In the Srimad Bhagavatam or Bhagavata and other Puranas we find mention of the period of 432,000 years. The following article addresses the multicultural significance of this number, hopefully adding further credence to the great books of wisdom and knowledge which the ancient Indian scriptures (sastra) contain. (Excerpts from J. Campbell's "Masks of God", 1962-1976.)
As early as 3200 BC with the first appearance of written tablets, two systems of numbers were used, the decimal and the sexigesimal (based on 60). We still use this unit to measure circles and to calculate time. 60 seconds = 1 minute, 60 minutes = 1 degree, 360 degrees make one circle. The year was divided into 360 days. In the center of the circle of space were the five points of the sacred ziggurat - four angles to the quarters and summit to the sky (pyramid) - by way of which Divinity was brought into the world.
A list of ten kings was composed in Greece c. 280 BC by the Babylonian priest Berossos, and their reign totals 432,000 years. In the Icelandic Poetic Edda it is said that there are 540 doors in Odin's heavenly hall of warriors
hundred doors and forty there are
The war with the Wolf was the recurrent battle of the gods and anti-gods at the end of each cosmic round. Here we have 540 x 800 = 432,000. In the Mahabharata and Puranic texts, the cosmic cycle of four world ages numbers 12,000 divine years, one year corresponding to 360 human years for a total of 12,000 x 360 = 4,320,000 human years. This is broken down into yugas as follows:
years or 1200 x 360
The number 432,000 has been found in Europe (1100 AD), India( very ancient, and 400 BC), Mesopotamia (c 300 BC)in reference to a cosmic eon.
At the moment of the Spring equinox (March 21) the heavens are never quite in the same position they were the year before, since there is an annual lag of 50 seconds which in the course of 72 years amounts to 1 degree (50" x 72 = 3600" = 60' = 1 degree) and in 2160 years amounts to 30 degrees or one sign of the zodiac.
For instance, today the sun stands in Aquarius at the Spring equinox, in 1976 the sun stood in Pisces and in the time of Christ it was in Aries. This slippage is known as the precession of the equinox. Copernicus in 1526 AD calculated this same figure. We note also that the lag is 50 seconds/year or 1 degree in 72 years, 30 degrees in 2160 years, 360 degrees in 25,920 years or one complete cycle of the zodiac. But 25,920 divided by 60 gives 432. The ancient Sumerian calendar had five-day weeks or 72 x 5 = 360 days per year. But 360 x 72 = 25,920.
The integer 1200 represents the sum of the years in India for a cosmic cycle. Now
x 201 = 241,200
These numbers correspond to the Sumerian tablet list of ten kings who ruled for a total of 456,00 years, a second tablet which lists only eight of these kings with a total of 241,200 years, and Berossos' list.
The Book of Genesis lists ten patriarchs from Adam to Noah and the Flood totalling 1656 years. In the Jewish calendar one year is 365 days. In 23 years plus 5 leap year days we have 8400 days or 1200 seven-day weeks. If we multiply 1200 x 72 we get 86,400 or the number of Jewish seven-day weeks in 1656 (23 x 72) years. Since the Babylonian calendar year was composed of 72 five-day weeks, then in 432,000 days there are 86,400 Babylonian five-day weeks. Then in 432,000 days there are 86,400 Babylonian five-day weeks (432,000/5). Thus the Bible concurs with the other lists as well.