Manvantara Invites Contemplation on the Cyclical Nature of Time

manvantara (मन्वन्तर), in Hindu cosmology, is a cyclic period identifying the duration, reign, or age of a Manu, the progenitor of mankind. In each manvantara, seven Rishis, certain deities, an Indra, a Manu, and kings (sons of Manu) are created and perish. Each manvantara is distinguished by the Manu who rules/reigns over it, of which we are currently in the seventh manvantara of fourteen, which Vaivasvata Manu rules. During a Manvantara, various cosmic and earthly events unfold, shaping the destiny of the universe and its inhabitants. The concept of Manvantara plays a significant role in Hindu cosmogony, providing a framework for understanding the vast stretches of time and the cyclic nature of creation, preservation, and dissolution in the cosmic order.

Manvantara Meaning

The term “Manvantara” is derived from the Sanskrit language, where “Manu” refers to the progenitor of humanity, and “antara” means interval or period. Therefore, “Manvantara” can be translated to mean the interval or period of a Manu. In Hindu cosmology, each Manvantara is a specific time period presided over by a Manu, who is considered a progenitor and lawgiver for humanity during that particular era. The concept is integral to the cyclical nature of time and cosmic evolution in Hindu cosmogony.

Time in Hinduism - Glorious Hinduism
Manvantara can be translated to mean the interval or period of a Manu

Purpose of Manvantara

The concept serves several purposes within Hindu cosmology and philosophy:

Cyclical Nature of Time

Manvantara highlights the cyclical nature of time in Hindu cosmology. The recurring periods of Manvantara, within the larger framework of a Kalpa, emphasize the eternal and cyclical nature of the universe’s creation, preservation, and dissolution.

Divine Governance and Law

Each Manvantara is presided over by a specific Manu, who is considered a divine lawgiver and progenitor of humanity. The purpose is to establish and uphold righteous principles (dharma) that guide human behavior and societal order during that particular era.

Evolution and Progression

The succession implies a continuous process of evolution and progression in the cosmic order. Each Manvantara is believed to bring about new cycles of creation and development, contributing to the unfolding of the grand cosmic plan.

Karmic Cycle

The concept is interconnected with the Hindu idea of karma. It suggests that individuals and beings undergo various experiences and challenges in different Manvantaras as part of their karmic journey toward spiritual evolution and ultimate liberation (moksha).

Spiritual Lessons

The stories and events associated with each Manvantara often contain moral and spiritual lessons. These narratives, found in Hindu scriptures, guide righteous living, ethical conduct, and the pursuit of spiritual knowledge.

In essence, it serves as a framework within Hindu cosmology, emphasizing the orderly progression of time, the cosmic cycle, and the spiritual and moral dimensions of existence. It reflects the interconnectedness of the divine, the cosmic, and the human realms in the Hindu worldview.

Types of Manvantara

In Hindu cosmology, there are different types, each presided over by a specific Manu. The Manus are considered the progenitors of humanity and divine lawgivers. The current Manvantara, as per traditional belief, is the seventh in the cycle. Here are the types of Manvantaras:

Svayambhuva

The first Manvantara is known as Svayambhuva, and it was presided over by Svayambhuva Manu. In this, the creator deity Brahma‘s mind-born sons, known as the Saptarishis (seven sages), were responsible for disseminating knowledge and guiding humanity.

Swarochisha 

The second is called Swarochisha, ruled by Swarochisha Manu. During this period, the divine sage Swarochi was the Manu, and the Saptarishis played a crucial role in instructing and leading society.

Uttama 

The third is Uttama, presided over by Uttama Manu. The Saptarishis continued their role as teachers and guides in this era.

Tapasa or Tamasa 

The fourth is known as Tapasa or Tamasa, and it was ruled by Tapasa Manu. The Saptarishis maintained their duty of guiding humanity during this period.

Raivata 

The fifth is called Raivata, governed by Raivata Manu. Once again, the Saptarishis played a pivotal role in imparting knowledge and moral guidance.

Chakshusha 

The sixth is Chakshusha, presided over by Chakshusha Manu. The Saptarishis continued their responsibilities during this time.

Vaivasvata 

The current is the seventh and is known as Vaivasvata or the Manvantara of the current solar dynasty. It is presided over by Vaivasvata Manu (also known as Sraddhadeva Manu or Manu Vaivasvata). This is the era in which the present humanity exists. According to Hindu tradition, it is during this Manvantara that Lord Vishnu incarnated as Matsya (the fish) to save the ancient scriptures and the sage Manu from a great deluge.

These Manvantaras collectively make up a Kalpa, which is a day in the life of Brahma, the creator deity. The idea of Manvantaras emphasizes the cyclical nature of time and the continuous evolution of the universe in Hindu cosmology.

