By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Kala, KAla, Kaala
Kāla literally means ‘that which counts and spends away life’.
Kāla as Time
Kāla or time is a fundamental concept defined in various ways. Time aids us to perceive change of state in a thing. Taking the time needed to wink the eyelids as one unit called ‘nimeṣa’, a table has been denoted as follows:
|18 nimeṣas||1 kāṣṭhā|
|30 kāṣṭhās||1 kalā|
|30 kalās||1 kṣaṇa|
|12 kṣaṇas||1 muhurta|
|30 muhurtas||1 ahorātra (day + night)|
|30 ahorātras||1 māsa (month)|
|12 māsas||1 saivatsara (year)|
Note: In the above table, the duration is equal to the adjacent time slot mentioned in the table.
Kāla as Dravya
Kāla has been considered as a dravya or a fundamental substance of the universe by some philosophies of Jainism. The Sāñkhyakārikā considers kāla as a form of tuṣti or contentment. It is the satisfaction that comes out of the thought that the mukti or liberation will definitely come in the course of time.
Kāla as Yama
Kāla is also enlisted as one of the names of Yama, the god of death.
Kāla as God
- Sāñkhyakārikā 50
- Bhagavadgitā 11.32
- Bhāgavata 3.29.37-45
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore