Hindu units of time
- 1 Time units
- 2 Lunar metrics
- 3 Tropical metrics
- 4 Reckoning of time among other entities
- 5 Four Yugas
- 6 Significance of the "Four-Yuga" System
- 7 Current date
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Various fragments of time are used in Hindu Scriptures like Vedas, Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Puran, Mahabharata, Suryasidhanta etc. A summary of the Hindu metrics of time (kāla vyavahāra) follows.
|Unit||Definition||Relation to SI units|
|Truti||त्रुटि||Base unit||≈ 0.30 µs|
|Renu||रेणु||60 Truti||≈ 18 µs|
|Lava||लव||60 Renu||≈ 1080 µs|
|Līkṣaka||लीक्षक||60 Lava||≈ 64.8 ms|
|Lipta||लिप्ता||64.8Leekshaka||≈ 4.2 s|
|Vipala||विपल =30 s|
|Pala||पल||60 Lipta||≈ 30 s|
|Ghaṭi||घटि||31 Vighaṭi||≈ 1.86 ks|
|Muhūrta||मुहूर्त||2 Ghaṭi||≈ 3.72 ks|
|Nakṣhatra Ahorātram (Sidereal Day)||नक्षत्र अहोरात्रम्||62Ghaṭī||≈ 86.4 ks|
|32Muhūrta||≈ 86.4 ks|
|Unit||Definition||Relation to SI units|
|Truti||Base unit||≈ 29.6 µs|
|Tatpara||100 Truti||≈ 2.96 ms|
|Nimesha||30 Tatpara||≈ 88.9 ms|
|Kāṣṭhā||18 Nimesha||≈ 1.6 s|
|Kalā||30 Kāṣṭhā||≈ 48 s|
|Ghatika||30 Kalā||≈ 1.44 ks|
|Muhūrta||2 Khatika||≈ 2.88 ks|
|Ahorātram (Sidereal Day)||30 Muhūrta||≈ 86.4 ks|
Small units of time used in the Vedas
|Unit||Definition||Relation to SI units|
|Paramāṇu||Base unit||≈ 25 µs|
|Aṇu||2 Paramāṇu||≈ 50 µs|
|Trasareṇu||3 Aṇu||≈ 151 µs|
|Truṭi||3 Trasareṇu||≈ 454 µs|
|Vedha||100 Truṭi||≈ 45 ms|
|Lava||3 Vedha||≈ 0.14 s|
|Nimeṣa||3 Lava||≈ 0.4 s|
|Kṣaṇa||3 Nimesha||≈ 1.22 s|
|Kāṣṭhā||5 Kṣaṇa||≈ 6 s|
|Laghu||15 Kāṣṭhā||≈ 92 s|
|Danda||15 Laghu||≈ 1.38 ks|
|Muhūrta||2 Danda||≈ 2.76 ks|
|Ahorātram||31 Muhūrta||≈ 86.4 ks|
|Masa (Month)||30 Ahorātram||≈ 2592 ks|
|Ritu (Season)||2 Masa||≈ 5184 ks|
|Ayana||3 Ritu||≈ 15552 ks|
|Samvatsara (Year)||2 Ayana||≈ 31104 ks|
|Ahorātram of Deva|
- A Tithi or lunar day is defined as the time it takes for the longitudinal angle between the moon and the Sun to increase by 12°.Tithis begin at varying times of day and vary in duration from approximately 19 to approximately 26 hours.
- A Paksa (also Pakṣa) or lunar fortnight consists of 15 tithes.
- A Māsa or lunar month (30days) is divided into 2 Pakṣas: the one between new moon and full moon (waxing) is called gaura or (bright) or Śukla Pakṣa; the one between full moon and new moon (waning) Kṛiṣhṇa (dark) paksha
- A Ṛitu (or season) is 2 Māsa
- An Ayana is 3 Ṛitus
- A year is two Ayanas
- A Yāma = 1⁄4 of a day (light) or night = 7 1⁄2 Ghatis (घटि) = 3 3⁄4 Muhurtas = 3 Horas (होरा)tely 24 hours.
- Eight Yāmas make a full day (day + night)
- An Ahorātra is a tropical day (Note: A day is considered to begin and end at sunrise, not midnight.)
|Yama||याम||1⁄4 of a day (light) or night||≈ 3 hours|
|Sāvana Ahorātram||सावन अहोरात्रम्||8 Yamas||1 Solar day|
Reckoning of time among other entities
Among the Pitṛs (forefathers)
- 1 day of pitras = 1 solar masa (month) 
- 30 days of pitras = 1 month of pitras
- 12 months of pitras = 1 year of pitras
The Lifespan of the pitras is 100 years of pitras (3,000 Solar years).
