[Advaita-l] 'Śiva, the kāla tattva'

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Dec 26 12:03:44 CST 2016

'Time' as Śiva:

In the Mahānārāyaṇopaniṣad there is this famous mantra on the creation of
(apara) kāla:

कला मुहूर्ताः काष्ठाश्चाहोरात्राश्च सर्वशः ॥ ८॥ अर्धमासा मासा ऋतवः
संवत्सरश्च कल्पन्ताम् ।

In the Śivasahasranāma of the Mahābhārata occur the various units of Time
stated above:


ऋतुः संवत्सरो मासः पक्षः संख्यासमापनः ॥ १११॥
कला काष्ठा लवा मात्रा मुहूर्ताहः क्षपाः क्षणाः ।

One can also now appreciate the Sūta samhitā depiction of Śiva as the cause
of Time.

In the Mahābhārata, after the war, Krishna instructs Arjuna about the
'Power' that actually annihilated the warriors who died in the battle. He
calls that Power 'Kāla' and says it is none other than Rudra. A detailed
report of this is available here:


*http://tinyurl.com/mxbb8g2* <http://tinyurl.com/mxbb8g2>
मया त्वं रक्षितो युद्धे महान्तं प्राप्तवाञ्जयम्।।
यस्तु ते सोग्रतो याति युद्धे संप्रत्युपस्थिते।
तं विद्धि रुद्रं कौन्तेय देवदेवं कपर्दिनम्।।
कालः स एव विहितः क्रोधजेति मया तव।
निहतांस्तेन वै पूर्वं हतवानसि यान्रिपून्।।
अप्रमेयप्रभावं तं देवदेवमुमापतिम्।
नमस्व देवं प्रयतो विश्वेशं हरमक्षयम्।।
यश्च ते कथितः पूर्वं क्रोधजेति पुनः पुनः।
तस्य प्रभाव एवाग्रे यच्छ्रुतं ते धनंजय।।

The translation of these verses as available here:


Protected by me in the great battle, thou hast won a great victory. That
Being whom, at the time of all thy battles, thou beheldest stalking in thy
van, know, O son of Kunti, is no other than Rudra, that god of gods,
otherwise called by the name of Kaparddin. *He is otherwise known by the
name of Kāla, *and should be known as one that has sprung from my wrath. *Those
foes whom thou hast slain were all, in the first instance, slain by him.* Do
thou bend thy head unto that god of gods, that lord of Umā, endued with
immeasurable puissance. With concentrated soul, do thou bend thy head unto
that illustrious Lord of the universe, that indestructible deity, otherwise
called by the name of Hara. He is none else than that deity who, as I have
repeatedly told thee, has sprung from my wrath. Thou hast, before this,
heard, O Dhananjaya, of the puissance and energy that reside in him!'”

What is striking in the above translation is those two lines, highlighted,
and shown here:

*A.      **// He is otherwise known by the name of Kāla//*


*B.       **//Those foes whom thou hast slain were all, in the first
instance, slain by him.//*

These two lines correspond to the two lines of the two verses of the
Bh.Gītā 11thchapter shown above, again shown here:

कालोऽस्मि लोकक्षयकृत्प्रवृद्धो लोकान्समाहर्तुमिह प्रवृत्तः। (11.33A)

I am the world-destroying Time, [Time: The supreme God with His limiting
adjunct of the power of action.] grown in stature and now engaged in
annihilating the creatures.]


मयैवैते निहताः पूर्वमेव निमित्तमात्रं भव सव्यसाचिन्   11.33 B

[These have been killed verily by Me even earlier; be you merely an
instrument, O Savyasācin (Arjuna).]

What transpires from the comparison of the Bh.Gītā verses and the MBh.
verses is:

Brahman, who is the cause of the creation, sustenance and dissolution of
the world, in the form of Rudra, the aspect of Brahman engaged in the
function of dissolution, is called Kāla, time. When the appropriate time
comes, everything that has originated, comes to an end. That ending is
effected by this power called Time, named Rudra. All creatures attain their
end when their destined time comes. This is pre-determined. The actual mode
of their end, by disease or being killed by any force of the nature or
humans, is only instrumental. This is stated by the BG 11.33B. Arjuna, who
is shown the cosmic form in its destruction aspect is being instructed
thus: You are a mere instrument in the causing the death of these people
who are your opponents. They have all been already put an end to by
Destiny, Me.
Om Tat Sat

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