AGE OF EARTH ACCORDING TO VEDAS
From Nyaya Darsana we learn the method of deciding about scientific
proofs. Here we give the summary of the Eight types of Proofs and then discuss the age of earth.
About the Eight types of Pramānās: Pramānās are methods to acquire true knowledge of something. In order to test anything like Vēdas we require Pramānās. There are eight Pramānās and are respectively (i) Prathyaksham (ii) Anumānam (iii) Upamānam (iv) Shabdam (v) Itihyam (vi) Arthāpathi (vii) Sambhavam and (viii) Abhāvam.
(1) Prathyaksha Pramānām: Sound (Shabdam), Touch (Sparsha), Picture (Rōpam), Taste (Rasam) and Smell (Gandham) are respectively related to ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose. Ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose are called senses (Gnanendriyas). Sound, touch, picture, taste and smell are respectively called properties of these senses. When senses with their respective properties come in contact with mind and the mind contacts the soul the required knowledge is acquired. This procedure of acquiring the knowledge is called Prathyaksha Pramānām. This Prathyaksha Pramānām should meet three criteria viz., (a) Avyapadesya, (b) Avyabhichari and (c) Nischayathmakam.
(a) Avyapadesya: Naming an object itself is not sufficient to say that it is Prathyaksha Pramānām. For example if a person ‘A’ describes to ‘B’ that a mango is green in color and tastes sweet does not give the direct knowledge of mango to ‘B’ and is not considered as Prathyaksha Pramānām. It can be considered as Shabda Pramānām only if ‘A’ is considered as Apta Purusha (Will be described in Shabda Pramānām).
(b) Avyabhichari: Prathyaksha Pramānām should be illusion free. For example when a person sees a rope in less illumination and ascertains it as snake and on exposing the rope to good illumination the same person now ascertains it as rope. This type of acquiring the knowledge as is in the first case cannot be regarded as Prathyaksha Pramānām.
(c) Nischayathmakam: Prathyaksha Pramānām should not be of indecisive nature. For example when a person sees smoke far from him and is unable to decide whether it is smoke or dust then such knowledge cannot be regarded as Prathyaksha Pramānām. So the knowledge acquired should be of decisive in nature in order to qualify for it to be a Prathyaksha Pramānām.
Therefore when senses become ‘Pramānām’, knowledge of the object becomes result. And when object becomes ‘Pramānām’, the result is either to acquire the object or to leave the object or to proceed to acquire the object.
(2) Anumānam: Guessing about something because of some reason is called Anumānam. Anumāna Pramānām is of three types viz., (a) Pūrvavath (b) Sheshavath and (c) Samānyatho.
(a) Pūrvavath: If future knowledge is acquired because of past reason, then the Pramānām is called Pūrvavath. For example formation of clouds gives the idea of rain.
(b) Sheshavath: If something happened in the past and its knowledge is acquired due to present knowledge then the Anumānam Pramānām is called Sheshavath. For example looking at the smoke at a place one can suspect that previously there was fire.
(c) Sāmānyatho: If ‘A’ and ‘B’ are two objects and have equal properties and if ‘A’ is displaced from a point ‘o’ to a point ‘oo’ due to motion in space then if object ‘B’ is at a point ‘x’ at time‘t’ and at point ‘y’ at time ‘T’, then one can say that ‘B’ was also displaced due to motion in space. This type of Anumānam Pramānām is called Sāmānyatho.
Reason (Cause) and its result are connected by something called extension. This extension is of three types viz., (a) Special extension, (b) General extension and (c) Reverse extension. Pūrvavath, Sheshavath and Samānyatho are caused by Special extension, General extension and Reverse extension respectively. Anumānam is always produced after Prathyaksha Pramānām. If one guesses fire because of seeing smoke, then the knowledge of smoke is due to Prathyaksha Pramānām and the knowledge of fire is due to Anumānam Pramānām.
(3) Upamānam: The knowledge acquired due to similarities is called Upamāna Pramānām. For example let us say that a person ‘A’ knows what a cat is but does not know what a tiger is and then let ‘A’ be explained that a tiger looks like a cat but is much bigger in size and has black stripes on its body. Then on seeing a tiger, ‘A’ compares it with a cat and ascertains that it is a tiger. This type of acquiring knowledge is called Upamāna Pramānām.
(4) Shabda Pramānām: “Aptopadesha” is called Shabda Pramānām. Apta means the person who has the following qualities. Is having complete knowledge of the subject concerned, is a Dharmatma, speaks only truth, is helpful to others, has control over his senses and gives knowledge to others in order to do good to society. Teachings of such a person are called “Aptopadesha”. The knowledge acquired in this manner is called Shabda Pramānām. This Shabda Pramānām is of two types viz., (a) Direct and (b) Indirect. If the person concerned teaches because of his/her experience through Prathyaksha Pramānām then it is called as Direct Shabda Pramānām. For example the teachings of God which are Vēdas. If the person concerned teaches because of his/her experience through either by Shabda, Anumāna or Upamāna Pramānām, then it is called as Indirect Shabda Pramānām. For example the teachings of Vēdas by Rishis and Scholars which are abiding by the Vēdas.
(5) Ithihyam: History can be taken as a Pramānām as long as it is having recordings written or told by someone who can be regarded as Apta.
(6) Arthāpathi: When something can be inferred from something else then the Pramānām is called Arthāpathi. For example from the statement “Rain is possible if clouds are present”, then it can be inferred that “Without clouds rain is not possible”.
(7) Sambhavam: Sambhavam means possible. If someone says that “Bhimasena kicked earth like a foot ball”, then since it is not according to nature this is not possible. Therefore the statement cannot be regarded as a Pramānām. We should look for possibilities of the situation or description given.
