(Kaliyuga, Choo, Choo . . .)
Kaliyuga, the Long View Because we feel our problems so intensely and they appear with modern peculiarities, it’s easy to forget the human race has a lot of experience in dealing with such disarray. Unfortunately, today, a hearkening back to the Wisdom of the Past usually takes the form of returning to the good old-fashioned values of the last century. These are the same values that supported the devastating world wars, the predatory systems of commerce, the environmental devastation, and the subjugating forms of sexual identity that nearly destroyed the 20th century.
I guess, when I refer to going back to the Wisdom of the Past I mean WAY BACK to, say, somewhere around the Late Pleistocene. The wisdom we’re seeking is not about being Right or Wrong according to some cultural context, but about re-uniting with the immediacy of the experience of our place in the messiness of things. And that entails knowing intimately the gift we call our Mind. It’s about what that is and what that isn’t and how it’s possible to be both, and neither, at the same time.
In the Hindu system of time-keeping we get a more expansive perspective on the concept of the Past. Three months ago, on March 18th, began the 52nd century of their Kaliyuga. A Kaliyuga is a period of time that equals 432,000 solar years. Our year 1999 equals their year 5101. Thus, we still have 426,899 years left in the Kaliyuga.
While the Kaliyuga may seem lengthy, it’s only one tenth as long as the unit called a Mahayuga, which equals 4,320,000 years. But it takes 1000 Mahayugas to make a Kalpa. And a Kalpa, at 4,320,000,000 years, makes up a single day of creation in the life of Brahma, their Creator. This time period may be more amazing than it appears. Especially, if we consider that scientists have just recently dated the age of the Earth to about 4.5 billion years based on radioactive dating of uranium and thorium isotopes found in surface rocks.
An interesting feature of this time system is that it repeats in cycles. Following the 4.32 billion years of creation comes a period of dissolution during Brahma’s night. Then another period of creation begins the next day—his next day. An even more interesting aspect of this system is that Brahma doesn’t live forever. His life span is only 100 of his years. Which equals 1,576,800,000,000,000,000 of our solar years! The numbers aren’t as important as the perspective. In a realm of such long duration, there’s a very good chance the World’s not going away anytime soon. Depending on your perspective, this can be good or bad news. For me, it simply means that what we have is what we’ve got. It’s not going to get any better unless we take time to understand who we are.
Frightened Beyond Beliefs To understand who we are is not an easy task. And though this may come as a shock to some, it makes absolutely no difference whether your computer is Year 2000 compliant or not. To delve into the core of one’s being without falling into despondency and self-doubt is hard. To do this with confidence without falling prey to infantile self-indulgence or full-blown egomania is very difficult. To probe deeply without fabricating occult and esoteric formulae is a test of real restraint. To maintain personal integrity without falling prey to orthodoxies claiming it can’t be done on your own is frightening beyond belief. To do all of this from moment to moment is the most astounding practice you’ll ever perform. To do this and return to share your insight with others is practically impossible.
Welcome to the only game in town.
William P. Benz is an Artist, Writer, and Poet living in North Portland. He Specializes in the Design of Information Filters, the Surfacing of Mental Models, and the Creative Reintegration of Defective WorldViews. For more info, visit his NEW WEB Space at http://www.aracnet.com/~wpbenz.