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Monday, November 10, 2014

The Unfading Glory of Mahakala – The Primordial and Eternal Supreme Time!


In this auspicious month of Kartika this article I dedicate to lord Shiva personified as the supreme time called as Mahakala. Since Mahakala and Mahakali are one and the same depicted as two, this article is equally dedicated to the mother of the universe Mahakali.

“O my dearest parents – Ṣiva and Ṣivā! Prostrating on your feet, which has anklet on one side and a snake as ornament on the other one, I beg your apologies since – in this month of kartika I could not take time to visit your Temple, could not spare any time in your worship, and could not do anything for you from my side. Therefore with your inspiration and persuasion that came through the voices of my inner self, I could write this article on you. Hence I dedicate this to your lotus feet today. Considering this as my worship for you, considering this as my visit to your Temples and also considering this as all the spiritual activities that a devoted follower of religion would do in this month; kindly accept this work with all your love for me, who is the infant of yours!”


I bow to my divine brother, Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles, the first worshipable benevolent god; I bow to my divine brother, Devasena-pati viz. Skanda, the commander-in-chief who presides over the positive forces (Devatas). I prostrate before my divine parents viz. mother Saraswati who presides over the intellect and Brahma who creates masterpieces. I prostrate before my divine parents viz. mother Lakshmi who grants splendor, intelligence, target (lakshyam) and achievements and Narayana, who transcends our senses, and who is the divine protector and sustainer of all the worlds; I prostrate before the divine sages viz. Nara and Narayana, the eternal devotees of lord Shiva, who never encounter defeat and whose presence ensures the presence of victory and Prosperity. I prostrate before the great sage Sri Veerabrahmendra, the author of ‘kAlagyAnam’ which never errs. I prostrate before my divine parents viz. mother Parvati, the one supreme force behind everything and Mahadeva the lord, without whose wish not even an eye blinks.

I bow to my ancestral sages viz. Vashishtha, Kaundinya and Maitra-Varuna (Agastya) and their respective consorts to bless this child of their lineage with supreme scriptural wisdom. Finally, I prostrate before my Kula-Devatas viz. Sita and Rama who are the epitome of righteousness, and I bow to my brother Hanuman who happens to be of same Gothram as that of mine.

| Om ṣivāya guravē namaḥ |
| namaḥ tripurasundariyai |
| Om tat sat |


**The Unfading Glory of Mahākāla –**

**The Primordial and Eternal Supreme Time!**

“Kāla” refers to “Time” and also “death”. Usually kāla is used as a synonym for mr̥tyu (Yama) the god of death. Lord Ṣiva is the death of even death also – we have a legendary example of bhakta mārkandēya who was born with a limited lifespan but because he was devoted to Mahādēva when Yama tried to seize his life forces, Mahādēva rescued him from Yama and even killed that Yama who is paradoxically hailed by the name of ‘kāla’. Therefore bhagawān Ṣiva is the kāla of kāla hence the name “Mahākāla”. However, scriptures don’t use the term Mahakala always to refer to Shiva in his aspect of Time or Death, but mostly the terms Kāla are used to describe about him alone and only selectively Yama is described.

Apart from this aspect of being death of death, He is also the supreme time. Everything gets created in time, everything moves and rests in time and everything finally gets dissolved in time. However, Mahākāla is beyond the three divisions of Time, and he is the creator of Time and he is the withdrawer of Time as well. Time (kāla) is again of two types, viz. kṣhara and akṣhara the former one is withdrawn during cosmic dissolution, the latter which is the ‘eternal-time’ is nothing but another synonym to call “braḥman”. Both kinds of Time are Mahadeva alone. This second ‘time’ which is the supreme and imperishable time is Brahman (Mahākāla’s nirguṇa aspect)!  Shvetashvatara Upanishad makes this point very clear.

“sa viśvakṛd viśvavidātmayōnirjñaḥ kālakālō guṇī sarvavid yaḥ |
pradhānakṣētrajñapatirguṇēśaḥ saṁsāramōkṣasthitibandhahētuḥ |” (Ṣvētāṣvatāra  Upaniṣad 6:16)
“He (i.e., Rudra) makes all, he knows all, the self-caused, the knower, the time of time (destroyer of time), who assumes qualities and knows everything, the master of nature and of man, the lord of the three qualities (guna), the cause of the bondage, the existence, and the liberation of the world”.

Hence he is the supreme time personified as the primordial power.  Therefore he is again hailed as “Mahākāla” as the time of time (the akshaya kāla, the eternal time which is described in the Bhagawad Gita 10:33 as “aham evakshayah kalo”, which means “I am the Time eternal” i.e., he is the Supreme Brahman in the aspect of time.

The concept of eternal time and non-eternal time is very vast, complex and indeterminable in its true nature. Several philosophical schools have always pondered upon the true definition of “kāla (time)” and have given various interpretations. The great Advaitin scholar Sri D. S. Subbaramaiya in his masterpiece work “Sri Dakshinamurty Stotram” has brought out an elaborate discussion on the Vedantic concept of time which certainly is out of scope of the current article because here we aren’t inquiring into the Vedantic definitions of Time. Having said that, let us briefly touch upon the nature of time.

Time is a relative concept when looked from the world’s point of view (i.e., vyāvahārika standpoint). At absolute standpoint only Brahman (Shiva) exists hence there can neither be any “variations / changes” in sequences of “experiences” for the time to be “felt”, not, there can be any third party as “Observer” to feel those sequences of experiences. Hence At the absolute level only a steady infinite flow of time exists which doesn’t change, and that is Brahman and that is called as “Akshaya Kala” (Eternal or imperishable time). That same non-dual Brahman when associates with his Shakti and using her power called “avidya” makes a projection of this universe, then there take birth various “observers (created sentient beings)” and there arises various “events”, and again those events give birth to various “experiences” to the observers (beings). The “interval” between the two experiences of an observer caused by the events is nothing but “Time”! This time undergoes disturbances (changes) as – the experience which passes away is “remembered”, the present time is “experienced” and future is “anticipated”. Here the original eternal time (akshaya kala) is seen to have created another time which is of three states viz. past, present and future. This is what scriptures mean when they say Time has been created. Again when everything gets withdrawn into Brahman (Rudra), and Brahman alone exists, it exists as a continuous river of time extending from infinite past to infinite future. There it remains devoid of changes because of lack of events, experiences and observers – therefore that Time as Brahman is said as “akshaya”, and since the changes are not seen, it is said by scriptures that “time” got “withdrawn”, and elsewhere in other words they say – “time got destroyed”. On similar lines, even when we are in deep sleep, we lose the experience of time and we enter into a deep sleep experience of timelessness. At that stage of deep sleep, we don’t realize Time and hence we can say that time has got destroyed, and again when we wake up Time gets created and we live in the experiences of past, present and future. But does that mean when we remain in deep sleep time really gets ‘destroyed’? Answer is – Not really! Time still remains always but it remains as a continuous river stretching from infinite past to infinite future without having any waves (of disturbances). Therefore what scriptures call time as getting destroyed and created, they ares all relativistic thoughts hence Time is said in Vedanta to be “anirvachaniya” (that which cannot be explained).

But in reality time never gets destroyed. Time is ALWAYS one single Supreme Shiva (Brahman) who is changeless, imperishable, and extends infinitely from infinite past to infinite future without any disturbances hence he is called “akshaya kala”. This is attested by Sūta Saṁhitā of Skanda Purāṇa as follows:

sarvē kālē vilīyantē na kālō līyatē sadā |” (sūta saṁhita  1:8:23b)
“Everything gets withdrawn into kāla, but kāla never gets dissolved”.

The same Shiva on coupling with his Shakti and projecting this universe, brings changes in himself (through the power of Avidya), hence he gets modified as a changing time which gives the experiences of past, present, and future. This is evident from the below verse from Sūta Saṁhitā of Skanda Purāṇa.

“kālō māyātmasaṁbandhātsarvasādhāraṇātmakaḥ |” (sūta saṁhita  2:2:10a)
“Ātman (brahman) by uniting with avidyā has become kāla and this (kāla) is alike for everyone”.

Therefore there is no inferior time and no superior time. There is only time which acts in one way before creation and in another way in creation.

Here in this article we would see the glories of Supreme Lord Shiva in his aspect of Time and in his aspect of Death. Time and Death are again related concepts – Time sets the date of birth and ensures creation begins there; again Time sets the lifespan and ensures the sustenance happens, and finally Time sets the expiry date and ensures that the created entity gets destroyed. When it creates, he acts as creator, when he destroys he is called as Death. Brahman (Shiva) with his Kriya-Shakti brings about the transformations in the worlds viz. creation, sustenance and destruction. Hence the destroyer is also the same supreme Kala with the help of his Kriya-Shakti.

Hence this is why scriptures use the same word “kāla” to refer to both – Time and Death alike! And in both these aspects it is Mahadeva alone who is glorified! We’ll see these glories of Mahadeva in this article.


1. The Eternal Supreme Time (akṣaya kāla) is identical to Brahman

Mahakala – the supreme time is eternal because it is identical to Brahman. In this connection there is a discourse between Vyasa and his son Suka in Mahabharata Shanti Parva. Suka desirous of knowing about the creator of all beings who can be understood with the knowledge of time puts his question to Vyasa as follows. Well, he also asks about certain other things as well, but we would focus only on the “Time” here.

“śrī śuka uvāca
bhūtagrāmasya kartāraṁ kālajñānēna niṣṭhitam[nē ca niścayam |
brāhmaṇasya ca yatkṛtyaṁ tadbhavānvaktumarhati |” (MBH 12:231:9)

“Suka said, ‘It behoveth thee to tell me who the Creator is of all beings, as fixed by a knowledge of time, and what the duties are that should be accomplished by a Brahmana.’”

Vyasa, in response to Suka’s question replies that Brahman is the original cause of all creations exists alone initially. Since the creation proceeds within “Time”, Vyasa narrates how the time is measured. We need to understand the relation between Brahman and time. Otherwise it would look strange what has divisions of time to do with Brahman. We know from Upanishads that it is the Brahman alone which exists, and all creations are projections through Maya (Shakti). Therefore whatever entity we name it, that exists within Brahman only. Nothing can be said to exist outside or other than Brahman. The same is the relation wit time because time is Brahman. Entire creation, all gods, all mobile and immobile entities, everything is conceived in time, rests in time and get withdrawn in time. As nothing can remain outside of Brahman, nothing can remain outside of time because Time and Brahman are identical. In fact, the Supreme Time is verily the same Brahman spoken differently. Vyasa brings out the sameness between Brahman and Time in following words;

“vyāsa uvāca
anādyantamajaṁ divyamajaraṁ dhruvamavyayam.
apratarkyamavijñēyaṁ brahmāgrē sampravartatē|11
kāṣṭhā nimēṣā daśa pañca caiva trĩśattu kāṣṭhā gaṇayētkalā̃ tām.
trĩśatkalaścāpi bhavēnmuhūrtō bhāgaḥ kalāyā daśamaśca yaḥ syāt |” (MBH 12:231:11-12)
“Vyasa said, ‘Only Brahman, which is without beginning and without end, unborn, blazing with effulgence, above decay, immutable, indestructible, inconceivable, and transcending knowledge, exists before the Creation.  The Rishis, measuring time, have named particular portions by particular names. Five and ten winks of the eye make what is called a Kashtha. Thirty Kashthas would make what is called aKala. Thirty Kalas, with the tenth part of a Kala added, make what is known as a Muhurta”….

And so on …Vyasa narrates the divisions of time from nimisha, kashtha, day, year…etc…till the span of Yugas. And then further Vyasa draws a parallel between Time and Brahman and says that the learned seers regard this “Time” as Brahman.

“ētāni śāśvatā̃llōkāndhārayanti sanātanān.
ētadbrahmavidā̃ tāta viditaṁ brahma śāśvatam|” (MBH 12:231:21)

“These periods always sustain the never-ending and eternal worlds. They who are conversant with Brahman, O child, regard this as Immutable Brahman”.

Then Vyasa concludes about Time as follows. Note that, here time is said to be without beginning and without end (means eternal). And it has the same attributes of Brahman that we have studied above i.e., being origin of everything and being the one which withdraws everything.

vihitaṁ kālanānātvamanādinidhanaṁ tathā.
kīrtitaṁ tatpurastāttē tatsūtē cātti ca prajāḥ |41
dadhāti prabhavē sthānaṁ bhūtānā̃ saṁyamō yamaḥ.
svabhāvēnaiva vartantē dvandvayuktāni bhūriśaḥ|” (MBH 12:232:41-42)
“I have, before this, spoken to thee of Time which is without beginning and without end, and which ordains this variety in the universe. It is that Time which creates and swallows up all creatures. All the innumerable creatures that exist subject to pairs of opposites and according to their respective natures, have Time for their refuge. It is Time that assumes those shapes and it is Time that upholds them”.

This Supreme Time is eternal (being identical as Brahman) and this has been spoken in Bhagawad Gita which again is a part of Mahabharata. Bhagawad Gita says:

“aham evakshayah kalo dhataham vishvato-mukhah | (BG. 10.33)
“I am also Time Eternal, and I am the Ordainer with face turned on every side”.

Here this Gita verse is a clear indication that the supreme Time which is eternal and has faces turned everywhere is Mahakala (Shiva) alone. In an outward sense Shiva has faces turned all around. In an inward sense he is omniscient because he is the Atman dwelling in all beings hence all faces are his faces. This is also confirmed in Svetaswatara Upanishad as well.

“sarvaanana shirogriivaH sarvabhuutaguhaashayaH |
sarvavyaapii sa bhagavaa.nstasmaat.h sarvagataH shivaH |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad. 3:11)

“All faces are His faces; all heads, His heads; all necks, His necks. He dwells in the hearts of all beings. He is the all— pervading Bhagavan. Therefore He is omnipresent Shiva”.

We’ll analyse in depth who this Supreme Time is!


2.The Supreme Indestructible Time (akṣaya kāla) is Mahakala

A careful analysis would reveal us that this Supreme Time about whom this discussion is made, is the Mahakala – which is another name of Lord Shiva given to his aspect of time. Let’s analyse this now.

In the same discourse, Vyasa talks about existence of two types of Brahman viz. the Sabda Brahman and Anahata-Brahman as follows.

“dvē brahmaṇī vēditavyē śabdabrahma paraṁ ca yat.
śabdabrahmaṇi niṣṇātaḥ paraṁ brahmādhigacchati|” (MBH 12:232:30)

“Two Brahmas should be known, viz., the Brahma represented by sound (i.e., the Vedas), and secondly that which is beyond the Vedas and is supreme. One that is conversant with Brahma represented by sound succeeds in attaining to Brahma that is Supreme”.

The Omkara having sound is called as Sabda-Brahman and from this Sound of Omkara springs the sounds of the Vedas. Therefore Omkara (having sound) and Vedas are identical. However, Omkara in silence which is called Anahata (unstuck sound or soundless state) is the true Brahman and it is higher than the Omkara with sound. In this connection Vedas say that Maheshwara is beyond the Vedas and is the highest Brahman as follows.

“yo vedaadau svaraH prokto vedaante cha pratishhThitaH
tasya prakR^itiliinasya yaH paraH sa maheshvaraH ” (Taittiriya Aranyaka

“That (being) who transcends (or is higher than) the syllable Om which is uttered at the commencement of the recital of the Vedas, which is well established in the Upanishads and which is dissolved in the primal cause during contemplation, is Maheshwara”.

And Shiva Purana clearly identifies the above verse with Mahadeva (umapati) who is the Supreme Brahman as follows.