(8) Abhāvam: Abhāvam means absence or negation of something. When a teacher asks his students to get flowers which are not having yellow color in them, then the students search for flowers which have absence of yellow color. Such a Pramānām is called Abhāvam.
Let us proof the age of earth, human life on earth and that of Vēdas after creation with the help of the above Pramānās.
(1) Can we decide the age of earth with the help of Prathyaksha Pramānām? The answer is no. Since no one living today knows directly when it started.
(2) Can the age of earth be decided with the help of Anumāna Pramānām? The answer is yes and it should be Sheshavath Anumāna Pramānām. Since we have to decide the past with the help of present details. Now we have to find some present evidences which decide the age of earth. For example “radiometric” dating methods help find the age of a material. How far this method can be accepted depends on the mathematical details which under lie in the calculations. For example the radiometric method uses radioactive decay of a material and its half life. Radiometric dating (often called radioactive dating) is a technique used to date materials such as rocks, usually based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates. Now that we know the procedure we should rely on the mathematical details that give the procedure to find the age of a material. This mathematical details or the radioactive law is purely statistical and many assumptions are made. Assuming that the procedure and the calculations are correct/ then the answer that someone found by this method is between 3.2 to 4.5 billion years old. This answer is not widely accepted. Now let us proceed and see what we (Vedic people) have to say about the age of earth.
Age of earth according to Vedic people:
1,972,949,116 years (One billion, nine hundred and seventy two million, nine hundred and forty nine thousand, one hundred and sixteen years). Let us prove this with the help of the Pramānās.
We will take the help of Shabda Pramānā and Ithihyam to prove the age of earth and Vēdas. As discussed about Shabda Pramānā, the age of the earth or the Vēdas is told by the respective teachers to the students from the beginning of the human race. Every day we count the time in terms of Lagnas and Muhōrthas. Months are divided into days and so on. According to Surya Sidantha4 the details of time division and calculation of years as given below.
1,728,000 human years = 1 Krutha-yuga (one of the chathur-yuga);
1,296,000 human years = 1 Thretha-yuga;
864,000 human years = 1 Dwapara-yuga;
432,000 human years = 1 Kali-yuga;
4,320,000 human years = 1 Chathur-yuga (Krutha + Thretha + Dwapara + Kali);
306,720,000 human years = 1 Manvantara (71 Chathur-yugas);
1,728,000 human years = Calm period before and after each Manvantara;
25,920,000 human years = Total Calm period (15 x 1,728,000).
4,320,000,000 human years = 1 Brahma day; (14 Manvantaras + calm period + creation time);
In sandhya vandanam we (Vedic people) take Sankalpa (Oath) in the following manner.
Aum Thath Sath (Name of God), Shree Brahmano Dvitheeya Praharārthē (Second half of Brahma day), Saptamē Vyvasvatha Manvantare (Seventh Manvantara whose name is Vyvasvatha) Astavimsathithamē (28th Chathur yuga) Kaliyugē Kali-pratham-charanē (First part of Kaliyuga), ….…Samvatsare (Fill the blank with the name of the year) …………. Ayane (Fill the blank with either Utharāyanna or Dakshināyanna. Utharāyanna means Sun is above the equator and towards northern hemisphere and Dakshināyanna means Sun is below the equator and towards southern hemisphere ) ……… Ruthou (Fill the blank with the season. Ruthou means season)…… Māsē (Fill the blank with name of the month. Māsē means month)…… Pakshē (Fill the blank with either Krishna or Sukla. Pakshē means the part. Krishna Pakshē means the period of the month during which waning of moon takes place and Sukla Pakshē means the period of the month during which waxing of the moon takes place) …… Thitou (Fill the blank with the name of the day)…. Vāsarē (Fill the blank with place of the city or town and its geographical position),…..Subha Nakshatrou (Fill the blank with the name of the star which is one of the 27 stars), Subha Lagna (The day is divided into Lagnas and Muhōrthas),…..Subha Muhoōrthē, Athra Aham (the person who is taking the oath), Karma Karanāya Bhavantam Vrunnē ((doing sandhya).
In the above shloka we give the Manvantara, number of chathur yuga, the name of the yuga, part of the yuga, name of the year (we have sixty names for years and they repeat after every sixty years), part of the year whether first half or second half, name of the season, name of the month, part of the month, name of the day, place of the city, Lagna and Muhōrath. This process has been taking place since the beginning of the human race on earth. Also every part of India the same time is mentioned by every one every day. That means we are calculating the age of the Vēdas which in turn give the age of earth. From the above shloka we can calculate the age of earth in the following manner.
Saptamē Vyvasvatha Manvantare = Seventh Manvantara (Six Manvantaras + some years) = 6 x 306,720,000 = 1,840,320,000 years.
Astavimsathithamē (28th Chathur Yuga) = (27 Chathur yugas + some years) = 27 x 4,320,000 = 116,640,000 years.
Kaliyuga pradama pādē = (Which comes after the three yugas viz., Krutha, Thretha and Dwapara) = 1,728,000 + 1,296,000 + 864,000 + the number of years in Kaliyuga= 3,888,000 years + 5116 years = 3,893,116 years.
7 gaps which include before and after each Manvantara = 7 x 1,728,000 = 12,096,000 years.
Therefore the total number of years that have finished till now after the creation of earth is 1,840,320,000 + 116,640,000 + 3,893,116 + 12,096,000 = 1,972,949,116 years (One billion, nine hundred and seventy two million, nine hundred and forty nine thousand, one hundred and sixteen years).
Since this is the history of Vedic people we can also consider this proof as Ithihya Pramānā.
Therefore the age of earth or age of human race (which is less by about 1,728,000 years) or age of Vēdas (which is less by about 1,728,000 years) is as given above.