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A text says that a king named Kakudmi time-traveled in a two-way trip (Earth ⇒ Brahmaloka and Brahmaloka ⇒ Earth). It also says that there is difference in frequency of times at different planes in the universe.

  1. Is there any other scripture that says about time travel (like what Kakudmi did)?

  2. Is there any character in our scripture that time-traveled but without physically traveling in space?

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    Sigh. He did not time travel. This is called TIME DILATION. – Wikash_ Jun 1 '19 at 10:11
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In Bhagavta Purana and some other puranas there is mention of a king named Muchukunda who also experienced a similar effect. He went to join battle for the gods as their commander but by the time he was free to return, all his family and relatives were extinct being swept away by this effect of relative time (SB - 10.51.18).


Update
This answer is based on the verse from Bhagavata as it describes the story a bit more than the other puranas. But anyone who is interested can find the story mentioned at least in the following puranas: Vishnu Purana, Brahma Purana, Skanda Purana, Harivamsha and Padma Purana. This incident may also be present in Mahabharata, but I don't know the chapter number.

Now those who rightly say that the above referenced verse doesn't explicitly state less time had passed for Muchukunda should put some thoughts and analyze the meaning again. Everything is not present in direct words always that everything would be easily understood. Otherwise there would be no explanations, commentaries, bhasyas, etc. by saints and scholars. And there would be no arguments, debates and different sects and creeds.

Anyway, in this verse it should be noted that, not only his family, but relatives, citizens, contemporaries, all are gone in course of time. Had Muchukunda been under the same effect of time, he would have been dead also. But because he was in devaloka the course of time for him was slower and different. If only his family were extinct then someone could have said Muchukunda was probably having a longer life length. But because all the citizens of his Kingdom, his relatives and contemporaries were dead it can be understood that time was running faster on earth compared to where Muchukunda was.

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    Could you tell me what other Puranas mention this story? Because unlike the Wikipedia article, the Srimad Bhagavatam just says that Muchukunda's family was swept away by time, it doesn't explicitly that less time had passed for Muchukunda. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 21 '14 at 3:02
  • I remember watching this story in Ramanand Sagar's Sri Krishna. – Vineet Menon Aug 22 '14 at 7:46
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First of all that wasn't Time travel, you are talking of a phenomenon known as 'Time Dilation Phenomenon', in the same story it is also written that when he returned to earth, he found his further generations living (not sure but I think it was fourth generation).

The Time dilation phenomenon was given by Albert Einstein which is the part of his "Theory of Relativity".

This link will make it more understandable.

The story might look he traveled to future, but no, in brahma lok the time dilated, meaning his 1 sec might be equal to hours on earth.

Secondly, there are no stories related to time travel, because time travel is actually not possible, you can only give optimistic results of future dependent on the Karmas, Planets and other things.

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    First of all, you shouldn't engage in scientific speculation in this site. Second of all, this wouldn't be a case of time dilation as described in special relativity, because that occurs when you're traveling at speeds close to the speed of light. But in this story, the phenomenon has nothing to do with high-speed travel, it just has to do with time in one place passing at a different rate than time in another place. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 20 '14 at 12:40
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    @KeshavSrinivasan, my friend I had 6 months studing the same subject, secondly have you heard that people living in highest building of skyscrapper live microseconds more than living on ground, reference to 'Time Dilation'. Thirdly its not written in any book that he didn't traveled above speed of light, rather in our books there are higher speeds listed, like mind,hansa and paramhansa which are higher than speed of light. Lastly, to your first line, hinduism is science, its every aspect is scientific, and there are proofs. – Mr. K Aug 20 '14 at 12:49
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    And Hinduism might have all sorts of connections to science, but the community has decided that it's not appropriate to discuss science in this site, because it leads to too much speculation. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 20 '14 at 13:01
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    The allowed references for this site are Hindu scriptures, not science. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 20 '14 at 15:38
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    "time travel is actually not possible, " so is a flying horse on which the Kalki avatar will sit and I can name numerous other impossible things in Hinduism. That being said good explanation on time dilation. – Wikash_ Jun 1 '19 at 10:14
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Its Time_dilation(time slowing), not time travel. Time Dilation is a difference in the elapsed time measured by two clocks, either due to them having a velocity relative to each other, or by there being a gravitational potential difference between their locations. After compensating for varying signal delays due to the changing distance between an observer and a moving clock (i.e. Doppler effect), the observer will measure the moving clock as ticking slower than a clock that is at rest in the observer's own reference frame. A clock that is close to a massive body (and which therefore is at lower gravitational potential) will record less elapsed time than a clock situated further from the said massive body (and which is at a higher gravitational potential). In the context of special relativity it was shown by Albert Einstein (1905) that this effect concerns the nature of time itself, and he was also the first to point out its reciprocity or symmetry

Now, similar time dilation can also be seen in some of the stories of Hindu Puranas.

