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Vijaya Kumar Buddhiraju

Fore word: This talk is but a drop in the ocean of literature generated over thousands of years. An
attempt is made to succinctly organize dispersed views in several books and documents. While this
may be educational to those who would like to fathom the depths of ancestral thinking, it is the
sincere hope that the readers would enjoy and admit that after all we do not have exclusive reasons
to gloat on our current technological achievements. It is humbling to accept that there were people
before us who accomplished greater tasks with no modern tools.

Dedicated to

My father, Sri Rajaubhushana Rao Buddhiraju, an unparallel scholar of four

languages, and whose services to free India from foreign rule remains trampled
similar to those of thousands like him, under the wheels of ingratitude and
greed of the beneficiaries of their sacrifices

Chapter - 4

Introduction: Over centuries almost all civilizations have been captivated by the mystery of time.
One of the earliest civilizations that investigated the nature of time probably more than any one and
proposed its findings in what we today call philosophical or metaphysical ways is Indian
civilization. A few of the fascinating definitions and conclusions arrived by the Hindus will be
presented to you today. I will make a comparison between the West and East often during the talk
for the sake of relative ease of understanding and familiarizing with the eastern mode of thinking,
but not to stress the differences. One does have to remember that the life in the West was and even
today is mainly materialistic. To attain those materialistic comforts, it basically relies on logistic
ideas and investigations. Those achievements that lead to increased wealth are attributed to the
advances in civilization. Reaching towards inner and deeper things, delving into the intuitive
abilities has been essentially banished. Exponents of any results of such inner experiences are
cruelly punished. On the other hand, the East looked forward to these ideas irrespective of their
origin, analyzed further in light of their own and incorporated them into their philosophies and
religions with a strong belief that excessive materialism leads to social deterioration while the inner
spiritual discoveries would lead to lasting solutions to the conflicts. Therefore, do bear in mind,
much of what I put forward is philosophical and not based on today’s scientific methods. These
propositions do not involve formulas and derivations based on the formulas. However the Hindus
were great logicians and therefore, their conclusions are logical and attractive. India was the land
of many Shakespeares, Socartices and Platos. Indians have written beautiful prose and poetry,
dramas and epics, which remain unequalled to any others in the annals of human history. What is
available of their literary and scientific contributions to the world today is only a small fraction of
what was produced by that civilization. Most of their contributions to the human civilization were
destroyed since the advent of invasions by the Middle Eastern forces from 7th century onwards. As
the plunder also involved the destruction of written documents, some of the literary contributions
were protected by memorization by groups of individuals. However, the small fraction that
remained is still voluminous and no individual can even read it in one’s lifetime, let alone
understand it. Even this remaining small amount is seeking the help of civilized nations to survive,
as the rulers and the commoners of current India have no grasp of the wealth of knowledge left
behind by their forefathers. There was hardly any intellectual on this planet who came in close
contact with the Hindu literature and did not admire it. To cite a couple, Einstein said “we owe a
lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery

could have been made”. Mark Twain commented “India is the cradle of human race, the birthplace
of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grand mother of
tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive material in the history of man are treasured up in
India. In religion, India is the only millionaire. The one land that all men desire to see and having
seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the
globe combined”.
The investigative methodology of the Indians into time, space, and planetary systems or in
the generation of dramas and epics remains unique in many ways. Some of their findings and
methods of investigations in science, religion and philosophy were and are being copied by other
civilizations, knowingly and unknowingly, without giving proper credit to their origin. Some of
their concepts, which are thousands of years old, are still several hundred years ahead of our
current ability to think and analyze. In order not be totally branded as unreal and foolish, I will not
bring forth many of those concepts which are several years ahead of our times, but were proposed
by the Indians thousands of years ago. Particularly if one faces learned scientists of current times
with philosophical propositions of concepts concerning time and space, one must be bold, or
foolish or foolishly bold. For example, if I say that it is not the light that travels the fastest, but
according to the Hindu philosophers it is mind (Manas), because one can reach the ends of the
universe with the mind in a fraction of a second while light takes several billion years, which
current scientist would give it even a second thought? From our standpoint, mind travel is but a
mere figment of idle imagination-an impossible and a foolish concept. Even the notion that
‘thought’ could be matter is well ahead of our time, let alone converting that into practice and
actually traveling with that speed. If I say that the Hindus split the atom and harnessed its energy in
different ways effortlessly, and purposefully destroyed this knowledge to prevent it from falling
into the hands of individuals of their future time, who were projected to have less rational and
harmonious collective psychological orientation than the people of their own time, it would be
viewed as unreal. It is because we sit with a preset mind that if we did not do it, no one could have
done it earlier any way. I have given just two of innumerable examples. For our state of mind to
view my talk as philosophical and not scientific will be more enjoyable than to accept the idea that
civilizations greater than ours existed earlier. The available concepts, although many, are cared
about by only a few people, at least in India any way. There are fewer people who can explain
central meaning in a logical fashion. Even those few are usually envied, feared and neglected.
Almost all the investigative literature in this field is in Sanskrit language. As literal
translation of the words and phrases from this language is a daunting task, I will use the Sanskrit
words in italics ‘as is’ and make a veiled attempt to translate them to the best of my ability.
Sanskrit is a unique language, apparently developed for the purpose of expressing observations

