Generalizations, not only about Hinduism in general but of periods within Hinduism, are not free from peril, but must be made, just as one must live in a polluted environment. One such generalization in the field pertains to the notion of cyclical time, which is believed to be, in the main, absent during the Vedic Hinduism but prevalent during Classical Hinduism.
The fact that the idea of cyclical time is largely absent in Vedic Hinduism may in part explain its greater interest in explaining the ‘origin’ of the universe. Even in the case of cyclical time such an explanation may be required, but when required the necessity is perhaps felt less urgently from the fact of its happening so often. Be that as it may, the Vedic hymns are full of attempted cosmogonies, modeling the emergence of the universe on a whole variety of creative paradigms visible around them. Creatures are born from eggs or living beings – the oviparous and viviparous accounts of creation are obviously suggested by them. There is even the model provided by grass growing on a field. Things which bring things into being – causes which create effects – are all grist to the mill; thought, speech, sacrifice, down to a blacksmith.
When we turn to the Smṛti literature, however, this colourful variety is compromised in the monotonous regularity of creation which a pulsating universe requires. And this is where we make our suggestion: to couple the two.
The Vedic literature speculates on various kinds of possibilities regarding the origin of the universe. Smṛti literature, on the other hand, provides different occasions for the origin of a universe which continually appears and disappears. Could the two then not be combined – with the universe originating in different ways, as it does so again and again – with a quality in its manner to match the quantity of manifestations?