By Swami Harshananda
Manvantara literally means ‘period of rule or epoch of a Manu’.
The concept of time as given in the purāṇas is mind blowing. Each day of Brahmā, the creator, includes one thousand Mahāyugas. Each Mahāyuga includes the four well-known yugas:
This day or kalpa is divided into fourteen manvantaras, epochs of Manu or periods of time, ruled by a Manu. Each manvantara has a little more than 71 Mahāyugas.
Classification of Manus
The fourteen Manus ruling over these manvantaras of the present kalpa are:
The Manu of the present age is Vaivasvata. He is the son of Surya. He is also known as Srāddhadeva. Each Manu has his own set of gods, Indra, ṛṣis and others. The name of the present Indra is Purandara. The Saptarṣis or the Seven Sages of this manvantara are:
In terms of human years, one Mahāyuga is of the 43,20,000 years duration. Hence the period of a manvantara comes to 308 million human years.
- It is called ‘kalpa’ by the purāṇas.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore