It is Time…

It is Time that creates; it is Time that maintains; it destroys; it conceals; it sets right the discordant and disproportionate aspects and effects purity; it makes the fruits fructify; it stabilizes; it assimilates; it provides an effective and great path; it brings into effect a supreme and sacred form.

~ Mamuni Mayan (Aintiram: 815, Dr. S.P. Sabharathnam commentary)

Time and its measurements

The importance of time (‘Kaalam‘  in Tamil) is so high in the ancient tradition that they ensured that the accuracy, continuity of time and the easy measurability of it is maintained for who knows how many years. Time creates, sustains and destroys everything and this is very nicely captured in these 2 lines by Mamuni Mayan in Aintiram…

காலேம எைவக்கும் மூலம், காலேம மூல ஆற்றல்
காலேம ேகாலத் ேதாற்றம், காலேம ஞாலத் ேதாற்றம்

It is only because of Time or frequency (movement of consciousness within itself) that Space or Brahmam manifests itself into material form. Time is in effect, simply Space or God itself moving – vibrating. Mayan says that it is Time that functions in every living being as in – breath and out – breath. Time is the dance and Space is the dancer. They are one and the same. Thus, we have the concept of Time God.

Similarly a quote from Swami Chinmayananda states that “Time is the periodicity between 2 thoughts”. Nothing captures the concept of time more wisely.

Einstein’s view on time and its relativity is very realistically captured in this quote “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red‐hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” More than relativity I found that the root cause of relativity is the pulsation of mind as time. Einstein on a serious note proved that our view of time is not absolute, it is relative and it is a continuum with space. We will see later how time and space are the same or Time = Space.

Aintiram states that there are 5 things that vibrates which have a common root and are not under our control. They are Space, Earth (vibration of earth is gravity), Eye lids, Thoughts and Musical notes and very nicely put in Tamil as விண் (Vin), மண் (Man), கண் (Kan), எண் (Yen), பண் (Pan).

When we correlate this with the first line of Patanjali Yoga Sutra which says “Yoga Chitta Vrtti Nirodah”, means Yoga is one which stops the vibration of mind / pulsation of mind and hence nullifies thoughts. The meditation techniques of keeping your eyes opened without battling the eyelids is another way of overcoming this pulsation instinct that is primordial and inherent in our nature.

Let’s look how intricate our measurements time are in ancient India.

Time and Its Measurements

  • The smallest unit of time is approximately 2 micro second.
  • The largest unit is about 155 trillion years….
  • Brahma’s linear age is 50 years and in currently in his 51st year which makes the universe to be 155+ trillion years. Brahma’s life time is 100 years which means it would be 300 trillion+ years of universal life which follows a cycle.
  • After 100 years of pulsation cycles Brahma stays as dormant energy for the same period and then pulsates again for the next life of 100 years.
  • A Brahma’s life is also known as a Para. Each half Param is referred to as a parardham. This second half is termed as ‘dviteeya paraardhe’ (the second half of Brahma’s term) is stated in all vedic rituals.
  • After every Chatur yuga, the world recycles. After every 2000 years / a Brahma day the world dissolves and reemerges. The important point to note is that there is no concept of creation. It evolves and dissolves as per the science of pulsation. We also note that this pulsation expands and contracts. This cyclical nature of time refers to time as ‘anaadi’ or that without a beginning.

While doing vedic ritual the time and space coordinate is invoked to say that you are doing this ritual at this place in the universe and at this time – with reference to Brahma’s age to the time and star of the day. This tradition is unbroken and the Indian Almanac can predict the position of astronomical objects without any error for thousands of years without any sophisticated instruments and space ships.


1. Time = Space by Raguram Gopalan,
2. Fabric of The Universe: The Origins, Implications, and Applications of Vastu Science By Jessie J. Mercay

Time, the creative element!

The vibration of the OM light is called Time or Kaalam. The vibration of the primal OM light is the dance of Lord Shiva and that of sound is Uma. Hence ‘Omkara’ Natana. Uma is ‘word’ (vaak) and Shiva is ‘meaning’ (artha). So, Mayan says that Kaalam is the creative element of all the objects of the universe and adds that the universe itself is the product of Time. “Time is the creative source of all objects. It is time that changes into form. It is time that blossoms into the universe and Kaalam thus does wonders” – Mayan. Therefore, Kaalam itself is designated as Kaala Brahman. Kaalam, in simple words is the speed or vibration of energy or light. The summum-bonum of these discussions is that vibration causes all phenomena.

This concept is extended to poetry, music and dance where Kaalam is redesignated as Taalam, maatra or kaalam, the ruling element of all forms of poetry, music and also dance. What would be unique and astonishing is that the same Taala measure is extended to create visual material forms (time-spaces) of which one is the building whether it is a temple or house. Sculptural representations are also born of this scientific theory of rhythm (Taala) and therefore they are divine and worship worthy.”

~ Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati, Temple Architecture: The Living Tradition

Breath and Time?

In ancient days all things are interrelated with each other and one forms the basis for the other. Let’s look at how breath and time are closely related.

Lets begin with the interesting quote of Swami Chinmaya on time which states that “Time is the period between two thoughts”. As we know a day is divided into 24 hours and each hour with 60 minutes. The fundamental unit of time today is a second for day today life. In ancient India a day is divided into 60 units and not 24 hours, and each unit is called as Nazhigai which has 24 minutes. Two Nazhigai is called a Muhurtam which is 48 minutes. Both of them are very significant measures. So each hour has 2.5 Nazhigai.

We can note that both of Nazhigai and Muhurtam are multiples of 8 which is the fundamental resonance numeral.

  1. Do we know why any yogic exercise / meditation / Pranayama are given a count that is multiple of 24 (in terms of counts or minutes or days)?
  2. Do we know why in Siddha / Ayurveda medical system the treatments are generally prescribed for 24 days or 48 days?
  • In ancient India the concept of time and its measurement are sacred, continuous for billions of years and accurate. 
  • When the ancient Sages defined the fundamental period of time (and not unit of time) they wanted that it should correspond to one full cycle. Since earth is always rotating one cycle is 360 degree – it takes 24 hours to rotate around itself and 365 days to revolve around Sun. But both these measures are not fundamental for intra-day measurements. Also how do we equate a spatial measure (rotational distance) with a time value when it comes to Intra-day measurements?
  • Our sages considered that each breath as one degree and one cycle can be considered as 360 degree or 360 breaths. If it is 15 breaths a minute than 360 breaths takes 24 minutes and hence the fundamental period (not unit of time) of measurement is Nazhigai which has 24 minutes. 60 such units make one day.
  • So the most fundamental period of time where anything completes 1 cycle in Microcosm is 24 minutes or 1 Nazhigai.
  • The other aspect to note here is that the same concept is used to overcome death by stilling the breath and mind. Since we have stilled the breath, we have not moved in the time-space scale and also the breath is not wasted which means we can achieve immortality in the state of Samadhi.


Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan,