In Lesson Sixth, of the present series, you will find a brief mention of the “Days and Nights of Brahm”–those vast periods of the In-breathing and Out-breathing of the Creative Principle which is personified in the Hindu conception of Brahma. You will see mentioned there that universal philosophical conception of the Universal Rhythm, which manifests in a succession of periods of Universal Activity and Inactivity.
The Yogi Teachings are that all Time is manifested in Cycles. Man calls the most common form of Cyclic Time by the name of “a Day,” which is the period of time necessary for the earth’s revolution on its axis. Each Day is a reproduction of all previous Days, although the incidents of each day differ from those of the other–all Days are but periods of Time marked off by the revolution of the earth on its axis. And each Night is but the negative side of a Day, the positive side of which is called “day.” There is really no such thing as a Day, that which we call a “Day” being simply a record of certain physical changes in the earth’s position relating to its own axis.
The second phase of Cyclic Time is called by man by the name “a Month,” by which is meant certain changes in the relative positions of the moon and the earth. The true month consists of twenty-eight lunar days. In this Cycle (the Month) there is also a light-time or “day,” and a dark-time or “night,” the former being the fourteen days of the moon’s visibility, and the second being the fourteen days of the moon’s invisibility.
The third phase of Cyclic Time is that which we call “a Year,” by which is meant the time occupied by the earth in its revolution around the sun. You will notice that the year has its positive and negative periods, also, known as Summer and Winter.
But the Yogis take up the story where the astronomers drop it, at the Year. Beyond the Year there are other and greater phases of Cyclic Time. The Yogis know many cycles of thousands of years in which there are marked periods of Activity and Inactivity. We cannot go into detail regarding these various cycles, but may mention another division common to the Yogi teachings, beginning with the Great Year.
The Great Year is composed of 360 earth years. Twelve thousand Great Years constitute what is known as a Great Cycle, which is seen to consist of 4,320,000 earth years. Seventy-one Great Cycles compose what is called a Manwantara, at the end of which the earth becomes submerged under the waters, until not a vestige of land is left uncovered. This state lasts for a period equal to 71 Great Cycles. A Kalpa is composed of 14 Manwantaras. The largest and grandest Cycle manifested is known as the Maya-Pralaya, consisting of 36,000 Kalpas when the Absolute withdraws into Itself its entire manifestations, and dwells alone in its awful Infinity and Oneness, this period being succeeded by a period equally long–the two being known as the Days and Nights of Brahm.
You will notice that each of these great Cycles has its “Day” period and its “Night” period–its Period of Activity and its Period of Inactivity. From Day to Maya-Pralaya, it is a succession of Nights and Days–Creative Activity and Creative Cessation.
The “Chain of Worlds,” is that great group of planets in our own solar system, seven in number, over which the Procession of Life passes, in Cycles. From globe to globe the great wave of soul life passes in Cyclic Rhythm. After a race has passed a certain number of incarnations upon one planet, it passes on to another, and learns new lessons, and then on and on until finally it has learned all of the lessons possible on this Universe, when it passes on to another Universe, and so on, from higher to higher until the human mind is unable to even think of the grandeur of the destiny awaiting each human soul on THE PATH. The various works published by the Theosophical organizations go into detail regarding these matters, which require the space of many volumes to adequately express, but we think that we have at last indicated the general nature of the question, pointing out to the student the nature of the subject, and indicating lines for further study and investigation.