Time Dilation example 1: King Muchukunda

Muchukunda, son of King Mandhata, and brother of equally illustrious Ambarisha was born in the Suryavanshi solar dynasty.

Once, in a battle, the Devas were defeated by the asuras. Tormented by arrows, they sought help from king Muchukunda. King Muchukunda agreed to help them and fought against the asuras for a long time. Since the Devas did not have an able commander, king Muchukunda protected them against the onslaught by asuras, until the Devas got an able commander like Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva. Then Indra said to the king Muchukunda, "O king, we, the Devas are indebted to you for the help and protection which you have given us, by sacrificing your own family life. Here in the heaven, one second equals one year of the earth and you had fought with asuras for one year of heaven . Since, it has been a long time, there is no sign of your kingdom and family because it has been destroyed with the passage of time.

Time Dilation example 2: Princess Revati

Revati, within Hinduism, is daughter of King Kakudmi and consort of the God Balarama, the elder brother of Krishna. Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana and Garga Samhita narrate the tale of Revati.

Revati was the only daughter of King Kakudmi(sometimes called Kakudmin, Revata or Raivata), a powerful monarch who ruled Kusasthali. Feeling that no human could prove to be good enough to marry his lovely and talented daughter, Kakudmi took Revati with him to Brahmaloka(abode of Brahma) to ask the God's advice about finding a suitable husband for Revati.

When they arrived, Brahma was listening to a musical performance by the Gandharvas, so they waited patiently until the performance was finished. Then, Kakudmi bowed humbly, made his request and presented his shortlist of candidates. Brahma laughed loudly and explained that time runs differently on different planes of existence and that during the short time they had waited in Brahmaloka to see him, 27 chatur-yugas(a chatur-yuga is a cycle of four yugas, hence 27 chatur-yugas total 108 yugas, the Garga Samhita differs and says 27 yugas in total) had passed on Earth and all the candidates had died long ago. Brahma added that Kakudmi was now alone as his friends, ministers, servants, wives, kinsmen, armies and treasures had now vanished from Earth and he should soon bestow his daughter to a husband as Kali yuga was near.

King Kakudmi was overcome with astonishment and alarm at this news. However, Brahma comforted him and added that God Vishnu, the Preserver, was currently on Earth in the forms of Krishna and Balarama and he recommended Balarama as a worthy husband for Revati.

Kakudmi and Revati then returned to earth, which they regarded as having left only just a short while ago. They were shocked by the changes that had taken place. Not only had the landscape and environment changed, but over the intervening 27 chatur-yugas, in the cycles of human spiritual and cultural evolution, mankind was at a lower level of development than in their own time. The Bhagavata Purana describes that they found the race of men had become "dwindled in stature, reduced in vigour, and enfeebled in intellect."

Time Dilation example 3: Srimad Bhagvatam: Canto 10

13.40 The selfborn one [Brahmâ] returning after such a long time, saw that, even though it was but a moment later to his own notion, one year later the Lord was playing together with His expansions like He did before.

Hindu scriptures describe 14 Lokas where Brahma Loka is the highest loka and Patala is the lowest 14th loka, while earth is on 7th Bhu loka and Swaraga(where Indra rules) is on 5th loka. Now, King Muchukunda was fighting for a year in Indraloka on 5th realm, while Revati was in 1st realm of Brahmloka for few seconds, hence time dilates(slows) from Brahmloka(1st realm) to Indraloka(5th realm) to Bhuloka(Earth).

As per modern science, time dilates as one moves from black holes to massive stars to average stars(like our sun) as gravity and bend of space-time curvature of each star and its solar system is different leading to the time dilation. This can be better understood through Einstein's Space-Time continuum.

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Yes. We could cite two episodes of time travel from the Indian scripture:

(i) First citation (The O.P. asked, "Is there any character in our scripture that time-traveled but without physically traveling in space?"):

  1. The Ramacharitamanas by Sril Tulsi Pundit.
  1. Time traveller: The divine crow, Kakabhusundi.

Lord Ram showed the divine crow, inside of His eternal (sat-chit-anand) body, where the divine crow saw other universes, he saw his own forms also travelling there, inside the belly of child Rama.

