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Vedic Time - Cyclic versus Linear  

Professor Arthur Holmes (1895-1965) geologist, professor at the University of Durham. He writes regarding the age of the earth in his great book, The Age of Earth (1913) as follows:

"Long before it became a scientific aspiration to estimate the age of the earth, many elaborate systems of the world chronology had been devised by the sages of antiquity. The most remarkable of these occult time-scales is that of the ancient Hindus, whose astonishing concept of the Earth's duration has been traced back to Manusmriti, a sacred book."

When the Hindu calculation of the present age of the earth and the expanding universe could make Professor Holmes so astonished, the precision with which the Hindu calculation regarding the age of the entire Universe was made would make any man spellbound.

(source: Hinduism and Scientific Quest - By T. R. R. Iyengar p. 20-21).

Unlike time in both the Judeo-Christian religious tradition and the current view of modern science Vedic time is cyclic. What goes around come around. What goes up must come down. The Vedic universe passes through repetitive cycles of creation and destruction. During the annihilation of the universe, energy is conserved, to manifest again in the next creation. 

Our contemporary knowledge embraces a version of change and progress that is linear. The saga of the universe proceeds in a straight line, beginning at unique point A and ending at unique point B.    


The Vedic universe passes through repetitive cycles of creation and destruction. During the annihilation of the universe, energy is conserved, to manifest again in the next creation.   

According to the Hindu scriptures, each half cycle is said to last for 4.32 billion years. The Sun, too, revolves around the center of our galaxy once in 325.5 million years. Modern science pegs this in the range of 225 to 270 million years. The point of departure between ancient Hindu cosmology and modern cosmology is that unlike modern cosmology, ancient Hindu cosmology relates the rotational speed of our own galaxy to the period of oscillation of the endless cycles of creation, growth and eventual decay. Our known galaxy is known as Parameshti Mandala, and it is said to rotate around Svayambhu Mandala, the center of all galaxies with a time period of 4.32 billion years, also. Interestingly, the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant suggested that the universe might actually consist of rotating systems rotating around larger rotating systems.  

(For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor).


The ascendancy of Christianity brought the first major shift to historiography as handed down by the Greeks. 

Rejecting the cyclic understanding of existence, Augustine (AD 343-430) saw history as moving in a linear path, purposely from point A to point B. Furthermore, each succeeding civilization was an improvement over its predecessors. Augustine’s notions have now influenced the West for more than fifteen hundred years. 

Christians encouraged a new concept of time that similarly had no connection to nature’s cycles. Up until the Reformation, most people understood time to be cyclical. Reformational Christians, however, adopted St. Augstine’s idea of linear time. 

Augustine described the Pagan theory of cycles, circuitus temporum as: 

"…those argumentations whereby the infidel seeks to undermine our simple faith, dragging us from the straight road and compelling us to walk with him on the wheel.. "

Like the theory of reincarnation, the idea of cyclical time denied the uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ. If time spirals around, providing repeated opportunities to grow and change, then the spirit of Jesus’s life and resurrection could theoretically be experienced by anyone at anytime, regardless of apostolic succession or hierarchical rank. Moreover, if time is cyclical, life might not consist of just one frightening chance to repent or else to be forever damned, but rather of unlimited opportunities to develop a closer relationship with God. Controlling people is more difficult when they believe that there are many means and opportunities to return to God other than simply the one that the Church offers. 

Even the atheistic Karl Marx took shelter in history as a straight line with purpose – a worker’s paradise, not Christian redemption.

Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (1880- 1936) German historian and philosopher (one of the most controversial historians of this century) refused to grant Western culture a superior position over other cultures. His most famous work, The Decline of the West presents an inevitable disintegration of civilization as Westerners know it. 

He considered that each civilization “passes through the age phases of the individual man. It has a childhood, youth, and old age.” We can note that once again, even in modern times, the ancient outlook of history moving in cycles still demonstrates its attractiveness. 

(source: Searching for Vedic India - By Swami Devamitra  p. 335 and 47 and The Dark Side of Christian History - By Helen Ellerbe p. 157 - 158). Also refer to The concept of Age.

For more refer to chapter on Hindu Cosmology and Advanced Concetps.

Dr. Carl Sagan said: "Hindu cosmology gives a time-scale for the earth and the universe which is consonant with that of modern scientific cosmology", as opposed to the limited Biblical-Quranic cosmology, which was protected against more far-sighted alternatives by a vigilant religious orthodoxy."

Dr. Koenraad Elst has observed: "Like in other ancient civilizations, in Hindu India priests and scientists were often the same persons; the conflict between religion and reason is not the primitive condition but a contingent historical development in post-classical Europe, paralleled to an extent by the stagnation of Muslim culture from the twelfth century onwards."