“mahādēvaṁ paraṁ brahmā ṣabdabrahmātanumparaṁ |” (Shiva Purana 2:08:13)
“That Mahadeva who is the supreme brahman is superior than the sabda-brahman”.

In the shruti, this Brahman which is identical to Anahata-Omkara and is superior to the Omkara with sound (Sabda Brahman) is thus spoken to be beyond the reach of words (which are again dependent on sound) and reach of mind also as stated below.

“yatō vācō nivartantē | aprāpya manasā saha | ānandaṁ brahmaṇō vidvān | na bibhēti kutaścanēti |” (Taittiriya Upanishad 2:09:01)
“The enlightened man is not afraid of anything after realizing that Bliss of Brahman, failing to reach which, words turn back along with the mind”.

And the same Brahman of Upanishads quoted above is identified as the Bhagawan Mahadeva  (the Supreme Brahman) by Shiva Purana as follows.

“chintayā rahitō rudrō vachō yanmanasā saha |
aprāpya tanvivartētē vāchyastvēkākṣarēṇasaḥ |”  (Shiva Purana 2:08:14)

“This Rudra is beyond the grasp of thought, is beyond the reach of vak (words) as well as the mind.  He can be denoted by the mono-syllable ‘OM’ alone”.

“brahmovāca |
yato vāco nivartaṃte aprāpya manasā saha
yasmātsarvamidaṃ brahmaviṣṇurudreṃdrapūrvakam
sahabhūteṃdriyaiḥ sarvaiḥ prathamaṃ saṃprasūyate
eṣa devo mahādevaḥ sarvajño jagadīśvaraḥ
ayaṃ tu parayā bhaktyā dṛśyate nā ‘nyathā kvacit |” (Shiva Purana 1:3:10-12)

“[Brahma replied]: – that without grasping which speech turns back along with the mind, from whom Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Indra, together with all elements (and creatures) and senses, at first spring forth; That lord, Mahadeva is the omniscient and Ishwara (lord) of the universe. This Shankara can be grasped (or seen) through great devotion else he cannot be seen”.

Note that the first verse spoken by Brahma above viz. (yato vāco nivartaṃte aprāpya manasā saha) happens to appear again in Third chapter of Vayu Samhita of Shiva Purana (i.e., Shiva Purana-07:03:01). And this verse is exactly present in Taittiriya Upanishad quoted above.

In the Uttara Khanda of Padma Purana there is a great discourse between lord Shiva and lord Sri Rama, where the preacher (or preceptor) is lord Shiva and the listener (or disciple) is lord Rama. This discourse goes by the name of “Shiva Gita” and is a wonderful text detailing many great aspects of spirituality. In that Shiva Gita, the sixth chapter is called “vibhooti yoga” where lord Shiva tells Rama about his various vibhootis (forms). There lord Shiva clearly says he is the “Kala”, “Death”, “Deathlessness or Eternity”, “Past”, “Present”, and “Future” and everything. Here is the quote from chapter six of Shiva Gita.

“prāṇaḥ kālastathā mṛtyuramṛtaṁ bhūtamapyahama |
bhavyaṁ bhaviṣyatkṛtsnaṁ ca viśvaṁ sarvātmakō’pyahama |” (Shiva Gita 6:26)

“I’m the Prana (life force), I’m the time, death, and eternity. I’m the past, present and future. I’m everything indeed!”

In the Anusasana Parva of Mahabharata there is a great eulogy by legendary sage Tandi to lord Shiva where he clearly mentions that lord Shiva is the Kala as follows.

“tvattaḥ pravartatē sarvaṁ tvayi sarvaṁ pratiṣṭhitam
kālākhyaḥ puruṣākhyaśca brahmākhyaśca tvamēva hi |” (MBH 13:16:15)

“From thee flows everything. Upon thee rests everything. Thou art called Kala, thou art called Purusha, thou art called Brahma”.

Finally, let me quote Shruti also which agrees to the fact that Kala is Bhagawan Rudra alone. Here is what Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajurveda states while praising Vamadeva (Shiva’s northward facing face) as follows.

“vāmadēvāya namō jyēṣṭhāya namaḥ śrēṣṭhāya namō
rudrāya namaḥ kālāya namaḥ kalavikaraṇāya namō |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.18.1)

“Salutation to Vamadeva. Salutation to Jyestha (the Eldest, existing before creation). Salutation to Srestha (the most worthy and excellent). Salutation to Rudra. Salutation to Kala. Salutation to Kalavikarana (He who causes changes in the evolution of the universe beginning with Prakriti)”.

Therefore from this analysis it is evident that the Supreme Time about whom Vyasa narrated as being the same as Supreme Brahman is none other than Bhagawan Shiva. Since Bhagawan Shiva’s aspect as Time is famed in all scriptures as “Mahakala” (or Kala in short), we can safely conclude that this discourse between Vyasa and Suka has sung the glories of Mahakala.


3. Brahman of Vedas as ‘kr̥ṣṇa-piṇgala’ – The Dark and Tawny lord

Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajurveda describes Supreme Brahman as follows.

“ṛtaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ brahma puruṣaṁ kṛṣṇapiṅgalam .
ūrdhvarētaṁ virūpākśaṁ viśvarūpāya vai namō namaḥ |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.23.1)

“Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Righteousness (rita) and Truth (satyam), is the Purusha dark and tawny in hue, absolutely chaste (having semen raised up) and possessing uneven eyes (three eyed) . Salutations to Him alone who is the Soul of the universe, or whose form is the universe”.

The term “kr̥ṣṇa-pingalaṁ” is noteworthy here. The Purusha who is dark and also tawny is Ardhanareeshwara who is dark (Uma) and tawny (Shiva). This Vedic verse is confirmed as pointing towards Bhagawan Shiva as per below verse from Shiva Purana’s Vayaviya Samhita Uttara Khanda.

“ambikāpatirīśānaḥ pinākī vṛṣavāhanaḥ |
ēkō rudraḥ paraṁ brahma puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇapingalaḥ |” (Shiva Purana VS:UK:6:13)

“The Supreme Lord (Ishana) who is the consort of Ambika, who is the wielder of bow named Pinaka and rides on a bull; that Rudra who is the only one, is the Supreme Brahman,  is the Dark and tawny person”.

It always needs to be kept in mind that Shiva and Shakti are never ‘two’, they are always one and the same. This is why scriptures depict them as sharing one body. Hence, this “kr̥ṣṇa-pingala” attribute equally applies on Shiva and also on Shakti when studied them separately. This is why we have the following verse from Mahabharata where Durga is also praised as being of “kr̥ṣṇa-pingalaṁ” hue.

“arjuna uvāca |
namastē siddhasēnāni āryē mandā[nda]ravāsini |
kumāri kāli kāpāli kapilē kṛṣṇapiṅgalē |4
bhadrakāli namastubhyaṁ mahākāli namō’stu tē |” (MBH 6:23:4-5a)

“Arjuna said,–‘I bow to thee, O leader of Yogins, O thou that art identical with Brahman, O thou that dwellest in the forest of Mandara, O thou that art freed from decrepitude and decay, O Kali, O wife of Kapala, O thou that art of a black and tawny hue, I bow to thee. O bringer of benefits to thy devotees, I bow to thee, O Mahakali, O wife of the universal destroyer, I bow to thee”.

Now, this “kr̥ṣṇa-pingalaṁ” word would further reveal us great hidden secrets. Let’s study further.


4. Mahakala originally destroys – All others are Tools for namesake

In this section we would unearth many hidden and interesting facts about Mahakala. We would learn that all the glorious victories that the great warriors have won in the battles, were all actually won by Mahadeva. All the enemies that were destroyed by the heroes who rose to fame, all those victories were originally obtained by Maheshwara. All the actors were just dummy instruments in this entire process, the original cause and doer both was Bhagawan Mahakala alone!


4.1. The appearance of Mahakala personified as Death

In Mahabharata Mausala Parva when the time for the destruction of Yadava race (vrishni race) had come, then Lord Shiva as the Mahakala in his embodied (saguna) form started roaming in the Dwaraka city to end their race as stated below. Note the description of that embodied form – the dark and tawny (“kr̥ṣṇa-pingalaṁ”) form.

“vaiśampāyana uvāca
ēvaṁ prayatamānānā̃ vṛṣṇīnāmandhakaiḥ saha.
kālō gṛhāṇi sarvēṣā̃ paricakrāma nityaśaḥ |1
karālō vikaṭō muṇḍaḥ puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇapiṅgalaḥ.
gṛhāṇyāvēkṣya vṛṣṇīnā̃ nādṛśyata kvacitkvacit |2
tamaghnanta mahēṣvāsāḥ śaraiḥ śatasahasraśaḥ.
na cāśakyata vēddhũ sa sarvabhūtātyayastadā |” (MBH 16:2:1-3)

“[Vaishampayana said:] While the Vrishnis and the Andhakas were thus endeavouring (to avoid the impending calamity), the embodied form of Time (death) every day wandered about their houses. He looked like a man of terrible and fierce aspect. Of bald head, he was black and of tawny complexion. Sometimes he was seen by the Vrishnis as he peered into their houses. The mighty bowmen among the Vrishnis shot hundreds and thousands of shafts at him, but none of these succeeded in piercing him, for he was none else than the Destroyer of all creatures”.

Note that here the Mahakala who has been personified as death has been described as “mundaḥ” (bald) and kṛṣṇapiṅgalaḥ (dark and tawny). We have already seen that kṛṣṇapiṅgalaḥ is an attribute of Bhagawan Shiva only. Now here we have another attribute described that is – he, the death god was bald. In fact Bhagawan Rudra appears as having matted locks of hair and also otherwise he appears as bald headed.  In this connection we have Yajurveda itself hailing Rudra as having matted locks as well as who displays a bald head as follows.

“nama kapardine cha vyuptakesaya cha |” (Yajurveda IV:5:5:d)
“Salutations to him who has a crown of hair and to him who has a shaved head”.

Therefore now it is clear from above discussion that the Supreme Brahman described in Vedas a ‘Dark and tawny’ lord is the same bald headed Mahakala who appeared in the city of Dwaraka to put an end to their entire race.

What does he do by appearing in someone’s abode? Does he himself fight and destroy or does he engage someone else as his instruments for the destructions? How does Rudra stupefy everyone and beings their destruction? All these queries are answered by Sage Kashyapa which we would read in below section.


4.2. Rudra the in-dweller of everyone stupefies and destroys

The answers to all such queries raised above, lies in the fact that — Rudra who is the Mahakala and the Supreme Brahman and dwells in the hearts of all beings as their Atman, sets an expiry date to the creatures and stupefies them under his illusion. And then the same men become the instruments of their own destruction under the hands of Rudra.

The detailed answer is given in Chapter 72 of Shanti Parva of Mahabharata as a discourse between prince Aila and sage Kashyapa. 

“kaśyapa uvāca
pāpaiḥ pāpē kriyamāṇē hi caila tatō rudrō jāyatē dēva ēṣaḥ.
pāpaiḥ pāpāḥ sañjanayanti rudraṁ tataḥ sarvānsādhvasādhūnhinasti |” (MBH 12:73:17)

“In consequence of the sins perpetrated by sinful men, the god Rudra appears in the kingdom. Indeed, the sinful by their sins bring upon them that god of vengeance. He then destroys all, the honest and the wicked alike (without making any distinction).’”.

“aila uvāca
kutō rudraḥ kīdṛśō vāpi rudraḥ sattvaiḥ sattvaṁ dṛśyatē vadhyamānam.
ētatsarvaṁ kaśyapa mē pracakṣva kutō rudrō jāyatē dēva ēṣaḥ |” (MBH 12:73:18)

“Aila said, ‘Whence does Rudra spring? What also is his form? Creatures are seen to be destroyed by creatures. Tell me all this, O Kasyapa! Whence does the god Rudra spring?’”

“kaśyapa uvāca
ātmā rudrō hṛdayē mānavānā̃ svaṁ svaṁ dēhaṁ paradēhaṁ ca hanti.
vātōtpātaiḥ sadṛśaṁ rudramāhurdērvairjīmūtaiḥ sadṛśaṁ rūpamasya|” (MBH 12:73:19)

“Kasyapa said, ‘Rudra exists in the hearts of men as their indwelling Atman. He destroys the bodies themselves in which he dwells as also the bodies of others. Rudra has been said to be like atmospheric visitations and his form is like that of the wind-gods’.”

“aila uvāca
na vai vātaḥ parivṛṇōti kaścinna jīmūtō varṣati nāpi dēvaḥ.
tathāyuktō dṛśyatē mānuṣēṣu kāmadvēṣādbadhyatē muhyatē ca|” (MBH 12:73:20)

“Aila said, ‘The Wind does not, by blowing, visibly destroy men on all occasions, nor does the deity of the clouds do so by pouring rain. On the other hand, it is seen among men that they lose their senses and are slain through lust and malice.’

“kaśyapa uvāca
yathaikagēhē jātavēdāḥ pradīptaḥ kṛtsnaṁ grāmaṁ dahatē ca tvaraṁ vā.
vimōhanaṁ kurutē dēva ēṣa tataḥ sarvaṁ spṛśyatē puṇyapāpaiḥ|” (MBH 12:73:21)

“Kasyapa said, ‘Fire, blazing forth in one house, burneth a whole quarter or an entire village. Similarly, this deity stupefies the senses of someone and then that stupefaction touches all, the honest and the wicked alike, without any distinction’.”

After having read the above conversation let’s see how the entire Yadava dynasty met with destruction when Rudra (Mahakala) appeared in their city for setting an end date to the Vrishni race.


4.3. Mahakala destroyed Yadavas (vr̥ṣṇī race)

Mahakala (Supreme Time or Destroyer) displays many omens when the time of destruction is set by him. Seeing those omens Krishna understands that the time of vrishni race has been put to end by Mahakala. And he recollecting the curse of Gandhari and the curse of Brahmanas (to Samba – Krishna’s son) accepts the reality of time.

“ēvaṁ paśyanhṛṣīkēśaḥ samprāptaṁ kālaparyayam.
trayōdaśyāmamāvāsyā̃ tāndṛṣṭvā prābravīdidam |18
caturdaśī pañcadaśī kṛtēyaṁ rāhuṇā punaḥ.
prāptē vai bhāratē yuddhē prāptā cādya kṣayāya naḥ |” (MBH 16:2:18:19)

“Beholding these signs that indicated the perverse course of Time, and seeing that the day of the new moon coincided with the thirteenth (and the fourteenth) lunation, Hrishikesa, summoning the Yadavas, said unto them these words: ‘The fourteenth lunation has been made the fifteenth by Rahu once more. Such a day had happened at the time of the great battle of the BharatasIt has once more appeared, it seems, for our destruction’.”

Soon the heroes of Yadava race drank wine and became intoxicated and getting stupefied by the illusion of Rudra they themselves quarreled among each other and killed each other.  Uddhava gave up his life by resorting to Yoga. Satyaki beheads Kritavarma and kills him. Likewise Bhojas, Andhakas and Kukuras also get killed due to mutual fights. Similarly all sons and grandsons of Krishna viz. Charudeshna, Pradyumna and Aniruddha also got slayed. Finally the all powerful Lord Balarama and Krishna also gave up their lives. That’s how the entire Yadu dynasty get wiped off from the earth.

When Kala strikes, even gods and incarnations also do not have any say there. All they would do is to simply obey the command of Kala. This is also attested by Sūta samhitā of Skanda Purāṇa as stated below.

“sarvē kālaparādhīnā na kālaḥ kasyachidvaṣē |” (sūta saṁhita 2:2:9b)
“Everyone (and everything) is under the sway of Kāla, kāla is not under the control of anyone”.