Ref: Ramacharitamanas, "uttar-kand", concluding part (kaka-bhusundi and garud samvad) by Tulsidas Gosvami Pandit, Gita Press (English version). enter image description here

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(ii) Second citation (O.P.,"Is there any other scripture that says about time travel like what Kakudmi did?"):

  1. The Bhagvatam by Sril Veda Vyas.
  1. The time travellers: Saint Bhrigu to kshirod-sagar (vishnulok); Krishna and Arjuna to Mahavishnulok (causal ocean, the beginning of timeless domain)

Bhrigu maharaj visited domains of lord Brahma, lord Vishnu and lord Shiva. And Arjuna travelled time with Krishna on His divine chariot, the causal ("kaaran) Mahavishnu's realm which divides material worlds from the eternal worlds.

Ref: Srimad Bhagvatam; tenth canto ("scand"), chapter#89,

part #1 : (Sage Bhrigu's time travel)

Text 1: Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Once, O King, as a group of sages were performing a Vedic sacrifice on the banks of the Sarasvatī River, a controversy arose among them as to which of the three chief deities is supreme. Text 2: Eager to resolve this question, O King, the sages sent Lord Brahmā’s son Bhṛgu to find the answer. First he went to his father’s court. Text 3: To test how well Lord Brahmā was situated in the mode of goodness, Bhṛgu failed to bow down to him or glorify him with prayers. The lord became angry at him, inflamed into fury by his own passion. Text 4: Though anger toward his son was now rising within his heart, Lord Brahmā was able to subdue it by applying his intelligence, in the same way that fire is extinguished by its own product, water. Text 5: Bhṛgu then went to Mount Kailāsa. There Lord Śiva stood up and happily came forward to embrace his brother. Texts 6-7: But Bhṛgu refused his embrace, telling him, “You are a deviant heretic.” At this Lord Śiva became angry, and his eyes burned ferociously. He raised his trident and was about to kill Bhṛgu when Goddess Devī fell at his feet and spoke some words to pacify him. Bhṛgu then left that place and went to Vaikuṇṭha, where Lord Janārdana resides. Texts 8-9: There he went up to the Supreme Lord, who was lying with His head on the lap of His consort, Śrī, and kicked Him on the chest. The Lord then rose, along with Goddess Lakṣmī, as a sign of respect. Coming down from His bedstead, that supreme goal of all pure devotees bowed His head to the floor before the sage and told him, ‘Welcome, brāhmaṇa. Please sit in this chair and rest awhile. Kindly forgive us, dear master, for not noticing your arrival.’ Texts 10-11: “Please purify Me, My realm and the realms of the universal rulers devoted to Me by giving us the water that has washed your feet. This holy water is indeed what makes all places of pilgrimage sacred. Today, my lord, I have become the exclusive shelter of the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī; she will consent to reside on My chest because your foot has rid it of sins.” Text 12: Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Bhṛgu felt satisfied and delighted to hear the solemn words spoken by Lord Vaikuṇṭha. Overwhelmed with devotional ecstasy, he remained silent, his eyes brimming with tears. Text 13: O King, Bhṛgu then returned to the sacrificial arena of the wise Vedic authorities and described his entire experience to them. Texts 14-17: Amazed upon hearing Bhṛgu’s account, the sages were freed from all doubts and became convinced that Viṣṇu is the greatest Lord. From Him come peace; fearlessness; the essential principles of religion; detachment with knowledge; the eightfold powers of mystic yoga; and His glorification, which cleanses the mind of all impurities. He is known as the supreme destination for those who are peaceful and equipoised — the selfless, wise saints who have given up all violence. His most dear form is that of pure goodness, and the brāhmaṇas are His worshipable deities. Persons of keen intellect who have attained spiritual peace worship Him without selfish motives. Text 18: The Lord expands into three kinds of manifest beings — the Rākṣasas, the demons and the demigods — all of whom are created by the Lord’s material energy and conditioned by her modes. But among these three modes, it is the mode of goodness which is the means of attaining life’s final success. Text 19: Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The learned brāhmaṇas living along the river Sarasvatī came to this conclusion in order to dispel the doubts of all people. Thereafter they rendered devotional service to the Supreme Lord’s lotus feet and attained His abode. Text 20: Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: Thus did this fragrant nectar flow from the lotus mouth of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of the sage Vyāsadeva. This wonderful glorification of the Supreme Person destroys all fear of material existence. A traveler who constantly drinks this nectar through his ear-holes will forget the fatigue brought on by wandering along the paths of worldly life.

