY = 2400 DY
TretaYuga = 1,296,000 Y = 3KY = 3600 DY
Kritayuga = 1,728,000 Y =4 KY = 4800 DY = 0.4 MY =.4/71.4 = 5.6022408964e-3
Mahayuga (MY) = 4,320,000 earthly years = 10 KY = 12000 DY
1Manvantra (M) = 71 MY = 306.72 million years
1 Manu = 1M + 1 KritaYuga = 308.448 million years = 856,800 DY
1 Kalpa = 14 Manus + 1KritaYuga = 14*71.4 +.4 = 1000 MY = 12,000,000 DY = 4.32 billion
Y = solar or tropical year
DY = 360 Y = divine year
KY = 432,000 = Kaliyuga
MY = 10 KY = Mahayuga

Table below shows the Universe age, i.e. how old is the universe

As of Vaisakhapratipada of 2009 CE, May 1 we are in the second quarter of Brahma day  called Shweta Varaha Kalpa, seventh Manavantaras named Vaivasvata and entered into the first quarter of the 28th Kaliyuga. Already 5110 years of this 28th KY have passed. so the time elapsed in this Kalpa is 6 Manus =1,850,688,000 Y = [6*(306,420,000+1,728,000)] = 6 Manus (includes 6 Jala pralayas or sandhis, periods between Manavantaras) And 27 MY = 116,640,000 Y (27 * 4,320,000)=27/71.4M = 0.3781512605 M
Add 1 Jala Pralaya(depending on origin of cycle) = 1,728,000 Y
And 28th (Krta+Treta +Dwapara) = 3,888,000 Y (9*432,000) =0.9 MY =.9/71.4 = 0.012605042M
5110 Y of Kaliyuga = 5110 Y = 5110/4,320,000 MY = 1.1828703704 (10*-3) MY
The current year 2009 CE = 1,850,688,000 + 116,640,00 +1,728,000 + 3,888,000 + 5110 = 1 ,972,949,110 Y or Solar years or 1.972949110 Billion years = = 426+27+(.4*7) + .9 +.001182703704 = 456.701182703704 MahaYugas

To put this in perspective, if we look at a galaxy 2 billion light years away ( a unit of distance) we would be looking at an object in time contemporaneous with the age of 1 Brahma day or the birthday of our solar  system. It is incredible that the Indic ancients were able to fathom such cosmological time frames merely by the use of Observational Astronomy, using just his naked eye, especially when it is recalled that the Romans had no name for a number greater than a thousand, and the state of Tennessee passed a law saying that the value of PI should be legislated to be 3, as late as the 2nd half of the nineteenth century. The 12 signs of the Zodiac with Sanskrit names are mentioned in the Brihat Samhita and Laghu Bhaskariyam. The former is the work of Varahamihira 505 CE. He is supposed to have borrowed it from a Greek of the 4th century BCE (Could it be Hipparchus).

The whole theory of India borrowing from the Greeks needs to be re-examined in greater detail, since it is now clear that the methods used by the Indics were quite unique and distinct from those used by the Greeks. Further Yajnavalkya is credited with discovering that it takes 95 years to synchronize the motions of the sun and the moon The Indic tradition moreover is a living tradition which is practiced by Jyotish even till today. Surely such an observation would have been preceded by extensive data collection and the ability to manipulate large numbers mathematically and the ability to use a written script. There is ample evidence that the Shatapatha Brahmana and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad both of which are credited to Yajnavalkya, and which contain significant amount of Astronomical observations predate the advent of the Greeks and possibly even the Babylonians. Quote from Koenraad Elst “To conclude this brief acquaintance with Vedic astronomy, we want to draw attention to the possible presence in the Rig-Veda of a momentous cultural artifact, the origin of which is usually situated in Babylonia in about 600 BC: the twelve-sign Zodiac. In RV 1:164:11, the sun wheel in heaven is said to have 12 spokes, and to be subdivided into 360 pairs of “sons”: the days (consisting of day and night), rounded off to an arithmetically manageable number, also the basis of the “Babylonian” division of the circle in 3600. The division in 12 already suggests the Zodiac, and we also find, in the footsteps of N.R. Waradpande, that a number of the Zodiacal constellations/ rAshis (classically conceived as combinations of 2 or 3 successive Lunar mansions or Nakshatras of 13 ° and 20’ each) are mentioned. Obviously the Rg should be dated prior to the beginning of Kaliyuga, as we have already demonstrated and hence the Babylonian origin of the twelve sign Zodiac is suspect.”

The shift of the vernal equinox through different Nakshatras over 6 millennia
The shift of the vernal equinox through different Nakshatras over 6 millennia

The Zodiac is also tenanted by 27 constellations each of them spread over an arc of 13 degrees 20 minutes. The Zodiac counted from the first degree of Beta Arietis (Aswini) to the 360th degree of Zeta Piscium ( Revathi) is known as the Sidereal Zodiac. The following is based on an original account by Dr. Dwarakanath a physicist. He teaches sanskrit during his free time and is interested in vedic learning and vedanta. Sidereal month the actual period of the Moon’s orbit as measured in a fixed frame of reference is known as a sidereal month, because it is the time it takes the Moon to return to the same position on the celestial sphere among the fixed stars (Latin: sidus): 27.321 661 days (27 d 7 h 43 min 11.5 s) or about 27 ⅓days. This type of month has appeared among cultures in the Middle East, India, and China in the following way: they divided the sky in 27 or 28 lunar mansions, characterized by asterisms (apparent groups of stars), one for each day that the Moon follows its track among the stars.