Manvantara is a Sanskrit word in which ‘Manu’ means ‘Progenitor of mankind’ and ‘Antara’ means ‘distance’. Literally Manvantara means the total duration of mankind or life span of man. So, it means that each Manvantara is ruled by Manu created by Brahma. It is said that Manu creates the world and other species in the given ‘Antara’ or duration.
‘Kalpa’ is referred to a day of Brahma, takes 14 Manvantaras to create one Kalpa according to the Vedic science. And after every kalpa there is dissolution or ‘pralaya’ wherein all the life comes to state of rest. This period is known as ‘Night of Bramha’. One day and night of Brahma is said to be equal to 4320 million years each.
There are many theories regarding the evolution of Solar system. These theories can be broadly classified into two categories, namely:-
- Theories which support gradual evolution.
- Theories with hypothetical meeting of sun with a distant star.
14 Manvantaras together form a day of Brahma. The 14 Manvantaras are Svayambhuva, Svarocisa, Uttama, Tamasa, Raivata, Caksusu, Vaivasvata, Savarni, Daksha-Savarni, Bramha-Savarni, Dharma-Savarni, Rudra-Savarni, Ruchi-Savarni and Bhouma-Savarni. At present we are in the seventh Manvantara, so there are seven more to come.
Each Manvantara represents the different stages of formation of Solar system.
- Svayambhuva- First Maanvantara
The first phase of the formation of solar system was preceded by a long night of 4320 million years. There was nothing but complete darkness. This long night ended after the rise of a huge nebula and the nebula had a bright twilight which was circular or disc shaped.
All the self-generating activities began along with this revolving nebula. Hence, the first manvatara was named as Svayambhuva which means self-generating.
- Svarocisa- Second Manvantara
In this stage, formation of Sun took place and the nebula got completely heated up and was burning. This nebula became a hot mass which was immensely shiny and eventually it developed to become our present sun.
Hence the name Svarocisa literally means ‘pertaining to be shining’.
- Uttama- Third Manvantara
The Sun became a full-fledged star in this Manvantara. It reached the optimum size and had enough energy and heat to maintain its family of planets.
Sun was now the chief or the main authority.
Hence this Manvantara was named Uttama which means ‘highest position’.
- Tamasa- Fourth Manvantara
Tamasa means darkness. This Manvantara has been described as the era of darkness, hence the name, Tamasa.
This is the stage when the formation of earth took place. Earth which was a burning mass became cool and solidified. The day and night formation took place and eclipse phenomenon also began at this stage.
- Raivata- Fifth Manvantara
In this stage, Earth was completely covered by a thick mass of dark clouds and turned it into a dark planet. Earth faced continuous heavy rainfall for millions of years due to the thick mass of dark clouds.
It further led to the formation of rivers, oceans, mountains and land forms.
- Caksusu- Sixth Manvantara
At this stage, traces of emerging life was noted everywhere on the earth. Incessant rainfall at regular intervals led to formation of life in and around the oceans, mountains and other land forms.
Caksus in Sanskrit means ‘pertaining to eye’ and this Manvantara was named caksusu since all the emerging life had eyes.
- Vaivasvata – Seventh Manvantara
The seventh mavantara is the present phase in the evolution of solar system. This manvatara refers to emergence of man. The word ‘Vaivasvata’ means Sun. According to Indian history, the solar dynasty or the Surya Vamsha was the first and one of the ancient dynasties known. Puranas tell that man emerged 120 million years ago.
The future manvantaras peep into a prediction of end of life and dissolution of earth and the Sun. It is said that dissolution of sun takes place after 2347 million years after which all the land forms, oceans, mountains will go dry and the earth would completely get burnt and shattered.
Aryabhata and Manvantara Theory
Aryabhata has been a renowned Indian Astronomer and scientist of 5th Century AD. He has supported the Manvantara theory in his book ‘Aryabhatiya’ and has given the duration of revolution of Sun, planets and Yugas. According to numerology, Aryabhata has narrated the Manvantara story in Gitika-pada as follows:-
One day of Brahma = 14 Manus
One Manu = 72 Mahayugas
Six Manus have already elapsed and the seventh Manu is the current one.
Twenty seven Maha-Yugas of the Seventh Manu have passed.
Satya-Yuga, Treta-Yuga and Dvapara-Yuga have also finished.
The last Kali-Yuga started at the end of Dvapara-Yuga as the Kurukshetra Yudha ended.
The Manvantara theory of formation of solar system, as explained in ancient Hindu puranas , has got complete support of Aryabhata and his postulations.