Exactly same fact has been stated in the very Mahabharata itself. It clearly states that – Even Krishna and Balarama weren’t superior to the sway of Mahakala.

“yatra sarvakṣayaṃ kṛtvā tāvubhau rāmakeśavau।
nāticakrāmatuḥ kālaṃ prāptaṃ sarvaharaṃ mahat॥” (MBH 1:2:350)
“In this, both Balarama and Kesava (Krishna) after causing the extermination of their race, their hour having come, themselves did not rise superior to the sway of all-destroying Time”.

We’ll see the same point mentioned by king Bali in subsequent sections as well.

4.4. Mahakala destroyed all men in the war of Kurukshetra

From the above verse from previous section we learn that such omens were shown by Time (Mahakala) at the beginning of Kurukshetra war also. Further Vasudeva says the following:

“vimṛśann eva kālaṃ taṃ paricintya janārdanaḥ
mene prāptaṃ sa ṣaṭtriṃśaṃ varvaṃ vai keśi sūdanaḥ | 18
putraśokābhisaṃtaptā gāndhārī hatabāndhavā
yad anuvyājahārārtā tad idaṃ samupāgatam | 19
idaṃ ca tad anuprāptam abravīd yad yudhiṣṭhiraḥ
purā vyūṭheṣv anīkeṣu dṛṣṭvotpātān sudāruṇān |” (MBH 16:3:18-20)

“The slayer of Keshi, Janardana, thinking upon the omens that Time showed, understood that the thirty-sixth year had come, and that what Gandhari, burning with grief on account of the death of her sons, and deprived of all her kinsmen, had said was about to transpire. ‘The present is exactly similar to that time when Yudhishthira noted at such awful omens when the two armies had been arrayed in order of battle’.”

That again reveals a great secret to us, and that is – Even the Kurukshetra war was not fought by anyone. All were killed by Rudra (Mahakala) well before hand in time and only their visible corpses appearing to be alive fought with each other. The entire Kurukshetra battle was planned and executed by Mahakala, where Kauravas were just the instrument for triggering the battle.

“akṣauhiṇyo dvijaśreṣṭhāḥ piṇḍitāṣṭādaśaiva tu।
sametāstatra vai deśe tatraiva nidhanaṃ gatāḥ॥ 29
kauravānkāraṇaṃ kṛtvā kālenādbhutakarmaṇā।” (MBH 1:2:29-30a)
“O best of Brahmanas, according to this calculation were composed the eighteen Akshauhinis of the Kaurava and the Pandava army. ‘Kāla’, whose acts are wonderful assembled them on that spot and having made the Kauravas the cause, destroyed them all”.

In this connection Mahabharata records a beautiful and interesting incident.  One fine day Arjuna experiences a strange being running in front of his chariot without touching the ground and killing Arjuna’s enemies. Arjuna’s arrows were actually piercing the corpses already slain by that effulgent being. Arjuna goes to Veda Vyasa and narrates to him his strange experience and then learns from Vyasa that it was Shankara who was actually destroying all the enemies of Arjuna. The narration is as follows.

“arjuna uvāca
saṅgrāmē nyahanaṁ śatrūñśūraughairvimalairaham.
agratō lakṣayē yāntaṁ puruṣaṁ pāvakaprabham. |4
jvalantaṁ śūlamudyamya yā̃ diśaṁ pratipadyatē.
tasyā̃ diśi vidīryantē śatravō mē mahāmunē. |5
tēna bhagnānarīnsarvānmadbhagnānmanyatē janaḥ.
tēna bhagnāni sainyāni pṛṣṭhatō’nuvrajāmyaham|6
bhagavaṁstanmamācakṣva kō vai sa puruṣōttamaḥ.
śūlapāṇirmayā dṛṣṭastējasā sūryasannibhiḥ|7
na padbhyā̃ spṛśatē bhūmĩ na ca śūlaṁ vimuñcati.
śūlācchūlasahasrāṇi niṣpētustasya tējasā |” (MBH 7:202:4-8)

“[Arjuna enquired], ‘O great Rishi, while I was engaged in slaying the foe in battle with showers of bright shafts, I continually beheld before me, proceeding in advance of my car, a person of blazing hue, as if endued with the effulgence of fire. Whithersoever he proceeded with his uplifted lance, all the hostile warriors were seen to break before him. Broken in reality by him, people regarded the foe to have been broken by me. Following in his wake, I only destroyed those, already destroyed by him. O holy one, tell me who was that foremost of persons, armed with lance, resembling the sun himself in energy, that was thus seen by me? He did not touch the earth with his feet, nor did he hurl his lance even once. In consequence of his energy, thousands of lances issued out of that one lance held by him’.”

vyāsa uvāca
śūlapāṇirmahānkṛṣṇa tējasā sūryasannibhaḥ..
prajāpatīnā̃ prathamaṁ taijasaṁ puruṣaṁ prabhum.
bhuvanaṁ bhūrbhuvaṁ dēvaṁ sarvalōkēśvaraṁ prabhum |9
īśānaṁ varadaṁ pārtha dṛṣṭavānasi śaṅkaram.
taṁ gaccha śaraṇaṁ dēvaṁ varadaṁ bhuvanēśvaram |” (MBH 7:202:9-10)

Vyasa said, ‘Thou hast, O Arjuna, seen Sankara, that First cause from which have sprung the Prajapatis, that puissant Being endued with great energy, he that is the embodiment of heaven, earth and sky, the Divine Lord, the protector of the universe, the great Master, the giver of boons, called also Isana. O, seek the protection of that boon, giving Deity, that lord of the universe”.

Actually even Yajurveda in its celebrated hymn Sri Rudram has already clearly established this fact by paying obeisance to Rudra through the following mantra. It clearly says that Rudra kills all enemies of his devotees by himself being in front and puts an end to the battle even before it commences. This is a clear evidence that Time (Mahakala i.e, Rudra) actually kills all and these heroes who are known as the doers are all just the doers for name sake.

“namō agrēvadhāya ca dūrēvadhāya ca |” (Yajurveda IV:5:8:e)
“(agrēvadhāya) To one who stands ahead of his devotees in the battlefield and kills the enemies, (dūrēvadhāya) to one who destroys the strength, valour etc. of the enemies of devotees, who are at a great distance, even before commencement of battle”.

The same is narrated by Krishna in Shanti Parva in a chapter where couple of verses is of doubtful authenticity. However, the following verses are true and hence citing the same here. Krishna tells to Arjuna the same fact which Vyasa narrated to Arjuna. He says that Rudra is known as “Kala” and tells Arjuna that all the foes that Arjuna had slain, had actually been slain beforehand by Kala (Rudra).

“yastu tē sō’gratō yāti yuddhē sampratyupasthitē.
taṁ viddhi rudraṁ kauntēya dēvadēvaṁ kapardinam. 138
kālaḥ sa ēva kathitaḥ krōdhajēti mayā tava..
nihatāstēna vai pūrvaṁ hatavānasi yānripūn.139
apramēyaprabhāvaṁ taṁ dēvadēvamumāpatim.
namasva dēvaṁ prayatō viśvēśaṁ haramakṣayam |” (MBH 12:342:138-140)
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 Kala, 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 Uma, 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.'”

Well, as usual, Shiva haters would immediately rejoice seeing above verse where Krishna says that “Kala” (Rudra) has sprung from his wrath. Instead of the central message they would stick to the other one. However, the point of Rudra’s manifestation from Vishnu is a relative truth and not the absolute one. Shiva who is beyond the realms of universe, creates Vishnu and Brahma and in order to manifest within the universe in Saguna form he sometimes uses Brahma as his medium and sometimes Vishnu. This is why we have scriptures saying Rudra as manifesting from Brahma’s wrath and sometimes scriptures say Rudra manifests from Vishnu’s wrath.

In fact Chapter thirty-one of Uttara Khanda of Vayaviya Samhita of Shiva Purana also agrees to this point and clarifies this in detail. In Vayaviya Samhita of Shiva Purana it is stated clearly that Vishnu, who takes his birth from Shiva, becomes the cause of Shiva’s re-birth also. There itself it is also stated that Brahma becomes the cause of manifestation of Rudra. The corresponding verses are cited below.

“asādhāraṇakarmā cha sr̥ṣtyādikaraṇātpr̥thak |
brahmāṇōpi ṣiraṣchhētā janakastasya tatsutaḥ |121
janakastanayaṣchāpi viṣṇōrapi niyāmakaḥ |
bōdhakaṣcha tayōrnityamanugrahakaraḥ |” (Shiva Purana 7:02:31:121-122)

“His (Shiva’s) works are said to be uncanny because he (alone) carries out creation, preservation and destruction. He is the one who cut brahma’s head. He is the father of Brahma as well as his son. Similarly, He is the father of Vishnu as well as his son and he is also the controller of Vishnu. He confers knowledge on these two – Brahma and Vishnu and always showers his grace (upon them)”.

So, there is nothing to feel inferior about Rudra here in comparison to Vishnu. Rudra’s superiority remains unchallenged always. Only fools fail to see his supreme nature. Due to stupefaction by the illusion of Rudra sinful people can only see Rudra’s emergence through Vishnu or Brahma, but their eyes get covered by Rudra’s maya, therefore they fail to see Rudra’s presence even before Vishnu’s and Brahma’s existence itself. So, what Krishna has stated in the above quoted verse is just a “half-truth”.  Therefore, let’s focus only on Rudra’s glory of being the supreme Kala and ignore the sidetracking material from that verse.

Also, the point that I mentioned from Shiva Purana, is very much in sync with Atharva Veda’s standpoint about Rudra. There is a Kala Sukta in Atharva Veda which is a hymn singing the glories of Mahakala aspect of lord Shiva. We’ll see that hymn in detail in the last section of this article. Let’s see only one verse from it for now. Kala Sukta says that Kala (Rudra) creates all beings (read as including Vishnu and Brahma since we have other Vedic verses where Vishnu and Brahma are created by Rudra) and worlds and then manifests as their son (read as Brahma’s son or Vishnu’s son); however, there is none superior that Rudra (Kala).

“sá evá sáṃ bhúvanāny ā́bharat sá evá sáṃ bhúvanāni páry ait
pitā́ sánn abhavat putrá eṣāṃ tásmād vái nā́nyát páram asti téjaḥ |” (Atharva Veda 19:53:4)

“He surely did bring hither all the beings (worlds), he surely did encompass all the beings (worlds). Being their father, he became their son; there is, verily, no other force, higher than he”.

Well, it should have become crystal clear by now that there is no room for Shiva-Haters to cook stories against Rudra based on the narration of Krishna.

Well, coming back to the mainstream discussion – Kala (Rudra) is the one who originally destroys everyone and others become just the actors. Even the same is confirmed by Bhagawad Gita also as follows. The below is also a testimony that Bhagawad Gita was a discourse actually revealing lord Shiva’s glories where Krishna was just an Acharya who transmitted the divine message of Lord Shiva. For a very detailed analysis on Bhagawad Gita please refer to all the parts of the article titled “Hidden Secrets of Bhagawad Gita Revealed”.

“sri-bhagavan uvaca
kalo smi loka ksaya krt pravrddho
lokan samahartum iha pravrttah
rte ‘pi tvam na bhavisyanti sarve
ye ‘vasthitah pratyanikesu yodhah |” (BG 11:32)

“The Holy One said, “I am Kala (the Time (or) Death), the destroyer of the worlds, fully developed. I am now engaged in slaying the race of men. With the exception of thee (pandavas) all these warriors standing in the different divisions shall cease to be”.

“tasmat tvam uttistha yaso labhasva
jitva satrun bhunksva rajyam samrddham
mayaivaite nihatah purvam eva
nimitta-matram bhava savya-sacin |” (BG 11:33)

“Wherefore, arise, gain glory, (and) vanquishing the foe, enjoy (this) swelling kingdom. By me have all these been already slain. Be only (my) instrument. O thou that can’st draw the bow with (even) the left hand”.

“dronam ca bhismam ca jayadratham ca
karnam tathanyan api yodha-viran
maya hatams tvam jahi ma vyathistha
yudhyasva jetasi rane sapatnan|” (BG 11:34)

“Drona and Bhishma, and Jayadratha, and Karna, and also other heroic warriors, (already) slain by me, do thou slay. Be not dismayed, fight; thou shalt conquer in battle (thy) foes”.

Therefore Mahakala is the original cause behind all withdrawals and dissolution, but outwardly people due to ignorance created by Mahadeva’s illusion think others as the doers.


4.5. Mahakala destroyed Draupadi’s sons and Dhrishtadyumna

Mahabharata is very consistent in all Parvas in stating the same point again and again that – Rudra, the supreme kala has actually destroyed all the warriors, and the so called victorious heroes were all just dummy instruments in that act.
In Saupptika Parva there is a marvelous incident described about how Maheshwara terrifies Ashwatthama and on his prayer to Mahadeva how he gets blessed and become the instrument of single handedly slaying all the five sons of Draupadi and Dhrishtadyumna along with the hundreds of forces who were awake and fight with him. Let’s read the conversations of Yudhishthira and Vasudeva in this matter and understand it.

“[vaiṣampāyana uvacha]
hateṣu sarvasainyeṣu sauptike tai rathais tribhiḥ
śocan yudhiṣṭhiro rājā dāśārham idam abravīt |1
kathaṃ nu kṛṣṇa pāpena kṣudreṇākliṣṭa karmaṇā
drauṇinā nihatāḥ sarve mama putrā mahārathāḥ |” (MBH 10:17:1-2)
Vaishampayana said, “After all the troops had been slain during the hour of sleep by those three car-warriors, king Yudhishthira in great grief said these words unto him of Dasharha’s race: ‘How, O Krishna, could my sons, all of whom were mighty car-warriors, be slaughtered by the sinful and wretched Ashvatthama of no great skill in battle?”

Yudhishthira further enquired how Ashwatthama could single-handedly slay all the troops who fought with him. 

“kiṃ nu tena kṛtaṃ karma tathāyuktaṃ nararṣabha
yad ekaḥ śibiraṃ sarvam avadhīn no guroḥ sutaḥ |” (MBH 10:17:5)

“What act was done by the preceptor’s son, O bull among men, in consequence of which he succeeded in slaying, single-handed, all our men in battle?’”

In response, Krishna tells him the real reason and about the real agent who actually brought such a terrible end to those warriors. Note here carefully that Krishna calls Mahadeva as “avyayam” which is another epithet for “akshara” and both mean “indestructible or eternal”. Therefore this is another evidence that the Time (Saguna-Rudra) which changes and the changeless Time (Nirguna-Shiva) both are identical, all differences are due to avidya or māya alone.

nūnaṃ sa deva denānām īśvareśvaram avyayam
jagāma śaraṇaṃ drauṇir ekas tenāvadhīd bahūn |” (MBH 10:17:6)

“Vasudeva said, “Verily, Drona’s son had sought the aid of that highest of all the gods, the eternal Mahadeva. It was for this that he succeeded in slaying, single-handed, so large a number of warriors”.

Further, from the conversation of Ashwatthama and Mahadeva, we get again a divine secret revealed to us by Maheshwara. Note below words of Rudra carefully where he says that the expiry time of all the Panchalas (sons of draupadi and Dhristadyumna) has already commenced. Hence as per the rules of Kala (Rudra), he had to destroy all of them and in that act he used Ashwatthama as his tool. This means, all of them were already destroyed by Mahakala and only their physical bodies were to be removed for which Drona’s son became the actor.

