Thursday, November 24, 2005

"End of Times" in Hinduism

hi every one,

can any one shed some light on end of times according to hindu scriptures.

My Reply:
There is no concept of "end of times" in Hinduism. Concept of time according to us is circular in nature.

Time is eternal, and the process of Sristhi (something like creation) and pralaya (like dissolution) are continously happening, and the time goes on and on in circles.

For smaller particles, the cycle time for creation (creation is not the exact traslation of sristhi; projection may be a better word; but for sake of understanding, lets go with creation) of a tree from seed and then the dissolution of the tree, then creation of another tree.. goes on an on, but in smaller time cycles.

The creation and dissolution of larger areas and Earth goes on and on, but in greater time periods. This is symbolically represented by giving different time scales for different beings.

One year of humans is said to be one day for Devatas. One year for devatas, one day for Brahma(? forgot ), so on.

The time goes on like that. A smaller circle, enclosed in a bigger circle, this again enclosed in a much bigger circle… A Surya is born now, then dies, again in the next cycle, he is born and dies. This process goes on and on eternally.

so according to hindusim the earth will continue to exist for ever and ever.

and man will dwell it for ever?

My Reply:
This earth may not exist, but the 'earth' as a concept will exist for ever, just as a plant will aways exist.

a seed will become a plant, and a plant will become a tree. that plant is no longer existing. But 'plant'(as a generic concept) will always exist, next time with a different seed and tree.

In the same manner.. what is earth, Bigbang happening and the critical mass forming earth in a particular form.

This earth in time may dissolve. But what is once possible, is always possible again. If certian enviroment can create a earth, then it is also implied that the same thing can happen in future, provided there is no end to time.

so, this earth may not be eternal, but earth as a generic concept is eternal in Hinduism, so is everything else.

ok one more question.

what is the concept of receving good or bad depending upon ur actions in this world.

like in islam u will recieve punishment or reward for every single deed or misdeed u did in the next life.

what is the concept of hinduism regarding this?

My Reply:
As Dibya has already explained, good/bad deeds in Hinduism lead to acquiring good/bad "karma", the consequenses of which the doer has to enjoy/pay later.

How are good/bad karmas acquired: It is common sense that each action, thought produces a result. This action-reaction pair can be termed as karma. Thus not just actions, but even thoughts lead to acquring karma.

They can be comepared to the impression that is produced by every action or thought.

How is good/bad decided: To give a comparison, you have mentioned that in Islam, ones later life is decided by each and every deed/misdeed one commits(contrary to the catholic belief that ppl are by default sinners and accpeting by accpeting christ as their saviour, all their sins will be ignored). .

It is silimlar in Hinduism that each and every deed/misdeed counts. But the difference in Hinduism is that the standard for judging also differ from person to person.

In Islam there are some things which are defined as good/bad by a God. The degree of severity may differ from person to person, but still essentially what is good and what is bad are by and large fixed.

But in Hinduism, what is good/bad are also not rigidly fixed. The only criterion adopted in judging somthing as good/bad is the level of unselfishness. In a rough manner, what is unselfish is good, what is selfish and hurts others' is bad.

Thus in Hinduism it is possible for a man to be even an Atheist and reject God, and still be better placed than bad-religious guy. What matters is not the beliefs, but the inner attitude. Beliefs are there and oked too, but they are only seen as helpers in archieving an aim, rather than aim itself. While in Islam belief in God and his law is the end in itself, in Hinduism it is only means to the end(unselfishness).

How does one recieve the effects of his Karmas: There is no hard and fast rule about this. It may be either exactly the same, or may be merely symbolic. For example, if you remove the eyes of somebody, you too may either lose your eyes(which is literal) or may suffer for symbolically. The bottom line is you have to answer for both the good/bad karmas. They do not cancel out.

It is not necessary that one should get the results of the karma only in the next birth. Some may bring results in this life itself. That which have not yet brought their results are carried to the next birth, where the bring their results. Also the birth of the person where he born, to which parents etc is decided by this residual karma from the previous birth.

About hell & heaven: There are two views in Hinduism regarding this. One is that hell/heaven are symbolic. Your suffer a lot, with lot of mental pressure, that you feel you are in hell.

The other idea is that, it is a place, where one goes after his death.

But the important difference is that whether it is symbolic or a place, hell/heaven are not eternal. One goes there and comes back.

The idea behind this is that finite actions cannot lead to infinite results. A person doing 50 good deeds and 40 bad deeds and then his good being more than bad, going to heaven eternally, is something Hinduism does not accept. Its more like chance. The person has to suffer for his 40 bad deeds and also enjoy the effects of his 50 good deeds.

In Hinduism thus a person goes hell AND heaven(and returns), not hell OR heaven.


Blogger sandeep said...

Very beautifully explained.Especially the concept of hell & heaven.

6:23 AM  
Blogger said...

दुनिया के ख़तम होने का समय कब होगा ????????
Hindus believe that the world is created, destroyed, and re-created in an eternally repetitive series of cycles.