which are not expressible by any other language. It is probably the only language in which newer
words are coined from the meaning. Next is Latin of course.
It is imperative that I draw on some contemporary investigative methods to apply them to the
philosophical notions to better understand these concepts in modern perspective. However much I
may believe or disbelieve these documentations, I am compelled to call these observations
philosophies because the subject itself is fluid and cannot have assertive black and white answers.
James Thrber once said “the philosophy offers rather cold consolation that we and our planets do
not really exist” – it gives us an opportunity to take our mind to the depths of intellectual
introversion without having the guilt of not providing supportive logic. For this talk I will cite
some verses from the Upanishads and Bhagavadgita in order for you to familiarize and appreciate
the depth of thinking to which the Indian mind had gone in this field.

Origin of the Universe: When we talk about space and time, we cannot dissociate ourselves from
the nature and origin of the universe. Without basic conceptualization of its foundation, description
of time and space will not be possible. Currently, cosmological sciences conclude that universe has
not been in existence eternally but universe and time itself began with Big Bang, about ~15 billion
years ago. We are not yet scientifically certain whether the universe will have an end. The time
scale of the universe is very long compared to that of the human life on this planet. It is therefore,
not surprising that until recently universe was thought to be essentially static, and unchanging in
time. Human inhabitation of earth is not considered to be earlier than a couple of hundred thousand
earth years or at most 3 million year ago a man-like figure existed. The idea that the universe had a
beginning implies the existence of a supernatural being (the God) who created the universe. Then
of course the obvious follow up question would be, did the God have a beginning? The West
believes that the human being never asked this fundamental question until the beginning of 19th and
20th centuries. It is hard for us to concede that for every one Einstein discovered, 1000 more are
either ignored by our prejudice or callous arrogance.
From a philosophical point of view, the universe has a beginning and an end. The universe
that we can see with our senses has a curvature in all directions as it were that all our galaxies are
enclosed in a shell. This is referred to as the egg of the creator (Brahmanda). From the Hindu
point of view this universe (shell) in which we are trapped is but one of many more such universes.
The Hindus conceptualize the definitions of the beginning and end of our universe differently from
the way we currently think. We in the West propose that the end is the ultimate destruction to non-
existence. The Hindu philosophers do not accept such a theory. The statement in Bhagavadgita
“Naseta Vidyate Bhavo, Na Bhavo Vidyte statah”; essentially means -That which exists will have
no specific period for its non-existence and for that which does not exist there will not be specific

period of existence. This means the universe can transform from one form to another-but cannot
disappear. This statement from Gita is similar to first law of matter – “matter can neither be
created nor destroyed it can only be transformed”. The only difference is that Gita is a few
thousand years older. This definition (or the theory of creation) is stretched and applied to many
more situations besides the formation and destruction of the universe. Such applications that result
in the generation of other theories commonly referred to as Yogas is not going to be our topic today.

Definition of time: It is easy to define time and get into trouble with the definition. Astronomer
Carl Sagan said “time is resistant to definition”. One cannot see, feel, touch or smell time, yet we
all know it exists because its effects can be felt and seen. Scientifically it is referred to as the fourth
dimension of the universe. The other three dimensions are space of course. Both are intertwined,
as neither can exist without the other; that is the way we comprehend it in a simple language. For
the purpose of our discussion, let me further simplify time as the space between starting an event
and finishing it. There was an instance I entered this auditorium, and time that I will exit. We
make an arbitrary measure of the space between these two events of my entrance and departure into
and from this auditorium. That is, time can be measured only with respect to at least two events.
In biological life forms or even for inanimate objects, aging phenomenon can be physically
observed with a change in time. That is, at one time the matter appears in one way and at another it
appears in a different way. In effect change in form can also be a measure of time. For simplicity,
let us agree that the relative measure between events is called time. Once we make this
measurement universally acceptable to all instances, we will have established parameters to
measure the time. The Hindu scientists of the olden days established the parameters for the time in
two directions. The time goes to a level of non-existence or gets expanded to astronomical levels
depending on the state of our mind. Their proposals are embedded either in religion or philosophy
or both. This will be clearer and more evident as we proceed into understanding their conceptions
of time. According to the Hindu philosophers, the state of mind and human behavior make the
division of time to occur and there are four quarters that govern the state of mind.

