Book 3: Chapter 11
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 3: Chapter 11: Verses 1-11
Maitreya continued : The minutest particle of material substance (which cannot be further divided), which has not yet evolved, nay, not even been combined with other similar particles and hence eternally exists (in that causal state) should be known by the name of Paramanu. It is the combination of more than one such Paramanus that creates in the mind of men the illusory notion of a unit. Even so the entire range of material substances taken as an unspecified and undifferentiated whole, before it undergoes further transformation, i.e., returns to its ultimate source (Prakrti), constitutes what is known as the largest size. (Just as the minutest particle of a material substance such as earth and so on leads us to postulate the existence of a Paramanu, and the combination of material substances to that of the largest size), so can we infer the long and short measures of time, which (being a potency of the Lord) is the same as the Lord, all-pervading and unmanifest, and which is the circumscriber of finite objects inasmuch as (in the form of the sun) it travels across the large and small dimensions of things. The measure of time which (in the form of the sun) flits across the smallest particle of matter is called a Paramanu; while that which extends over the whole life-span of the universe (viz., from its creation to dissolution) is the longest measure of time (in relation to the cosmos, viz., a couple of Parardhas, constituting the life-span of Brahma). Two Paramanus make one Anu (an atom); while three Anus constitute a Trasarenu (the minutest particle of matter or mote), seen floating in space through the sun's rays that enter a room through the eye-holes of a lattice. The measure of time which (in the form of the sun) travels across a composite of three Trasarenus is known as a Truti; a Vedha consists of a hundred Trutis, while three Vedhas constitute what is known as a Lava. A composite of three Lavas should be known by the name of Nimesa (the twinkling of an eye); while three Nimesas are spoken of as one moment (Ksana). A composite of five moments is known as a Kastha; while fifteen Kasthas go to make a Laghu. Fifteen Laghus taken together are called a Nadika; a couple of Nadikas constitute one Muhurta, while six or seven Nadikas (according as the day or night is short or long) make a Prahara, which forms one quarter of a day or night of human beings. A pot (of copper) weighing six Palas or ninety-six Masas (Tolas) and with a capacity of one Prastha (two seers) of water should be bored (at the bottom) with a gold needle weighing four Maas and four Angulas ( a finger's breadth) long, and left on water. The time which will be taken by such a pot to be filled with and consequently submerged in water is known as a Nadika. The day and night of human beings consist of four `lamas or quarters each: while fifteen days and nights constitute a fortnight, which is bright and dark (alternately), O respecter of others. Both these fortnights, taken together, make one month, which constitutes a day and night of the Pitrs (manes).
- The words 'Anu' and Trasarenu' though primarily denoting the dimensions of material objects, also signify the measure of time taken by the sun to travel across the aforesaid dimensions