Time: Part 3 – The Manvantara, Para and Paraardha

Posted on April 22, 2010

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  • The concept of Manvantara, while not mentioned in Mahabharata, is discussed by all 18 Puranas. Each daytime of Brahma (1 Kalpa) is divided into 14 Manvantaras. Each Manvantara has it’s own Manu, whose life spans the duration of the Manvantara. Thus

1 Kalpa = 14 Manvantaras = 1000 Chatur Yugas
So, 1 MANVANTARA = ~71.4  Chatur Yugas

  • Some accounts equate 1 Manvantara to 71 Chatur Yugas, thus resulting in 14 x 71 = 994 Chatur Yugas per Kalpa. The remaining 6 Chatur Yugas (that are left due to the way 71.4 is rounded) are accounted for transition time preceding and succeeding each Manvantara, with each transition lasting in duration equivalent to that of Satya Yuga (4800 divine years). Thus for 14 Manvantaras, the transition time is 15×4800 = 72,000 divine years = 6 Chatur Yugas.
  • By other accounts, there are simply 72 Chatur Yugas per Manvantara, thus making 72 x 14 = 1008 Chatur Yugas in each Kalpa. Aryabhata, in his Aryabhatiyam (Ref: Dasa Gitika Pata, verse 3) supports this calculation. Thus,

1 MANVANTARA = 72  Chatur Yugas
1 Kalpa = 14 Manvantaras = 1008 Chatur Yugas

The divisions of time

  • The lifetime of Brahma is said to be 100 years, with 2 Kalpas accounting for a day (including nighttime). This entire lifespan is called Para; half of this lifespan is called Paraardha; Thus Brahma’s life, consisting of 2 Paraardhas, is

Lifespan of Brahma = 100 years x 360 days x 2 Kalpas/day = 311,040,000,000,000 years

  • Note that the calculation of Brahma’s lifetime does not depend upon how we account for each Manvantara, as it converts each Kalpa directly into 1000 Chatur yugas
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