Pralaya: Dissolution of the World
In the following excerpt, Meher Baba alludes to the idea of pralaya, but without using the word. In Hindu cosmology, pralaya is the dissolution of the world at the end of a cycle of manifestation. Hinduism mythically likens the pralaya to the sleep of the Creator deity, Brahma. His waking “day” is the length of an age, or kalpa, lasting billions of years. During his “night,” which is the same length of time, he sleeps and withdraws the gross world, and only the subtle realms of the deities and sages exist. Eventually Brahma awakens from his sleep and creates the world anew. But after innumerable such days and nights of Brahma, there is a final “great dissolution,” or mahapralaya, in which the entire universe dissolves into the Divine. Meher Baba frequently alluded to existing Hindu or Sufi concepts, but often gave them his own meaning or added new points about them. Here is what he says about dissolution in a discourse on impressions:
If the whole world were to go to sleep, it would be the great dissolution of the entire world. All the individuals would recede into their mental bodies and be absorbed in utter oblivion for some time until they reenter the panorama of the three-fold world in anew cycle of existence. The impressions of the unrealized individuals remain exactly the same even during this universal dissolution, which takes place by the Divine Will. In the new cycle they take up their evolution where they had left it. Universal dissolution is not without some purpose. The usual theories of evolution advanced by scientists are based only upon intellectual data. They never do justice to God’s hand in the game.
When the world is put to sleep with all its current ideas, theories, beliefs, ideals and models of individual and collective life, it is easier for the world to change its direction of search and fulfillment in the next cycle of creation. It has to start where it left off, but it can reorient itself in a new direction from the place where things had previously stopped. This means that in the new cycle of existence, the ideas, theories, beliefs and ideals and modes of individual and collective life begin to develop entirely on new lines, according to what has been planned by the Truth-realized Masters. The old modes disappear, yielding place to new ones. The Masters plan not only for humanity in general, but also for the new Circle-to-be,* for which the seeds are sown hundreds of years before the time when they actually manifest themselves.
[*See Meher Baba’s discourse “The Circles,” in The Awakener Magazine, vol. 3, no. 1 (Summer 1955), pp. 1-5]
Source: “The Give-and-Take of Impressions,” in Sparks of the Truth: from the Dissertations of Meher Baba, a version by C. D. Deshmukh (Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Press, 1966), p. 25. Reprinted from The Awakener Magazine, vol. 14, no. 1 (1971), p. 37.
From note 15 in the Supplement to God Speaks: “The Five Spheres Described by Meher Baba,” p. 233:
…the dissolution of the higher seven sub-spheres of the fourth—the composite—sphere, is the phenomenon called qiamat [Arabic, day of judgment] or mahapralaya [Sanskrit, great dissolution], and when this takes place the whole of the nonexistent existence of Creation, with all its spheres and sub-spheres, like a manifested tree, recedes into the unmanifested seed form of non-existent non-existence, only to be manifested anew once more in the very next moment of eternity.
“Evolution of Consciousness,” “Seventh Stage,” p. 111:
As in the nature of the man state, so also in the nature of every state of God, God consistently asserts directly and indirectly, apparently and really, His infinite triune attributes of Creator, Preserver and Destroyer at one and the same time. Even in the very pulsation of the heart and in the functioning of the lungs, the three aspects of the infinite triune attributes never fail to assert. With every pulsation of the heart, the heart expands, relaxes (in the refractory period) and contracts, simultaneously heralding the advent of the birth of a being on the one hand, and sustaining the life of the being on the other hand, and finally, with the eventual and final contraction, leading to the physical death of the being. Thus it is that the triune attributes of God, as God the Creator, God the Preserver and God the Destroyer (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh or Shiva), assert independently as well as simultaneously in all things and in every creature and in all beings, in every state of God at every stage in the evolution of consciousness, and on every plane in the involution of consciousness, until eventually the original cosmic Creation, having sustained the ages, cycles and periods, and being preserved by the play of cosmic impressions, is finally destroyed by the play of cosmic opposite impressions of God. This final destruction is generally known as mahapralaya, meaning the “Greatest of the great event of absorption,” when the whole cosmic Creation as Nothingness is absorbed infinitely by the Everything.
Creation, Preservation and Dissolution are based on Ignorance. In fact there is no such thing as creation, so preservation and dissolution never actually occur. The very cosmos has no foundation save that of Ignorance.
Ignorance believes: The cosmos is a reality; birth, death, old age, wealth, honour are real.
Knowledge knows: The cosmos is a dream. God alone is Real.
Source: Meher Baba, The Everything and the Nothing, p. 87.