(source: Decolonising The Hindu Mind - Ideological Development of Hindu Revivalism - By Koenraad Elst Rupa & Co. January 2001 ISBN 8171675190  p.30).

Dr. Heinrich Zimmer (1890-1943), the great German Indologist, a man of penetrating intellect, the keenest esthetic sensibility observed:

“In one of the Puranic accounts of the deeds of Vishnu in his Boar Incarnation or Avatar, occurs a casual reference to the cyclic recurrence of the great moments of myth. The Boar, carrying on his arm the goddess Earth whom he is in the act of rescuing from the depths of the sea, passingly remarks to her: 

“Every time I carry you this way….” 

For the Western mind, which believes in single, epoch-making, historical events (such as, for instance, the coming of Christ) this casual comment of the ageless god has a gently minimizing, annihilating effect.  It is easy for us to forget that our strictly linear, evolutionary idea of time is something peculiar to modern man. 

Even the Greeks of the day of Plato' and Aristotle , who were much nearer than the Hindus to our ways of thought and feeling did not share it. Indeed, St. Augustine seems to have been the first to conceive of this modern idea of time. 

(source: The Myth and Symbols in India Art and Civilization – By Heinrich Zimmer p. 18 and 152 - 155 ). Refer to chapters on Advanced Concepts and Hindu Cosmology.

Refer to A conflict between science and God - By Martin Kettle - Crusade against science in Modern America - Three-quarters of Americans, in other words, still do not accept what Darwin established 150 years ago. Just under half of all Americans believe the natural world was created in its present form by God in six days as described in Genesis. They believe, incredibly, that the earth is only a few thousand years old.

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Urdu is derived from Sanskrit - says Oxford Scholar Isabelle Onianf

Isabelle Onianf is visiting Pakistan for the first time, in search of roots of a language she teaches at Oxford. Having studied Greek and Latin at London University, she says she was motivated to pursue Sanskrit. “It’s a language spoken only by a very select group of people, and is as diverse and vast as any other.

“While a few Indian universities offer Sanskrit studies, it is taught nowhere in Pakistan,” she criticises. “A sad fact,” she says, “since most of Urdu is derived from Sanskrit.”

Ms Onianf went on to explain the roots of “acha”, one of the most frequently uttered words in Urdu.

“Its origins lie in Sanskrit, where it’s used to describe the purity of water, and literally means pure and clear. In the evolved language, it is used completely out of context.”

(source: Oxford scholar searching Pakistan for Sanskrit, beer -

Urdu, being nothing but a variation of Hindi, is also a daughter (or perhaps great-granddaughter) of Sanskrit.

Modern Urdu evolved from the popularly spoken khadi boli of Delhi region. Practically all the Farsi/Arabic words in Urdu are loan words. You can replace any of them with Sanskrit or English words, an Urdu text will still make sense. 

Tu: derived from Sanskrit (tvam)
hai: derived from Sanskrit (root as)
badi: derived from Sanskrit (brahat)
jovan: derived from Sanskrit (yovan)
nahin: derived from Sanskrit (na hi)
koi: derived from Sanskrit (kah)
dosh: Sanskrit
nam: Sanskrit
bahen: derived from Sanskrit (bahu)
mor: derived from Sanskrit (mayur)
chit: derived from Sanskrit (chitta)
chor: Sanskrit
ghan: Sanskrit
ghata: Sanskrit
ankhon: derived from Sanskrit (aksha)

The great thing about Hindi/Urdu is that it has been enriched by many languages, although its basis is Sanskrit. That give it the kind of flexibility unmatched by any other language.

(source: IndianCivilization yahoo group).

Urdu                                   Sanskrit/Hindi

1. Id                                   Id: Pooja, to pray
2. Id(gaah)                          Id (as above; Griha: ghar or home
3. Id-az-juha                        Id; Ajah: goat
4. Macca-Madina                   Makh-Maidini: Place for fire worship
5. Stan (eg Pakistan)             Sthan: Place
6. Namaz                             Namoh+yaj
7. Hftah                              Saptah (Sa replaced by Ha) Week                              
8. Shab-e-barat                   Shiv-ratri
9. Chand                             Sans -Chandra; Hindi: Chand; Moon
10. Aamin                           Appears to have a phonetic relationship with "OM"; the other word derived from  OM is  Omni  (present/potent)
11. Iran/Iraq                     Ir dhatu meaning dry sandy place.
12. Arab/Arabia                   Arv;Ashava; horse        

(source: Contributed by Dr Mayank Rawat, Bharat/India).

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