Time is born of his eyelashes: Puranic measurement and conceptions of time

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    Abstract

    ‘Greed arose from his lower lip, affection from his upper lip, lustre from his nose, animal desire from his touch, Yama from his brows and time was born from his eyelashes: may the Almighty favour us’. The puranas constitute a genre of Sanskrit texts which preserve the foundational accounts of Hindu cosmogony, cosmology, orthodoxy and orthopraxis. Embedded in puranic accounts of the world and its creation are detailed descriptions of units for the measurement of time, ranging from infinitesimal fractions of a second to cosmic units extending to billions of years. Identical or similar blocks of text defining these units have been shared among different puranas. Four-armed Visnu is usually represented as holding a sword, mace and conch, but his most famous and effective weapon is his discus, Sudarsana. This chapter draws the manifest universe of gross objects and the three subtle qualities back into a state of non-manifestation
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRetelling Time: Alternative Temporalities from Premodern South Asia
    Editors Shonaleeka Kaul
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherRoutledge India
    Pages75-88
    Edition1
    ISBN (Print)9781003202783
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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