creative principle of the universe is called Brahma in Sanskrit.
Brahma, who is depicted as emerging from the navel lotus of Narayana, is
a metaphor for all of creation: its laws, its inherent intelligence, and
its consciously manifested potencies which operate as sages, saints,
rishis, devas, celestials, and divine beings of all kinds of nature,
temperament and description.
the Sanskrit name given in the Upanishads to that which is the sum and
substance of all the manifested and unmanifested realms. Narayana is
that which is neither created nor destroyed but transcends the creation,
life and destruction of the universe.
Brahma creates, operates in the form of this universe for trillions
of years, then dissolves back into Narayana. Narayana, however, is
neither created nor destroyed. Later, another Brahma appears to begin
the process again.
Since the term "Brahma" does not appear in the Vedas, its creation
stems from the Sanskrit work "Brih" which means "'to grow" or "to
expand." In this way, it became synonymous with Hiranyagharba: The
Golden Egg of Creation. Growing from the Navel Lotus of Narayana, Brahma
is the name for the principle which creates all of the manifest realms.
Vedas proclaim in the Purusha Suktam that "three quarters of this
universe are in indestructible realms above," then clearly Brahma, with
his finite duration, is connected to the realms of the universe which we
inhabit which are subject to creation and dissolution. Brahma was
endowed with his "spouse" (Saraswati) and consciousness at the time of
certain "beings" solely by the power of his mind and thought. These
beings are called the mind-born sons of Brahma. The state of their
consciousness is summarized by the title Brahma Rishi: Seer with the
Understanding of Brahma. Brahma Rishis, in turn, can confer this state
of consciousness upon others who prove themselves capable and worthy.
understand the concept of Brahma and his relation to the universe as we
know it, it is helpful to view the cosmos through the lens of the Vedic
descriptions of the life of the universe as interpreted in human years.
Here are cycles of time as recorded in the Vedas and Upanishads.
years. The axis of the earth spends 2,000 years in an astrological sign
and the moves on to the next sign, going backwards through the signs of
the zodiac. Since we are finishing the Pisceaen cycle, we are ready to
enter the Aquarian cycle for the next 2,000 years. We commonly refer to
entering Aquarius as the "dawning of the age of Aquarius."
Cycle of Small Yugas:
24,000 years. This is the amount of time needed for the earth to
spend 2,000 years in each sign of the zodiac.
to the earth's axis moving in an arc as it travels through the signs of
the zodiac, there is another cycle. This is a cycle which involves the
revolution of the entire solar system around the Central Sun of the
Galaxy. The orbit is elliptical rather than circular.
To make the
elliptical movement of the solar system around a great central point
more understandable, the analogy of "seasons" is used. This is a useful
analogy because changes in overall states of consciousness are
represented as "seasons" through which the solar system passes on its
When consciousness is in a high state, it is summer. At this time,
90% of the inhabitants of the earth are enlightened. This is called
Satya Yuga, or the Age of Truth.
or Spring are in full swing, the numbers of enlightened beings drops to
less than 10%. When Winter comes, far less than 1% of the people on
earth are enlightened.
However, there are trade offs. First, it is easier to make progress
in the "'winter of consciousness." The analogy is often used that if one
tries to row one's boat in air, very little progress will be achieved.
But when the oars are placed in water, much more rapid progress can be
made. This is because compared to air, the resistance of water is much
higher enabling the work of the oars to bear fruit.
It is the
resistance itself which provides a route to rapid progress. Similarly,
in spiritual winter our efforts to achieve spiritual growth produce much
faster results than they would in any other age of consciousness because
of the great general resistance to things spiritual. There is no
disagreement among all the sages, pundits, gurus and swamis that Kali
Yuga, the present spiritual winter, affords an opportunity for more
rapid spiritual progress than any other age.
the medium for rapid growth is almost universally prescribed by these
same classes of spiritual teachers as divine sound through the medium of
Here are the various seasons and ages of the universe as measured
in human years.
Winter (Kali Yuga): 432,000 years
( The year
1998 is 5,090 years from the beginning of Kali Yuga of the long cycle.
For the short cycle, winter is ending with the entrance of the planetary
axis into Aquarius, which begins the season of Spring for the shorter,
24,000 year cycle)
Spring (Treta Yuga)
years Summer (Satya or Krita Yuga) 1,728,000 years Autumn (Dwapara Yuga)
864,000 years Total Time for One Cycle or Manvantara: 4,320,000,000
years This is called "A Day of Brahma" and is followed by a night of
complete day and night of Brahma: 8,640,000,000 years 360 of these days
is called "One Year of Brahma".
3,110,400,000,000 years 100 of these years constitute the life of
Brahma called a Maha Kalpa: 311,040,000,000,000 years At the end of a "Maha.
Kalpa" or cycle of creation, Shiva manifests his destructive influence
and the universe is dissolved. [Actually the entire universe becomes
spiritualized, see the chapter on Shiva for discussion of this point.]
texts call this the cosmic dissolution. All the levels of the manifest
universe disappear. After a great cosmic rest cycle, another creative
cycle begins as a new Brahma emerges out of the navel of Narayana and
the universe is created anew. Another item of importance is that one who
has achieved the highest level of conscious realization is said to
realize and become one with Brahman.
At this point, all individuality as we know it disappears. The
individual Jiva, Soul or Atman retums to its source from which it will
not return of its own volition. However, for reasons known only to
itself, certain souls may return for reasons understood only by Narayana.