The 9th part of the Indic Past Series focuses on decoding the concept of the Manvantaras. A part of it on the 5th Manvantara namely, Raivata Manvantara, when the first speech took genesis was released prior to this. The 9th part covers all the six Manvantaras that have gone so far.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
The discourse starts by exploring the meaning of Manvantara. This comes up with two revelations - Manvantara as a measurement of Time and an Epoch. This covers geological events. The story of Madhu and Kaitabha is deciphered in this context as mantle or ‘medas’ oozing out, ultimately forming the crust of the earth. It is from here the other meaning of Manvantara becomes relevant.
Manu forms the basis of a Manvantara – Manu being the embodiment of Dharma as per Shiva Purana. After a brief description of what this Dharma is about, the video continues to describe the Manvantaras based on the template found in the Puranas. This template covers the ‘calf’ and the feature to be ‘milked’ from the earth.
The first Manvantara as per Brahmanda Purana was that of Brahma when the wind was the calf and the seeds spread by the wind formed the factor that was milked. Brahma Manvantara is not found mentioned in the other Puranas, but this Manvantara gives continuity from Madhu- Kaitabha episode that was followed by the formation of trees on the crust of the earth.
This was followed by Svayambhu Manvantara, designated as the first Manvantara by the other Puranas. By the etymology of the name Svayambhu it is known that he was self-born and not dropped by God on the earth! The etymology concurs with the Darwinian concept of evolution – of man evolving from the previously existing life forms. It is for this reason he was known as Svayambhu. He, as the calf milked all the plants of the earth. This implies that man was not carnivorous by nature.
Svayambhu’s first knowledge was on use of mud, recognized as “Kardama” who along with “Chiklida” (moisture) brought wealth to man. So the western conception of Stone age has no relevance to Indic past.
The herbivorous life style of Indic man continues to be revealed in the next Manvantara too when man became Svārochisha – self shining by his ability to identify and collect food grains. This resulted in gaining the knowledge of medical and health related benefits of food grains.
Man evolved further by using the grains for growing crops! That period when he started growing crops is known as Uttama Manvantara when the calf was Devabhuja – the ‘hand of Devas’. This could refer to the understanding of the natural forces such as sunshine and rainfall and their importance in growing crops. Man had now realized the role of forces beyond his control and with this the first concept of Deva – the God had dawned.
A notable feature of this Manvantara is that cultivation had started very long ago. The role of sunshine in cultivation points to the locations in equatorial rainfall regions. In contrast Ice age conditions were continuing for very long in the northern parts of the globe including Europe and West Asia until the end of Younger Dryas.
Cultivation signals settled life in Uttama Manvantara. This was followed by the 4th Manvantara namely Tāmasa Manvantara that signified darkness. This could be a reference to the Last Glacial Maximum that started 33,000 years ago which brought less warmth to the equatorial regions. There is no mention of what is milked at this time, but Bala-Bandhu was referred to as the calf. This period forced people to be huddled together that resulted in strengthening bonding and family life. Bala-Bandhu is more likely to be Bāla Bandhu – of people, mothers and elderly women in particular becoming guardians and protectors of children. From this, honoring the departed mothers must have started that gave rise to the concept of Mother Spirits discussed in an earlier episode.
Then came the 5th Manvantara by name Raivata Manvantara when speech developed. That part of the video was already uploaded with the synopsis (Read here). Family concept that had come up by this time, helped in developing speech for communication. The location was in Shaka Dweepa, in the equatorial region, where Mount Kumuda was located. It came to be known as Kaumara by the time of Mahabharata, giving us the indication of the role of Kumara or Skanda in developing speech further as proper languages – that will be discussed in a future episode.
This Manvantara also saw the movement of people. This resulted in spread of speech to different regions of the world.
This was followed by Cākshusha Manvantara, the 6th Manvantara by which time man started developing deep thinking that is recognized as ‘vision’ or ‘eye sight’- lending the name Cākshusha to the Manvantara.
This Manvantara saw the peak of human intelligence by the discovery of ‘Bhavya’ – the heaven, the celestial sphere. The story of Dhruva happened in this Manvantara. The discovery of Dhruva nakshatra, concept of creation and year was made in this Manvantara by a combination of external and internal vision. Rituals were invented.
Following Dhruva, Daksha came into being – Daksha referring to a time of clever and able persons. The discovery of the zodiac with 27 stars traversed by the moon was made in this time. Puranas say that there were many Daksha-s in the past and all of them were terminated by sudden fire. Similar fate occurred to this Daksha of Cākshusha Manvantara which is encapsulated in the story of Daksha Yāga that was devastated by the fire unleashed by an angry Shiva. That part will be decoded in a future episode.
Following Daksha, Skanda was born that coincided with the end of Ice age and Melt water Pulses and followed by Younger Dryas. Skanda re-designed the zodiac and elevated Krittika as a star of the zodiac. The Shrāddha ceremony (ancestral oblations) was formalized by then.
This was followed by the current Vaivasvata Manvantara. Thus we find a larger Epoch of a Manvantara (Vaivasvata) with Catur Maha Yugas running into lakhs of years – within which many smaller Manvantaras have occurred.
While dealing with references to Manvantaras in ancient texts , we must be clear about what is being talked about.