namo rajo jushai sristau
sthitou sattwa mAyayAcha
tamo mAyayA saM-harinai
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.
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
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.
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.
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