Time during waking (Jagriti) state (state 1):

Smallest and the longest time spans have been stretched to extremes in establishing time.
For example smallest unit of time is Paramanu; 2 Paramanus make one Anu; 3 Aunus make one
Trasarenu; 3 Traserenus make one Truti;100 Trutis make one Vedha; 3 Vedhas make one Lava; 3
Lavas make one Nimeesha; 3 Nimeeshas make one Kshna; 5 Kshnas make one Kastha; 15 Kasthas
make one Laghu; 15 Laghus make one Naadika; 2 Naadikas make one Muhurta;3 Muhurtas make
one Prahara (one second); 15 Prahars make one Vigadias; 4 Vigadias make one Nimisha (one

minute) ; 24 Nimishas make one Gadia; 2.5 Gadias make one Ghanta (hour). Essentially our
current one hour was split by 1.3x 10-11. The very concept of such an extensive division of time
into such a miniature level is very interesting. As we proceed into the next sections of my talk,
reason for such a division will become partly obvious. The documentation of such reasons, which
are called the keys to the observations and statements, are lost or hidden in the voluminous
The other part of the estimation of time is the expanding cycle of time. The Hindus also
take this to the extreme levels. In this expansive phase the time is estimated as follows:
3 Ghantas (hours) make one Yama; 8 Yamas make one Dina (day), 7 Dinas make one Vara
(week); 15 Dinas make one Paksha; 2 Pakshas make one Masa (month); 2 Masas make one Rutu;
6 Masas make one Ayana [referring to the movement of Sun (ascending northward-Uttaryana and
descending southward-Dakshinayana)]; 6 Rutus make one Varsha (year). [They generally followed
the lunar calendar and made accurate correction by the addition of a month every six years just as
we add a day to every alternate year and subtract a day in the month of February and add one to it
in a leap year in order to adjust for the movement of earth around Sun]. Sixty years (each year has
a name-this year is called Chitra Bhanu) make one Vrutta (cycle). 6 cycles (360 years) make one
Divya Varsha; Specified number of Divya Varshas make a unit of time called Yuga. The Yugas are
named as: Kruta Yuga (4800 Divya Varshas;1.728 x 106 years), Treta Yuga (3600 Divya
Varshas;1.29 x 106 years), Dwapara Yuga (2400 Divya Varshas;0.864 x 106 years) and Kali Yuga
(1200 Divya Varshas;0.432 x 106 years). Four Yugas combined will form one Maha Yuga (12000
Divya Varshas 4.32 x 106 years); 71.09 Maha Yugas make one Manu (853080 Divya
Varshas;0.3071088 x 109 years) and 14 Manus make one Kalpa (11943120 Divya
Varshas;4.2995232 x 109 years). The Indians made 1.2 x 10+14 fold expansion of an hour to
estimate the space between non-existence and existence of the universe we live in.
It is stated that we are currently in the 4th Yuga called Kali Yuga of 7th Manu (Vaivaswata) in
the 2nd Kalpa (Aadivaraha or Swetavaraha) having finished the first three Yugas of this Maha
Yuga. This equals 20 Manus or approximately 6.142176 billion years since birth of the earth. They
also project that 1.955885203 billion years passed since life started on planet earth. These are
going to repeat in time when there will be dissolution (Pralaya) and subsequent creation and
tremendous termination (Kalpánta) and return of space, time and their manifestation.
This intriguingly finds an echo in quantum mechanics where any local clock should cycle
after a long but finite time depending on the elaborateness of the construction of the clock and the
number of its dials. It is possible that they had some instrumentation and enough mathematical
knowledge for accurate calculations of time and space. However, it is also possible that this
civilization never labored with enormous instrumentation but used alternate methods of delving

into inner hidden abilities of human mind. What earthly purpose was served by these astronomical
calculations and what have they achieved by these calculations is not a mystery from philosophical
point of view but appears unrealistic from scientific viewpoint.
Let me take you back into our simple definition of time ‘a measurement of space between
two events’. Once accepted, I can say that there was an instance of my absence in this auditorium,
and an instance of presence. Time is relative to these events and is not dependent on them. If
time’s existence is dependent on the events such as my presence or absence in this auditorium, I
will have to come back into the auditorium for the time to continue. Otherwise the time would
stop. Universal measure of time established using my presence and absence is not dependent on
me or my presence or absence. Therefore, as far as time is concerned, an event or the agent is not
mandatory. Time still should have it’s own identity. These events are used for relative measure of
time which we arbitrarily set up. The events therefore are needed to understand, define and
establish a parameter for time, but do not directly contribute to it. In reality, therefore, what exists
is time, which in theory is a factor independent of any subject. Let us see Einstein's Special Theory
of Relativity which predicted that time does not flow at a fixed rate: Moving clocks appear to tick
more slowly relative to their stationary counterparts. But this effect only becomes really significant
at very high velocities that approach the speed of light. First postulate was that the speed of light is
the same for all observers, regardless of their motion relative to its source. The second postulate
was that all observers moving at constant speed should observe the same physical laws. Putting
these two ideas together, Einstein showed that the only way this can happen is that time intervals
and/or lengths change according to the speed of the system relative to the observer's frame of
reference. Scientists have shown that an atomic clock traveling at high speed in a jet plane ticks
more slowly than its stationary counterpart.
Essentially time can be slowed down depending upon the speed of travel. In the Hindu
philosophy time slows down once you change the frame of mind. That is, the relative time spans
are dissimilar in different frames of mind. These frames of mind are changeable. The downward
division of time to its infinitesimal levels is applicable to an individual with a frame of mind that
attempts to reduce the space between events. There are three such frames or quarters of mind
which perform this task. These are called Taijasa, Pragna and Turiya.

Time during sleeping (Taijasa) state (second state): All scientific measurements, concepts and
arguments about time as of now are confined only to our waking (Jagrut) state. Einstein’s theories
are applicable only to this state. In philosophy however, reality is not just what ever is felt by
senses. It claims there is a lot more beyond that. During the sleeping (Taijasa) state we will
encounter dreams (Swapna). The consciousness of the waking state is associated with the external

objects. The impressions and experiences left will correspond to the objects one perceives in the
waking state. Experiences during the dream state are the same as those in the waking state. The
impressions in the dream state are generated by the impulsion of desires and past actions. In the
sleeping state of mind, events of past actions reappear as if one has painted them somewhere in our
consciousness with an irregular painting tool but without any external means. For the events to re-
occur no external means are required and the proceedings would be swift. Consequently one needs
to re-define time in dream state in a different angle compared to that in waking state. For example,
currently I am taking approximately 1 hour to deliver this lecture. Everything that takes place
during this 1 hr may be repeated in its entirety in my dream all over again. The time I would take
to repeat the whole thing is much shorter in my dream. That is, 1 hr of my waking state may be
only two minutes in my dream state. It is scientifically shown that the time taken for an event in
dream is less than that in the actual waking state. The Hindu philosophers said this in many ways
thousands of years ago. This state is called Taijasa or luminous state since one becomes the
witness to the cognition without any objects, thus reducing the time taken to complete a task in
comparison to waking state. Essentially in the dream state, our physical bodies are not traveling;
no objects play a role to achieve a task. The enjoyment derived by events is subtle rather than
gross. But the emotional reactions such as fear, hunger etc. remain same as in waking state.
However, space between events in the dream state is much smaller compared to that in awakened
state. The biological aging process is supposed to be reduced in this state. It may be our mind is
traveling faster or is able to grasp events more efficiently. What makes us accomplish a task faster
in dream than in waking state may have to be investigated further for clearer understanding.

Time in deep sleep (Pragna) state (third state): It is claimed by the Hindus that there are two
other states of mind beyond the waking and sleeping state. The state next to the sleeping state is
called Pragna or deep sleep state. It is also called Sushipti state of mind. This is a state where no
dreams occur. It is claimed that although one transcends dream in this state, awareness of events
around continues. Many things are claimed to happen in this state of mind. In order not to put
myself years ahead of time and create problems, I would not discuss what the Hindu philosophers
claim would happen in this state of mind. As the talk is pertaining to time, I shall stick to it.
Essentially the time span in this state is highly compressed. Time taken for any activity in this state
of mind would be only a minute fraction of time required for the same event in dream state. The
space between two events is infinitely less. Essentially the event takes place in an insignificant
time in relation to awakened state of mind. The extreme divisions of time cited earlier section are
useful in this state of mind for understanding our mental abilities to accomplish various tasks.
Time would still exist in this state of mind. For understanding this state of mind several stories are

narrated in various texts of the Indians. The most common story is of Lord Vishnu who was
approached by a sage called Narada for an explanation of true nature of time. Lord Vishnu asked
the sage to fetch a glass of water from nearby home before he would describe the nature of time.
The sage went to a nearby home whose door was answered by a super beautiful lady with whom
the sage fell in love. He forgot about the Lord who was waiting for water and married the stunning
damsel. Then the couple had children. Several years passed by. One day huge floods swept
through the village, the house was washed away along with children and wife. The sage swam to a
shore and started walking in the forest. There he saw the Lord waiting for his water. The sage
remembered about the glass of water he was supposed to have brought and extensively apologized
to the Lord. The Lord smiled and said that there is no need to apologize as only a few seconds
passed since the sage went to fetch water any way. The story is to convey that several years in one
state of mind are only seconds in the other state. Several such stories in the Hindu literature try to
explain the changes in nature of time depending upon the state of mind. In the Pragna frame of
mind, what is one’s future would still be another’s past. The biological aging process changes
drastically in this state. In theory one can practically eliminate the aging process.

