- From the Sanskrit Puranas and the Mahabharata
- At the end of each Kalpa
- There are three kinds of what we call the "end of
the world" (paralaya): the first induced (naimittka); the second natural
(prakrita); the third immediate (atyantika). Induced destruction (which
concerns all living beings on earth) takes place at the end of each Kalpa
[cycle of the Yuga(s)]. It is called either accidental or induced (naimittka).
- Natural destruction (prakritka) is that which concerns
the whole universe. It takes place when the divine dream which is the world
ends. Matter, space, and time then cease to exist. It takes place at the
end of time (parardha). [Vishnu Purana 1.3.1-3]
- The third destruction, called immediate (atayantika),
refers to the liberation (moksha) of the individual for whom the visible
world ceases to exist. Immediate destruction therefore concerns the individual,
induced destruction all living species on earth, and natural destruction
the end of the universe.
- Accidental or induced destruction (Naimittika Pralaya)
- To put an end to the disastrous and unplanned increase
in the number of living beings
- What is called accidental or provoked destruction (of
living species) (naimittika) takes place at the end of...the cycle of Yugas.
Therefore it concerns the human species. It takes place when the creator
can no longer find any remedy apart from a total destruction of the world
to put an end to the disastrous and unplanned increase in the number of
living beings. [Mahabharata 12.248.13-17]
- This destruction will start with an underwater explosion
called Vadava, the mare, which will take place in the southern ocean.
- "It will be proceeded by a hundred year drought
during which the people who are not robust will perish. The seas, the rivers,
the mountain streams, and the underground streams will be drained.
- Twelve suns will cause the seas to evaporate. Fed by
this water, seven suns will form which will reduce the three worlds to
ashes; the earth will become hard like a turtle's shell.
- The underground serpent will burn the lower worlds
- A fire from the mouth of the underground serpent will
burn the lower worlds, then the surface of the earth, and will set the
atmosphere ablaze. This mass of fire will burn with a great noise. Surrounded
by these circles of fire, all animate and inanimate objects will be destroyed.
- The destroyer god will breathe enormous clouds, which
will make a terrible noise.
- A mass of clouds charged with energy, destroyer of all
(sarvantaka), will appear in the sky like a herd of elephants. [Vishnu
- When the moon is in the constellation of Pushya (Aquarius),
invisible clouds called Pushkara (cloud of death) and Avarta (cloud without
water, nirjala) will cover the earth. [Shiva Purana 5.1.48-50]
- Immense clouds will darken the sky
- Some of these clouds will be black, others white like
jasmine, others bronzed, others gray like donkeys, others red, others blue
like lapis or sapphire, others speckled, orangish, indigo. They will resemble
towns or mountains. They will cover all the earth. These immense clouds,
making a terrible noise, will darken the sky and will shower the earth
in a rain of dust which will extinguish the terrible fire.
- Then, by means of an interminable downpour, they will
flood the whole earth with water. This torrential rain will swamp the earth
for twelve years, and humanity will be destroyed. The whole world will
be in darkness. The flood will last seven years and the earth will seems
like an immense ocean. [Vishnu Purana 1.7.24-40]
- Refuge in the extraplanetary world of Mahar
- When the dissolution of the world seems immanent, some
people abandon the earth during the last days of the Kalpa and take refuge
in the world of Mahar [the extraplanetary world] and from there will return
to the world of life" (janaloka). [Linga Purana 1.4.39-40]
- Seven humanities must again succeed each other on earth,
and when the Golden Age reappears, seven sages will emerge to again teach
the divine law to the few survivors of the four castes. [Shiva Purana 5.4.40-70]
- Those few humans who survive the holocaust will be the
progenitors of the future humanity (Danielou).
- The world dissolves into the imperceptible
- The destruction of the world is implied in the very event
of the creation and follows the reverse process in the thoughts of the
Creator. When the force of expansion (tamas) and that of concentration
(sattva) equalize, the tension (rajas), which is the primary cause, the
substance (pradhana) of the universe, ceases to exist and the world dissolves
into the imperceptible.
- All vestiges of creation are destroyed; Pradhana and
Purusha become idle. The earth, the atmosphere, the planetary and extraplanetary
worlds disappear. Everything that exists is united into one single liquid
mass, an ocean of fire in which the world dissolves. It is in this immense
cosmic ocean (ekarnava) that the organizing principle, Bramha, sleeps until,
at the end of the night, he awakens and, taking the form of a wild boar,
raises a new world out of the waves. [Linga Purana 1.4.36-61]
- The duration of the universe is expressed by a number
having eighteen figures. When the end of time has come, the principle of
smell (gandha tanmatra) disappears and, with it, solid matter. Everything
- All that remains is the vibration of space
- Then the principle of taste (rasa tanmatra) disappears
and with it the liquid element. Everything becomes gaseous. Then the principle
of touch (sparsha tanmatra) disappears and with it the gaseous element.
Everything becomes fire. Then the principle of visibility disappears, all
that remains is the vibration of space, which in turn fades.
- Like a void of spherical shape
- All that remains is space like a void of spherical shape
where only the vibratory principle exists. This vibration is reabsorbed
in the "Principle of the Elements" (bhutadi), that is, the principle
of identification or of individuality (ahamkara), which is part of the
force of expansion (tamas), which itself dissolves into a great principle
(mahat tattva), which is the principle of consciousness (buddhi).
- The plan (purusha), indestructible, omnipresent, which
is emanation of Being, returns to its origin. [Vishnu Purana 1.8.9]
- The game (lila) of the birth and the disappearance of
the worlds is an act of power of the Being who is beyond substance (pradhana)
and beyond the plan (purusha), beyond the manifest (vyakta) and the unmanifest
(avyakta), and beyond time (kala). The time of the Being has neither beginning
nor end. That is why the birth, duration, and disappearance of the worlds
- Apart from Being, nothing exists any longer
- At the time of the destruction neither day nor night,
space or earth, darkness or light, nor anything else exists any longer,
apart from Being, beyond the perceptions of the senses or thought. (Vishnu
- Thanks to Susan Ferguson for these Excerpts from: While
the Gods Play, Shaiva Oracles & Predictions On the Cycles of History
and the Destiny of Mankind by Alain Danielou, 1987, Inner Traditions.