Among the Devas
The life span of any Hindu deva spans nearly (or more than) 4.5 million years. Statistically, we can also look it as:
- 12000 Deva Years = Life Span of Devas = 1 Mahā-Yuga.
- 2 Ayanas (6-month periods, see above) = 1 human year or 1 day of the devas
- 4,000 + 400 + 400 = 4,800 divine years (= 1,728,000 human years) = 1 Satya Yuga
- 3,000 + 300 + 300 = 3,600 divine years (= 1,296,000 human years) = 1 Treta Yuga
- 2,000 + 200 + 200 = 2,400 divine years (= 864,000 human years) = 1 Dvapara Yuga
- 1,000 + 100 + 100 = 1,200 divine years (= 432,000 human years) = 1 Kali Yuga
- 12,000 divine year = 4 Yugas (= 4,320,000 human years) = 1 Mahā-Yuga (also is equaled to 12000 Daiva (divine) Yuga)
- [2*12,000 = 24,000 divine year = 12000 revolutions of sun around its dual]
- 1000 Mahā-Yugas = 1 Kalpa = 1 day of Brahma
(2 Kalpas constitute a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion human years)
- 30 days of Brahma = 1 month of Brahma (259.2 billion human years)
- 12 months of Brahma = 1 year of Brahma (3.1104 trillion human years)
- 50 years of Brahma = 1 Parārdha (156,764,160,000,000 human years)
- 2 parardhas = 100 years of Brahma = 1 Para = 1 Mahā-Kalpa (the lifespan of Brahma) (313,528,320,000,000 human years)
One day of Brahma is divided into 10000 parts called charaṇas.
The four yugas which come one after the other are as follows (along with their durations):
|4 charaṇas (1,728,000 solar years)||Satya Yuga|
|3 charaṇas (1,296,000 solar years)||Treta Yuga|
|2 charaṇas (864,000 solar years)||Dvapara Yuga|
|1 charaṇas (432,000 solar years)||Kali Yuga|
The cycle repeats itself, so altogether there are 1,000 cycles of Mahā-Yuga in one day of Brahma.
- One cycle of the above four Yugas is one Mahā-Yuga (4.32 million solar years)
- as is confirmed by the Gītā Śhloka 8.17 (statement) "sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ rātriṁ yuga-sahasrāntāṁ te 'ho-rātra-vido janāḥ", meaning, a day of brahma is of 1000 Mahā-Yuga. Thus a day of Brahma, Kalpa, is of duration: 4.32 billion solar years. Two Kalpas constitute a day and night (Adhi Sandhi) of Brahma.
- A Manvantara consists of 71 Mahā-Yuga (306,720,000 solar years). Each Manvantara is ruled by a Manu.
- After each Manvantara follows one Saṃdhi Kāla of the same duration as a Kṛta Yuga (1,728,000 = 4 Charaṇas). (It is said that during a Saṃdhi Kāla, the entire earth is submerged in water.)
- A Kalpa consists of a period of 4.32 Billion solar years followed by 14 Manvataras and Saṃdhi Kalas.
- A day of Brahma equals
- (14 times 71 Mahā-Yuga) + (15 × 4 Charaṇas)
- = 994 Mahā-Yuga + (15 × 4800)
- = 994 Mahā-Yuga + (72,000 years)[deva years] ÷ 6 = 12,000 [deva years] viz. one maha yuga.
- = 994 Mahā-Yuga + 6 Mahā-Yuga
- = 1,000 Mahā-Yuga.
