Concept and Measurement of Time in the Vedas

Concept and Measurement of Time in the Vedas

The concept of Time in the Vedic concept is an extremely intriguing and astonishing theory that even surpasses modern science.

Time has been measured from the largest possible notion of a Maha Yuga to the smallest measurable unit which is called Paramanu.  Time calculation has been described in details in the Vedas and Manusmriti as:

Paramānu (atom)ca.16.8 µs (microsecond)
Anu2 Paramanuca.33.7 µs (microsecond)
Trasarenu (particles observed in sunlight)3 Anuca.101  µs (microsecond)
Truti3 Trasarenuca. 1/3290 s = ca.304 µs
Vedha100 Trutica. 30 ms (milliseconds)
Lava3 Vedhaca. 91 ms
Nimesha (blink of an eye)3 Lavaca. 0.273 s (seconds)
Kshanas3 Nimesha0.82 s (seconds)
Kāsthās5 Kshanasca. 4.1 s (seconds)
Laghu15 Kāsthāsca. 1 minute
Nādika15 Laghuca. 15.3 minutes
Dandaca. 30.7 minutes
Muhurta2 Danda
Yāma7.5  Muhūrta
day(light)4 praharas or 4 yamas
Nightyamas = 1
Dayday(light) + 1 night
Paksha15 daysFortnight
Maasa2 PakshaMonth
Ayanam6 Maasa6 Months
2 Ayanam = 1 Year

The Paksha on brighter lunar cycle days is for departed ancestors (Pitrus) and the darker lunar cycle is their night.  The days from January 15th to July 15th when the sun rises with an inclination towards North-East, are called Uttarayanam and considered to be a single day of Brahma.  The remaining 6 months when the sun rises with an inclination towards South-East are called Dakshinayanam are considered a single night of Brahma.   Lord Vishnu is believed to be asleep during Dakshinayanam and awake in Uttarayanam.  It is for this reason that 1 human year is considered to be 1 day of Brahma.

An epoch or a yuga is the next higher level of measurement and is broken down into the following:

  1. Satya or Krita Yuga
  2. Treta Yuga
  3. Dwapara Yuga, and
  4. Kali Yuga

One cycle of Yuga is called Maha Yuga which is 4.32 million solar years.  Yuganta, the day when Yuga gets over are also marked by the Hindu Calendar.

There have been a total of six Brahma in the past, present one is the seventh one, each having a life span of 100 years.  They are:

  1. Virinchi
  2. Padmabhu
  3. Swayambhu
  4. Parmeshthi
  5. Surajyeshtha
  6. Hemagarbha
  7. Shatanand (present Brahma)
  8. Next one will be Chaturmukha and
  9. Hanuman

Lifetime of one Brahma is known as “Para” which is divided into two halves called “Parardham”.  The present Brahma has completed 50 years and is on the 1st day of his 51st year.  A year of Brahma is called a Kalpa and each kalpa has 14 Manvantaras. 

Creation takes places during the Udaya Kalpas (days) of Brahma while he rests during the 14 Kshaya Kalpas (nights).  So far 6 Manvantaras ruled by 6 Manus have passed and we are going through the 7th one called Varaha Kalpa and Vaivasvata Manvantara.

Read more about the concept of Yuga or Epochs in Hinduism



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  • nice our people should under stand we INDIAN are the father of all from of science

  • Till unknown to me and still difficult to understand.

  • So nice…I happen to see this time measurement or Kal-Ganana once and that time I forgot to note it down… I was looking for this and I have the chart now.

  • Please also provide the actual stotras and the documents in which these are mentioned. It would be helpful for people who wish to follow-up on these topics.

  • You wrongly mentioned one year of Brahma is called Kalpa. Kalpa is actually one day of Brahma which is 14 manvantara duration.

  • Its awesome site. Accidently i learnt so much scientific things and about our forefathers. All i can say about this site is………… i m stunned and speechless.. thank you for such kind of provoking articles…

  • All the information is correct but one small error as 6 months of human time cycle is equal to 1 day of Devas living in paradise and another 6 months is equal to 1 night qhich total becomes 24 hours of Devtas is equal to one year in human life cycle.
    Also such 100 Divya years of Devta is equal to 1 day of Brahma which is equal to 4.32 billion years.

  • Yes information given is incorrect.
    1 day of Brahma = 1000 Mahayugas
    Not 1 solar/human year

  • As always..another thought provoking article. But, I have a query; In the table giving out details of the time measurement units it is given: 1 yama = 7.5 muhuruta; 1 muhurta = 2 danda = a bit more than an hour. By this logic 1 yama = around 7.5 hrs; and 1 daylight = 4 yama = 30 hrs; 1 night = 8 yama = 60 hours??! How can this be? Am I reading something wrong, can someone pls explain this.

  • I guess 6 months time is 1 day for devas & not Brahma. As far as I know, 100 chathuryuga is one day for him. Another 100 chathuryuga will be one night. 360 such cycle is one year and his lifetime is 100 such years.

  • The measures of Muhurta, Yama, day and night in terms of minutes and hours are incorrect as the total day must correspond to 24hrs.

  • Very informative and profound articles to enlighten the reader and salute the divine wisdom of our Sanatana Dharma
    Which is Bharata”s gift to the world.Om Sri Kaalaaya
    Tasmai Namaha.