In Hindu cosmology a universe endures for about 4,320,000,000 years (one day of Brahma or kalpa) and is then destroyed by fire or water. At his point, Brahma rests for one night, just as long as the day. This process, named pralaya, repeats for such 100 years, period that represents Brahma's lifespan.

After Brahma's "death", it is necessary that another 100 of his years pass until he is reborn and the whole creation begins anew. This process is repeated again and again, forever.

Brahma's life is divided in one thousand cycles (Maha Yuga, or the Great Year). Maha Yuga, during which the human race appears and then disappears, has 71 divisions, each made of 14 Manvantara (1000) years. Each Maha Yuga lasts for 4,320,000 years. Manvantara is Manu's cycle, the one who gives birth and govern human race.

Each Maha Yuga consists of a series of four shorter yugas, or ages. The yugas get progressively worse from a moral point of view as one proceeds from one yuga to another. As a result each yuga is of shorter duration than the age that preceded it.

Yuga Duration
(years) God Virtue
Kriti Yuga 1,728,000 Brahma Meditation
Treta Yuga 1,296,000 Vishnu Knowledge
Dvapara Yuga 864,000 Vishnu Sacrifice
Kali Yuga 432,000 Vishnu
Shiva-Rudra Charity

Kriti Yuga

Kriti Yuga is the first yuga of a Maha Yuga. This is the age of virtue and moral perfection. It is a bright, golden age on earth. The great god Vishnu, in his form of Brahma, the creator of the world, is the presiding god, and dharma (ideal, righteous behavior or moral duty) walks steadily and securely upon all four feet.

The Krita Yuga lasts for 1,728,000 years.

During Kritia Yuga, human beings need no shelters. There are no shortage of food. Gift-giving trees provide them with an abundant supply of food, clothing, and decorative objects. Everyone is born good and lives a happy, contented, unselfish, and beautiful life.

People are devoted to meditation, the highest virtue, and spend their lives being loyal to dharma. They work for the pleasure of it, rather than from necessity. Sorrow does not exist.

Treta Yuga

Treta Yuga is the second age in each Maha Yuga.

Treta means three. During this yuga, dharma walks less steadily, on three of its four feet. Virtue and moral perfection still exist, but they have declined by one-fourth. The duration of the age has similarly declined by one-fourth to 1,296,000 years.

Vishnu, the preserver of life on earth, is the presiding god during Treta Yuga.

People are devoted to the pursuit of knowledge, which they consider the highest virtue.

As in Kriti Yuga, the gift-giving trees supply food and clothing to everyone in abundance during the Treta Yuga. But greedy people try to make the trees their private property. When that happens, the special trees disappear, and life on earth becomes difficult for the first time. Heavy rainfall creates rivers. The soil is fertile for the growth of many new kinds of trees. The new trees bear fruit; but as opposed to the gift giving trees, these are ordinary trees. People must work hard to acquire food and clothing. Because of the rain and severe changes in the weather, they also need to construct houses for shelter.

In the Treta Yuga people are more passionate and greedy. They are no longer happy with what they have. Dissatisfaction, resentment, and anger replace satisfaction, peace, and contentment in their hearts. They covet their neighbors' possessions. The strong take land from the weak in order to possess more food and greater wealth. Many men take the wives of others.

Dvapara Yuga

Dvapara Yuga is the third age in each Maha Yuga.

As the name Dva suggests (Dva means two), eternal dharma now has to balance on two of its four feet, creating a precarious and shifting balance between good and evil. Virtue and moral perfection still exist, but they have declined to one-half of what they were in the Krita Yuga. As a result, the duration of this age is half that of the Krita Yuga (864,000 years).

Vishnu, the preserver of life on earth, is still the presiding god during Dvapara yuga. People devote themselves to sacrifice, which they consider the highest virtue.

In the Dvapara Yuga, disease, misfortune, suffering, and death are part of everyone's existence. People have become more passionate and greedy, and war is commonplace. Religious doctrines are developed in an attempt to guide human behavior toward dharma, but the gradual process of moral deterioration continues.

Kali Yuga

Kali Yuga is the fourth age in each Maha Yuga. Kali means quarrel and war. This is the dark age. Dharrna has to stand on only one of its four feet, and virtue barely exists. This age is only one-fourth the length of the Krita Yuga (432,000 years).

Vishnu is still the presiding god, in his form of Shiva-Rudra, the destroyer of life on earth.

In the Kali Yuga people achieve noble rank in society based on the amount of money and property they own rather than their moral virtue. The quality of virtue is measured only in terms of material wealth. Sexual passion alone binds husband and wife together in marriage. People become successful in life through a succession of lies, and their only source of enjoyment is sex. They live with continuous fear of hunger, disease, and death.

In the Kali Yuga only the poor are honest, and the only remaining virtue is charity.

Harsh weather and primitive living conditions make them prey to devastating illnesses. One who attains the age of twenty-three is considered very old.

3:05 AM  

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