Time during the state of tranquility (Turiya) (fourth state): It is claimed that there is yet
another state of mind called Turiya where the time ceases to exist. In this, mind is said to be in a
state which has no definition. This is a condition of absolute tranquility. An event becomes
inconsequential. The time becomes inconsequential. There is nothing to relate to. Nothing is
present in relation to it. It is a state of absolute calm and stillness. Time has no relevance any
longer. Theoretically, if traveling with increased speed decreases time, in Turiya state you are
mentally traveling at speeds that eliminate the time. Essentially there is no place in the universe
that you are not in. There is nothing you do not know. You are all knower and all perceiver.
Essentially time is the factor that keeps you ignorant of reality. That is the philosophical
explanation of time when the imagination is stretched to its extreme. It is proposed that in Turiya
state we reach ultimate speeds where the time does not have any continuation. Many attempts have
been made with examples to explain the true nature of the Turiya state. For example a rope appears
as a snake under semi-dark conditions. Experiences and consequences of close encounter with a
deadly snake, such as feelings of fear, perspiration, rapid heart beats etc. manifest when we see the
rope as a snake. However, once we realize it is just a rope, the snake disappears and normalcy will
be eventually restored. Although no snake was ever present, illusion of its presence is manifest
until we realize the truth of its non-existence. Just as one who wakes up from a dream realizes that
his experiences are nothing but a dream, in the state of Turiya one realizes that the so called
awakened (Jagruti) state is another dream filled with unreal objects, events and incidents causing

the relativity to be trapped in the cycles of time. This state is also described as a state of absolute
knowledge where duality does not exist. This is described as na bahisprajnam (no experiences of
the outer world). -na antahpragnam (no experiences of inner world), na ubhayatahpragnam (nor
experiences of both worlds) and na prajnanghanam (no experiences of the intermediate world)
takes place in this state of mind. However, this is not equal to death as the knower’s function of
knowing is never lost. Further, it is described as adrastam (unseeable), avyavaharyam (beyond
empirical dealings), agrahyam (beyond grasp) alakshanam (uninferable), avyapadesyam
(indescribable). Therefore, this state is achintayam (unthinkable) whose proof of existence is in the
belief in existence of self (eakatamapratyaya saram). This state cannot be seen but this sees all, it
is the vision of a witness but not the witness, power of a movement but not the movement etc. No
biological aging takes place in this state as no time is present. The aging process requires time
dimension. In this state it is eliminated.
The awakened state (Jagrut) and dream state (Taijasa) are conditioned by cause and effect
and are strictly controlled by time. In both these states the time can be measured because events
take place such as my entering and leaving the auditorium. Only, the space between the two will
have different relative measure of time. These two states are controlled by non-apprehension and
misapprehension of reality. Deep sleep state (Prajna) is conditioned by just cause only where time
is reduced to infinitesimal level. Non-apprehension of reality occurs in Pragna. Both cause and
effect are eliminated in a state of absolute tranquility (Turiya). The compression of time by
changing the state of mind is for increasing the abilities of mind to infinite levels. Such
compression has utility in the states other than the waking (Jagrut). But one has to reconcile with
the fact that we are mostly in awakening (Jagrut) or in the sleep (Taijasa) state. Even in the sleep
state we have no control of events. If only we acquire that control of Prgana and Turiya states, the
utility of the compressed states of time will be immense. According to the Hindu philosophers,
control of mind in these states described above is possible. It is further claimed such a harnessing
of mind in these states was done several times by several people to deliver knowledge which
otherwise would not have been possible in waking state.

Meaning of the Mega calendar: Instead of compressing the time by going into a different frame
of mind, if we were to calculate the time that has already passed and the one that is about to pass,
expansion of time would result. Such an expansion of time strictly from the waking state is
generally maintained as a chronological calendar. Only humans require a calendar. Remaining life
forms on this tiny planet have little need or use for it. However, the estimation of time and
generation of a calendar by the Hindus was not made for the purpose of organization of the daily
routine of the human beings alone. The hours, days and years have the general purpose for the

individual, community, state and nations as calendars. Up to the 60 year cycle, calendar is
understandable and can be measured in one’s lifetime. However, the Hindus have generated mega
calendars, namely Yugas, Maha Yugas, Manus, Kalpas and Maha Kalpas. The meaning for, and
estimation of times for these is more complex. Is it possible that the preservers (historians) of
literature exaggerate these numbers from their original classification causing distortion of figures
and definitions? It is almost impossible for this voluminous literature to endure the test of time
without any taint. But the underlying meaning or principle by which such mega classification is
based is not likely to change. Preservation of calendars by transcending it from one generation to
the other is not possible because the existence of man on the planet is less than a Yuga. But the
Hindus claim that at least ~2000 Yugas have passed till now! So it cannot be a phenomenon of
transfer of a calendar from one generation to other. Why would they so authoritatively name the
time span, and claim that seventh Manu named Vaivaswata is in control now? How did they give
the names to all of the previous Manus who were controlling this system? It is truly intriguing. I
do not claim to have all the answers. But they did have a method of estimation of time at mega
levels. In that method, existence of man as we know is obviously not important. Therefore,
meaning for and estimation of times for the Yugas and beyond becomes more complex. When the
time is segmented into Yugas, which spans from a minimum of 432,000 years, the first dilemma is
how would one know when a Yuga ended and other began. That is where the inseparability of
space and time, their effects on the collective psychological behavior of the living and changes in
the non-living come to the aid.
I will make an attempt to rationalize this part by citing from scattered Hindu literature. The
Yugas are governed by what they call Kala Dharma. Kala means a specific period of time and
Dharma means tenet or a system of justice-essentially a self-governing rule over which we as
normal human beings with limited abilities have very little control. For example - the Kruta Yuga
is said to be a span of time where every thing in nature would be in perfect harmony. The
psychological behavior of the man and beast, plants and planets are said to be in a state of perfect
accord. Symbolism is the highest in Eastern philosophies. In figurative terms, the system of justice
(Dharma) may be symbolized as a four-legged animal. In Kruta Yuga it walks with all the four
legs. Every thing in the creation follows its set rules - a ruler acts like ruler not as a scholar, the
earth will not act like the sun and the sun like a moon. Everything in nature maintains its dignity of
labor. But such a perfect harmony lasts only for a specified period and its justice system loses
approximately one quarter of its harmony as time enters into next segment the Treta Yuga. This
loss is applicable to everything including the psyche of the living and properties of the non-living.
In symbolic terms the system of Dharma walks with only three legs. A king for example does act
like a scholar too at least 25% of the time. As the time enters the next phase, the Dwapara Yuga,

50% of this harmony would be lost. Such a loss applies to everything. In a symbolic way, a ruler
does rule only 50% and acts differently 50% of the time. As this phase ends, the new phase namely
the Kali Yuga enters when the system of Dharma will have only one leg. This is said to be the
Yuga that we are living in. In this segment 75% of the time there will be discord compared to
perfect harmony of Kruta Yuga. Further each Yuga is divided into four segments called Padas
(legs). Basic rules will be violated more often than they are followed in Kali yuga. This violation
is applicable to both animate and inanimate. The symptoms of the loss of tenets will be obvious to
those who want to see. In Bhagavadigita the statement is “Ubhayorapi Drustvo AntanvanyoTtatva
Darsibhi”- if one is willing to perceive both sides, its internal nature will be obviously visible.
Largely, every detail appears to be based on the perceptive abilities of a few who claim that every
one can perceive only if they wish to do so. In our modern science we need to have a logical
method of derivation. For some of these philosophers who were called the sages, logic is only a
handle but in essence an inferior ability of human mind. There is a higher faculty that transcends
logic - it is the perceptive (Drasta) ability, an ability in which derivation by logic is a primitive
nature of an evolving mind. The perceptive faculty is similar to but higher than inference we make
to establish the existence of matter that cannot otherwise be seen. The philosophers unequivocally
stated that it is not the need but the fact that such divisions of time exist. It is not for convenience
of a king or a worker such a division is made but because it is so.

The caste and time: In order for us to more easily grasp the meaning of changes in time,
collective human psychological nature is exploited for giving a vivid explanation of the beginning
and the end of a Yuga. This is elaborately detailed in various books called the Puranas. The
statement in Bhagavadgita is “Chaturvnye Maya Srustam Guna Karma Vibahajaka”. meaning
“The four castes are created by me based on the nature and work”. For life to form or cell to
operate or society to function, grossly four castes operate as invisible underlying laws of nature.
One has to have intellect to generate the information, the other has to fight to preserve and channel
the information, one has to trade the information and the other has to work to implement it.
Essentially the nucleus of the cell holds the intellect that decides the cellular events –the intellect is
called the Brahmana. Then the information is taken by orderly manner to its destined direction.
Such a flow of information is called Kshatriya. For the preparation of the finished products,
trading of the matter in the cells takes place. This system of exchange is called Vysya . The
finished products have a laborious duty to perform. Each of these products can do only the job they
are meant for, nothing more nothing less. This systematized labor is called Sudra. Each is
interdependent on the other. No cell can survive with just one function without the other three.
One of the Upanishadic verse says- “yato pindah, tatho brahmándah”- what is true for the atom is

