Sri Vishnu Puranam – Commentary-Part 10


sri vishnu nabhi brahma

Chapter 10

Time – span is different for  man, God and Brahma. Time durations of various yugas also vary.

The Powers beyond cognition

Parasara replies: My son!  Maitreya! How is it that  you are the best among those engaged in tapasya? Though you have  many  identical   qualities  with others, how is it that you are richer in tapasya? How can I reply to such a question?

In the same way, each of the elements in this world  has  its own  special properties. The power of one element  cannot  be found in another. Fire burns. Water is cool. Suppose one asks, why cannot  the water be hot, why shouldn’t fire be cool, there can be no answer. The answer can only be that this is the law of nature.

Hence  the  properties  of elements cannot be analyzed. One can only infer them from their effect.

Saktayassarvabhaavaanaam achintyajnaanagocharaah

According to this law, the Lord who is the Maker of this creation  is quite  different  from  the  other makers. He  is not  bound by action  nor  is He affected by  the resulting  joy and sorrow. He pervades everything, always. He has neither  love nor hate nor sattva, rajas or tamas. But He has all the powers He needs to create the universe.

Yathotho  brahmanastaasthu sargaadyaah bhaavasakthayah

The veda-s aver that Brahman is naturally endowed with several superior powers, knowledge,

strength  and action. For  instance, Fire  is one of the five gross elements. But it has the power to burn, a power that no other element has. Why so? Because this is the law of nature.

Bhavanti tapataam sreshta  paavakasya yathoshnataa

The Supreme Lord, who is the Creator, is totally free from  the  drawbacks found in other makers. He  creates by remaining  as the Antaryami (In­ dwelling universal) of Brahma.

Life spans for Man, God and Brahma

Brahma decides the life-span of the living beings on earth. No one can stay beyond the days laid down  by Him. Brahma has the  privilege of thus deciding the life-span of people. He is beyond time. Many  may be under  the impression  that  Brahma holds the highest  post in creation.  But there is a limit  even to his lifetime.  He  can live only for a certain number of years. Generally the veda-s speak of the life-span of man as one hundred  years. But very few live for a century. However, Brahma has to live through the hundred years laid down for him.

perumal thayar brahma lotusThere  are three  types of time-spans:  the  time  of man, of gods and of Brahma. The life of men  is known as Manushyamaanam, that of gods is Devamaanam and the life of Brahma is known as Brahmamaanam.

Of these, the life-span of Brahma is one hundred Brahmamaana years.  It is known  as Param. It is known  so as it is much longer than that of others. This lifetime is divided into two halves and each is known as Paraardha.

By multiplying  manushyamaanam several times we get devamaana and by multiplying  devamaana several-fold we get to brahmamaana. The time taken for a wink is known as nimisha. Fifteen nimisha-s make one kaashthaa. Thirty  kaashthaa-s make up a kalaa and  thirty  kalaa-s, a muhurtha. Thirty muhurtha-s  make one day-time and one­ night.  A day is made up of day-time and night­ time. Fifteen days form a paksha. There  is sukla paksha and krishna paksha. Two paksha-s make one month.  Six months form an ayanam-s. This again is of two kinds:  dakshinaayanam and uttarayanam. Two  ayanam-s make one  year. This is the manushyamaana.  Of  these, dakshinaayana is the night of  gods  and uttarayana, their  day-time. Counted thus, one year of manushyamaana is one day of  gods.  The   same count  holds good for devamaana. Twelve thousand years of gods make one Chaturyuga.

Time durations of Yugas

Of these, Kritayuga has four thousand years of gods, Tretaayuga has three thousand years of gods Dvapar yuga, two thousand years of Gods and Kaliyuga, has one thousand years of Gods. Thus a Chaturyuga holds ten thousand years of gods. The rest  of the  two  thousand   years of gods  are the  Sandhya (pre-yuga) and  Sandhyamsa (post-yuga).

Pre-yuga time is Sandhya and post-yuga time is Sandhyamsa. The time in between is termed Yuga. The Yuga Dharma-s are formulated in these aeons. Each Yuga will have several thousand years of Gods and as many hundred years of Gods distributed in Sandhya and Sandhyamsa.

If the Kritayuga consists of four thousand  years of Gods, its Sandhya will have four hundred years and   its  Sandhyamsa, another four hundred. According to the devamaana calendar a Kritayuga has thus four thousand  and eight hundred  years. By manushyamaana count  (4800×360 = 17,28,000),  it has seventeen lakhs and twenty eight thousand years.

The  Dvaparayuga has two thousand years of Gods and two hundred years each of Sandhya and Sandhyamsa. Thus the Dvaparayuga will have two thousand  four hundred years by devamaana, and is reckoned by manushyamaana to have (2400×360=8,64,OOO) eight lakhs sixty four thousand years.

The Kaliyuga has one thousand years of Gods, with  Sandhya and Sandhyamsa having one hundred years each. So Kaliyuga has one thousand and two hundred years by devamaana and by manushyamaana (1200×360=4,32,OOO) four lakhs and thirty two thousand  years.

Just as the number of years grows fewer with  each  succeeding   aeon,  dharma   also  gets devalued in proportion.

A thousand Chaturyuga-s counted in this manner makes one day-time for Brahma. In this one day-time, eleven Manu-s are given work to do. This is the time when the Seven Sages, Gods, Indra, Manu and his sons are put in charge of creation work. They all lose their  powers simultaneously with the end of the aeon. Their lives and  power last seventy-one Chaturyuga-s. If the one thousand Chaturyuga-s set aside for Brahma are divided by fourteen, each part will have seventy one Chaturyuga-s and a little extra. This time is known as manvantara. All this counting  is by devamaana. One can count  it according to manushyamaana as well. Brahma’s single day is made up of two thousand Chaturyuga-s.

(The  above episode  is from chapter  2 of the original)


To be continued….

This English Commentary is written by Smt Prema Nandakumar based on the Tamil commentary written by HH 45th Azhagiyasingar of the Ahobila MuttHis Holiness has ‘commented’ only on select chapters of the Vishnu Purana. The English translation faithfully follows the original in this aspect. Words that appear in square brackets [ ] have been placed there to serve as a link and do not form part of the original. Reproduced from Nrusimhapriya.

For Tamil commentary and Upanyasam of Vishnu Puranam, please visit:

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