“satyaśaucārjava tyāgais tapasā niyamena ca
kṣāntyā bhaktyā ca dhṛtyā ca buddhyā ca vacasā tathā |60
yathāvad aham ārāddhaḥ kṛṣṇenākliṣṭakarmaṇā
tasmād iṣṭatamaḥ kṛṣṇād anyo mama na vidyate |61
kurvatā tasya saṃmānaṃ tvāṃ ca jijñāsatā mayā
pāñcālāḥ sahasā guptā māyāś ca bahuśaḥ kṛtāḥ |62
kṛtas tasyaiṣa saṃmānaḥ pāñcālān rakṣatā mayā
abhibhūtās tu kālena naiṣām adyāsti jīvitam |” (MBH 10:7:60-63)

“[Mahadeva said]: ‘With truth, purity, sincerity, resignation, ascetic austerities, vows, forgiveness, devotion, patience, thought, and word, I have been duly adored by Krishna of pure deeds. For this there is none dearer to me than Krishna. For honouring him and at his word I have protected the Pancalas and displayed diverse kinds of illusion. By protecting the Pancalas I have honoured him. They have, however, been afflicted by time. The period of their lives hath run out’”.

“evam uktvā maheṣvāsaṃ bhagavān ātmanas tanum
āviveśa dadau cāsmai vimalaṃ khaḍgam uttamam |64
athāviṣṭo bhagavatā bhūyo jajvāla tejasā
varṣmavāṃś cābhavad yuddhe deva sṛṣṭena tejasā |” (MBH 10:7:64-65)

Having said these words unto the high-souled Ashvatthama, the divine Mahadeva entered Ashvatthama’s body after giving him an excellent and polished sword. Filled by that divine being, Drona’s son blazed up with energy. In consequence of that energy derived from godhead, he became all-powerful in battle”.

Here one great point is revealed from above speech of Mahadeva. Time, the Mahakala does not play favourites. He knows no partiality. If we note carefully, he talks about the exalted levels of devotion that Krishna has for Mahadeva and he also says that there is none dearer to him than Krishna for the same reason of Krishna’s undivided devotion towards him. On Krishna’s request Mahadeva had initially protected the Panchalas standing at their gate and displaying diverse kinds of illusions to Ashwatthama scaring him away. Mahadeva says he had done that to honour the words of his devotee (Krishna). But then again to Ashwatthama he says the Time of panchalas have elapsed hence they need to die and enters into his body and kills them. Here we learn that Mahakala doesn’t show partiality. If someone’s time has elapsed, that person would be withdrawn from creation by him; even for the sake of his devotee Krishna (who is a godly incarnation himself) who had requested him to protect them, he didn’t break his law. That’s the greatness of Time.

Let’s see how Ashwatthama destroyed the pānchālās! Mahabharata very vividly describes the incident and clearly shows that bhagavati kālī who is otherwise known as karālī and also as kālarātrī, together with Mahākāla (who had entered the body of Aśwatthāmā) had destroyed the entire pānchāla forces. In below sections also we would see that kālī always accompanies her eternal consort Mahākāla in his acts. This is again because they are always one and the same – depicted as two!

Entire pānchāla soldiers witnessed kālarātrī in her embodied form and Mahākāla was hidden inside Aśwatthāmā. The below naraative gives a clear picture of the goddess kālī in her embodied form. Mahabharata is very consistent in depicting all these battles with same kind of incidents relating to Kali, Mahakala and dreams. See how Vyasa brings the same point of dream here (which we would see in next section also). It is said that the pānchāla had seen regularly this lady (kālī) and Drona’s son (i.e, Mahakala in reality) in their dreams from the very beginning day of the kurukshetra war and they had witnessed them as killing themselves. Also note that it says – Afflicted by their fate (means the expiry date set by Mahakala) they all beheld that terrible scene in their dreams, which is again indicative of the fact that Mahakala is at work!.

”anyānanyā̃śca puruṣānabhisṛtyābhisṛtya ca |
nyakṛntadasinā drauṇirasimārgaviśāradaḥ || 68
kālī̃ raktāsyanayanā̃ raktamālyānulēpanām |
raktāmbaradharāmēkā̃ pāśahastā̃ kuṭumbinīm || 69
dadṛśuḥ kālarātrĩ tē gāyamānāmavasthitām |
narāśvakuñjarānpāśairbaddhvā ghōraiḥ pratasthuṣīm || 70
vahantī̃ vividhānprētānpāśabaddhānvimūrdhajān |
tathaiva ca sadā rājannyastaśastrānmahārathān || 71
svapnē suptānnayantī̃ tā̃ rātriṣvanyāsu māriṣa |
dadṛśuryōdhamukhyāstē ghnantaṁ drauṇĩ ca sarvadā || 72
yataḥ prabhṛti saṅgrāmaḥ kurupāṇḍavasēnayōḥ |
tataḥ prabhṛti tā̃ kanyāmapaśyandrauṇimēva ca || 73
tā̃stu daivahatānpūrvaṁ paścāddrauṇirvyapātayat |
trāsayansarvabhūtāni vinadanbhairavānravān || 74
tadanusmṛtya tē vīrā darśanaṁ pūrvakālikam |
idaṁ tadityamanyanta daivēnōpanipīḍitāḥ ||” (MBH 10:8:68-75)

“Accomplished in the use of the sword, Ashvatthama then, rushing against other combatants, cut them down with his excellent sword. The warriors in the Pandava camp beheld that kālarātrī (Death-Night) in her embodied form, kālī of bloody mouth and bloody eyes, wearing crimson garlands and smeared with crimson unguents, attired in a single piece of red cloth, with a noose in hand, and resembling an elderly lady, employed in chanting a dismal note and standing full before their eyes, and about to lead away men and steeds and elephants all tied in a stout cord. She seemed to take away diverse kinds of spirits, with dishevelled hair and tied together in a cord, as also, O king, many mighty car-warriors divested of their weapons. On other days, O sire, the foremost warriors of the Pandava camp used to see in their dreams that figure leading away the sleeping combatants and Drona’s son smiting them behind! The Pandava soldiers saw that lady and Drona’s son in their dreams every night from the day when the battle between the Kurus and the Pandavas first commenced. Afflicted before by Destiny, they were now smitten by Drona’s son who terrified them all with the frightful roars uttered by him. Afflicted by Destiny, the brave warriors of the Pandava camp, recollecting the sight they had seen in their dreams, identified it with what they now witnessed”.

It further states that those forces were slayed (by Mahakala present within Ashwatthama) and offered as sacrificial-animals to kālarātrī before they could even approach Ashwatthama.

“punarutpatataścāpi dūrādapi narōttamān|
śūrānsampatataścānyānkālarātryai nyavēdayat ||” (MBH10:8:84)

“Others awoke from sleep, brave warriors and foremost of men, as they came towards Ashvatthama, were slain before they could approach him and were thus offered up as victims unto that kālarātrī (Death-Night)”.

Let’s again come back to the conversation of Krishna and Yudhishthira where Krishna narrates about the superior deeds of Mahadeva of yore and tells how he had terrified entire universe and all gods when they didn’t allot him his share of sacrifice and how after getting pleased he restored everything to happiness. And then finally Krishna in his concluding remarks condoling Yudhishthira asks him not to consider Drona’s son as the doer of that act. He asks not to have ill feeling for Drona’s son as being guilty of that act.

“tasmin kruddhe ‘bhavat sarvam asvasthaṃ bhuvanaṃ vibho
prasanne ca punaḥ svasthaṃ sa prasanno ‘sya vīryavān |24
tatas te nihatāḥ sarve tava putrā mahārathāḥ
anye ca bahavaḥ śūrāḥ pāñcālāś ca sahānugāḥ |25
na tan manasi kartavyaṃ na hi tad drauṇinā kṛtam
mahādeva prasādaḥ sa kuru kāryam anantaram |” (MBH 10:18:24-26)

“[vasudeva said]:  O monarch, when Mahadeva had become angry, the whole world had thus become agitated: when he became gratified everything became safe. Possessed of great energy, the god Mahadeva was gratified with Ashvatthama. It was for this that thy sons, those mighty car-warriors, could be slain by that warrior. It was for this that many other heroes, the Pancalas, with all their followers, could be slain by him. Thou shouldst not suffer thy mind to dwell on it. It was not Drona’s son that accomplished that act. It was done through the grace of Mahadeva. Do now what should next be done.”

Here again we conclude that Mahakala destroyed all warriors of Dwapara Yuga in the battle of kurukshetra. Now, let’s proceed to one yuga prior to Dwapara and see the glories of Mahakala in Treta yuga.


4.6. Mahakala destroyed all asuras in the Ramayana war with Ravana

In Valmiki Ramayana thirty fifth chapter of Yuddha Kanda, with the sound of kettle drums and couches, Rama arrives to Lanka with his army. Ravana hears those sounds and calls his ministers to chalk out his further course of action. Malyavan, Ravana’s maternal grandfather advises Ravana to conclude peace with Rama and restore Seetha to him as he perceives adverse omens. Here again we see that the supreme Mahakala when hovered over the city of Lanka, showed same terrible omens which we had seen in Mahabharata when he roamed inside the city of Dwaraka.

Now here we need to study the omens carefully to understand who the actual slayer of Ravana and his forces was! In fact this entire section including the Sanskrit verses needs to be studied with rapt attention.

When the destruction of Ravana and his race was scheduled to happen by Mahakala, he had displayed himself in their city also with the same terrible form of Black and tawny, bald form. Again there also it is very clear that Mahakala destroyed them and Sri Rama and other heroes were just instruments in re-enacting the already completed play on the stage called earth. Hence Ravana’s forces were already killed by time (Mahakala) but Rama killed only the already killed corpses (which looked alive due to Maya).

A dark woman (goddess kālī) having white teeth appears in Lanka.

kālikāḥ pāṇḍurair dantaiḥ prahasanty agrataḥ sthitāḥ |
striyaḥ svapnēṣu muṣṇantyō gṛhāṇi pratibhāṣya ca |” (Valmiki Ramayana 6:35:29)

“Woman of black complexion and white teeth, chattering incoherently in dreams and robbing different houses stand in front, laughing loudly”.

This is exactly the same omen described in Mausala Parva of Mahabharata when destruction of Yadava races was triggered by Mahakala as narrated below. Goddess Kali always accompanies Mahakala as we have already seen in Ashwatthama’s episode of slaying panchalas. Also, note that Kali was witnessed in dreams by the people of Yadava race similar to what Panchalas had dreamt in Ashwatthama’s episode of Sauptika Parva that we had seen above. See the Sanskrit words employed by Valmiki and Vyasa both are EXACTLY same!

kālī strī pāṇḍurairdantaiḥ praviśya hasatī niśi.
striyaḥ svapnēṣu muṣṇantī
 dvārakā̃ paridhāvati |” (MBH 16:3:1)

“At that time the Vrishni ladies dreamed every night that a woman of black complexion and white teeth, entering their abodes, laughed aloud and ran through Dvaraka, snatching from them the auspicious threads in their wrists”.

Further let’s carefully note the omens described in Ramayana.

“gṛhāṇā̃ balikarmāṇi śvānaḥ paryupabhuñjatē .
kharā gōṣu prajāyantē mūṣikāḥ nakulaiḥ saha |30
mārjārāḥ dvīpibhiḥ sārdhaṁ sūkarāḥ śunakaiḥ saha .
kinnarā rākṣasaiścāpi samīyurmānuṣaiḥ saha |” (Valmiki Ramayana 6:35:30-31)

“Dogs devour the sacred offerings offered in homes. Donkeys are born of cows and rats of mongoose. Cats mate with tigers, pigs with dogs, Kinnaras with demons and men”.

Even Mahabharata describes similar evil omens at the time of destruction of yadava clan as follows. Compare above verses from Ramayana with below verses from Mahabharata.

“vyajāyanta kharā gōṣu karabhā’śvatarīṣu ca.
śunīṣvapi biḍālāśca mūṣikā nakulīṣu ca |9
nāpatrapanta pāpāni kurvantō vṛṣṇayastadā.
prādviṣanbrāhmaṇā̃ścāpi pitṝndēvā̃stathaiva ca|” (MBH 16:2:9-10)

“Asses were born of kine, and elephants of mules. Cats were born of bitches, and mouse of the mongoose. The Vrishnis, committing sinful acts, were not seen to feel any shame. They showed disregard for Brahmanas and the Pitris and the deities”.

Note from the below verse of Valmiki Ramayana how red-footed white pigeons of death soared on Lanka foreboding the death of their clan. Note the Sanskrit verses very carefully.

pāṇḍurā raktapādāśca vihaṅgāḥ kālacōditāḥ .
rākṣasānā̃ vināśāya kapōtā vicaranti ca | ” (Valmiki Ramayana 6:35:32)

“Red-footed and white pigeons, messengers of death, move in different directions, foretelling the extermination of demons”.

Now compare how Vyasa had narrated the same omens in Mahabharata. Here also note the expression “pāṇḍurā raktapādāśca vihagāḥ kālacōditāḥ” is ditto what Valmiki had said in the verse seen above. Red-footed white pigeons hovered over the city of Dwaraka foreboding the deaths of the vrishni clan.

pāṇḍurā raktapādāśca vihagāḥ kālacōditāḥ.
vṛṣṇyandhakānā̃ gēhēṣu kapōtā vyacaraṁstadā. |” (MBH 16:2:8)

“Many birds appeared, impelled by Death, that were pale of complexion but that had legs red of hue. Pigeons were seen to always disport in the houses of the Vrishnis”.

Note the following verses from Valmiki Ramayana how mynah-s (śārikā) chirped and made various ominous sounds.

vīcīkūcīti vāśtantyaḥ śārikā vēśmasu sthitāḥ ..
patanti grathitāścāpi nirjitāḥ kalahaiṣiṇaḥ| ” (Valmiki Ramayana 6:35:33)
“Domesticated śārikā (a kind of birds) making a chirping sound, defeated by other bellicose birds drop down, being twined together in groups”.

Now compare the above verse with the below verses from Mahabharata. We can clearly see that in Mahabharata also same mynah birds (śārikā) created same omens.

cīcīkūcīti vāśanti sārikā vṛṣṇivēśmasu.
nōpaśāmyati śabdaśca sa divārātramēva hi.|6
anvakurvannulūkānā̃ sārasā virutaṁ tathā.
ajāḥ śivānā̃ virutamanvakurvata bhārata.|” (MBH 16:2:6-7)

“Sarikas chirped, sitting within the houses of the Vrishnis. The noise made by those birds ceased not for even a short while by day or by night. The Sarashas were heard to imitate the hooting of the owl, and goats imitated the cries, O Bharata, of jackals”.

Now the MOST IMPORTANT verse that we need to observe here is the description of Kala (Rudra) in Ramayana and Mahabharata is IDENTICAL as shown below.

Ramayana says that birds cry out seeing the Bald headed, Dark and Tawny hued (“kr̥ṣṇa-pingalaṁ”) lord Rudra (Mahakala) as follows.

pakṣiṇaśca mṛgāḥ sarvē pratyādityaṁ rudanti te
karālō vikaṭō muṇḍaḥ paruṣaḥ kṛṣṇapiṅgalaḥ |” (Valmiki Ramayana 6:35:35)

“Birds and wild animals, facing towards the sun, cry out, witnessing Death, in the form of a frightful, monstrous, cruel dark and tawny fellow with a shaven head”.

The same wordings have been used by Vyasa in Mahabharata.

“vaiśampāyana uvāca
ēvaṁ prayatamānānā̃ vṛṣṇīnāmandhakaiḥ saha.
kālō gṛhāṇi sarvēṣā̃ paricakrāma nityaśaḥ |1
karālō vikaṭō muṇḍaḥ puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇapiṅgalaḥ.
gṛhāṇyāvēkṣya vṛṣṇīnā̃ nādṛśyata kvacitkvacit |” (MBH 16:2:1-2)

“[Vaishampayana said:] While the Vrishnis and the Andhakas were thus endeavouring (to avoid the impending calamity), the embodied form of Time (death) every day wandered about their houses. He looked like a man of terrible and fierce aspect. Of bald head, he was black and of tawny complexion. Sometimes he was seen by the Vrishnis as he peered into their houses”.

Compare the Sanskrit verses of Ramayana and Mahabharata for these two verses depicting the appearance of Mahakala (Rudra). The description (karālō vikaṭō muṇḍaḥ puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇapiṅgalaḥ) is identical in Ramayana and Mahabharata. How beautifully Valmiki and Vyasa have penned down same identical words and adjectives to describe the Kala (death) that was hovering on those two kingdoms!

Therefore with these comparisons it is crystal clear that Rudra is the one who is the original cause of destruction of Ravana and his entire demoniac family. Sri Rama and his forces were just the instruments in this outwardly depicted act of destruction. Already Mahakala had slain all the enemies of Rama; and Rama had only slain their corpses; which however, was not visible to anyone due to the Maya of Rudra. Similarly, when Sri Rama’s time for departure had arrived, he was informed and reminded by Kala (via a messenger) to put an end to that incarnation and return back to his abode (vaikuntha) and then Rama and Lakshmana followed the instructions of the Mahakala and departed from Earth. .

This is not a hasty conclusion, whatever has been concluded here, has already been revealed by Lord Shiva himself in Padma Purana. At the end of the Fifth chapter named ‘rāmāya varapradānaṁ’ of ‘Shiva Gita’ which occurs in the Uttara Khanḍa of Padma Purāṇa, Lord Shiva himself says to Sri Rama that in the battle with Ravana and his demoniac army, Sri Rama is just a ‘nimitta-mātra’ i.e., just an instrument in the hands of Mahādēva, where as in reality Mahādēva would swallow them in advance and Rama and his army would simply kill the already killed corpses. The corresponding evidence is as follows.   .

“athavā kĩ bahūktēna mayaivōtpāditaṁ jagata |
mayaiva pālyatē nityaṁ mayā saṁhriyatē’pi ca |
ahamēkō jaganmṛtyurmṛtyōrapi mahīpatē |
grasē’hamēva sakalaṁ jagadētaccarācarama |
mama vaktragatāḥ sarvē rākṣasā yuddhadurmadāḥ |
nimittamātraṁ tvaṁ bhūyāḥ kīrtimāpsyasi sangarē |” (Shiva Gita:05:38-41)

“[Lord Shiva said]: Otherwise what’s there in saying many things, (just simply know that) this entire universe has been created by me, has been protected by me and by me only it would be destroyed. It’s I who is the death of even death. It’s I who swallows the entire mobile and immobile creationAll those demons who would die in the fierce war, all have actually been swallowed by me in reality. You are just an instrument, and you would gain immense and eternal glory for yourself in this battle“.

Also we have strong evidence from Mahabharata which clearly says that if the doer thinks that “I have done it” – he is mistaken since the real doer is Kala. For this there is a beautiful discourse between King Bali and Purandara which we shall read in the subsequent section.


5. Mahakala – The Ordainer under whose sway everything functions

Entire universe with all the mobile and immobile beings together with the very godheads – are all controlled by the authority of Kāla (Rudra). There is nothing that goes against the will of Mahakala and there is none who acts otherwise of the dictates of the Supreme Time.


5.1. King Bali’s discourse about “Kāla” to Indra

In the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata there is an upa-parva called “Mokshadharma parva”. There is a great discourse between Bali the king of Rakshasas and Indra the lord of the Devas. In that Bali-Indra-Samvada great secrets are taught by Bali to Indra. In fact the creator god Brahma asks Indra to get teachings from Bali since the latter was a vast storehouse of wisdom. Let’s read that now.

Indra meets Brahma and asks about the whereabouts of Bali and asks if it would be appropriate to kill him if he was found. Brahma asks him not to kill him but instead urges him to get the divine wisdom from him.

“śakra uvāca
yadi sma balinā brahmañśūnyāgārē samēyivān.
hanyāmēnaṁ na vā hanyā̃ tadbrahmannanuśādhi mām |” (MBH 12:223:10)

“Sakra said, ‘If, O Brahma, I happen to meet with Bali in an empty apartment, shall I slay him or spare him? Tell me how I shall act.’”

mā sma śakra balĩ hĩsīrna balirvadhamarhati.
nyāyastu śakra praṣṭavyastvayā vāsava kāmyayā |” (MBH 12:223:11)

“Brahma said, ‘Do not, O Sakra, injure Bali, Bali does not deserve death. Thou shouldst, on the other hand, O Vasava, solicit instruction from him about morality, O Sakra, as thou pleasest.’”

Thus addressed by the divine Creator, Indra roams over the earth. He succeeds in meeting with Bali, who, as the Creator has said, was living in an empty apartment born in the form of an ass. Seeing Bali in the low standard life of a donkey Indra laughs at him, teases and pinches him with many sharp words. He talks about Bali’s high standard lifestyle of yore and comparing with the current situation mocks at him.

Bali, being filled with divine wisdom, however remains unshaken with such taunts of Indra and then in return Bali gives Indra a great discourse about the power of Time and teaches him how a Jnani (wise person) shouldn’t behave. That’s a lengthy discourse; however we would see here only the salient features which are related to Time (mahakala).

Bali is beyond both happiness and sorrow because he has understood that everything is ordained by Mahakala.

“baliruvāca |
anityamupalakṣyēha kālaparyāyadharmataḥ.
tasmācchakra na śōcāmi sarvaṁ hyēvēdamantavat|” (MBH 12:224:5)

Bali said, ‘Considering all this to be transitory,–due, indeed, to the course of time,–I do not, O Sakra, indulge in grief. These things have an end”.

Bali draws a parallel between Time (Kala) and Death (Mrityu). Since death puts an end to everyone on time, they are both identical.

“bhūtānā̃ nidhanaṁ niṣṭhā srōtasāmiva sāgaraḥ.
naitatsamyagvijānantō narā muhyanti vajradhṛk|” (MBH 12:224:9)
“As the final resting-place of all rivers is the ocean, even so the end of all embodied creatures is death”.

Here the below verses are of paramount importance. In previous sections whatever I had concluded – that conclusion has scriptural support in the form of Bali’s words now.  Whosoever acts in this world, all such actions are actually performed by Kala and these all others are just dummy instruments imitating the actions of Kala. The below verse should remind us of Kenopanishad third chapter – isn’t there the same teaching taught by goddess Uma and Shiva (in the guise of Yaksha) to the deities? There also the victory of gods over demons which they were falsely attributing to themselves; was revealed as the victory of Brahman (Shiva) who gave that to the deities.

“hataṁ hanti hatō hyēva yō narō hanti kañcana.
ubhau tau na vijānītō yaśca hanti hataśca yaḥ |14
hatvā jitvā ca maghavanyaḥ kaścitpuruṣāyatē.
akartā hyēva bhavati kartā hyēva karōti tat|” (MBH 12:224:14-15)

“When one slays another, one slays only that other’s body. That man, who thinks that it is he who slays another, is himself slain. Indeed, both of them are ignorant of the truth, viz., he who slays and he who is slain. That person, O Maghavat, who having killed or vanquished any one brags of his manliness, should know that he is not the actor but the act (of which he boasts) has been accomplished by a real agent (who is different)”.

Time knows no partiality. It sweeps away everyone and everything when their time comes.

“mahāvidyō’lpavidyaśca balavāndurbalaśca yaḥ.
darśanīyō virūpaśca subhagō durbhagaśca yaḥ |18
sarvaṁ kālaḥ samādattē gambhīraḥ svēna tējasā.
tasminkālavaśaṁ prāptē kā vyathā mē vijānataḥ|” (MBH 12:224:18-19)

“One that is possessed of great learning, one that has not much of learning, one that is possessed of strength, one that is destitute of strength, one that is possessed of personal beauty, and one that is very ugly, one that is fortunate and one that is not blessed by fortune, are all swept away by Time, which is too deep to be fathomed, by its own energy. When I know that I have been vanquished by Time, what sorrow can I feel (for this alteration in my circumstances)?”

Now, again very important verses are being taught by Bali. He says that all actions that the so called actors perform, are all actually been performed already by Time. This is the key we have already seen and discussed above. Mahakala is the original cause and all others are just actors.

“dagdhamēvānudahati hatamēvānuhanyatē.
naśyatē naṣṭamēvāgrē labdhavyaṁ labhatē naraḥ|” (MBH 12:224:20)

“One that burns anything burns a thing that has been already burnt. One that slays, only slays a victim already slain. One that is destroyed has been before destroyed. A thing that is acquired by a person is that which is already arrived and intended for his acquisition”.

Mahakala (Time) is infinite and has no limits because he is the limitless Supreme Brahman. It is the same Time (Rudra or Mahakala) which destroys all creatures.

“nāsya dvīpaḥ kutaḥ pārō nāvāraḥ sampradṛśyatē.
nāntamasya prapaśyāmi vidhērdivyasya cintayan |21
yadi mē paśyataḥ kālō bhūtāni na vināśayēt.
syānmē harṣaśca darpaśca krōdhaścaiva śacīpatē|” (MBH 12:224:2122)

“This Time is like an ocean. There is no island in it. Where, indeed, is its other shore? Its boundary cannot be seen. Reflecting even deeply, I do not behold the end of this continuous stream that is the great ordainer of all things and that is certainly celestial. If I did not understand that it is Time that destroys all creatures, then, perhaps, I would have felt the emotions of joy and pride and wrath, O lord of Sachi!”

It is Rudra (Kala) who gives everything and takes away everything as per his will.

“kālaḥ sarvaṁ samādattē kālaḥ sarvaṁ prayacchati.
kālēna vihitaṁ sarvaṁ mā kṛthāḥ śakra pauruṣam|” (MBH 12:224:25)

“It is Time that gives everything and again takes away everything. It is Time that ordains all things. Do not, O Sakra, brag of thy manliness”.

Time even does strange things. It can make a beggar a king and a king a beggar as needed. It is the supreme ordainer. The same is explained with various examples in below verses.

“dṛśyatē hi kulē jātō darśanīyaḥ pratāpavān.
duḥkhaṁ jīvansahāmātyō bhavitavyaṁ hi tattathā |32
dauṣkulēyastathā mūḍhō durjātaḥ śakra dṛśyatē.
sukhaṁ jīvansahāmātyō bhavitavyaṁ hi tattathā |33
kalyāṇī rūpasampannā durbhagā śakra dṛśyatē.
alakṣaṇā virūpā ca subhagā dṛśyatē parā|” (MBH 12:224:32-34)

“It is seen that some one of noble birth, possessed of handsome features, and endued with great prowess, lives in misery, with all his counsellors and friends. This happens because of its having been ordained. Similarly, someone born in an ignoble race, devoid of knowledge, and with even a stain on his birth, is seen, O Sakra, to live in happiness with all his counselors and friends. This also happens because of its having been ordained. An auspicious and beautiful woman, O Sakra, is seen to pass her life in misery. Similarly, an ugly woman with every inauspicious mark is seen to pass her days in great happiness”.

It is Time (Mahakala who) which appoints Indra as the head of the celestials and it is Mahakala again who causes downfall of demons when their merits cease to exist. Neither Indra nor anyone else ahs any credits of glory in this.

“naitadasmatkṛtaṁ śakra naitacchakra tvayā kṛtam.
yattvamēvaṅgatō vajrinyaccāpyēvaṅgatā vayam |35
na karma bhavitāpyētatkṛtaṁ mama śatakratō.
ṛddhirvāpyathavā narddhiḥ paryāyakṛtamēva tat|” (MBH 12:224:35-36)

“That we have now become so is not due to any act of ours, O Sakra! That thou art now so is not due, O wielder of the thunderbolt, to any act of thine. Thou hast not done anything, O thou of hundred sacrifices, in consequence of which thou art now enjoying this affluence. Nor have I done anything in consequence of which I have now been divested of affluence, Affluence and its reverse come one after another”.

Time is the original agent in which everything is fixed, everything works and everything gets withdrawn.

“kālaḥ sthāpayatē sarvaṁ kālaḥ pacati vai tathā|” (MBH 12:224:39b)
“It is Time that establishes all things. Time works upon all things and leads them to their final consummation”.

Bali further narrates how Time had vanquished him.

“tadadya vinivṛttaṁ mē prabhutvamamarādhipa.
kālasainyāvagāḍhasya sarvaṁ na pratibhāti mē|” (MBH 12:224:44)

“In all the worlds I was the one puissant master. That sovereign sway which I had, O chief of the celestials, is no more. I am now assailed by the forces of Time. Those things, therefore, are no longer seen to shine in me”.

No one else is the real actor or doer of things. It is time which is the original cause of all actions.

“nāhaṁ kartā na caiva tvaṁ nānyaḥ kartā śacīpatē.
paryāyēṇa hi bhujyantē lōkāḥ śakra yadṛcchayā|” (MBH 12:224:45)

“I am not the doer (of acts that are apparently done by me). Thou art not the doer (of acts done by thee). None else, O lord of Sachi, is the doer (of those acts). It is Time, O Sakra, that protects or destroys all things”.

Bali describes Time as Brahman in the below verses.

ṛtudvāraṁ varṣamukhamāyurvēdavidō janāḥ.|46
āhuḥ sarvamidaṁ cintyaṁ janāḥ kēcinmanīṣayā.
asyāḥ pañcaiva cintāyāḥ paryēṣyāmi ca pañcadhā.|47
gambhīraṁ gahanaṁ brahma mahattōyārṇavaṁ yathā.
anādinidhanaṁ cāhurakṣaraṁ kṣaramēva ca|” (MBH 12:224:46-48)

“Persons conversant with the Vedas say that Time (Eternity) is Brahman. The fortnights and months are his body. That body is invested with days and nights as its robes. The seasons are his senses. The year is his mouth. Some people, in consequence of their superior intelligence, say that all this (the entire universe) should be conceived as Brahman. The Vedas, however, teach, that the five sheaths that invest the Soul should be regarded as Brahman. Brahman is deep and inaccessible like a vast ocean of waters. It hath been said that it hath neither beginning nor end, and that it is both indestructible and destructible”.

The Time (Mahakala) which is the Brahman is eternal and assumes various attributes even though in reality it is devoid of them.

“sattvēṣu liṅgamāvēśya nirliṅgamapi tatsvayam.
manyantē dhruvamēvainaṁ yē janāstattvadarśinaḥ|” (MBH 12:224:49)

“Though it is without attributes by itself, yet it enters all existent objects and as such assumes attributes. Those persons that are conversant with truth regard Brahman (time) as eternal”.

Nobody can hide himself from Time (Mahakala) which is Brahman. Mahakala cannot be avoided. When he moves in some city with the intension to destroy, howsoever powerful that kingdom may be, it has to get swept away accepting Mahadeva’s authority. This is clearly seen in Mausala Parva’s incident that was described above. When Mahakala had shown omens of destruction, Krishna understood that the time of their destruction has come and proceeded with the time.

“gatĩ hi sarvabhūtānāmagatvā kva gamiṣyati.
yō dhāvatā na hātavyastiṣṭhannapi na hīyatē|” (MBH 12:224:51)

“Brahman in the form of Time is the refuge of all creatures. Where wouldst thou go transcending that Time? Time or Brahman, indeed, cannot be avoided by running nor by staying still”

The various names with which learned sages speak of Brahman, are all the names of the one non-dual god (who alone exists in reality – hence name “ēkō” or “ēkaṁ”) i.e., Bhagawan Mahakala-Rudra under whose sway are all things.