Significance of the "Four-Yuga" System
The "Four-Yuga" structure, more popular as "Chaturyuga" system, actually attempts to describe the history of human evolution. In modern times, the prevailing theory of "Survival of the Fittest" tells us that the human beings are a result of gradual evolution process starting from single-cell living beings. But the "Chaturyuga" system mentions about the declining journey of human beings across the ages. In "Satya Yuga", the human beings were at its peak. Then it gradually came down throughout Treta and Dwapara yuga. In Kali Yuga, it is supposed to hit the lowest possible stature. If we go by the ancient scriptures, they specify that the start and end of each of the "Yuga" was marked by astronomical alignments. At the beginning of Treta Yuga, 5 planets resided in "Aries" constellation.At the end of last "Dwapara" yuga, the "Saptarshi" constellation (Ursa major), resided in "Magha" constellation. At the end of ongoing Kali-Yuga, Sun, Moon and Jupiter is said to reside in "Pushya" sector simultaneously.[Source]
Currently, 50 years of Brahma have elapsed. The last Kalpa at the end of the 50th year is called Padma Kalpa. We are currently in the first 'day' of the 51st year. This Brahma's day, Kalpa is named as Shveta-Varaha Kalpa. Within this Day, six Manvantaras have already elapsed and this is the seventh Manvantara, named as – Vaivasvatha Manvantara (or Sraddhadeva Manvantara). Within the Vaivasvatha Manvantara, 27 Mahayugas (4 Yugas together is a Mahayuga), and the Krita, Treta and Dwapara Yugas of the 28th Mahayuga have elapsed. This Kaliyuga is in the 28th Mahayuga. This Kaliyuga began in the year 3102 BCE in the proleptic Julian Calendar. Since 50 years of Brahma have already elapsed, this is the second Parardha, also called as Dvithiya Parardha.
Calculating the elapsed time since current Brahma's creation
432000 × 10 × 1000 × 2 = 8.64 billion years (2 Kalpa (day and night))
8.64 × 109 × 30 × 12 = 3.1104 Trillion Years (1 year of Brahma)
3.1104 × 1012 × 50 = 155.52 trillion years (50 years of Brahma)
(6 × 71 × 4320000) + 7 × 1.728 × 106 = 1852416000 years elapsed in first six Manvataras, and Sandhi Kalas in the current Kalpa
27 × 4320000 = 116640000 years elapsed in first 27 Mahayugas of the current Manvantara
1.728 × 10^6 + 1.296 × 106 + 864000 = 3888000 years elapsed in current Mahayuga
3102 + 2019 = 5121 years elapsed in current Kaliyuga.
So the total time elapsed since current Brahma is
155520000000000 + 1852416000 + 116640000 + 3888000 + 5119 = 155,521,972,949,120 years
(one hundred fifty-five trillion, five hundred twenty-one billion, nine hundred seventy-two million, nine hundred forty-nine thousand, one hundred twenty years) as of 2018 AD
Total age of Brahma is 100 (Brahma Years) which is equal to 311,040,000,000,000 Human years
The current Kali Yuga began at midnight 17 February / 18 February in 3102 BCE in the proleptic Julian calendar. As per the information above about Yuga periods, only 5,120 years are passed out of 432,000 years of current Kali Yuga, and hence another 426,880 years are left to complete this 28th Kali Yuga of Vaivaswatha Manvantara.[note 1]
- According to Sri Yukteswar Giri, guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, The ascending phase of the Kali Yuga began in September 499 CE. Since September 1699, we have been in the ascending phase of the Dwapara Yuga. According to Sri Yukteswar, nobody wanted to announce the bad news of the beginning of the descending Kali Yuga, so they kept adding years to the Dvapara date (at that time 2400 Dvapara) only retitling the epoch to Kali.
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- Dick Teresi. Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science--from the Baby. SimonandSchuster. p. 174.
- "Vedic Time System - वेद Veda". veda.wikidot.com. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
- S.V. Gupta (3 November 2009). Units of Measurement: Past, Present and Future. International System of Units. Springer. p. 5. ISBN 9783642007385.
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- S.V. Gupta (3 November 2009). Units of Measurement: Past, Present and Future. International System of Units. Springer. p. 6. ISBN 9783642007385.
- Hans Kng (31 October 2006). Tracing The Way: Spiritual Dimensions of the World Religions. A&C Black. p. 50. ISBN 9780826494238.
- Bryan E. Penprase (5 May 2017). The Power of Stars. Springer. p. 182. ISBN 9783319525976.
- Swami Mukundananda. Bhagavad Gita The Song of God.
- Burgess, Chapter 1, Verse 21
- Burgess, Chapter 1, Verse 22
- Burgess, Chapter 1, Verse 23
- Burgess, p17
- Burgess, Ebenezer Translation of the Sûrya-Siddhânta: A text-book of Hindu astronomy, with notes and an appendix Originally published: Journal of the American Oriental Society 6 (1860) 141–498 , p17"
- Yukteswar 1949.
- Victor J. Katz. A History of Mathematics: An Introduction, 1998.