APPENDIX II: HINDU CHRONOMETRICS - Skala Vyavahara
The imaginations of the Vedic sages were no more daunted by projecting time backwards and forwards than Buddhist siddhas in extrapolating mental states beyond their own. Their ambition in cosmology was matched by the longue durée of Hindu chronometrics or skala vyavahara, which periodized a cyclical cosmogony or ontology, the equivalent in the temporal dimension of the vast mental spaces described in Appendix I. At the same time, considerable confusion can result from the inevitable differences - yet underlying parallels - between a world view based on the lifetime of a mortal, “secondary,” creator god, Brahma, the ineluctable, cyclical decay of humanity into a state devoid of dharma and one with a soteriological logic, however prolonged, when all dependently originated illusion will through countless reincarnations rise to the state of nirvana or non-existence; a true Apocalypse and End of the World.
Each of these multi-layered world systems or cakkavalas constitutes just one of a possible tissahasi mahasassi lokadhatu or 10003 world systems, known as a trichiliocosm. Each of these multi-verses in Hinduism lasts for one lifetime of Brahma or maha kalpa, “great moment,” equal to just one breath of Vishnu; when he exhales a trichiliocosm of universes is born and when he inhales they are destroyed. In the cyclical Hindu view of time, his breathing is naturally endless. Brahma, by contrast, lives for only 100 Brahma years of 360 Brahma days or kalpas and an equal number of equally long Brahma nights or ratras, so that one day-in-the-life of Brahma lasts two kalpas. Each kalpa consists of fourteen manvantaras, each ruled by its own creator or Manu, a kind of Adam or Noah figure, and each of these fourteen manvantaras is followed by a manvantara-sandhya or “dissolution,” fifteen in all, during which the earth is submerged in water.
Each manvantara is subdivided into 71 chatur, maha yugas or yuga cycles of 4,320,000 solar years, comprised of four "minor yugas: 1) the “eon of creation,” the satya or krta yuga, of 1,728.000 years (or four charanas,) the "Age of Truth;" 2) the "eon of evolution-duration,” the treta yuga, of 1,296,000 years; 3) the ”eon of dissolution,” the dvapara yuga, of 864,000 years; 4) the”eon of dissolution-emptiness,” the kali yuga, when there is no dharma left on earth, of only 432,000 years (or one charana.) The human race is "purged" 16 times during the "evolution-duration moment," while the "dissolution moment" involves the destruction of most of the dhatus, (described in Appendix I,) 56 times by fire, 7 by water and once by wind.The Arupadhatus are never destroyed because they lack a form to destroy but they become emptied as their inhabitants enter nirvana and are not replaced from the "world without dharma" of the “eon of dissolution.” (The trope of mankind's ineluctable decline from a “primordial” innocence or perfection to a degenerate present worthy only of destruction seems trans-cultural, e.g the Greek myth of the Ages of Gold, Silver and Bronze, the biblical Fall of Man, various 19th Century theories of the rise and decadence of civilizations such as Nietzsche's "Myth of the Eternal Return." The grass always looks greener in retrospect. This can be seen simply as inversions of another 19th Century myth, the "inevitability of progress." or of all religions disparagement of the present to make the promise of some distant redemption more attractive.
Looking at the comparative "short-term," according to Puranic sources, the earth entered a kali yuga, the fourth and most degenerate period of a maha or chatur yuga cycle of four yugas lasting only 432,000 solar years upon Krishna's death or ascension, dated to 12:00 A.M, February 19, 3201 B.C.E. The world is currently in the 7th manvatara of the current mahakalpa, ruled by Vaivasata (also knows as, Sraddhadeva or Stayavvrata.) This yuga falls during the first kalpa or daytime of Brahma's current 51st year of his 100 year life. Hence, Kalki, Vishnu's tenth incarnation, and the end of this world will next occur 432,000 - 3210 - 2021 = 426,778 years or 428,99 C.E. This means things will only get worse but for a very long time - though just a blink of Vishnu's eye. Finally, it must be noted, that a certain margin of error needs to be afforded these predictions since even in the Mahabharata yuga and kalpa are sometimes used interchangeably.
Calculating the Length of a Mahakalpa (Brahma's Life-span)
A maha yuga = 4,320,000 solar years
A manvantara = 71 x 4,320,000 = 306,720,000 solar years
A kalpa = 14 x 306,720,000 = 4,294,080,000 +
15 x 1,728,000 (the length of a sandhi kala) = 25,920,000
= 4,320,000,000 solar years
A Brahma day and night
= 2 x 4,320,000,000 = 8,640,000,000 solar years
A mahakalpa = Brahma’s 100-year life span
= 36,000 Brahma days and nights x 8,640,000,000 solar years
= 311,400,000,000,000 solar years
This is followed by an equally long interval when nothing at all happens as Vishnu sleeps on his serpent avatar, Ananta or “non-being,” in the Ocean of Milk, a period referred to as a maha parlaya or “Great Dissolution” during which all prakrit, that is, manifestation or substance, including matter and energy is destroyed. Then a new Brahma sprouts from a lotus growing out of Vishnu’s navel and a new trichiliocosm is created as the god exhales.