There is a simple story told in folk tales that puts the concept of time into perspective for us. Once there was a conversation between Lord brahma and Sage Narada in the presence of Lord Vishnu. Sage narada asked brahma about the secrets of the universe. While explaining, Lord Brahma started boasting about his immortality and how he knew everything about the universe. Sage Narada praised Brahma, and that made him boast even more. Lord Vishnu kept silent during the whole conversation. After Sage Narada left, Vishnu asked Brahma if he would come to meet someone with him. Lord Brahma was in a very happy mood and obliged.
Vishnu manifested a chariot and asked Brahma to be seated in it. Brahma agreed and was taken by Vishnu to a realm of the universe which Lord Brahma himself didn’t know about. Brahma was starting to slowly lose his ego and looked on in awe at the mysterious surroundings. When the chariot stopped and they got down,Lord Brahma saw a sage sitting and meditating at a distance.
Lord Vishnu went near the sage with Brahma and asked the sage to introduce himself to Lord brahma. The sage explained that he has been meditating here for eons and that when the lifetime of one Lord Brahma comes to an end, one hair of the sage becomes grey and falls off (the sage is said to have a full head of long black hair and has a name denoting the same). And after each hair falls off like this from his head, he will die. Lord Brahma was astounded on listening to this. Lord Brahma had believed till now that he was immortal and that there was no end to his powers.
Then Lord Brahma asked the sage if there are any more such people in this mysterious realm. The sage said that on going ahead there is a sage named ‘Ashtavakra’, who had eight deformities in his body. The sage also added that when all his fair fall off and he dies, one deformity of sage Ashtavakra would be straightened. Lord Brahma was speechless. Vishnu then thanked the sage and went to meet sage Ashtavakra.
Upon enquiring the same questions, Sage Ashtavakra said that there are 108 ashtavakra saints similar to him in this realm. Ashtavakra added that when one ashtavakra was relieved of their deformities and died, one deformity of the next ashtavakra would be straightened. And so on the cycle would keep going. By this time Lord Brahma was on the edge of his senses and couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Then Vishnu left the saint and turned to Lord Brahma and said, “when all these Ashtavakra saints die, the time is not even equivalent to the time I take to blink my eye”. On hearing this, Brahma lost all his ego and bowed down in front of Lord Vishnu.
[The mind-blowing amount of time mentioned here will become even more breathtaking if you relate it with the previous post – Life Expectancy Of Lord Brahma ]
This folktale is often narrated to make people realize the incomprehensibility of time and to make them shed their ego. The normal human mind cannot perceive the wonders of god’s ‘maya’ (illusions). I am not presenting this folktale/legend here to establish whether Lord Brahma or Lord Vishnu is supreme. It is just a simple folktale/legend that advices against ego. It is a good story to tell young kids and cultivate an appreciation of god in them. It will also initiate a sense of fascination in children which can help in making them interested to listen to more scriptures and divine texts.
Please do present your valuable views in the comments section and don’t forget to share it with any youngsters you know of. Om