Tag Archives: Hinduism

It’s about cyclical time

I told you the story of Persephone so you’d remember one thing: for the ancient Greeks, time was a cycle. The seasons followed each other over and over again. The Greeks didn’t think of time as a progression of numbered years, as we do. They named the years after whomever was the archon (ruler or king) at the time. Later on the Greeks numbered years by a 4-year cycle, called an olympiad. The Olympic games were held every fourth year, then the cycle started over.

The Greeks weren’t the only ones who think of time as a cycle.

Disney’s African tale The Lion King opens with the song The Circle of Life and its theme is cyclical time.

People who follow Indian and Asian religions—Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists—think of time as a cycle. The problem of ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ is a puzzler to us because we think in linear time. How can you have an egg without a chicken first? Or a chicken without an egg first? It’s not puzzling to someone who thinks of time as a cycle. Imagine a chicken and an egg riding a merry-go-round. The chicken follows the egg, which follows the chicken, which follows the egg, and so on and so on. It’s a continuous loop.