In some of our articles, we have made reference to the age of the universe and its four Eras of Satyayug, Trētāyug, Dwāparyug and Kaliyug. We have received questions from our readers asking us what we define as the universe and how we reconcile the age of the universe with modern science’s view. This article is a response to those queries, where we explain the age of the universe and how old the universe is according to Divine Knowledge received through spiritual research.
Note from the editorial team: As a policy SSRF publishes articles that are more practical, so that people can learn from them and improve their lives. Understanding creation is mostly a theoretical endeavour and has little to no practical value in our spiritual journey. Hence, please consider this article as simply a supplement to the articles in which we have mentioned the universe. Here we have shared just a few pertinent points with regard to the topic, to remove any ambiguity in the other articles that refer to the universe.
2. Definition of the universe
At the outset let us define what SSRF means by the universe. SSRF defines the universe as the entire seen and unseen world. This means it includes the Earth along with the solar system, all the constellations and galaxies that we see in the sky. But this too is just a fraction of the universe. Along with this, it also includes the seven negative subtle-planes of existence and the six positive subtle-planes of existence as given in our article what happens after death.
3. How old is the universe
To understand this section there is a basic spiritual law of creation that one should be familiar with. Everything in the universe including the universe itself, is first created, then sustained for a period of time, and finally destroyed. Creation, sustenance and dissolution of the universe and its elements are continuous processes which have been taking place since time immemorial.
Through spiritual research, we have found that the entire universe has gone through many such cycles of being created, sustained and then destroyed. The partial destruction of the universe is known as pralay and we have explained this in more detail in the sections below.
After the universe is created and before it is destroyed, (i.e. during the time it is sustained) it goes through many cycles. The smallest of these cycles (also known as a paryay) has 4 Eras. They are Satyayug, Tretayug, Dwaparyug and Kaliyug.
Through spiritual research, we have found that the following are the number of years each of these eras in a cycle last for:
In the current cycle (paryay), we are approximately 5112 years into the era of Kaliyug (translated as the Era of Strife). Therefore, since the current cycle (paryay) began, we have traversed through roughly a little over 3.8 million years and we still have over 420,000 years to go. At the end of Kaliyug, there is a mini-dissolution before Satyayug starts again. The mini-dissolution is mostly about extensive destruction such as war, natural disasters, loss of life, etc. The level of destruction is fractional as compared to the dissolution of the universe which is known as pralay.
One of the key differences in these Eras is the level of satvikta in society and the average spiritual level of humankind. The following chart shows the mode spiritual level of humankind in each Era in a cycle.
4. Main cycles of the universe
The following are the other main cycles in time that the universe goes through:
4.1 Destruction or dissolution of the universe
The following are the types of dissolution/destruction that take place in the universe periodically:
4.1.1 Pralay (every 4.32 billion years)
Pralay is translated as the dissolution of the universe.
What gets destroyed? When a pralay takes place, then the Earth region (Bhūlok) (along with the galaxies etc.), the Nether World (Bhuvarlok), the 7 regions of Hell (Pātāl), and Heaven (Swarga) get destroyed.
What remains? However, the higher positive subtle-regions of Maharlok, Janalok, Tapolok and Satyalok remain as is. The aspects of God responsible for Creation (Brahmā), Sustenance (Vishṇu) and Dissolution/Destruction (Mahēsh) remain the same.
When does it happen? This happens once in every 4.32 billion years, or 1000 cycles (paryay), or 1 day (1 kalpa) of the Principle of Creation (Brahma).
After pralay, 4.32 million years are required for creation to materialise and Satyayug to start. For creation to materialise, some time needs to pass. After dissolution, the process of creation begins immediately, but it becomes visible to the physical eye only after 4.32 million years.
4.1.2 Mahapralay (every 432 billion years)
In every 100 days of the Principle of Creation (432 billion years) there is a mahāpralay (roughly translated as a great dissolution) that takes place.
In mahapralay there is dissolution of the entire universe, i.e. the 7 positive and negative regions of the universe. There is also dissolution of the aspects of God responsible for Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution/Destruction.
Only the Supreme God Principle remains in the unmanifest (nirguṇ) form.
5. Differences between modern science's view and the spiritual science view
Modern science maintains that the universe is over 13 billion years old (wikipedia.com). The main reason for the difference between modern science's view and the Knowledge received through spiritual research is the lack of sixth sense ability (as compared to Saints) to understand the principle of Creation, Sustenance and Destruction of the universe.
6. Miscellaneous points on the creation of the universe and humankind
The following are some other pertinent points about the creation of the universe obtained through spiritual research.
Q: How long did Earth take to reach its current state where it was populated by human beings?
A: Once the universe becomes visible to the naked eye it manifests in its entirety immediately. There was no gestation period before Earth became inhabitable and Satyayug started.
Q: When did people populate the Earth?
A: People populated the Earth from the very beginning in the start of Satyayug. They did not evolve from primates or other species as is a popular concept embraced by modern science. For example we did not evolve from Homo Neanderthalensis also known as the Neanderthal Man. The Neanderthal Man was from a different species.
The main difference between human beings in Satyayug and Kaliyug is the difference in the average spiritual level which is 70% and 20% respectively. As the sāttviktā in Satyayug was greater, the rate of destruction/aging was slower. For example the people in Satyatug had very long lives (400 years on average), were very tall, etc. However the lifespan of humans in Kaliyug has reduced (70-80 years), also the average height of the people has reduced. Whenever there are greater amounts of Raja and Tama subtle-components as in Kaliyug, the ageing and rate of destruction increases.
The following table gives a few more aspects about the four eras.
Species such as dinosaurs have existed in many different cycles (paryay) before. In this cycle too they may have existed upto some eras such as Tretayug, and then became extinct. It is the same as with taller human beings. Subtle-bodies reincarnate as human beings again and again throughout the eras, until they are liberated from the cycle of birth and death by doing spiritual practice. Similarly the animals have also become smaller in Kaliyug and some of the species have become extinct. But they will reappear in the next cycle.
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