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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Shrimad Bhagavatam > Canto-12 > The four categories of universal annihilation



The four categories of universal annihilation.



     In order to prepare Maharaja Parikshit for his own death, Shukadeva Gosvami described the universal annihilations, just to put everything in the right perspective.      

     One thousand cycles of the four yugas constitute one kalpa, or day of Brahma. During Brahma’s night, the three planetary systems are destroyed. At that time, Lord Narayana lies down on the bed of Ananta Shesha and absorbs the entire universe within Himself, as Brahma sleeps.

     At the end of Brahma’s lifetime, the universal egg, composed of the seven material elements, is annihilated. When this time approaches, there will first be no rain on the earth for one hundred years. Because of famine, the population will devour one another, leading to total destruction. The sun will then evaporate all of the water in the oceans. Thereafter, the fire of annihilation will come from Lord Sankarshana’s mouth and, fuelled by the wind, it will scorch the entire universal sphere, causing it to glow.

A terrible wind of destruction will then blow for more than one hundred years, causing the sky to become gray, due to the dust. Thereafter, great masses of multicolored clouds will gather, roaring terribly with thunder, and they will pour down rain for one hundred years. Indeed, the entire universe will fill up with water. Because of this flooding, the water will rob the earth element of its quality of fragrance, causing it to become dissolved.

     Then, fire will deprive water of its quality of taste and, in this way, one after another, all of the elements will become merged. At the end of the process, the three modes of material nature will be consumed by the unmanifest. This unmanifest is the original form of nature, and it has no beginning or end, because it is beyond the transforming influence of time. In this unmanifest stage of material nature, called pradhana, there are no gross or subtle elements, modes of nature, senses, demigods, life air, or intelligence, nor are there the three stages of consciousness- sleep, wakefulness, and deep sleep. The situation is something like a complete void. But still, pradhana is the original substance and the actual basis of creation.

     The annihilation at the end of Brahma’s day is called naimittika (occasional). The annihilation at the end of Brahma’s life is called prakritika, when, by the force of time, all of the material energies are deprived of their potencies and become totally merged together. There is also a continuous annihilation, because all manifested forms are constantly undergoing transformation by the influence of time. Finally, when the false ego of the conditioned soul is cut off by the sword of discriminating knowledge and realization of the Supreme Lord, that is called atyantika, or final annihilation of material existence.

     Although a cloud is produced by the sun’s heat, and can be seen because of sunlight, it nevertheless creates darkness for the viewing eye. Similarly, false ego is a product of the potency of the Absolute Truth, and it is made visible by the Absolute Truth, but it obstructs the conditioned soul from realizing the Absolute Truth, even though he is also a minute expansion of the potency of the Absolute Truth.

     Shukadeva Gosvami said, “O best of the Kurus, I have related to you these narrations of Lord Narayana’s pastimes by presenting them as a brief summary. Even Lord Brahma could not describe them entirely. For a person who is suffering in the great fire of countless miseries, and who desires to cross over the insurmountable ocean of material existence, there is no suitable boat except the cultivation of a taste for the narrations of the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. “

     “Long ago, this anthology of all the Puranas was taught by Lord Nara-Narayana Rishi to Narada. Narada repeated it to Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, who then taught it to me. Suta Gosvami, who is sitting here with us, will speak this Bhagavatam to great sages, assembled at Naimisharanya, headed by Shaunaka.”