OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
The smallest unit of time is nimesha. This is the amount of time it takes to blink. Fifteen nimeshas make one kashtha and thirty kashthas are one kala. Thirty kalas make one muhurta and thirty muhurtas are one day. Thirty days are one month. Each month is divided into two lunar fortnights, shukapaksha and krishnapaksha. Six months are called an ayana. There are thus two ayanas in a year. Three hundred and sixty human years are equivalent to one year for the gods.
The lengths of the four yugas (eras) are defined in terms of years of the gods, not in terms of human years. There are four eras and their names are kritayuga or satyayuga, tretayuga, dvaparayuga and kaliyuga. Satyayuga lasts for four thousand divine years, tretayuga for three thousand, dvaparayuga for two thousand and kaliyuga for one thousand. This adds up to ten thousand divine years. The sandhyas and sandhyamshas are the intervening periods between the yugas and these add up to two thousand divine years. Thus, the four yugas taken together last for twelve thouand divine years.
In a kalpa (cycle), each of the four yugas occurs a thousand times. A kalpa has fourteen manvantaras (eras). In a manvantara, each of the four yugas thus occurs seventy one times. One kalpa corresponds to one day for Brahma. One thousand kalpas are one of Brahma’s years and eight thousand of Brahma’s years make one of Brahma’s yugas. One thousand such yugas make up one savana and Brahma lives for three thousand savanas. This period is known as a trivrita.
During each of Vishnu’s days, one Brahma is born and dies. And during each of Shiva’s days, one Vishnu is born and dies.
There are several hells. Each hell is earmarked for a specific type of sinner.
A killer of brahmanas, a false witness, a liar and a drinker of wine is sent to the hell named rourava. Shukara is for thieves and killers of cattle. Killers of kshatriyas and vaishyas are also sent there. Those who commit infanticide are sent to taptalouha. A person who insults his teacher or criticizes the Vedas goes to taptakhala. Those who insult gods, brahmanas or kings are sent to krimibhaksha. Lalabhaksha is reserved for those who eat without offering food to the gods. A brahmana who eats what he should not goes to vishasana.
Sellers of wine are to be found in rudhirandha and killers of bees in vaitarani. Cheats are sent to krishna and destroyers of trees to asipatravana. A hunter of deer goes to vahnijvala, Agnimaya is for arsonists and sandamsha for those who fail to complete a vrata. If you accept your son as a teacher, you are sure to go to shvabhojana.
The punishment is strictly in proportion to the crime committed. But penance diminishes the severity of the sin. The best form of penance is prayer to Shiva. Even if one merely remembers Shiva, that is enough.
The earth is divided into seven regions (dvipas), The names of these regions are Jambudvipa, Plakshadvipa, Shalmalidvipa, Kushadvipa, Krounchadvipa, Pushkaradvipa and Shakadvipa. These seven regions are surrounded by seven seas. The names of the seas are Lavana, Ikshu, Sarpi, Dadhi, Dugdha, Jala, and Rasa.
Mount Sumeru is right in the middle of Jambudvipa. To the north of Sumeru are the mountains Nila and Shvetabhangi and to the south of Sumeru are the mountains Himavana. Hemakuta and Nishada. These mountains are full of all sorts of jewels.
Jambudvipa is divided into many parts (varshas). Right in the centre, where Mount Sumeru is located, is Ilavritavarsha. To the south of Sumeru are Bharatavarsha, Kimpurushavarsha and Harivarsha. To the north of Sumeru is Ramyakavarasha. Next to this is Hiranmayavarsha and further north is Uttarakuruvarsha.
The four major mountains in Ilavritavarsha are Mandara, Gandhamadana, Vipula and Suparshva. They are respectively to the east, south, west, and north of Sumeru. Bhadrashvavarsha is to the east of Sumeru and Ketumalavarsha is to the west. On the top of Mount Sumeru is Brahma’s famous city. The holy river Ganga flows through the sky and divides into four. The names of these tributaries are Sita, Alakanada, Chakshu and Bhadra. Sita flows to the east of Sumeru, Nanda or Alakananda to the south. Chakshu to the west and Bhadra to the north.
Bharatavarsha is bounded by mountain ranges on the north and the sea on the south. Bharatavarsha is divided into nine parts. The names of eight of these parts are Indradyumna, Kaseru, Tamraparna, Soumy, Gabhastimana, Nagadvipa, Gandharva and Varuna. The ninth part is an island surrounded by the ocean. On the eastern side of Bharatavarsha live the kiratas, on the western the yavanas, on the southern the andhras and ont he northern the turaskas.
The seven major mountains in Bharatavarasha are named Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Shuktimana, Riksha, Vindhya and Pariyatra From each of these mountains several rivers flow.
Bharatavarsha is a sacred place. Only those who have accumulated punya over a thousand human lives get to be born in Bharatavarsha (Bharat). Shiva is always present here to offer salvation to the residents.
How far do the boundaries of bhuloka (earth) extend? These boundaries extend to the furthest points that can be lit up by the rays of the sun and the moon. Above the region of the sun is that of the moon. This is successively followed by the regions of Budha (Mercy), Shukra (Venus), Mangala (Mars), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shani (Saturn) and the nakshatras (stars). Next comes saptarshiloka, the circle of the seven great sages (the constellation Ursa majoris), These regions beyond the earth are known as bhuvarloka. Beyond it is svarloka or svarga (heaven). Bhuloka, bhuvarloka and svarloka are destroyed in the destruction that comes at the end of a kalpa.
Regions which are further beyond are not destroyed at the end of a kalpa. The first of these regions is dhruvaloka, the circle of the Pole Star. Next come maharloka, janaloka, tapaloka and satyaloka. Including the earth, there are thus seven regions (lokas) that have been mentioned.
Under the earth is the underworld (patala). This is also divided into seven regions. Their names are patala, sutala, vitala, nitala, mahatala, agryasutala and rasatala.