Meeting Vishnu on the Beach

 The life span of the universe is one “maha kalpa”. i.e. 311.04 trillion human years. This time span is also the duration of one breath of Vishnu. When he exhales, thousands of universes emerges and one Brahma is born in each universe. When Vishnu inhales, all universes get sucked and Brahma dies. This cycle is non-ending and eternal. 

Age of the Universe, according to the Vedas


art by Caitlin Johnstone, too

A man walking along the beach came upon a boy picking up starfish and throwing them into the water.

“What are you doing?” the man asked him.

“I’m throwing these starfish back into the sea,” the boy answered. “The tide’s gone out and they’ll cook in the sun if I don’t help them.”

“But there are miles and miles of beach and countless starfish in every mile,” said the man. “You can’t possibly make any difference!”

The boy listened politely, then picked up another starfish and tossed it into the surf.

“Made a difference to that one,” he said to the man.

“I mean that’s a cute answer and all,” said the man. “It would fit nicely in a Facebook meme shared by your religious aunty, or a motivational speech from the early nineties. But in the grand scheme of things you must surely understand that saving that one starfish is of no real significance? The tide will go out again tomorrow, and this beach will once again be lined with dying starfish just as it is now, among them quite likely our little friend you just rescued.”

“What do you want me to say man?” the boy replied, his tone suddenly changing. “That there’s some kind of eternally ordained metaphysical justification for my actions here on this beach today? That there’s some absolute truth inscribed upon the fabric of reality from on high saying ‘One saved starfish equals one Ultimate Meaningfulness?’ On what basis are you premising your assumption that any actions have any meaning or purpose at all?”

“I- I- Well…” the man stammered.

The boy began to grow larger, and as he spoke his skin turned an otherworldly shade of blue.

“Do you have any idea how vast the universe is? How ancient it is? How ephemeral it is?” asked the boy. “How can you claim to take any action that makes any ultimate difference whatsoever when you and everything you’ve ever known is nothing but an infinitely small blip in the middle of a yawning expanse of infinity?”

“Who- who are you?” the man asked.

A second pair of blue arms sprouted from the boy’s torso. His voice thundered as he towered over the man.

“Who am I?? Who are you?” the boy responded. “Who do you think you are exactly? Who are you to go around proclaiming what actions possess significance and which do not?”

Read more from Caitlin Johnstone

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