“tamindriyāṇi sarvāṇi nānupaśyanti pañcadhā.
āhuścainaṁ kēcidagnĩ kēcidāhuḥ prajāpatim.|52
ṛtūnmāsārdhamāsā̃śca divasā̃śca kṣaṇā̃stathā.
pūrvāhṇamaparāhṇaṁ ca madhyāhnamapi cāparē |53
muhūrtamapi caivāhurēkaṁ santamanēkadhā.
taṁ kālamiti jānīhi yasya sarvamidaṁ vaśē|” (MBH 12:224:52-54)

“All the five senses are incapable of perceiving Brahman. Some have said that Brahman is Fire; some that he is Prajapati; some that he is the Seasons; some that he is the Month; some that he is the Fortnight; some that he is the Days; some that he is the Hours; some that he is the Morning; some that he is the Noon; some that he is the Evening; and some that he is the Moment. Thus diverse people speak diversely of him who is single. Know that he is Eternity (Time), under whose sway are all things”.


5.2. Sree (Lakshmi) moves under the command of Mahakala (Time)

Then Goddess Sree leaves Bali’s body and appears in her embodied form outside. Indra, not recognizing her, asks her to introduce herself. Indra also asks her the reason why she deserted Bali and moved out. Sree explains as follows to Indra’s questions.

“śakra uvāca
kā tvaṁ balērapakrāntā rōcamānā śikhaṇḍinī.
ajānatō mamācakṣva nāmadhēyaṁ śucismitē |5
kā tvaṁ tiṣṭhasi māmēvaṁ dīpyamānā svatējasā.
hitvā daityavaraṁ subhru tanmamācakṣva pṛcchataḥ |” (MBH 12:225:5-6)

“Sakra said, ‘O thou of sweet smiles, who art thou that art possessed of such radiance and adorned with plumes that thus issuest from the body of Bali. I do not know thee. Kindly tell me thy name. Who, indeed, art thou that thus standest here as Maya herself, blazing with thy own splendour, after having deserted the lord of the Daityas? O, tell me this as I question thee.’

na mā̃ virōcanō vēda nāyaṁ vairōcanō baliḥ.
āhurmā̃ duḥsahētyēvaṁ vidhitsēti ca mā̃ viduḥ.|7
bhūtirlakṣmīti māmāhuḥ śrīrityēvaṁ ca vāsava.
tvaṁ mā̃ śakra na jānīṣē sarvē dēvā na mā̃ viduḥ|” (MBH 12:225:7-8)

“Sree said, ‘Virochana did not know me. This Bali also that is the son of Virochana knows me not. The learned called me by the name of Duhshaha. Some knew me by the name of Vidhitsa. I have other names also, O Vasava! They are Bhuti, Lakshmi, and Sree. Thou knowest me not, O Sakra, nor doth any one among the deities know me”.

When Indra asks her the reason behind her deserting Bali and asks if due to his acts of due to Bali’s any act, Sree says that it is nobody’s acts that can invite her or make her desert someone. She functions at the commands of Time (mahakala)

“śakra uvāca
kimidaṁ tvaṁ mama kṛtē utāhō balinaḥ kṛtē.
duḥsahē vijahāsyēnaṁ cirasaṁvāsinī satī. |” (MBH 12:225:9)

“Sakra said, ‘O lady that is difficult of being borne, why do you desert Bali now after having lived in him for a long time? Is it due to any act of mine or is it due to any act that Bali has done?’

Sree clearly says that neither the creator (dhata i.e., Brahma) nor the ordainer (vidhata i.e., Vishnu) rule her. She moves from one place to another at the command of Mahakala (Shiva).

nō dhātā na vidhātā mā̃ vidadhāti kathañcana.
kālastu śakra paryāgānmainaṁ śakrāvamanyathāḥ|” (MBH 12:225:10)

“Sree said, ‘Neither the Creator nor the Ordainer rules me. It is Time that moves me from one place to another. Do not, O Sakra, disregard Bali.’

Again Indra asks the reason behind her abandoning Bali and approaching Indra.

“śakra uvāca
kathaṁ tvayā balistyaktaḥ kimarthaṁ vā śikhaṇdini |
kathaṁ ca mā̃ na jahyāstvaṁ tanmē brūhi śucismitē |” (MBH 12:225:11)

“Sakra said, ‘For what reason, O goddess adorned with plumes, do you desert Bali? Why also do you approach me (for living in me)? Tell me this, O thou of sweet smiles!’

Sree says that when Bali’s time for dethronement had arrived, the all pious Bali got stupefied and started doing all acts of negativity (he became boastful). That was the time destined for her to leave Bali. We need to recollect the words of sage kashyapa that we had seen in previous sections. Kashyapa said that Rudra being in the hearts of all creatures, when their time of end or downfall comes, Rudra stupefies them and they start doing all weird actions and meet their death (or downfall). The same has happened with Bali as per below verses. The all meritorious Bali all of a sudden got stupefied by Mahakala’s illusion and became boastful and that made him lose the grace of goddess of prosperity.

satyē sthitāsmi dānē ca vratē tapasi caiva hi.
parākramē ca dharmē ca parācīnastatō baliḥ. |12
brahmaṇyō’yaṁ purā bhūtvā satyavādī jitēndriyaḥ.
abhyasūyadbrāhmaṇānāmucchiṣṭaścāspṛśadghṛtam |13
yajñaśīlaḥ sadā bhūtvā māmēva yajata svayam.
prōvāca lōkānmūḍhātmā kālēnōpanipīḍitaḥ |14
apākṛtā tataḥ śakra tvayi vatsyāmi vāsava.
apramattēna dhāryāsmi tapasā vikramēṇa ca|” (MBH 12:225:12-15)

‘Sree said, ‘I live in truth, in gifts, in good vows, in penances, in prowess, and in virtue. Bali hath fallen off from all these. Formerly, he was devoted to the Brahmanas. He was truthful and had controlled his passions. Latterly, however, he began to cherish feelings of animosity towards the Brahmanas and touched clarified butter with soiled hands. 4 Formerly, he was always engaged in the performance of sacrifices. At last, blinded by ignorance and afflicted by Time he began to boast before all persons, saying that his adorations towards me were ceaseless. Deserting him (for these faults) I shall henceforth, O Sakra, dwell in thee. Thou shouldst bear me without heedlessness, and with penances and prowess’.”

Therefore with these narratives we have seen that Mahakala is the real cause behind all causes.


6. A HYMN to MAHĀKĀLA – from Atharva Veda

Atharva Veda records a great hymn to the supreme Kala aspect of lord Shiva personified as a primordial power. It exists in book 19 Sukta 53 and 54; that is, in two parts. Let’s see this beautiful hymn which sings the glories of lord Shiva in his aspect of Time.


6.1. Part-I (Atharva Veda 19:53)

Verse 1:

“kāló áśvo vahati saptáraśmiḥ sahasrākṣó ajáro bhū́riretāḥ
tám ā́ rohanti kaváyo vipaścítas tásya cakrā́ bhúvanāni víśvā |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:01)
“Time, the steed, runs with seven reins (rays), thousand-eyed, ageless, rich in seed. The seers, thinking holy thoughts, mount him, all the beings (worlds) are his wheels”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

Here Kāla has been compared to the Sun who has seven rays (or rays of seven colors) and illuminates the universe. However, we need to understand this verse in relation with Time. Therefore if we interpret it with the functions of time we would arrive at the following interpretation.

Time is compared to a steed (aṣvaḥ) rich in seed (which means current or strength here) because normal horses may get tired, but time gallops tirelessly. The seven rays or reigns with which is steed move are the seven days which constitute the building blocks for any duration of Time. There is no other time which falls outside of the seven days framework. In other words, there is no Eight day as such. be it a Week, a Month, an Year, a Decade, a Century, or a Lifetime, everything falls within the framework of seven days viz. – sōmavāra, maṇgal̥avara budhavāra, guruvāra, shukravāra, shanivāra and ravivāra. These are the seven rays of Time using which it gallops (measures) the duration. This is the reason why in the legend of Sri krishna’s lifting the ‘govardhana’ hill on his little finger, it is said that Indra poured down torrential rains and Krishna kept that mountain uplifted for seven days and seven nights continuously. Indra was intelligent enough to understand the silent message of Krishna saying, “If I could hold the mountain and protect the villagers for seven days and seven nights there is no other eight day or night within the ‘Framework of Time’ when I would fail”. And when that hint was understood by Indra, he immediately stopped the rain and saluted Krishna.

However, since here Time is said to be sapta-rashmih where rashmih means rays, we can also interpret the seven rays of time in terms of directions in which Time has its supreme sway. Traditionally we say there are four directions, and in greater depth we say there are ten directions; then in that case how can we interpret seven rays as seven directions? The reason is – the seven directions actually encompass the entire range of ten directions. Those people who do Sandhya Vandana daily would know from the “digdevata namaskara mantras” of Sandhya vandana that we pay homeage to seven directions which involve all directions as explained below (In actual mantras we salute to the divine beings present in each direction but here I am not producing the entire mantra only showing the salutations to the directions).

  1. namaḥ prāchyē diṣē  – Salutations to the Eastern direction.
  2. namaḥ dakṣiṇāyai diṣē – Salutations to the Southern direction.
  3. namaḥ pratīchyai diṣē – Salutations to the Western direction.
  4. namaḥ udīchyai diṣē – Salutations to the Northern direction.
  5. namaḥ ūrdhvāyai diṣē – Salutations to the Skyward (Upward) direction.
  6. namaḥ dharāyai diṣē – Salutations to the Earthward (Downward) direction.
  7. namaḥ vāntarāyai diṣē – Salutations to the Intermediate directions.

While saluting the last one viz. ‘vāntarāyai diṣa’ we do one round of circumambulation. This makes sure that all the intermediate directions (like north-west, south-east etc.) are all covered. Therefore this last one takes care of all the remaining four intermediate spaces hence put together with the above six other primary directions we get ten directions covered in total.

This is why Time the steed gallops equally in all the directions – which means, time has its supreme control alike in all the directions without any partiality in all the worlds.

Time is sahasrākṣaḥ (thousand eyed). Being thousand eyed, is an indication of being all-seeing or in other words omniscient. Mahakala is the omniscient being who knows everything about everyone because he is the indweller Atman of all beings (whether sentient or insentient) and is the original cause behind all actions of every being in this universe. It is he who programs all actions – sets a start time, sets a life-period and then sets an end time also. All beings who think they have done the action, are all under the stupor or ignorance of the Maya. Whatever they have done have already been actually done by Time. Therefore Mahakala being the original author of every action he is omniscient because whatever is ordained to happen (any small to great tasks or actions) is known to him, he being the original author of those happenings.

Time is ageless (ajáraḥ) Brahman being the one continuous infinitely extending stream of time flowing from infinite past to infinite future having no disturbances (changes) at the absolute order of reality. Therefore it is ageless and extends till infinity in either direction.

The learned seers knowing the Supreme Time (Mahakala) to be the Brahman ride on it, i.e., they dwell in time. In order words, the learned seers attach their minds upon the Brahman and dwell in their self (Atman) always.

All the worlds and beings are the wheels which this Time (The Brahman) rotates by his sheer will. This is very clear from the detailed discussion on Time that we had above in this article. Even Shruti attests this point. Kenopanishad has a story of Gods rejoicing over their victory on Demons not knowing the fact that all acts are actually accomplished by another (the Brahman who is Shiva) and their victory was not actually their feat. Goddess Uma the golden ornamented one who is the Brahma-Vidya, and who is Sri-Vidya herself; appears in front of them and gives them the divine knowledge and says:

“sā brahmēti hōvāca brahmaṇō vā ētadvijayē mahīyadhvamiti
tatō haiva vidāñcakāra brahmēti |” (Kena Upanishad 4:01)

“She said: “It was Brahman. In the victory that was Brahman’s you were reveling in joy”. Then alone did Indra know for certain that It was Brahman”.

And we all know that this Brahman is Shiva which Puranas clearly attest. For simplicity, I am here quoting Shiva panchakshari stotram which voices the same opinion.

“yakṣa swarūpāya jatādharāya | pināka hastāya sanātanāya |
divyāya devāya digambarāya | tasmai ya-karāya namaṣivāya |” (Shiva Panchakshari Stotram)
“Salutations to the letter “Ya” which is Shiva, Who assumed the form of Yaksha, who has matted locks of hair, Who wields Pinaka bow in his hands, who is the eternal one, Who is divine, who is the god, who has all directions for his garments”.

Therefore all the worlds and all beings are the wheels which he keeps rotating. Shiva and Shakti are never two, they are always one. This point I keep telling in every article of mine and here also I have repeated the same for a reason. Since Lalita and Shiva are one and the same, for a change let me quote a verse from Lalita Sahasranama Stotram which explains the same concept which we are analyzing here. Lalita Sahasranama STotram which exists in Brahmanda Purana states the following about her.

“aṣtamūrtirajājaitrī lōkayātrā vidhāyini |
ēkākinī bhūmarūpā nirdwaitā dwaitavarjitā |” (Lalita Sahasranama Stotram verse 131)

“She who has Eight forms, Who helps to remove ignorance, Who defines and directs the cosmic process of the worlds, Who is all alone, Who is infinite by nature, Who has no second, Who is without any duality”.

This verse beautifully brings the oneness of Shiva and Shakti. They are never different! We all know who assumed eight forms (ashtamurti) – Yes Shiva assumed those forms. But since they both are one, this Purana attributed those forms to her. It is Dakshinamurty who removes ignorance, but since she is one with him she is also hailed as “dakshinamurti rupini” in same hymn. Hence she removes ignorance. She being identical with the Supreme Time (Mahakala) she defines and direts the course of all the worlds. That is She rotates the Kala-Chakra for all the worlds and all beings. She is all alone, has no second and is the non-dual Supreme Being because she is same as Shiva and Shruti says “ekō rudrō na dwitīyāya tasmai rudrāya namō astu”.

So, from above analysis it is clear that Kala is that tirelessly running steed whose control (sway) spreads like seven rays in all the directions (means in all the worlds on all the beings).Kala is omniscient Supreme Lord being the innermost self of all. Learned seers always  mount and ride on the steed called Kala, which means they always dwell in him knowing him to be their own self and Kala is the one who rotates the Kala-Chakra of all the worlds.

Now let’s also understand the inner and hidden meaning of this verse. All Vedic hymns expound outwardly one great message but at the same time, without doubt they hide an internal secret meaning which we would unearth now. Kala being Brahman is the Atman.  The seven rays are the seven Pranas which emanate from Atman. Mundaka Upanishad says:

“sapta prāṇāḥ prabhavanti tasmāt. |” (Mundaka Upanishad II:1:05)
“The seven prāṇā-s spring from Him (Atman)”.

In reality there is only one prāṇā which is called by many names based on the areas it serves and based on the functions. Therefore shruti itself describes the count of prāṇās differently. But in reality the ‘power’ behind every organ is its prāṇā. For instance, the ‘sight’ is the prāṇā of the eye, the hearing is the prāṇā of the ear, and the power of gripping is the prāṇā of the hand and so on.  Here in this context we would go with the seven prāṇās of the head which spring from Atman.

Therefore the Kala which is the Atman illuminates the beings (and the inner worlds) with its seven prāṇās which are like the seven rays of sun which illuminate the worlds.

Time, being the Atman, is ageless because it is eternal and indestructible. It is also omniscient because it pervades all beings as their innermost self and hence knows all being sarvajna. This is how Mahakala who is the indweller of everyone as Atman, is the thousand eyed Supreme Being.