true for the universe. This is in a way similar to the theories of Fractals in mathematics. What is
mega is the same as micro multiplied several times. The most magnified images of fractals are
essentially indistinguishable from the unmagnified version. A fractal shape will look almost, or
even exactly the same no matter what size it is viewed at. If the theory is extended to the behavior
of matter and the manifest, the results will be fascinating. In philosophical terms it would yield
better explanations for complex behavior of the societies. For the evolution of biological system,
caste is further extended to each organ. For example, the intellectual information is present in
every organ of the body-but the intellect of the nucleus decides what information is given to liver or
kidney etc. The instruction given to liver is not the same as that given to kidney. Although both
organs have all the information to be anything they wish to be, they are controlled to perform only
the prescribed function at the time of their birth itself. Otherwise, the evolution of multi cellular
organisms into animals or plants would not take place. After the formation of the complex animals
like man, the system of this division of labor visibly continues at the individual level and at the
social level.

If we take a human being, he is grossly a mixture of these four castes. He has all the four
abilities - to invent (Brahmana), rule (Ksahtriya), trade (Vyasya) and work (Sudra).
Temperamentally every individual will be prone to have one of these abilities expressed more than
the other. Some would be more prone towards intellectual activities, some others towards political
or ruling, some others trading and some others working for a wage. For the society to run in an
organized fashion these four castes are the unseen strings. The chaotic societies are those which do
not synchronize and harness these systems of human labor. At one time, in the Hindu society these
tasks were assigned to individuals at the time of birth itself. The problem of attributing a function
at birth is that any one who has the dominant tendencies of trading (Vysya) would perform the task
of warring (Kshatriya). However, there was a concerted effort to nurture the dominant tendency by
surrounding environment (Sangha) and conditioned nutrition (Aahara) with a view to eventually
obtaining a genetic trait (Gotra) over generations. However, even if no such conditioning is
permitted and each individual is free to choose, the collective social psychological pattern itself
varies as time goes on. The dominance of one or other temperament permeates into the whole
social fabric. Simplest example is our short documented human history. Two to three thousands
years ago, great writers, poets and scholars decided the direction of the society. While others were
also simultaneously present, social structure did not depend on them. That period is the Bramana
pada (the intellectual leg) of the Yuga. As the time passed, occupation of lands by wars took place.
Such warring period is called Kshatriya pada (warring leg) of the Yuga. Since the advent of the
last century occupation of lands and going to wars is not the overall style of the societies but learn a
trade to sell for the living. Such a learning merely for trading is called Vysya pada (trading leg) of

the Yuga. That is where we are in this Kali Yuga. We basically get training to acquire a skill to sell
it or trade it later for living. Majority of the members of the society follow a specific trend because
we belong to that segment of the time. All of us have a tendency to acquire skills to trade them for
wealth, which is Vysya. Next phase will be Sudra pada (laboring leg) where skills cannot be
automatically traded. Essentially every one would do what they want, and the intellectual, ruling,
and trading abilities become obsolete. One makes one’s living without any heed to organization or
channeling one’s abilities. Such changes occur at individual, social, and national levels. That
indicates the end of a segment of time, the Yuga.

Now remove the role of man in the exhibition of caste by his nature (Guna) or work
(Karma). According to the Hindus, man is insignificant in the over all picture-he is a bundle of
flesh molded in different shapes. The caste variation occurs in planetary and galactic level. If earth
plays the role of the sun, the discord will be obvious. The end of a Yuga would be very evident
from the behavioral patterns of the matter itself. Once we reach that state, the sign of the end of
that Yuga and beginning of the next Yuga would be automatically known. The knowledge of the
events is not mandatory for the beginning and the end of a period of time. Destruction follows re-
construction accompanied by a gradual evolution of matter. “Jatasya hi Marnam Dhruvam,
Dhruvam Janma Mrutasyacha” – a quotation from Bhargavadgita, meaning that “which is born
will certainly die, that which dies will certainly be re-born”. Thus Cycles repeat probably

