Scientific Vision Of Lord Mahāvīra ► [03] Space and Time in the Bh.S ► The Units Of Innumerable Time

Posted: 30.06.2009

In the numerable periods of time after 100,000 years each successive period is 8,400,000 times longer than the preceding one. Up to śīrṣaprahelikā all these distinctions are known as gāṇitika kāla (Mathematical time).[104] Since, they can be calculated. After these, according to the Bh.S and the scriptures like Anuyogadvāra etc., time cannot be expressed in statistics. If we want to know we have to take the help of analogy. The time discussed on the basis of analogical explanation is called Aupamika kāla (time based on similes).[105] Aupamika kāla is devided into two forms—Palyopama and Sāgaropama[106] as shown above in Table N. 3.

Unlike the Bh.S,[107] Anuyogadvāra and the auto-commentary on Tattvārtha Sūtra clarify these similes in a descriptive manner. Both the texts state that the above sphere of arithmetical calculation is followed by calculations based on similies of pits.[108] The commentary on Tattvārthaa identifies three types of pits: transfer, time based and space based each of the three having a gross and subtle variety.

The similes of the gross and subtle transfer pits are explained as follows—

A round pit, one Yojana in diameter and one Yojana deep, is tightly packed with sheep wool of one to seven days' growth. Now, if one wool fibre is pulled out every time unit, the time taken to empty the pit completely is called one gross transfer pit-measured year. This period consists of a countable number of time-units. If each of the fibres in the transfer pit is cut into innumerable pieces, and then one such piece is pulled out every time unit, the time taken to empty the pit is called one subtle transfer pitmeasured year. This period consists of a numerable number of years multiplied by 107.

In the case of the gross time-based pit, a single wool fibre fragment in the subtle transfer pit is pulled out every one hundred years. The time required for emptying the pit in this manner is called one gross time-based pit-measured year. Now, if each wool fibre is further cut into innumerable pieces so that they become indivisible, and then one piece is pulled out every one hundred years, the time needed to empty the pit is called one subtle time-based pitmeasured year.

Lastly, among the gross and subtle space-based pit similes the gross timebased pit, the space units touched by all the wool fibres in the pit are pulled out one by one every time unit. The time required for emptying the pit in this manner is called one gross space-based pit-measured year. In the case of the simile of the subtle space-based pit, each wool fibre is cut into an innumerable number of pieces to fill up the pit. Those subtle wool fibres are now imagined to be pulled out one by one on each time unit. The time required for emptying the pit in this manner is called one subtle space-based pit-measured year. Innumerable numbers of ascending cycles in the cosmic cycle of time are required to empty this pit. The total number of the single-sensed earth-bodied, fire-bodied, plant-bodied, water-bodied and air-bodied souls is determined by this simile.

Each of the pit similies is converted into an ocean simile by multiplying its number of years by 1015. This, again, is of two categories of similies, pitmeasured periods and ocean measured periods.

Footnotes:
[104]
[105]
[106]
[107]
[108]
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