Stories | Puraan
|24-Age of Universe|
24-Age of Universe
Taken From Puraan
This is a simple story told in folk tales that puts the concept of time into perspective for us. Once there was a conversation between Brahmaa Jee and Sage Naarad in the presence of Vishnu. Once Sage Naarad asked Brahmaa Jee about the secrets of the universe. While explaining, Brahmaa Jee started boasting about his immortality and how he knew everything about the universe. Sage Naarad praised Brahmaa Jee for his knowledge, and that made him boast even more. Vishnu kept silent during the whole conversation. After Sage Naarad had left, Vishnu asked Brahmaa Jee if he would come to meet someone with him. Brahmaa Jee was in a very happy mood and obliged Vishnu.
Vishnu manifested a chariot and asked Brahmaa Jee to be seated in it. Brahmaa Jee ascended the chariot and Vishnu took him to a realm of the universe which Brahmaa Jee himself didn’t know about. Brahmaa Jee was starting to slowly lose his ego and looked on in awe at the mysterious surroundings. Where this realm has come from? He has never seen it, why? When the chariot stopped and they got down, Brahmaa Jee saw a sage sitting and meditating at a distance.
Vishnu went near the sage with Brahmaa Jee and asked the sage to introduce himself to Brahmaa Jee. The sage explained that he has been meditating here for eons and that when the lifetime of one Brahmaa comes to an end, his one hair becomes grey and falls off (the sage is said to have a full head of long black hair and has a name denoting the same). And when his all hair will fall off like this from his head, he will die. Brahmaa Jee was astounded on listening to this. Brahmaa Jee had believed till now that only he was immortal and that there was no end to his powers, but this proved to him otherwise. There was somebody else also who had much longer life than his and much more powers than him.
Then Brahmaa Jee asked the sage if there are any more such people in this mysterious realm. The sage said that on going ahead there is a sage named Ashtaavakra (Ashtaavakra, Asht+Vakra, means whose body is deformed from 8 places), who had eight deformities in his body. The sage also added that when all his fair fall off and he dies, one deformity of sage Ashtaavakra would be straightened. Brahmaa Jee was speechless. Vishnu then thanked the sage and went to meet sage Ashtaavakra.
Upon enquiring the same questions, Sage Ashtaavakra said that there are 108 Ashtaavakra saints similar to him in this realm. Ashtaavakra added that when one Ashtaavakra was relieved of his all deformities and died, one deformity of the next Ashtaavakra would be straightened. And so on the cycle would keep going till the 108th Ashtaavakra's all deformities will be straightened. By this time Brahmaa Jee was on the edge of his senses and couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Then Vishnu left the saint and turned to Brahmaa Jee and said - "When all these Ashtaavakra saints die, the time is not even equivalent to the time I take to blink my eye”. On hearing this, Brahmaa Jee lost his all ego and bowed down to Vishnu.
This folktale is often narrated to make people realize the incomprehensibility of time and to make them shed their ego. The normal human mind cannot perceive the wonders of god’s Maayaa (illusions). This folktale/legend is not to establish whether Lord Brahma or Lord Vishnu is supreme. It is just a simple folktale/legend that advices against ego. It is a good story to tell young kids and cultivate an appreciation of god in them. It will also initiate a sense of fascination in children which can help in making them interested to listen to more scriptures and divine texts.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 10/02/13