Duration of Manvantara

The duration of a Manvantara in Hindu cosmology is traditionally considered to be 306,720,000 years. This period is calculated based on the combined duration of the four Yugas (ages) that make up each Manvantara. The Yugas follow a descending order of righteousness, with each Yuga having its specific duration. The four Yugas and their durations within a Manvantara are as follows:

  1. Satya Yuga (Golden Age): 1.728 million years
  2. Treta Yuga (Silver Age): 1.296 million years
  3. Dvapara Yuga (Bronze Age): 864,000 years
  4. Kali Yuga (Iron Age): 432,000 years

Adding these durations together gives the total length of a Manvantara:

Satya Yuga+Treta Yuga+Dvapara Yuga+Kali Yuga=1.728 million+1.296 million+864,000+432,000=4.32 million years

Multiplying this by 71, which represents the number of cycles of Yugas within a Manvantara, gives the traditional duration of a Manvantara:

4.32 million years×71=306,720,000 years

It’s important to note that these time scales are symbolic and are used to convey the cyclical nature of time and cosmic evolution in Hindu cosmology. The actual purpose is more spiritual and symbolic rather than representing literal historical timelines.

Sructure of Manvantara

The Manvantara, within the larger cosmic framework of a Kalpa, is structured based on the reign of a specific Manu and the sequential unfolding of four Yugas (ages). Here is how it is structured:

Role of Manu

Each Manvantara is presided over by a specific Manu, who is considered a progenitor of humanity and a divine lawgiver. The Manu establishes righteous principles (dharma) and guides humanity during his reign. In Hinduism, Manu refers to the progenitor of humanity and a legendary lawgiver. It’s important to note that there are several Manus, each associated with a different Manvantara. The Manus are part of the cyclical and cosmological framework in Hinduism, reflecting the continuous process of creation, preservation, and dissolution in the grand cosmic order.

The term “Manu” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Manu,” which means “human” or “man.” According to Hindu scriptures, Manu is not an individual but a title or position held by a series of cosmic and mythical figures, each representing a different epoch in the cycle of creation, preservation, and dissolution of the universe. In our current Kalpa (day of Brahma), these fourteen Manu’s reign in succession:

  1. Swayambhu Manu
  2. Swarochisha Manu
  3. Uttama Manu
  4. Tapasa/Tamasa Manu
  5. Raivata Manu
  6. Chakshusha Manu
  7. Vaivasvata Manu (current)
  8. Savarni Manu
  9. Daksa Savarni Manu
  10. Brahma Savarni Manu
  11. Dharma Savarni Manu
  12. Rudra Savarni Manu
  13. Raucya or Deva Savarni Manu
  14. Indra Savarni Manu

Duration of Manvantara

The duration is traditionally believed to be 306,720,000 years. This period is calculated by combining the lengths of the four Yugas that occur in each Manvantara.

Yugas of Manvantara

It is divided into four Yugas, each characterized by different levels of virtue, morality, and societal conduct. The Yugas follow a descending order:

  • Satya Yuga (Golden Age): The most virtuous age, characterized by truth and righteousness. It lasts for 1.728 million years.

  • Treta Yuga (Silver Age): A decline in virtue compared to Satya Yuga. It lasts for 1.296 million years.
  • Dvapara Yuga (Bronze Age): A further decline in virtue. It lasts for 864,000 years.
  • Kali Yuga (Iron Age): The least virtuous age, marked by a significant decline in morality. It lasts for 432,000 years.

Cyclic Nature

After the completion of one Manvantara, the cycle repeats, and a new Manvantara begins. The process continues until the end of the Kalpa, which represents a day in the life of Brahma, the creator deity.

Saptarishis

Throughout each Manvantara, the Saptarishis, or the seven great sages, play a crucial role. They act as guides, teachers, and custodians of knowledge, imparting wisdom to humanity and maintaining the spiritual order.

The structure reflects the cyclical and orderly nature of time in Hindu cosmology. It emphasizes the continuous evolution of the universe, the influence of divine principles, and the spiritual journey of beings within the cosmic cycles. It is an essential concept within the broader context of Hindu cosmogony, highlighting the interconnectedness of cosmic, divine, and human realms.

The Legendary Story of Sage Manu: Exploring Hindu Mythology's First Man and His Trials - Old World Gods
Role of Manu: As per Manvantara

Teachings associated with Manvantara

The teachings associated with it are often embedded in the narratives and scriptures of Hindu mythology. While specific teachings can vary across different Manvantaras, some common themes and moral principles are emphasized. The teachings generally revolve around the following concepts:

Dharma (Righteousness)

The Manus are considered divine lawgivers who guide humanity in upholding dharma. They teach the principles of righteousness, moral conduct, and ethical behavior. The Manus provides guidelines for individuals, societies, and rulers to live virtuously and maintain cosmic order.

Spiritual Evolution

The Manus often imparts spiritual wisdom and knowledge, emphasizing the importance of self-realization and the journey toward spiritual enlightenment. They guide individuals on the path of self-discipline, meditation, and devotion to attain higher states of consciousness.

