Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Ramana and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get different views of the prism, colours of the same topic.

Today’s topic has been chosen by me….and frankly I didn’t know what I was letting myself into!!

The oldest texts of Hinduism speak very little about time and eternity. Gods are born but gain immortality through their deeds. In the Atharvaveda, the Veda that is the practical manual for living, Time is personified as Creator and Ruler of existence. Time is an endless repetition of the year and thus of creation. There is no day or night and creation, maintenance and destruction are an on going ceaseless process
Hinduism puts up many prisms of viewpoints, theories and philosophical arguments. Underneath all this there is a common search for Truth, the ultimate end Moksha or Mukthi (salvation) when the soul merges with the infinite. Every interpretation is put forward without demolishing or denigrating other view points.

Religion to Hindus is a way of life and society is made up of different faiths. At the basic level, it originated as a simple form of worship of the forces of Nature just as other religions began. It incorporated in its system social organisations, local cults, various deities controlling particular aspects and modes of worship.


The thousand-headed Shesh Nag, symbolising Eternity is the couch of Lord Vishnu. The word GOD stands for—
• Brahma as the Generator or Creator
• Lord Vishnu the Operator
• Siva the Destroyer!

Lord Vishnu reclines on the 1000 headed coiled snake on the seas of Eternity between the time of the dissolution of one Universe and creation of another. Hindus believe in the immortality of the snake because it sloughs its skin and grows another. It is an important part of the symbolism associated with every God in the pantheon. Eternity in Hinduism is often represented by a serpent swallowing its own tail.

Concepts of eternity are connected to the development of the idea of God in Western thought as well. Ancient Greek philosophers theorised the idea of God’s relation to time, the idea of divine perfection, and the difference between the Creator and the created. Eternity as timelessness, and eternity as everlastingness have been discussed for centuries.

The word ‘eternal’ comes from aeturnus in Latin, a derivation from aevum, an age or time. So ‘eternity’ actually means everlastingness. In philosophical discussions, everlastingness has become identified with two contrasting concepts of ‘atemporality’ and the other ‘sempiternity’ or ‘everlastingness’.

Thinkers like Augustine and Boethius lead the thought that God exists apart from time, or outside time. “There is the absence of temporal sequence, though not, in the view of some, the absence of duration. So it is not that God has always existed, for as long as time has existed, and that he always will exist, but that God does not exist in time at all. He is apart from his creation, transcendent over it”.

In Hinduism the theory is that those who exist in time have successive lives….so the theory of re-incarnation is prevalent. In fact Swami Juggi Vasudev says (as have other philosophers and Gurus) that memories of human beings are
• parts of what existed earlier
• present awareness is that part that exists now or recently
• hopes and expectations concern those parts that will exist later.
An evolved soul can look into the seven layers of the mind and see past lives.
Did you know that a puzzle called the £1m Eternity puzzle sparked off a gaming frenzy in 1999? A sequel to this raised the bar to a prize $2 million!!

The 209 pieces ‘Eternity’ is a tiling puzzle created by Christopher Monckton and launched by the Ertl Company in June 1999. It was marketed as being practically unsolveable, with a £1 million prize for whoever could solve it within four years.

The puzzle consists of filling a large almost regular dodecagon with 209 irregularly shaped smaller polygon pieces of the same colour. All the pieces were made from a combination of equilateral triangles and half-triangles, with each piece having the same total area of 6 of those triangles, and between seven and eleven sides. An estimate stated that the puzzle had 10500 possible attempts at a solution, and it would take longer than the lifetime of the Universe to calculate all of them even if you had a million computers.

The prize was paid out in October 2000 for a winning solution arrived at by two mathematicians from Cambridge, Alex Selby and Oliver Riordan.

Christopher Monckton, put up half the prize money and the other half was put up by underwriters in the London insurance market.

The second 256 piece combinatorial puzzle, Eternity II, was launched in Summer 2007 with a prize of US$2 million. Lord Monckton said: “Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have taken up the challenges posed by the simple yet difficult Eternity and Eternity II puzzles. I hope they enjoyed trying to solve these record-breaking puzzles as much as I enjoyed creating them.

The final date for the correct solution of the Eternity II puzzle passed by without a winner, and the $2m Prize for a correct solution was unclaimed.

About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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13 Responses to ETERNITY

  1. Rummuser says:

    I wondered too why you chose this topic and had to scramble like mad before I could come up with a passable post. In any case, you have extricated yourself with aplomb and this is a great piece of writing. While some of your regular readers will understand, most are unlikely to. Let us hope that they will ask for clarifications.


  2. Delirious says:

    Wow, I had never heard of that puzzle before. I’m sure there are many “geeks” that are smart enough to do it, but it took these two to accomplish the task. Their intelligence paid off!

    Great post. YOu are always very well informed, and explain things so clearly!


  3. @ RR —thanks for the validation…all thsi is strictly your territory1

    @Delirious–you made my day…I was a teacher in one avatar! And then I ran a Sunday School (on a Saturday) to kids about Hinduism. That helped to put across things in the most simple way. Had to give all my storytelling and acting due to chronic laryngitis and lack of stamina. Oh well the Divine closes a door but opens up many windows, right?


  4. Grannymar says:

    Padmini, you said

    Today’s topic has been chosen by me….and frankly I didn’t know what I was letting myself into!!

    , well I had no idea of where to start, so as usual I jumped out of the box without a lifebelt. You took the bull by the horns and made a difficult subject a little easier to understand.


  5. Val says:

    Amazing post! I love the way you’ve contrasted philosophy with practicality (or non-practicality)… how does one create something to equal eternity? It can’t happen, surely?


  6. Interesting thing about the puzzle…I always enjoyed them as jigsaw in my childhood and indeed even today. I especially like the 1000 piece ones, for a simple reason that they help focus the mind, clear it, take it back to its original state of calmness and tranquility.

    As for the concept of eternity in Hinduism, it reminded me of the Nasadiya Sooktam from Rig Veda…which says something to the effect of this – “in the beginning nothing was everything and everything came out of nothing; the nothing still remained as it was, while everything swelled and burst like soap bubbles in the womb of eternal nothingness. It is nothingness alone that pervades everything, and verily everything is indeed nothingness itself”


    • padmum says:

      Rohit! My brother Ramana is the Upanishads, Suktam, Veda knowledgeable guy. I am the more practical Puranas and epic grounded person. He will be thrilled to have someone on the wavelength as he is. I love jigsaw puzzles and spend weeks putting them together. My daughter gets these 2000 and 3000 piece ones for me and my husband revel in doing them.


      • @ Padmum (sorry I can’t think of any better and more respectful way of addressing you so decided to go with your pen name): It is really nice to know that Sir Ramana is your brother and is interested in these subjects..As for the 3000 piece puzzles, I can only wish I had that much patience. Perhaps I will have to wait until I retire and have all the time in the world at my disposal….which is unlikely to happen for at least another 43 years 🙂


  7. padmum says:

    Rohit…no LBC we are all who we are. Yes Ramana is my eldest brother…others are also familiar with my other two brothers arvind and Barath who are commentators in our blog sites. The whole family is highly opinionated….so there!


  8. It is ludicrous to say that Hinduism speaks very little about time and eternity.
    Hinduism alone is the University of Eternity


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