The learned Yogis always focus their sight inwards and dwell in their own self by meditating constantly on the purṣa dwelling in the daharākāṣa within their heart or drawing their life forces in sahasrāra chakra which is the seat called paramē-vyōman.

All the worlds are the wheels. There are seven worlds. The seven chakras denote the seven worlds and these are the worlds which are primarily spoken about in all the scriptures. The lower seven worlds wherever not explicitly specified, becomes inclusive in the expression ‘seven worlds’. Even in Mahabharata Drona Parva chapter 201 Sage Narayana prays to Rudra saying that Rudra is the lord of seven worlds. There also the lower seven worlds get implicitly stated. The way whenscriptures use the word  “three-vedas”, the fourth one viz. Atharva Veda gets merged in these three.

Verse 2:

“saptá cakrā́n vahati kālá eṣá saptā́sya nā́bhīr amŕ̥taṃ nv ákṣaḥ
sá imā́ víśvā bhúvanāny añjat kāláḥ sá īyate prathamó nú deváḥ |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:02)
“With seven wheels does this Time ride, seven naves has he, immortality is his axle. He carries hither all these beings (worlds). Time, the first god, now hastens onward”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

The Time, which is called as Brahman (in the brahmānḍa), is called as Atman within the pinḍānḍa (our body). Within the Body when a Yogi turns his sight inwards and perceives the indwelling spirit he realizes that the Atman fills all the seven worlds (chakras) and illuminates the entire body with the divine chaitanya.  Each of these seven chakras (which represent seven worlds) have seven naves at their center through which the divine spine and nerves are placed.

The axle is the central spoke which passes through all these seven worlds and acts as if it is the support of all these wheels. That central axle or spoke is the ‘suṣumnā-nādī ‘ (sushumna nerve). This ‘suṣumnā’ is the nerve spoken in shruti, smriti and itihasa as the one alone road which leads to immortality. These are Yogic secrets and only an accomplished Yogi can lead his prānās via this path and achieve immortality (liberation). This is why the axle of all these worlds is said to be immortality.

Time (the Atman) the first god, hastens (means flows) throw these seven worlds via the path of suṣumnā illuminating the whole nādī-maṇdala (yogic nerve centres) and thereby filling the whole body with consciousness.

Verse 3:

“pūrṇáḥ kumbhó ‘dhi kālá ā́hitas táṃ vái páśyāmo bahudhā́ nú sántam
sá imā́ víśvā bhúvanāni pratyáṅ kāláṃ tám āhúḥ paramé vyòman |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:03)
“A full pot has been placed upon Time; him, verily, we see existing in many forms. He carries away all these beings (worlds); they call him Time in the highest heaven”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis

The full pot ‘pūrṇáḥ kumbhaḥ’ which is said to be placed on Time (Brahman) is nothing but the universe which is otherwise called as ‘hiraṇyagarbha’ (golden womb). This universe is of the shape of an ellipsoid and hence is indicated as a pot. This ‘hiraṇyagarbha’ which si a huge pot is not empty, it contains fourteen worlds with innumerable planets, and innumerable mobile and immobile creation within it. Hence it is ‘pūrṇáḥ’ (full).

Within this universe the Brahman (The Kala or Shiva), who is essentially nirguṇa and niṣkala and formless; manifests himself into innumerable forms. All forms that we se are the forms assumed by Bhagawan Rudra alone because he is the Supreme Brahman. In this connection Svetaswatara Upanishad says as follows:

“sarvānana śirōgrīvaḥ sarvabhūtaguhāśayaḥ .
sarvavyāpī sa bhagavā̃stasmāt sarvagataḥ śivaḥ |” (Sve Upa. 3:11)

“All faces are His faces; all heads, His heads; all necks, His necks. He dwells in the hearts of all beings. He is the all—pervading Bhagavan. Therefore He is omnipresent Shiva”.

It is Rudra who is the Brahman within whom all these worlds dwell. The same is evident from the Skhambha Suktam which is a hymn to the infinite pillar of fire of consciousness (Jwala-Linga) that Bhagawan Rudra displayed to Brahma and Vishnu as his true Nirguna nature.

“yátrādityā́ś ca rudrā́ś ca vásavaś ca samā́hítāḥ |
bhūtáṃ ca yátra bhávyaṃ ca sárve lokā́ḥ prátiṣṭhitāḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ |” (Atharva Veda X:7:22)

“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha In whom Ādityas dwell, in whom Rudras and Vasus are contained, In whom the future and the past and all the worlds are firmly set;”

The highest heaven termed as ‘paramé vyòman’ (where parā-vāk, the Tripurasundari resides) is ‘sahasrāra’. That chakra is spoken as the center where a Yogi can merge himself into Brahman (Shiva). Hence this verse is very right when it says that the Supreme Brahman is spoken as Time (Kala) in that highest heaven because Brahman is that ‘akṣaya-kāla’, the supreme indestructible, changeless timeless, time as we have already seen in the beginning of this article.

Verse 4:

“sá evá sáṃ bhúvanāny ā́bharat sá evá sáṃ bhúvanāni páry ait
pitā́ sánn abhavat putrá eṣāṃ tásmād vái nā́nyát páram asti téjaḥ |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:04)
“He surely did bring hither all the beings (worlds), he surely did encompass all the beings (worlds). Being their father, he became their son; there is, verily, no other force, higher than he”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

Here this verse says that the Supreme Time brought forth all the worlds and beings, it encompasses the worlds. While being the creator of everything, he also gets created in turn by them. And finally it says that there is no other power higher than Mahakala. Verifly these all attributes sing the glory of Supreme Lord Rudra only who is the Supreme Time.

He, the Mahakala (Bhagawan Rudra) surely was the one who created all the worlds. All the worlds are within ‘hiraṇyagarbha’ and it is Rudra who engendered this golden germ. In this connection shruti says the following:

“yō dēvānā̃ prabhavaścōdbhavaśca viśvādhipō rudrō maharṣiḥ .
hiraṇyagarbhaṁ janayāmāsa pūrvaṁ sa nō buddhyā śubhayā saṁyunaktu |” (Sve Upa. 3:4)

“He, the omniscient Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!”

The very first verse of Isavasya Upanishad talks about the supreme Shiva as the god who encompassed all the worlds as follows.

“īśā vāsyamidama sarvaṁ yatkijñca jagatyā̃ jagat |” (isāvāsya upaniṣad 1:01)
“All this, whatsoever moves on earth (Worlds), is to be hidden in the Lord (the Self)”.

The same is voiced by Shvetaswatara Upanisahd (2:16) also as – “ēṣō ha dēvaḥ pradiśō’nu sarvāḥ |”, which means, “He indeed is the god who pervades all regions (Worlds)”.

Further shruti says that all the beings are also created by him, he is the first born, and also assumes the forms of all the beings born. He originally created everyone, and then he himself gets created via those created ones. Hence he is the sire and also the son. He is also the ones who would be born in future (represented by the statement ‘he is still in the womb’). All it wants to say is – Time created the beings of the past, time is creating everyone in the present and it would be Time again from whom the future beings would spring forth.

Skambha Suktam from Atharva Veda says the following in this context.

“utáiṣāṃ pitótá vā putrá eṣām utáiṣāṃ jyeṣṭhá utá vā kaniṣṭháḥ
éko ha devó mánasi práviṣṭaḥ prathamó jātáḥ sá u gárbhe antáḥ” (Atharva Veda X-8-28)
“Either the sire or son of these, the eldest or the youngest child. As sole God dwelling in the mind, first born, he still is in the womb.”

Same is voiced by Vajurveda in its legendary hymn called Sri Rudram as follows.

“namō jyēṣthaya ca kaniṣthaya ca |
namaha purvajaya caparajaya ca |
namō madhyamaya capagalbhaya ca |” (Yajurveda IV:5:6:a-c)

“Salutations to Him who is senior and who is junior. Salutations to Him who was born before all and who will be born after all. Salutations to Him who appears in the middle, and who appears undeveloped (Foetus)”.

Even though Rudra (Mahakala) appears to be born through Brahma or Vishnu, verily there is no lord of his. There is no force higher than him. This is clearly indicated in Shruti as follows.

“ya īśē’sya jagatō nityamēva nānyō hēturvidyata īśanāya |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad. 6:17)
“He rules this world for ever, for no one else is able to rule it”.

” na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyatē na tatsamaścābhyadhikaśca dṛśyatē .
parāsya śaktirvividhaiva śrūyatē svābhāvikī jñānabalakriyā ca |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 6:08)
“There is no effect and no cause known of him, no one is seen like unto him or better; his high power is revealed as manifold, as inherent, acting as force and knowledge”.

“na tasya kaścit patirasti lōkē na cēśitā naiva ca tasya liṇa^gam .
sa kāraṇaṁ karaṇādhipādhipō na cāsya kaścijjanitā na cādhipaḥ |” (Svet. Upa. 6:09)
“No one in the world is His master; there is no ruler who has control over him, not even a sign of him exists who rules him. He is the cause of all, and the ruler of individual souls. He has no parent, nor is there any one who is His lord”.

Finally the rishi Shvetaswatara and the rishi Atharvana-angirasa both of them in their limitless understanding of the Supreme Rudra exclaimed in ecstacy that same statement which Yajurveda had already exclaimed.

He said – Rudra is the only one god who exists; there is none who is his match. All gods, creatures and entire creation are his own reflections.

“ēkō rudrō na dvitīyāya tasmai ya imā̃llōkānīśata īśanībhiḥ .
pratyaṅjanāstiṣṭhati sañcukōcāntakālē saṁsṛjya viśvā bhuvanāni gōptā |” (Svet. Upa 3.02 & Atharvasiras Upanishad 5.2)

“Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second, He alone rules all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner Self of every living being. After having created all the worlds, He, their Protector, takes them back into Himself at the end of time”.

Verse 5:

“kāló ‘mū́ṃ dívam ajanayat kālá imā́ḥ pr̥thivī́r utá
kālé ha bhūtáṃ bhávyaṃ ceṣitáṃ ha ví tiṣṭhate |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:05)
“Time begot yonder heaven, Time also (begot) these earths. That which was, and that which shall be, urged forth by Time, spreads out”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

It is in Time that the creation happens, heaven or Earth or whatever mobile and immobile the creation may be – everything is begotten by the Supreme Mahakala. That which was in the past, and that which will be in future and that which exists today, everything is created, maintained and destroyed by Time and in Time.

In this context, Shruti declares Rudra (Mahakala) here as the one sole god producing heaven, Earth and everything as follows.

“vishvatashchaxuruta vishvatomukho vishvatobaahuruta vishvataspaat.h |
saM baahubhyaa.n dhamati saMpatatrairdyaavaabhuumii janayan.h deva ekaH |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3.03)

“That one god (Rudra), having his eyes, his face, his arms, and his feet in every place, when producing heaven and earth, forges them together with his arms and his wings”.

Taittiriya Aranyaka clearly says Rudra as the author of all the worlds that were created in time as follows.

“vishvam bhutam bhuvanam citram bahudha jatam jayamanam cayat sarvo hyesha rudrastasmai rudraya namo astu” – (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:24:1 of Yajurveda)
“The whole universe, the created beings and whatever there is manifoldly and profusely created in the past and in the present in the form of the world, all that is indeed this Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such”.

What is the use of talking about one entity or another? In reality whatever exists, or existed, or would exist, everything is Rudra who is the Mahakala and is the Supreme Brahman. Yajurveda apparently getting fed up of describing one entity each time ahs decided to conclude in one shot the entire essence of Vedas and says as follows.

“sarvo vai rudrastasmai rudraya namo astu |”  (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:24:1)
“All this is verily Rudra. To Rudra who is such we offer our salutations.”

Verse 6:

“kāló bhūtím asr̥jata kālé tápati sū́ryaḥ
kālé ha víśvā bhūtā́ni kālé cákṣur ví paśyati |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:06)
“Time created the earth, in Time the sun burns. In Time are all beings, in Time the eye looks abroad”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

Creation, sustenance and dissolution happens in Time. Entire cosmic order is ruled by Time. All cosmic functions happen in Time. How the Sun burns in Time and how it sets in Time – that we would touch upon in the first verse of Part-II of this hymn (Atharva Veda XIX:54:01).
Even if we want to see the internal meanings of this verse then also all the internal organs of the pinḍānḍa (microcosm) function in time only. Earth is symbolic of our body, the dwelling place of the Jiva. These bodies get created in Time, they can never live out of Time. Sun is symbolic of intellect. Mind (intellect) drives all activities in Time. Hence the Sun burns (intellect functions) in Time alone. Even in deep sleep there is apparently no Time, then also the ever extending infinite unchanging Timeless aspect of Time still exists. All beings may refer to the Jivas which all get created and dissolved in time. In Time the Eyes and other Indriyas function. Therefore there is no instance where all these can live without time.

Verse 7:

“kālé mánaḥ kālé prāṇáḥ kālé nā́ma samā́hitam
kāléna sárvā nandanty ā́gatena prajā́ imā́ḥ |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:07)
“In Time mind is fixed, in Time breath (is fixed), in Time names (are fixed); when Time has arrived all these creatures rejoice”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

This Kala that we are discussing is nothing but the Supreme Brahman which is the supreme Self (Atman) indwelling in all of us. All creation proceeds from the self and since the supreme self (Atman) is the supreme indestructible Time (Mahakala), it is said that mind, prana, names etc., everything that springs out of it, remains fixed in time. That’s very true indeed, what creation can we imaging which isn’t fixed in Time?
The Brahman which when dwells as the Atman within all the bodies (body is called as puraṁ), and illuminates them with the light (usha) of consciousness, that Atman is termed thus as ‘puruṣa’. From this puruṣa (the Atman) springs forth the moon as evident from the below stated verse from Rig Veda.

“candramā manaso jātaḥ |” (Rig veda 10:90:13)
“The Moon was gendered from his (puruṣa ) mind”.

Moon is symbolic of “mind (manas)”. Even in Jyotisha Shastra the planet moon dictates on the manas (mind) of an individual – therefore moon is called in jyotisha as “manaskāraka”.

The Bhagawan Rudra who is the supreme Self of all is called as Purusha in Vedas. This is why Taittiriya Aranyaka (10:24:1) declares Rudra as the Purusha, “puruṣō vai rudraḥ”, which means “rudra is the puruṣa”. From that Veda Purusha Rudra sprang moon and many other deities as evident from below verses.

“tadēvāgnistadādityastadvāyustadu candramāḥ .
tadēva śukraṁ tad brahma tadāpastat prajāpatiḥ |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 4:02)

“That Supreme Self is Agni (Fire); It is Aditya (Sun); It is Vayu (Wind); It is Chandrama (Moon). That Self is the luminous stars; It is Hiranyagarbha; It is water; It is Virat”.

Similarly, Prana (life forces) also spring from Atman alone. Pranas are described as Maruts or Rudras, they spring from Atman and Atman being Rudra; they are therefore the sons of Rudra. Hence the Rudras are said to be the sons of Rudra in Vedas and in Puranas. From this Atman which is the Supreme Time, Pranas spring as evident from below verse.

“ātmana ēṣa prāṇō jāyatē | yathaiṣā puruṣē chāyaitasminnētadātataṁ manōkṛtēnāyātyasmijñśarīrē |” (Prashna Upanishad III:03)
This prāṇá is born of Atman. As a shadow is cast by a person, so this prana is, by Atman. Through the action (or activity) of the mind it comes into this body”.

