The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “span of life of the trinity” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 8 - The span of life of the trinity

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The sages said:—

1. By what unit is the duration of life calculated in Kāla? What is the upper limit of Kāla in the form of number?

Vāyu said:—

2. The basic unit of life is Nimeṣa. The upper limit is Śāntyatīta.

3. The time taken for the winking of an eye is Nimeṣa. Fifteen such Nimeṣas constitute one Kāṣṭhā.

4. Thirty such Kāsthās make one Kalā. Thirty Kalās make one Muhūrta. Thirty Muhūrtas make one day.

5-6. Thirty days constitute one month of two fortnights. A month constituting the bright and dark halves is one day of the manes.

7-8. Six Māsas constitute one Ayana. Two Ayanas make a year. One human year constitutes one day and night for the celestials, Uttarāyana being the day and Dakṣiṇāyana the night.

9. The divine month like the human month constitutes thirty days. The year of the gods constitutes twelve months.

10. Three hundred and sixty human years make one divine year.

11. The calculation of yugas is based on the divine unit of time. The wise understand that there are four Yugas in the land of Bhārata.

12. The first Yuga is Kṛta, then comes Tretā. Dvāpara and Kali are the other Yugas. These are the four Yugas.

13. Four thousand years constitute the Kṛtayuga. The period of four hundred years constitutes the intervening junction and a hundred year period constitutes Sandhyāṃśa (a subdivision of the junction).

14. In the three other yugas, their Sandhyās and Sandhyāṃśas the thousands and the hundreds become reduced by one.

15. Thus the twelve thousand years and the surplus period constitute a Caturyuga. A thousand Caturyugas constitute a Kalpa.

16. Seventyone Caturyugas constitute a Manvantara. In a Kalpa there are fourteen such Manvantaras.

17. In this order, hundreds and thousands of such Kalpas and Manvantaras have passed by this time.

18. They are innumerable and hard to be known precisely. It is impossible to mention them in detail in the precise order.

19. A Kalpa constitutes a day of Brahmā of unmanifest origin. A thousand Kalpas make a year of Brahmā.

20. Eight thousand Brahmā years make one Brahmā Yuga. A thousand Brahmā Yugas make one Savana of Brahmā.

21. Three thousand and three Savanas make the life time of Brahmā.

22-23. A day of Brahma’s life constitutes the life of fourteen Indras, a month of his life constitutes a four hundred and twenty Indras; a year of his life five thousand and forty Indras; his whole life five hundred and forty thousand Indras.

24-25. A day of Viṣṇu is the life-time of Brahmā. A day of Rudra is equal to the life-time of Viṣṇu. A day of Śiva is equal to the life-period of one Rudra. A day of Sadāśiva is the life-period of Śiva. A day of Sākṣāt Śivā is the life-period of Sadāśiva. The life-time of the latter is equal to the life-period of five hundred and forty thousand previous deities.

26. This Kāla functions as directed by Sākṣātśiva. O Brahmins, this is the period of time of creation as mentioned by me.

27. This Kālāntara shall be known as a day of Parameśvara. Parameśvara’s night shall be known to extend so long.

28. His day is the period of creation. His night is the period of dissolution. But understand that he has neither day nor night as we conceive them.

29-31. The dissolution is effected for the benefit of the world. The subjects, the Prajāpatis, the three deities, gods, Asuras, the sense-organs, the sensual objects, the five great elements, the subtle and gross elements, the cosmic Intellect, the deities, all these abide during the day of the self-possessed Parameśvara. They get dissolved at the end of the day. At the end of the night again begins the origin of the universe.

32. Obeisance to the great Śiva, the soul of the universe, whose energy in respect of activity, time and innate nature is untransgressable and under whose command the whole universe functions.

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