[Advaita-l] Is the idea of 'anAditva' logical?

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 2 08:27:00 CDT 2012

There is a place where modern science and Hinduism meet and this place is
Cosmology. The Hindu concept of Time is the extension of the observation
that everything in Nature has a cyclic character. There is a cycle of night
and day, the months repeat after every year, the seasons repeat in cycles,
and so on. Even the names of the years are drawn from a cycle of 60 year
names. Many, many years form a Yuga. To be precise, there are four Yugas of
varying duration. The Kali Yuga is 432,000 years long. To be more specific,
the duration of Kali Yuga is 360,000 years, but a Yuga sandhyA of 36,000
years precedes and follows it. This adds up to 432,000 years. Since we are
only about 5000 years into Kaliyuga, technically, we are still in the
YugasandhyA. Another explanation is that the duration of Kaliyuga is 1000
years of the devas with a preceding yugasandhyA of 100 years and a
succeeding yugasandhyA of another 100 years, where each year of the devas
is 360 human years.  The dvApara Yuga is twice 432,000 years, the tretA
Yuga is thrice 432,000 years, and the Satya or kRta Yuga is four times
432,000 years. Each set of satya, tretA, dvApara, and kali Yugas in
succession is called a Mahayuga. So the duration of a Mahayuga is 4,320,000
years. When a Mahayuga ends, the next Mahayuga follows. 71 such Mahayugas
make a Manvantara. However, note that preceding and succeeding each
Manvantara, there is a twilight period whose duration is four times 432,000
years. And 14 such Manvantaras and 15 Manvantara twilights make a single
day of Brahma, also called a Kalpa. At the end of each Kalpa, a night of
equal duration follows. This is followed by a day of equal duration and so
on. Brahma creates the universe afresh at the beginning of every day and
the universe gets dissolved at the end of his day. 360 such days (and
nights) of Brahma give rise to one year and 100 such years is his life
span. What happens next? The present Brahma is replaced by a new one and
the process continues. So we see that due to the cyclic nature of Time, as
opposed to a linear nature, there is no point at which the process begins
or ends! When is the Universe created? It is created at the beginning of
every day of Brahma. When does it end? At the end of Brahma's day. We can
say the Universe is created an infinite number of times and destroyed an
infinite number of times. Or, we can also say the Universe is anAdi and
ananta. However, from VedAnta, we know that one needs to realize that this
seemingly anAdi and ananta Universe is mAyA.

Some of the above points are so commonly known that they find a place in
the daily pUjA sankalpa. It is said that 50 years of the present Brahma's
life span have elapsed and it is the first day of his 51st year.  For
example, we say, "dvitIya parardhe" to indicate that it is the second half
of Brahma's life, "shveta varAha kalpe", to indicate the name of the
present kalpa. Further, we say, "vaivasvata manvantare", to indicate that
six manvantaras, beginning with that of svAyaMbhuva, have passed and we are
now in the seventh manvantara, vaivasvata, "ashTAvimshatitame kaliyuge" to
mean that we are in the 28th mahAyuga, and in the kaliyuga of that 28th
mahAyuga. This is followed by more specific information such as samvatsara
(year), uttarAyaNe (or dakShiNAyane) to indicate that the sun is in his
Northern (Southern) course, the R^itu (season), mAsa (month), pakSha
(bright or dark fortnight), tithi (lunar day), vAsara (weekday), nakshatra,
Yoga, karaNa, and other information, including the specification of the

Where does this fit into Cosmology? There is an interesting theory called
the Pulsating Universe or Oscillating Universe theory that corresponds to
the Hindu concept as outlined above. According to this theory, as opposed
to the Big Bang Theory, the universe is alternately expanding and
contracting. The following links contain simple explanations of the three
theories of creation:


An interesting video featuring the explanation of some of the above
concepts by the famous Astronomer Carl Sagan (1934-1996) may be found here:


In this video, Prof. Sagan explains how the Hindu concept of Time and large
time scales makes sense to modern cosmology.  Here is a quote from the

"Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to
the idea that the cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite
number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time
scales correspond, no doubt, by accident, to those of modern scientific
cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and
night of Brahma 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the earth
or the sun and about half of the time since the big bang. And there are
much longer time scales still."

I had the good fortune of attending one of Prof. Sagan's lectures on
Cosmology in the 1990s in the US. It was simply fascinating.

I found this quote in the Wikipedia article.

On atheism, Sagan commented in 1981: "An atheist is someone who is certain
that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the
existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be
relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have
to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that
no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain
of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a
subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little
confidence indeed"<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan#cite_note-USCatholic-45>


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