Cosmic Harmony

The teachings underscore the interconnectedness of all living beings and the importance of maintaining harmony with the cosmos. This includes ecological balance, respect for nature, and understanding one’s role in the grand cosmic scheme.

Karma and Reincarnation

The concept of karma (the law of cause and effect) is often emphasized in the teachings of Manvantara. Individuals are taught to understand the consequences of their actions and the role of karma in shaping their destinies. The cycle of reincarnation is also a recurring theme, highlighting the opportunity for spiritual growth across multiple lifetimes.

Devotion and Worship

The Manus may encourage devotion to the divine and the practice of rituals and worship as a means to connect with higher spiritual realms. Devotional practices are often seen as a way to cultivate virtues, humility, and gratitude.

Guidance for Rulers

Since the Manus are associated with the establishment of social order, their teachings often include guidelines for rulers and leaders. Just governance, protection of the weak, and fostering a just and equitable society are key aspects.

Preservation of Knowledge

In some Manvantara narratives, there is an emphasis on preserving and transmitting knowledge. The Manus, along with the Saptarishis (seven sages), are often portrayed as custodians of sacred wisdom, ensuring the continuity of knowledge across generations.

It’s essential to note that the teachings of Manvantara are conveyed through mythological stories and allegorical narratives. The symbolic nature of these teachings allows for diverse interpretations, and individuals may draw spiritual and moral insights from these stories in their pursuit of a virtuous and purposeful life.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Manvantara is a profound concept within Hindu cosmology that signifies the cyclical periods of time presided over by different Manus, who are revered as progenitors and lawgivers. These cosmic intervals, characterized by the succession of four Yugas, represent the continuous cycle of creation, preservation, and dissolution in the grand cosmic order. The teachings associated with Manvantara encompass principles of righteousness (dharma), spiritual evolution, cosmic harmony, karma, and devotion. Through mythological narratives, the Manus guides humanity in navigating the moral and spiritual dimensions of existence, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all living beings and the pursuit of higher consciousness. The symbolic nature of Manvantara invites contemplation on the cyclical nature of time and the eternal journey toward self-realization and cosmic harmony within the vast tapestry of Hindu cosmogony.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Manvantara in Hindu cosmology?

It is a concept in Hindu cosmology that represents a specific period presided over by a Manu, who is considered a progenitor and lawgiver. It is part of the larger cosmic cycle known as a Kalpa.

How long does a Manvantara last?

Traditionally, it is believed to last for 306,720,000 years. This duration is calculated based on the combined lengths of four Yugas (ages) that occur within each Manvantara.

Who is Manu in Hinduism?

Manu is a legendary figure in Hinduism who holds the title of the progenitor of humanity and a divine lawgiver. Different Manus preside over each Manvantara, guiding righteous living, moral conduct, and cosmic order.

How many Yugas are there in a Manvantara?

Each Manvantara is divided into four Yugas: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga. These Yugas follow a descending order of virtue and righteousness.

What is the significance of the Saptarishis in Manvantara?

The Saptarishis, or seven great sages, play a crucial role in each Manvantara. They act as guides, teachers, and custodians of knowledge, imparting wisdom to humanity and maintaining the spiritual order.

Is the concept of Manvantara symbolic or literal?

The concept is primarily symbolic and metaphorical, representing cosmic cycles rather than literal historical timelines. It conveys the cyclical nature of time, creation, and spiritual evolution in Hindu cosmology.

How does the concept of Manvantara relate to dharma?

The Manus are believed to have established principles of dharma (righteousness) during their reign in each Manvantara. The teachings emphasize the importance of moral conduct, ethical behavior, and adherence to cosmic principles.

Are there different types of Manvantaras?

Yes, Hindu tradition recognizes different types of Manvantaras, each associated with a specific Manu. Notable ones include Svayambhuva, Swarochisha, Uttama, Tapasa, Raivata, Chakshusha, and the current one, Vaivasvata Manvantara.

How does Manvantara contribute to the overall Hindu cosmogony?

It is an integral part of Hindu cosmogony, contributing to the understanding of the cyclical nature of time, creation, and dissolution. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of cosmic, divine, and human realms within the cosmic order.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manvantara

Related Posts

7 Comments

    1. Thanks a lot for your kind attitude and precious words. Have a nice day!!

  1. Lots of people use their lotteries to raise money for useful
    initiatives that improve education, public infrastructure
    and societal services. Once the lottery is played by you, you’re helping to fund these programs when you fund your own ambitions
    of winning it big. Have a great time and all the best!

    1. Thanks a lot for your kind attitude and the precious words. Have a nice day!!

    2. Thanks a lot for your kind attitude and the precious words. Have nice day!!

  2. Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I
    really enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Thanks a lot for your kind attitude and the precious words. I’m sorry to say that I’m not aware of any such web. I appreciate your visit to my site. Please stay tuned. Have a nice day!!

Comments are closed.