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Sankalpam & Cosmic Cycle

It may be noticed that any rituals which a Hindu performs on auspicious as well as inauspicious occasions always start with a fixation of the precise time, the star, the day, the Thithi, the fortnight, the month, the season, the half year , and the year on the micro side as also the quarter of the yuga, the name of the yuga , the name of the cycle, the Manvantara, and the Kalpa on the Macro side. In fact, orthodox Hindus do this reckoning daily in their ' Nitya karma Anushtana' the daily routine Puja ( honoring) of their Ishtadevata. In this way the formula for describing the exact time in the eternal cycle has been passed on from generation to generation. This is what we call the "Sankalpa' before commencing any rituals. This is also true of fixation of the exact location where the ritual is performed. as already discussed in the 'Section on ' Space'. SrI govinda govinda govinda! asya SrI-bhagavata: mahA purushasya vishNor AgjnayA pravartamAnasya aadhya brahmaNa: dviteeya-parArdhE SrI-SvEtha-varAha-kalpE, vaivasvatha-manvantarE, kaliyugE, prathamE pAdE, Jamboo dveepE, BhArata varshE, Bharata: khaNDE, SakAbde:, merO: dakshiNE pArSvE asmin vartamAnE vyAvahArikE, PrabhavAdi shashTi samvatsarANAm madhyE, *_____________ nAma samvatsarE, (e.g. Sarvajith 2007 ) * ______________ AyaNE, (e.g. DakshinaAyane, UtharAyane) * _______________ Ritou, (e.g Varsha ) *_________________ mAsE, (e.g. Sravaana, Simhah ) *_________________ pakshE, (e.g. Sukla ) *_________________ Subha-tithau, (e.g. PourNamAsyAm ) *__________________vAsara (e.g. Baanu ) *__________________nakshatra yuktAyAm (e.g sravishTA ) SrI-vishnu-yOga, SrI-vishnu-karaNa, Subha-yOga, Subha-karaNa, Yevam guNa,-viSeshaNa viSishTAyAm, asyAm PourNamAsyAm Subha-tithou, SrI-Bhagavad-AjnayA, Sri Bhagavat-kainkarya-roopam

Sankalpam and Background of Cosmic Cycle

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Now, let us have a look at this Sankalpa: It goes on like this: Dviteeya parardhe
Svetavaraha Kalpe

In the second half of Brahma’s life
In the Kalpa of Sveta Varaha In the reign of Vaivaswatha Manu within the 28th cycle In the Kali yuga In the first quarter thereof

Vaivaswatha Manvantare Ashta Vimsati me Kali Yuge Prathame Pade

Then, the Sankalpa refers to the geographical position of the place where the ritual is performed. and this has been explained in the section on ' Space'. Resuming the reference to time, the Sankalpa proceeds further as follows:Asmin Varthamane Vyavaharike Prabavadi Shashti Samvatsaranam Madye In the current period now proceeding Among the cycle of 60 years starting from Prabhava in the year named

..... Nama Samvatsare Dakshinayane or Uttarayane .......Ritou ...... Mase ........Pakshe ........Punya Thithou .........Vasara uktayam ..........Nakshatra uktayam

in the Soutern/Northern movement of the Sun in the season named .. in the month of ..

in bright/dark fortnight in this holy Thithi numbered on the day called......... when the star … holds sway

Then, the Sankalpa proceeds to say that the ritual called..............is performed for the pleasure of the Lord.

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Background of Cosmic cycle and Sankalpam Cosmic cycle: One of the infinitely recurring periods of the universe, comprising its creation, preservation and dissolution. These cycles are measured in periods of progressive ages, called yugas. Satya (or Krita), Treta, Dvapara and Kali are the names of these four divisions, and they repeat themselves in that order, with the Satya Yuga being the longest and the Kali Yuga the shortest. The comparison is often made of these ages with the cycles of the day: Satya Yuga being morning until noon, the period of greatest light or enlightenment, Treta Yuga afternoon, Dvapara evening, and Kali Yuga the darkest part of the night. Four yugas equal one mahayuga. Theories vary, but by traditional astronomical calculation, a mahayuga equals 4,320,000 solar years (or 12,000 "divine years;" one divine year is 360 solar years) - with the
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Satya Yuga lasting 1,728,000 years, Treta Yuga 1,296,000 years, Dvapara Yuga 864,000 years, and Kali Yuga 432,000 years.

Mankind is now experiencing the Kali Yuga, which began at midnight, February 18, 3102 bce (year one on the Hindu calendar [see Hindu Timeline]) and will end in approximately 427,000 years. (By another reckoning, one mahayuga equals approximately two million solar years.) A dissolution called laya occurs at the end of each mahayuga, when the physical world is destroyed by flood and fire. Each destructive period is followed by the succession of creation (srishti), evolution or preservation (sthiti) and dissolution (laya). A summary of the periods in the cosmic cycles:
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1 mahayuga = 4,320,000 years (four yugas) 71 mahayugas = 1 manvantara or manu (we are in the 28th mahayuga) 14 manvantaras = 1 kalpa or day of Brahma (we are in the 7th manvantara) 2 kalpas = 1 ahoratra or day and night of Brahma 360 ahoratras = 1 year of Brahma 100 Brahma years = 309,173,760,000,000 years (one "lifetime" of Brahma, or the universe).

We are in Brahma Year 51 of the current cycle. At the end of every kalpa or day of Brahma a greater dissolution, called pralaya (or kalpanta, "end of an eon"), occurs when both the physical and subtle worlds are absorbed into the causal world, where souls rest until the next kalpa begins. This state of withdrawal or "night of Brahma," continues for the length of an entire kalpa until creation again issues forth.

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After 36,000 of these dissolutions and creations there is a total, universal annihilation, mahapralaya, when all three worlds, all time, form and space, are withdrawn into God . After a period of total withdrawal a new universe or lifespan of Brahma begins. This entire cycle repeats infinitely. This view of cosmic time is recorded in the Puranas and the Dharma Shastras. Vedic mantras pin point the time of performance of a ritual - by narrowing down from dwiteeya paraardhe (in the 2nd half of the term of Bhrahma), Sweta varaaha kalpe (in the kalpa sweta varaaha), Vaivasvata manvantare (in the 7th manvantaram), Kaliyuge (in the kali epoch) - through the finer details such as the name of the current year, month etc.

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