Guiding Light: Kaala and Mahakala

Guiding Light: Kaala and Mahakala

Dr. S. AinavoluUpdated: Tuesday, December 27, 2022, 07:12 PM IST
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Representative Image | Pixabay

Kaala is Samay, the dimension of time. Mahakala is the regulator and controller of that time. The typical span of human life is counted as years of existence in physical form. A calendar year coming to an end brings the focus on the element of time. According to tradition, it is the number of breaths that an individual gets for the duration of their life. Given the fixed number of breaths, the faster one exhausts, the shorter shall be the span of existence for the person.

Though the day-night cycle may appear fixed with equal duration, it seasonally changes cyclically. Longer is the night during winter and the day during the summer is a common observation. The measurement of time in the tradition happens from sunrise to the next. So the span is almost twenty-four hours but given the progression of day/night depending on the season, it varies. Previously, the measurement of time was helped by celestial objects when modern chronometers did not exist. Till a generation ago elders could indicate the time by looking at the sky in the evenings/nights and by observing the lengths of the shadows of objects during the day. This was a useful skill earlier. Additionally, sky observation was necessary to know the directions while traveling/sailing as well, as magnetic compasses were not common then.

Kaala is a witness to the events in the universe. The stillness in the present moment is infinite time. Pranayama that happens has a definite ratio in terms of time to breathe in, hold, and exhale. As appreciated, by reducing the pace at which one breathes, one can expand the time for which one stays. Faster breathing is a result of the disturbance or excitable actions one is undertaking. Thus, the better way of carrying out our existence is through offering milder responses even to the events that disturb one. In terms of stimulus-response, the response offered by one is in one’s scope, and the stimulus is beyond. Hence, to practice equanimity, one needs to cultivate the internal locus of control. Understanding the infinite nature of Kaala helps one gain gravitas and conduct one’s actions gracefully. Then Kaala becomes a friendly witness and one becomes Mahakala. Life will be bliss.

Prof. S. Ainavolu is a teacher of tradition and management. He is with VPSM. Views are personal. You may find more articles at https://www.ainavolu.in/blog

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