All forms being rudra’s forms, all names are his own names beyond doubt. When Kala (the Atman) arrives (means stays) all these entities viz. Pranas, Mind and bodies (with names) get their nourishment and hence rejoice (means remain alive). Even when dueto extreme fatigue our indriyas and body get short of energy, we go to sleep and after waking up, we feel rejuvenated. Why? Because during the deep sleep which is called “nitya-pralaya” (daily dissolution) done by Rudra, all the indriyas are withdrawn temporarily into the self (Rudra). And the self being Kala know when to release them back. So, at the right time of waking up, these Indriyas get again projected back and we wake up with recharged and refreshed indriyas. Hence Indriyas always rejoice in Kala (Atman).

When the Kala decides to withdraw permanently, Pranas and mind uproots other Indriyas as well  and they make everyone cry (they don’t rejoice). Therefore Pranas are termed ‘rudras’ because they make everyone cry while departing from the body.

Verse 8:

“kālé tápaḥ kālé jyéṣṭham kālé bráhma samā́hitam
kāló ha sárvasyeśvaró yáḥ pitā́sīt prajā́pateḥ |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:08)
“In Time tapas (creative fervour) is fixed; in Time the highest (being is fixed); in Time brahma (spiritual exaltation) is fixed; Time is the lord of everything, he was the father of Pragâpati”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

Here all events described are self explanatory and are a bit of repetitive in nature. Time being identical with Brahman, everything remains fixed in that. We need not ponder upon every single element sung in this hymn. However, here I would focus only on the last phrase i.e., Time was the father of prajāpati (Brahmā).

‘Prajāpati’ is a synonym of ‘hiraṇyagarbha’. This verse says that Time (Kala) begot prajāpati. Since we have already learnt that the Supreme Time (Mahakala) is Bhagawan Shiva alone who is the Nirguna Brahman and also Saguna as well. That Shiva is the engender of ‘hiraṇyagarbha’ as evident form the below verse from shruti.

“yō dēvānā̃ prabhavaścōdbhavaśca viśvādhipō rudrō maharṣiḥ |
hiraṇyagarbhaṁ janayāmāsa pūrvaṁ sa nō buddhyā śubhayā saṁyunaktu |” (Sve Upa. 3:4)

“He, the omniscient Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!”

Verse 9:

“téneṣitáṃ téna jātáṃ tád u tásmin prátiṣṭhitam
kāló ha bráhma bhūtvā́ bíbharti parameṣṭhínam |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:09)
“By him this (universe) was urged forth, by him it was begotten, and upon him this (universe) was founded. Time, truly, having become the brahma (spiritual exaltation), supports Parameshthin (the highest lord)”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

Again this verse is in praise of Bhagawan Mahakala who is the Supreme Brahman from whom this universe comprising of all the worlds have taken its birth. In fact entire universe is he alone. We have ample support for this in shruti as follows.

“namō bhuvantayē varivaskritayauṣadhinama patayē namō |” (Yajurveda IV:5:2:k)
“Salutations to Him who has created the world and spread it broad, the creator of riches and lover of those who are devoted to Him; to the Lord of all vegetation, salutations”.

In fact entire universe is created and pervaded by Rudra (the Brahman) who is the Mahakala.

” viśvaṁ bhūtaṁ bhuvanaṁ chitraṁ bahudhā jātaṁ jāyamanaṁ cayata sarvô hyēśa rudrastasmai rudrāya namô astu|” – (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:24:1)
“The whole universe, the created beings and whatever there is manifoldly and profusely created in the past and in the present in the form of the world, all that is indeed this Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such”.

” yō rudrō agnau yō apsu ya ōṣadhiṣu |
yō rudrō viśva bhuvanāavivēśa tasmai rudraya namō astu |” (YajurVeda Taittiriya Samhita

“That Rudra who has even entered into and pervaded fire, the waters, vegetation, and all the worlds, let my salutations be to that Rudra”.

Upon the Skhambha (the Jwala Linga) of Bhagawan Shiva, the entire universe is founded. This is evident from the below verse.

“āvíḥ sán níhitaṃ gúhā járan nā́ma mahát padám
tátredáṃ sárvam ā́rpitam éjat prāṇát prátiṣṭhitam |” (Atharva Veda X:8:06)

“Though manifest, it lies concealed in the vast place they call the old: Therein is firmly stationed all the moving, breathing universe”.

Verse 10:

“kāláḥ prajā́ asr̥jata kāló ágre prajā́patim
svayaṃbhū́ḥ kaśyápaḥ kālā́t tápaḥ kālā́d ajāyata |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:10)
“Time created the creatures (pragâh), and Time in the beginning (created) the lord of creatures (Prâgapati); the self-existing Kasyapa and the tapas (creative fervour) from Time were born”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

The elements of this verse have already been analysed in previous verses and we are already clear that it is from Mahakala-Rudra everything sprang from in Time.


6.2. Part-II (Atharva Veda 19:54)

Verse 1:

“kālā́d ā́paḥ sám abhavan kālā́d bráhma tápo díśaḥ
kālénód eti sū́ryaḥ kālé ní viśate púnaḥ |” (Atharva Veda XIX:54:01)
“From Time the waters did arise, from Time the brahma (spiritual exaltation), the tapas (creative fervour), the regions (of space did arise). Through Time the sun rises, in Time he goes down again”.

Verse 2:

“kāléna vā́taḥ pavate kāléna pr̥thivī́ mahī́
dyáur mahī́ kālá ā́hitā |” (Atharva Veda XIX:54:02)
“Through Time the wind blows, through Time (exists) the great earth; the great sky is fixed in Time. In Time the son (Pragâpati) begot of yore that which was, and that which shall be”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

Here I have combined verses 1 and 2 for a common commentary and analysis because they are inter-related in one aspect.

Time is identical to Rudra hence this verse of Kala Sukta repeats the same fact which the Vedas have spoken about Rudra. From Rudra waters were born. This is evident from the below verse from Satapatha Brahmana.

“tamabravītsarvo ‘sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodāpastadrūpamabhavannāpo vai sarvo
‘dbhyo hīdaṃ sarvaṃ jāyate ( Sathapatha Brahmana VI:1:3:11)

“‘Thou art Sarva.’ And because he gave him that name, the waters became suchlike, for Sarva is the waters, in as much as from the water everything (sarva) here is produced.”

Time and Brahman are identical. Brahman always exists. Therefore when it says from time ‘brahman’ arises, we need to understand that in Time only the knowledge of Brahman arises in the minds of the Vedantins. This knowledge of Brahman which elads to self-realization arises always in Time, hence Brahman arises in Time in the minds of the spiritual aspirants.

The first verse says, “Through Time Sun arises and Sun sets” and the second verse says “Through time the wind blows”.

These are outwardly a very well known facts. Recollect that in this hymn’s Part-I verse six (Atharva Veda XIX:53:06) we had said that Sun related concept we would discuss here. So, let’s discuss this in detail now.

Why does the Sun arise on time and set on time? Why does wind blow in Time? Time is a continuous flow of Past, present and Future states in this world, hence even a single minute delay in sunrise would not make any problem, but still Sun never takes a day off, never shows laziness in rising and setting down. Similarly Wind never stops its allotted duties, why?

The reason is – not only sun, and wind but also fire burns on time; likewise Yama, Indra and everyone do their allotted duties on Time without any delays and without taking leaves (even sick leaves).  This level of punctuality and discipline is maintained in this universe because of the terror of Mahakala. Yes, it is the terror of Bhagawan Rudra fearing from which all these gods do their duties on time. This is clearly evident fro the below verse from shruti.

“bhayādasyāgnistapati bhayāttapati sūryaḥ |
bhayādindraśca vāyuśca mṛtyurdhāvati pajñcamaḥ |” (Katha Upanishad II.3.3)

“For fear of Him, fire burns; For fear of Him, shines the sun;  For fear of Him, Indra and Vayu function; For fear of Him, death, the fifth, stalks on the earth”.

Now, in the above verse if it is not clear who is referred to by the pronoun “him”, then the below Upanishad verse clarifies it to be Mahadeva!

“sō’haṁ sarvākāraḥ | yatō vā imāni bhūtāni jāyantē . yēna jātāni jīvanti | yatprayantyabhisaṁviśanti | taṁ māmēva viditvōpāsīta | bhūtēbhirdēvēbhirabhiṣṭutō’hamēva | bhīṣāsmādvātaḥ pavatē | bhīṣōdēti sūryaḥ | bhīṣāsmādagniścēndraśca | sōmō’ta ēva yō’haṁ sarvēṣāmadhiṣṭhātā sarvēṣā̃ ca bhūtānā̃ pālakaḥ | sō’haṁ pṛthivī | sō’hamāpaḥ | sō’haṁ tējaḥ | sō’haṁ vāyuḥ . sō’haṁ kālaḥ | sō’haṁ diśaḥ | sō’hamātmā | mayi sarvaṁ pratiṣṭhitam . brahmavidāpnōti param | brahmā śivō mē astu sadāśivōm” (Bhasma Jabala Upanishad)
“I myself am that Great Lord Siva, God of all gods, and the Supreme Controller of all the universes. I am that Brahman, I am Omkara; I am the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of all. Through My terror only, vayu blows, through my terror only Surya shines, through my terror only fire burns, Indra et al also function properly through my terror. I am this world and the five elements. I am the Highest Truth that exists, the Brahman of the Upanishads”.

Verse 3:

“kāló ha bhūtáṃ bhávyaṃ ca putró ajanayat purā́
kālā́d ŕ̥caḥ sám abhavan yájuḥ kālā́d ajāyata |” (Atharva Veda XIX:54:03)
“From Time the Riks arose, the Yagus was born from Time; Time put forth the sacrifice, the imperishable share of the gods”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

Time is a synonym of Bhagawan Rudra because he is the Mahakala. From Rudra alone all the Vedas sprang forth. This has several evidences in Vedas but we would see simple and direct evidence from Shvetaswatara Upanishad which should suffice to understand that Time (Rudra) breathes forth Vedas.

“chandā̃si yajñāḥ kratavō vratāni bhūtaṁ bhavyaṁ yacca vēdā vadanti .
asmān māyī sṛjatē viśvamētattasmĩścānyō māyayā sanniruddhaḥ |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 4:09)

“The sacred verses, the offerings (yajna), the sacrifices (kratu), the penances (vrata), the past, the future and all that the Vedas declare, have been produced from the imperishable Brahman. Brahman projects the universe through the power of Its maya. Again, in that universe Brahman as the jiva is entangled through maya”.

Verse 4:

“kāló yajñáṃ sám airayad devébhyo bhāgám ákṣitam
kālé gandharvāpsarásaḥ kālé lokā́ḥ prátiṣṭhitāḥ |” (Atharva Veda XIX:54:04)
“Upon Time the Gandharvas and Apsarases are founded, upon Time the worlds (are founded), in Time this Angiras and Atharvan rule over the heavens”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

Nothing special to analyse here since this verse speaks about the creation of divine beings from Time. All the gods, demi-gods and everyone were created by Mahakala Rudra and then he bestowed upon them their respective powers and duties. This is evident rom the below shruti verse.

“yō dēvānā̃ prabhavaścōdbhavaśca viśvādhipō rudrō maharṣiḥ .
hiraṇyagarbhaṁ janayāmāsa pūrvaṁ sa nō buddhyā śubhayā saṁyunaktu |” (Sve Upa. 3:4)

“He, the omniscient Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!”

Verse 5:

“kālé ‘yám áṅgirā devó ‘tharvā cā́dhi tiṣṭhataḥ
imáṃ ca lokáṃ paramáṃ ca lokáṃ púṇyāṃś ca lokā́n vídhr̥tīś ca púṇyāḥ
sárvāṃl lokā́n abhijítya bráhmaṇā kāláḥ sá īyate paramó nú deváḥ |” (Atharva Veda XIX:54:05)
“Having conquered this world and the highest world, and the holy (pure) worlds (and) their holy divisions; having by means of the brahma (spiritual exaltation) conquered all the worlds, Time, the highest God, forsooth, hastens onward”.

Commentary with Reasoning & Analysis:

One who conquers the world becomes the owner or lord of them; conversely, one who owns the worlds remains their conquerer and possessor. Mahakala is the one lord who has lordship on all the worlds and all their inhabitants. He has his high imperial sway on all of them. He controls them but nobody is his controller. This is evident from the Rudra Sukta of Rig Veda, itself as quoted below. Therefore it is he who conquered all the worlds.

“sthirebhiraṅghaiḥ pururūpa ughro babhruḥ śukrebhiḥ pipiśehiraṇyaiḥ |
īśānādasya bhuvanasya bhūrerna vā u yoṣad rudrādasuryam |” (RV 2.33.9)

“He, the fierce god, with strong limbs, assuming many forms, the tawny Rudra, decked himself with brilliant golden ornaments. From Rudra, who is lord of this wide world (īśānādasya bhuvanasya), divine power will never depart”.

“sa hi kṣayeṇa kṣamyasya janmanaḥ sāmrājyena divyasya cetati |
avannavantīrupa no duraścarānamīvo rudra jāsu no bhava ||” (Rig Veda 7:46:2)

“He (Rudra) through his lordship rules on beings of the earth, on heavenly beings (gods) through his high imperial sway (controlling influence or power). Come willingly to our doors that gladly welcome thee, and heal all sickness, Rudra. in our families”.

Further the below verses from shruti again add to the same opinion of Rudra’s lordship and his control on all the worlds.

“jagatā̃ patayē namō |”  (Yaurveda IV:5:2:f)
“Salutations to Rudra the Lord of entire creation”.

The Sukta on Bhagawan Rudra dedicated to his names as Bhava and Sarva says the following.

“táva cátasraḥ pradíśas táva dyáus táva pr̥thivī́ távedám ugrorv àntárikṣam
távedáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇát pr̥thivī́m ánu ” (Atharva Veda 4:28:10)

“Thine, O strong god (ugra), are the four regions, thine the sky, thine the earth, and thine this broad atmosphere; thine is this all that has a spirit and has breath upon the earth”.

“bhavó divó bhavá īśe pr̥thivyā́ bhavá ā́ papra urv àntárikṣam |
tásyai námo yatamásyāṃ diśī̀táḥ |” (Atharva Veda 4:28:27)

“Bhava rules the sky, Bhava rules the earth; Bhava has filled the broad: atmosphere. Reverence be to him in whatever direction from here (he abides)!”



Bhagawan Mahakala the lord of Uma is the Supreme Brahman, is the Supreme Time, is the Supreme Death and is the Supreme Ordainer.

It is Bhagawan Rudra (Mahakala) who had actually

  • Destroyed the forces of Kurukshetra war – Hence the pandavas were not the original doers, they were only the instruments in that act of mahakala
  • Destroyed the entire Vrishni (yadu) dynasty – Hence none of the Yadavas of Dwaraka were the original doers, they were only the instruments in that act of mahakala
  • Destroyed the five panchalas (sons of draupadi), dhrishtadyumna, and entire forces – Hence Ashwatthama was not the original doer, they were only the instruments in that act of mahakala
  • Defeated and brought downfall of king Bali – Hence neither Indra nor his celestial associates were the original doers, they were only the instruments in that act of mahakala
  • Destroyed the entire demoniac forces of Lanka along with Ravana – Hence neither Sri Rama nor Lakshmana nor Hanuman and his forces were the original doers, they were only the instruments in that act of mahakala

It is Bhagawan Rudra on whose wish entire world rotates. On his command even Goddess of Prosperity viz. Sree resides in someone for sometime and leaves him at the other time as dictated by bhagawan Mahakala!

Mahakala (the supreme time) doesn’t know any partiality. And he plays no favourites with anyone. If he has come to destroy anyone, everyone needs to obey his command. This levels of imperial sway he has because he is the Supreme Brahman and the one ultimate lord of all.

|| ētat sarvaṁ ṣrī umāmahēṣvara parabraḥmārpaṇamastu ||

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