Our ancestors not only measured time on the basis of astronomical movements, they also formulated an amazing system to join the unending journey of time to the present and for the common man to know about it. We do not generally pay attention to it. In our country, we perform some religious procedures or ceremonies before doing any work?whether it be the beginning of manufacturing something, entry into a new house, birth, marriage or any other work. For this, one first has to take a Sankalp(resolution). The Sankalp mantra tells us about the state of time from ancient times to the present. So, if we concentrate on the meaning of the mantra, everything becomes clear.
In the Sankalp mantra, we say
Om asya shri vishnoraagyayaa pravartamaanasya Brhmanaam dwiteeye paraardhe
The mantra means that in the unending wheel of time pioneered by Maha Vishnu, the age of the present Brahma has completed 50 years. Shweta varaah kalpe-kalpa means that it is the first day of the 51st year of Brahma.
Vaivasvatamanvantare?There are 14 manvantaras in one day of Brahma. The 7th of these is the vaivasvat manvantara, which is going on.
Ashtaavinshatitame Kaliyuge?There are 71 chaturyugis in one manvantar. Of these, the kaliyug of the 28th chaturyugi is going on nowadays.
Kaliyuge Prathamacharane?The beginning of the kaliyug.
Kalisamvate or Yugaabde?At present, the kalisamvat or yugaabd is 5108 (2006 AD).
Jambu dweepe, Brahmaavarta deshe, Bhaarat khande?names of continents, region and country.
In such and such place?Place of work.
In such and such samvatsar?Name of the samvatsar.
In such and such ayane?uttaraayan or dakshinaayan.
In such and such ritu or season?There are six seasons including the spring season.
In such and such month?There are 12 months like Chaitra etc.
In such and such paksh or fortnight?Name of the fortnight as in Shukla paksh or Krishna paksh.
On such and such date or tithi?Name of the tithi.
On such and such day?Name of the day.
At such and such time?At what time of the day.
Such and such person?You take your name, then your father'sname, then gotra and what work you are going to do and with what purpose?And then, you do the sankalpa.
It is with this system that remembering time from the time the sankalp is taken to eternity, has been easily brought into normal practice in the Indian way of life.
Relativity of Time
Einstein established the relativity of time in his ?Theory of Relativity?. He said that the concept of time on the various planets varies. Time is related to the movement of the planet. Hence, the measurement of time on various planets is different.
Time is large and small. We get indications of this in our scripture. There is a story in the Puranas that Rewati, the daughter of King Raiwatak, was very tall. So, it was difficult to find a suitable bridegroom for her. For a solution, the king took her to Brahmalok with the power of yoga. When he reached there, a Gandharva gaan was going on. So, he waited for some time. When the gaan was over, Brahma saw the king and asked him how he had come there? The king asked him if he had made any groom for his daughter. Brahma laughed out aloud and said, ?While you were here, listening to the gaan, 27 chaturyugis have already passed on earth and the 28th, dwaapar, is about to finish. Go back and marry her off to Balaram, the brother of Krishna. He also said that it was good that he had brought Rewati with him because now, she had not grown older. This story shows the difference in time if one goes at great speed from the earth to Brahmalok. Even the modern scientists have said that if a person travels in a vehicle which runs at a speed a little less than light, then the process of ageing will be virtually still. If a 10-year-old human being goes in such a vehicle to the Andromeida Galaxy and returns, then his age will increase by only 56 years, whereas 40 lakh years will have elapsed on earth during that period.
In the Yogavashishtha and other scriptures, one finds descriptions of going back into time and experiencing previous birth and going into the future too, through yoga sadhana.
In this context, George Gemov of the western world has written an interesting poem in his book, One, Two, Three, Infinity:
?There was a young girl named Miss Bright
Who could travel much faster than light
She departed one day
In an Einstein way
And came back on the previous night.?
(This book is available with Ocean Books (P) Ltd, 4/19 Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110 002.)