Measurement of Time Scales According to Hinduism

Hindu Vedic literatures have divided time into four different ears-Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga. For gods, these are equivalent to 4000, 3000, 2000, and 1000 years. Mahayuga, which is the period from the beginning of Satya yuga to the end of kali yuga is of 12,000 years including Sandhya, and Sandhyamsha. Find more about the calculation of the transition period in four yugas in Hindu culture here.

Time management

To understand how long is one year for the gods, let’s dive into details about the measurement of time in Hindu Vedic literature.

NimeshaThe smallest unit of time is a nimesha. That is the length of time it takes to blink one’s eyes.
KashthaFifteen nimeshas constitute a kashtha
KalaThirty kashthas are called a kala
MuhurtaThirty kalas make up one muhurta. There are fifteen muhurtas during the day and fifteen muhurtas during the night.
AhoratraThirty muhurtas make up night and day, known as ahoratra. One year for humans is equivalent to one ahoratra for the gods.
UttarayanaThe six months during which the gods have their day is called uttarayana
DakshinayanaThe six months during which the gods have their night is called dakshinayana
Divine yearThree hundred and sixty human years are equivalent to one divine year
MahayugaTwelve thousand divine years are equivalent to 4,320,000 human years and this is the length of a mahayuga.
Manvantara  There are a little over seventy-one mahayugas in manvantara. Seventy-one mahayugas would add up to 296,720,000 human years. There are actually 306,720,000 human years in a manvantara including transition periods.
KalpaOne thousand mahayugas make up one kalpa. There are thus 4,320,000,000 human years in a Kalpa. Equivalently, fourteen manvantara constitute one kalpa.

A kalpa corresponds to Brahama’s ahoratra. At the end of one of Brahma’s days, the entire universe and all the beings in it are destroyed. Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are not however destroyed. There is darkness and water everywhere and Vishnu sleeps on this water. Since nara means water and ayana means resting place. Vishnu is also known as Narayana. When the day dawns, Brahma begins creation afresh.

One thousand kalpas are one year for Brahma and eight thousand such years are one yuga for Brahma. One thousand of Brahma’s yugas are equivalent to one of Vishnu’s days. Nine thousand of Vishnu’s days are equivalent to merely one day for Shiva. This is how Puranas attempted to establish Shiva’s supremacy.

Why Hindu

We, a group of youths born into Hindu families, were raised in the rich culture of Vedic Sanatan Dharma, embracing its cultures and traditions. Post-graduation, recognizing the immense value of our Sanatan Dharma for humanity, we initiated the "Why Hindu" project. With guidance from our elders, we aim to create awareness about Hindu Dharma, delve into Vedic scripture, explore Vedic mantras, and elucidate the significance of festivals. Through this endeavor, we strive to share the profound teachings of our heritage, fostering understanding and appreciation for the timeless principles of Sanatan Dharma.

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