Pralaya

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By Swami Harshananda

Pralaya literally means 'dissolution of the world’.

The scriptures propound the cyclic theory of creation. The cycle of sṛṣṭi,[1] sthiti[2] and laya[3] goes on endlessly. The dissolution, called laya or pralaya, is of four types:

  1. Nitya - Nityapralaya refers to the daily deaths of beings that are born.
  2. Naimittika - Naimittika pralaya is the dissolution that takes place at the end of a day of Brahmā, called ‘kalpa’ which is equivalent to 4.32 billion human years.
  3. Prākṛtika - The prākṛtika pralaya is the dissolution of everything into prakṛti[4] at the end of Brahmā’s life of hundred years equivalent to 1036 human years.
  4. Ātyantika - Ātyantika pralaya actually refers to mokṣa or liberation wherein a jīva is liberated from trans-migratory existence.


References

  1. Sṛṣṭi means creation.
  2. Sthiti means preservation.
  3. Laya means dissolution.
  4. Prakṛti means the basic matrix of the universe, often identified with the māyā-power of God.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore