Kaal, (Kaala(m) or kālá), though broadly interpreted as time, however, has a deeper concept within Sanātana Ḍharma Siddhānta (fundamentals of a concept, also inherent to Hinduism and Buddhism) as explained by Shastra (Śāstra). The concept kālá is not just applicable to Time but also Space (the fabric). Time is generaly the progression of events relating with a past and a future imaginative event. Iśhwara (Iśvara) exists as a singularity since there is no second entity other than Him, His Shakti (śakti) dwells within Him and manifests into Prakruti (Prakṛti) which is known as creation, but then recedes back into just śakti which is nothing but dissolution. If this manifestation of creation and its recess (dissolution) happens within the same instant (if we look time as a progressing events) then technically, creation seizes to exist. Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu, the concept of preservation and sustenance, prolongs the gap between this creation and dissolution giving an opportunity for creation to exist for a duration. However, existence is nothing but dissolution at a slower rate, and the interpretation of the measure at which this dissolution happens is termed as kālám (kālá). Hence, even from the highest purview of creation, till the smallest entity in it, the cycle (perpetual oscillation) of creation and dissolution is constant and ever repeating. A future section of Laya will help us comprehend deeper into this cycle. In the perspective of Iśvara, countless of such creations and dissolution happen at the same instant, hence kālám (kālá) has no meaning to Him, hence the title Kaalathita (Kaal:athita), meaning devoid of kālám (time). He is also called Mahākālá, meaning the principal of kālá, whereas His counterpart Pārvatī is called Kāli. but kālám is everything for us. Hence, the sloka from Srimad Bhagavadgita, Chapter 2 of Sankhya Yoga, sloka 12, where in the Gitacharya (Śrī Kṛṣṇa) says:
न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः।
न चैव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम्।।
(Gita Supersite n.d.)
Meaning, its fact that I (Iśvara) has or will ever seize to exists, as time has no meaning so these men and kings (their JīvaĀtma) will never seize to exist.
Our perspective of kālám will be different for somebody in a different reality, hence kālám and the phase of its progression varies from loka to loka, for example in Brahmā Loka, a single moment of progression trickles down to millions of human years, because universe, or at the highest level, call it creation, is expanding towards dissolution. Its like an inverted chandelier, wherein, one spin on the top causes an increasingly larger rotation as we go down. Its like an explosion that originates at one point and spreads outwards and slowly disperses, in the same way creation explodes and decimates and dissolves back into its source. Iśvara manifests within these various countless realities of as Brahmā, Śrī Viṣṇu and Rudhra to support us, for which He is the source and we are but a speck in it, yet very important to Iśvara.
Śhiva (Śiva) and Śivaa (Pārvatī) are both Pralayakartha (who dissolutes) and Pralayashakshini (Pralaya:shakshini) (who witness the dissolution) and should never to be worshiped separately. One should never misinterpret Śiva as the destroyer, it would be an insult to identify in such a way. Everything that emerges, dissolves back into its source, even atman should one day be realized as one Pāramatma (supreme singular conscience) and this happens through gyāna (jñana). Gyāna is a state wherein the self or Ātman realizes and recognizes itself, in other words, the self which associates itself to this physical body detaches itself from the physical realm, to unify with Pārabrahma (Pāra:Brahmā). This concept of realizing the Ātman an respectively Pāramatma is called as laya. During the dissolution of creation (with all its realities and countless universes), becomes a singularity when Prakṛti (both physical manifestation of energy and pure energy) is unified with Pārama:Śiva. In the same state, as per Viṣṇu tatvam (same tatva different perspective), Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu is depicted as Vatapatra Sai. During this state, He alone as the supreme singular conscience dwells in the absence of creation and all its realities, devoid of kālá (time/space). Its to be noted that Iśvara is always alone, since there is no secondary entity other than Him, however, in creation and its various realities, He manifests differently. After Mahā:pralaya when He decides to restart creation, His śakti drips out of Him as Prakṛti, or rather we should say, His śakti emulates within Him to manifest as Prakṛti. Pārvatī is śakti which is Śrī, hence Pārvatī is never addressed as Śrī Pārvatī. Eventually Prakṛti unifies with Him through the concept known as mahapralayam. Countless such creations and dissolution take place, or rather one should say taking place within Iśvara because time for us might be linear, but for Iśvara, He is Kaalaathita (Kaal:athita, where ‘kaal’ means time and ‘athita’ means devoid, when read as a whole it means devoid of time). This is the reason why PāramaŚiva is depicted with a garland of skulls which belong to previous Brahmās (creators) who came and left, and out of respect to the creator of each srusti (creation), Śiva tags them to His garland. Similar message of multiple creations and realities existing in parallel can be seen both in Srimad Bhagavadgita and Śrī Devi Bhagavatam (Śrī Devi Bhagavata Puranam). In Viṣṇu tatva, Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu restarts creations, similar to the blossoming of a lotus flower. It’s Śrī Lakṣmī who blossoms in His hrudaya (as His Shakti) to become srusti (creation) and manifesting as Prakṛti. In a single word, Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu becomes Viṣhvam (entire creation and its realities) encompassed within Him. This is the reason Śrī Viṣṇu Sahastranama Strotram starts with the word ‘Vishvam’ and every other name in this stotram is but analogies and subtitle to ‘Vishvam’.
