It is believed that the universe came into being about 10,000 million years ago (Capra 1991: 197).
According to Hindu cosmology, this period comes to 8,640 million years, equal to Brahma’s one day (a kalpa) and one night (a kalpa).
The Kalpa is an unimaginable time span between the beginning and end of one creation.
The Indian time is divided into four epochs (yugas), first defined as multiples of 4:3:3:1 of a Kali Yuga of 1,200 human years.
Later they were explained by the device of replacing human years with divine years of 360 human years (Thompson 2000: 228).
One cycle of the four yugas is called as Mahāyuga (cf. Table 1). Thousand such Mahāyugas known as a kalpa, i.e. 4,320 million human years (cf. Eliade 1991: 114).
Mythology further says that a hundred “years” of Brahma constitute his life, i.e. 311,040 billion years by which a million Indra (king of the divine realm) will pass away.
But this is not the end as gods are not eternal and the cosmic creations and destructions succeed one another.
By this period great destruction would take place, however again re-creation starts. And this way the cycle continues endlessly.
The idea of endless cycles is described as līlā, the divine play of the Absolute Brahman: “the One becoming many and the many returning into One”.
The Vedic cosmology describes the universe with respect to the three vertical levels: heaven, atmosphere, and earth (Rig Veda, RgV 10.90.11-14).
Having being associated with the top of the human body, the head, and the earth is associated with its bottom, the feet (Lincoln 1986: 5).
The description goes on as to how from the Absolute Brahman, the transcendental ‘primordial man’ (Purusha), was created.
In a process of self-transformation, the various forms of the microcosmic body and the macroscopic universe came into being (Lincoln 1986: 32).
However, on the other end, the unified form of the cosmos is also perceived.
Says the Bhagavad Gita, BgG (10.8): “I am the origin of all; from Me the whole creation proceeds.”
And, again says the Bhagavad Gita, BgG (11.7): “Here today, behold the whole universe, moving and unmoving and whatever else thou desirest to see, all united in My body.”