Conclusion: Any theory that the universe has existed forever does not agree with the second law
of thermodynamics. The second law, states that disorder always increases with time. There must
have been a beginning for the universe. Otherwise, the universe would have been in a state of
complete disorder by now. Well, this is an apparent contradiction to the Hindu philosophy, which
clearly arrives at the conclusion that there cannot be a specified time for the origin of universe.
How would it then reconcile with the scientific approach to time? It is easy if we consider that the
universe had several beginnings. The time is only for an event in relation to another event. The
thermodynamic principle automatically incorporated this factor in its law. Stephen Hawking in his
lecture at Japan says: “everything would be at the same temperature if universe had no beginning.
In an infinite and everlasting universe, every line of sight would end on the surface of a star. This
would mean that the night sky would have been as bright as the surface of the Sun. The only way
of avoiding this problem would be if, for some reason, the stars did not shine before a certain time.
In a universe that was essentially static, there would not have been any dynamical reason, why the
stars should have suddenly turned on, at some time. Any such lighting up time would have to be
imposed by an intervention from outside the universe. The situation was different, however, when

it was realized that the universe is not static, but expanding. Galaxies are moving steadily apart
from each other. This means that they were closer together in the past”. Well again, this does not
contradict my previous definition. According to the Hindu philosophers, it happened several times
over-simply because we did not see it now does not mean it is the first time these stars are present
nor will it be first time they will be lost. If we leave the light in the room forever, the room will be
super heated. If it has been turned off as often as it is turned on, room will have little change in its
temperature caused by light. From the limited definition we could project for the time, we can at
best give specific time for the beginning of universe one time such as15-20 billion earth years ago,
based on the coming of the galaxies together where no laws of physics function. However, in
theory, there could be several beginnings of the universe.
I realize that even with brief quotations, I have taken you into abstract phenomena, which
are difficult to digest, let alone accept. The writings about space and time by the bygone
civilizations of the East are too voluminous. The relevant information as we want to see and know
from our today’s scientific mind is difficult to locate at one place as a cluster. Comments and
citations from innumerable texts have to be brought forward and properly understood for one to
enjoy their beauty. At no time in the Hindu philosophy, did religious dogma inhibit ever-curious
human intellect. These philosophers had no religion. We are calling them the Hindus because of
lack of better distinguishing feature from others who would not tolerate or accept more than what
they consider their scripture states. The God as perceived by common man is as much an
amusement to Hindu philosophers as they are to the God of a religious man. The belief of the
Hindu philosophers is that evolution is an eternal process but not an instantaneous act. The
phenomenon of God is like the pole for to a pole jumper. The God is necessary until one finds Him
unnecessary. Our whole solar system is not more than a fraction of a dust particle in our galaxy.
Our galaxy is insignificant and just one of ~23 billion such in our universe. This universe of ours,
with a radius of approximately109 light years (1022 km) with a mass of 1051kg is one of many such
universes. The earth is no more than a seed of mustard in our solar system. On the earth, we are no
more than a fraction of a particle of dust. Our brain, which is trying to rationalize space and time is
but a fraction of our body. The rationalizing part of the brain is only a minute fraction of our whole
brain. With such limitations, to crack the mysteries of our existence is humbling. In addition, self-
imposed limitations such as religion, region, nation etc. make us more vulnerable to ignorance than
knowledge. We have yet to go through several Yugas and Kalpas to evolve enough even to scratch
surface of real truth.

Acknowledgements: The author wishes to extend his thanks to the organizing committee of this
symposium, especially Dr. Bruno Maresca. The author also wishes to gratefully acknowledge the

help of Sri Sampat Kumar Bhattacharya and Dr. Bob Laks for providing the necessary material for
preparing this article. Thanks are due to Drs. Vijaya Laksmi, G.V. Naidu, and H.J. Armbrecht, and
for critical reading of the manuscript.

1. Atharva Veda, X 8, 4
2. Rig Veda I, 164
3. Kena Upanishad IV 13, 4, 5
4. Brahadaryanka Upanishad II, 3, 1
5. Manduckya Upanishad
6. Srimad Bhagavatam III, 10, 11.
7. Bhagavadgita II, IV
8. Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks Edt. Joseph Campbell XXX series 173, 1973.
9. Time, Space and Things, Edts. Penguin books B.K. Ridley V, 69, 133; 1995
10. Brahmanda Purana IV
11. Time and Space lecture series by Stephen Hawking.
12. Davies, P. C. W. About time : Einstein's unfinished revolution. Edts. NY Simmons 1995

13. Stephen Hawking's A brief history of time : a reader's companion. Edts. Bamtam books

14. John Langone. The mystery of time : humanity's quest for order and measure. National
Geographic Society, 2000.

15.Coveney, Peter (Peter V.) The arrow of time : a voyage through science to solve time's
greatest mystery. Edts. Fawcett Columbine, 1991

Talk delivered on September 22nd 2002 in the University of Italy and Institute of Genetics for the
symposium on the space and time in biology and cosmology.