Is Śiva a Destroyer?
Śiva is often translated as the destroyer, this is a linguistic error during translation. Destruction is to damage or eliminate the composition of an object, resulting in remanents which usually get dispersed, hence destruction always has a byproduct or a leftover, this is very similar to Quantum Information. Say an apple is destroyed beyond visible recognition, whatever information that constitutes the Quantum Properties that make up the apple is never destroyed. Hence, the word ‘destructor’ creates a vague interpretation as an attacker or an assailant. In the case of Pralaya, (the closest word is dissolution) the object merges into the source as one. Śiva is Pralaya Karaka (the concept of laya) and is done in 3 ways:
Swalpakalika (Swalpa:kalika) Laya
Aatyantica (Aatyan:tica) Laya
pralaya(m) / mahapra:laya
At the highest level, the throbbing within the Singularity just subsides. (Swami Venkatesananda. 1993, TED-Ed Quantum Information. 2019)
Three forms of Laya (Dissolution)
Swalpakalika (Swalpa:kalika) Laya is a phenomenon of our conscience momentarily detaches itself from the body, the reality, and the outside physical world to slide into a resting state. The Ātman still exists but dwells in a different state, commonly known as a dream. This type of laya provides our body and mind with rest so as to rejuvenate and restructure itself to perform karmā after being awake. The physical body and mind continue to function during this state but in the background.
Aatyantica (Aatyan:tica) Laya is to ignite gyana (jnana) so that the atman recognizes the paramatma or itself to be the Parabrahma. We have read earlier that its the Divine Mother who has to bring us close to Iśvara by fostering devotion that leads to gyana.
Finally, pralaya(m) is a temporary reset of Bhumi (Earth) either through a calamity or by the beginning of a new era. Pralaya has an extended version known as mahapralaya (Mahā:pralayam), which is the complete dissolution of creation and all its realities to unify with its source, which is Parabrahma unified with śakti becoming a singularity. Hence, Parameshwari (Pārameśvari) (the śakti also Devi Pārvatī) is the only one to witness this dissolution, hence known by the title ‘Mahā Parlaya Shakshini’. Paramatma (the supreme singular conscience) using its śakti stores the information required to restart a new creation. His śakti eventually oozes out of Him to form both the physical matter and also pure energy with which He (Iśvara) as Brahmā structures and builds a reality, as Śrī Vishnu (Viṣṇu) He strives towards its preservation and as Śiva, He gives us rest, gyana (jnana) and eventually takes back this śakti within Him. Many such realities exist in His creation, and so, many respective Brahmā and Śrī Viṣṇu and Śiva exists for these realities, who are but one Iśvara (this topic can be explored in the Puranas of Śrī Devi Bhagavatam and Srimad Bhagavatam). Through the process of pralaya and mahapralaya(m), Iśvara Himself seeks to unify the Jīva who were unable to realize the Parabrahma. A good analogy is a ball of moist clay when falls on beads making them stick to itself, hence Iśvara reaches those who couldn’t reach Him (Iśvara).
Above are the three major forms of pralaya performed by the concept known as Śiva and Śivaa (Pārvatī). Based on this we should carefully contemplate that there is no anger involved in the phenomenon of mahapralaya. In fact, it is done out of Karunyam (affection from kindness and empathy), because a Jīva hops through millions of lives and dwelling in the never ending loop of samsara. Jīva unable to realize Ātman eventually gets exhausted, at which point Iśvara Himself reaches them and assimilates them with Himself, hence, this concept is not something to be feared, rather one must contemplate upon the tatva(m), and when understood, life and its unanswered questions automatically fall in place. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.1-19)
REFERENCE ENTRY (APA Style citation)
Śrī Chaganti Koteshwar Rao (Orator). (n.d.). Kanaka Dhara Stotram [Audio Part 1-19, Recorded by Srichaganti.net]. Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. Retrieved from http://www.english.srichaganti.net/KanakaDharaStrotram.aspx
Shiva as Nataraj performing cosmic dance as Pārvatī winessing it.(n.d.). Pininterest, Śiva Nataraja – Lord of the Dance Sculpture Hindu Art statue. Retrieved from: https://goo.gl/images/4EkcgC
Gita Supersite. (n.d.). Developed and Maintained by IIT Kanpur. Retrieved from https://www.gitasupersite.iitk.ac.in
TED-Ed Quantum Information. (Oct 22, 2019). Hawking’s black hole paradox explained – Fabio Pacucci. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/r5Pcqkhmp_0