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Eternal Law

Night of brahmA

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brahma.jpg

brahma
The creator

aum namo rajo jushai sristau
sthitou sattwa mAyayAcha
tamo mAyayA saM-harinai
vishvarupAya vedhasai
aum brahmaNyai namaH

 
Om is the name of him who created this cosmos with its three guNas (sattva, rajas, and tamas) who brought all things to form and who is universal. He is brahmA whom I salute.
 
Creation, according to ancient Indians, is not a one time event. According to them, creation is inevitably followed by dissolution, and this cycle of creation and dissolution continues to play out with time.

Each cycle or
manvantara
, in human years, is said to last for 4,320,000,000 years.  This period is called a day of brahmA. It is followed by an equally long period called the night of brahmA. One complete day and night of brahma lasts for 8,640,000,000 years. 360 such days make up the life of brahmA, which is called mahAkalpa. A mahAkalpa is 311,040,000,000,000 years long.

At the end of
mahAkalpa, shiva,
in his role as Destroyer, dissolves the universe by absorbing it unto himself. Figure 13 illustrates this process schematically. The material world AD collapses unto itself as depicted by two horizontal arrows above the plane AD till it is but a point. Other sheaths then wrap around this point such that outermost layer is now the sheath of consciousness, that was BC before.  This is shown in figure 14. The process of dissolution is thus an inverse of the process of creation, in that the consciousness wraps and envelopes the material content of the world.   

During the night of
brahmA,
the world reverts back to its pre-creation stage we saw earlier in figure 1. This is then followed by another cosmic cycle.

figure13.jpg

Figure 13. Start of the process of dissolution of the world, wherein the material world collapses unto itself and the other sheaths wrap around the material content with the sheath of consciouness completely envelopes the other sheaths.

figure14.jpg

Figure 14. The world after dissolution. During the night of brahmA, the world reverts back to the world of figure 1 and the cycle of creation follows.

A final note on the figures presented on these pages:

Figure 1 represents
Ishvara as brahmA, the creator. Figure 3 represents Ishvara as viSNu, the preserver or sustainer. And finally, figure 14 above represents Ishvara as shiva, the agent of transformation or dissolution. 

During the night of
brahmA, Ishvara
undergoes transformation from shiva to brahmA, and the world continues on through yet another cycle of life. In its form as shiva, the spiritual is the dominant characteristic of the universe, and with the transformation to brahmA, material aspect of the universe explodes with creativity resulting in the creation of visible universe with its attendant differentiation and multiplicty of forms, namely sets. In this phase, viSNu, in his role as sustainer, or nArAyaNa, the home of man, maintains the balance of material and spiritual aspects of the universe in all its variety.

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