Time Calculation in the Vedas


Ancient Time Calculation

contributed by Dr. Deen B Chandora



According to Hindu thought, time travels in gigantic cycles.  Time starts with the onset of creation, Sristi, and time stops with the end of creation, but, at the same time, dissolution, Pralaya, begins.  It is like a circle, for a circle has no beginning or end!  In the life of a person, however, the time of birth to the time of death is only a relative time span.  In this respect, time is in linear form making a straight line.

This linear human life span of time is minuscule, like a drop of water in the seven seas, when compared to the gigantic time circles.  Nonetheless, this linear time is accepted as standard in the western world.  Below are some parameters, units of time, for these gigantic time circles (see figure).

Units of Time

Largest measure of time: Kalpa                 4.32 billion years
Smallest measure of time: Paramanu 60,750th of a second
Other measure of time: Krati 34,000th of second
Truti 300th of a second
Nimesa 16/75th of a second
Vipal. 2/5th of a second
Ksan 1 second
Pal 24 seconds
Minute 60 seconds
Ghadi  24 minutes
Hora Hour (60 minutes)
Divasa Day (24 hours)
Saptaha 7 days (week)
Masa four weeks (month)
Varsa twelve Months (Year)
Satabda  One hundred Years (Century)
Sahasrabda One thousand Years (Millennium)
Deva yuga 12,000 years
Chaturyuga Sata+Treta+ Dwapara+Kaliyuga
Chaturyuga/Mahayuga 4,322,000 years
71 Chat›uryuga Manvantara
14 Manvantara Creation, Sristi
Sristi One day of Brahma = 1,000 Chaturyuga
Pralaya One night of Brahma = 1,000 Chaturyuga

The ancient Vedic sage, Maitreya, gave the table of time units as follows:

One Anu equals 2 Paramanu
One Trasarenu 3 Anu
One Truti 3 Trasarenu
One Vedha 100 Trutis
One Lava 3 Vedha
One Nimesa 3 Lavas
One Kastha 15 Nimesa
One Kala 30 Kasta
One Muhurta 30 Kalas
One day and night (24 hours) 30 Muhurtas

Therefore, Paramanu is the smallest unit of time which equals to 60750th of a second.  The above time parameters are still used in Vedic Astronomy, Jyotis.

Dr. Deen B Chandora




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