part #2 : (Arjuna's time travels; once on his own and then with Krishna)

Text 21: Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Once, in Dvārakā, a brāhmaṇa’s wife gave birth to a son, but the newborn infant died as soon as he touched the ground, O Bhārata. Text 22: The brāhmaṇa took the corpse and placed it at the door of King Ugrasena’s court. Then, agitated and lamenting miserably, he spoke the following. Text 23: [The brāhmaṇa said:] This duplicitous, greedy enemy of brāhmaṇas, this unqualified ruler addicted to sense pleasure, has caused my son’s death by some discrepancies in the execution of his duties. Text 24: Citizens serving such a wicked king, who takes pleasure in violence and cannot control his senses, are doomed to suffer poverty and constant misery. Text 25: The wise brāhmaṇa suffered the same tragedy with his second and third child. Each time, he left the body of his dead son at the King’s door and sang the same song of lamentation. Texts 26-27: When the ninth child died, Arjuna, who was near Lord Keśava, happened to overhear the brāhmaṇa lamenting. Thus Arjuna addressed the brāhmaṇa: “What is the matter, my dear brāhmaṇa? Isn’t there some lowly member of the royal order here who can at least stand before your house with a bow in his hand? These kṣatriyas are behaving as if they were brāhmaṇas idly engaged in fire sacrifices. Text 28: “The rulers of a kingdom in which brāhmaṇas lament over lost wealth, wives and children are merely imposters playing the role of kings just to earn their livelihood. Text 29: “My lord, I will protect the progeny of you and your wife, who are in such distress. And if I fail to keep this promise, I will enter fire to atone for my sin.” Texts 30-31: The brāhmaṇa said: Neither Saṅkarṣaṇa; Vāsudeva; Pradyumna, the best of bowmen; nor the unequaled warrior Aniruddha could save my sons. Then why do you naively attempt a feat that the almighty Lords of the universe could not perform? We cannot take you seriously. Text 32: Śrī Arjuna said: I am neither Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, O brāhmaṇa, nor Lord Kṛṣṇa, nor even Kṛṣṇa’s son. Rather, I am Arjuna, wielder of the Gāṇḍīva bow. Text 33: Do not minimize my ability, which was good enough to satisfy Lord Śiva, O brāhmaṇa. I will bring back your sons, dear master, even if I have to defeat Death himself in battle. Text 34: Thus convinced by Arjuna, O tormentor of enemies, the brāhmaṇa went home, satisfied by having heard Arjuna’s declaration of his prowess. Text 35: When the wife of the elevated brāhmaṇa was again about to give birth, he went to Arjuna in great anxiety and begged him, “Please, please protect my child from death!” Text 36: After touching pure water, offering obeisances to Lord Maheśvara and recollecting the mantras for his celestial weapons, Arjuna strung his bow Gāṇḍīva. Text 37: Arjuna fenced in the house where the birth was taking place by shooting arrows attached to various missiles. Thus the son of Pṛthā constructed a protective cage of arrows, covering the house upwards, downwards and sideways. Text 38: The brāhmaṇa’s wife then gave birth, but after the newborn infant had been crying for a short time, he suddenly vanished into the sky in his selfsame body. Text 39: The brāhmaṇa then derided Arjuna in front of Lord Kṛṣṇa: “Just see how foolish I was to put my faith in the bragging of a eunuch! Text 40: “When neither Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Rāma nor Keśava can save a person, who else can possibly protect him? Text 41: “To hell with that liar Arjuna! To hell with that braggart’s bow! He is so foolish that he has deluded himself into thinking he can bring back a person whom destiny has taken away.” Text 42: While the wise brāhmaṇa continued to heap insults upon him, Arjuna employed a mystic incantation to go at once to Saṁyamanī, the city of heaven where Lord Yamarāja resides. Texts 43-44: Not seeing the brāhmaṇa’s child there, Arjuna went to the cities of Indra, Agni, Nirṛti, Soma, Vāyu and Varuṇa. With weapons at the ready he searched through all the domains of the universe, from the bottom of the subterranean region to the roof of heaven. Finally, not having found the brāhmaṇa’s son anywhere, Arjuna decided to enter the sacred fire, having failed to keep his promise. But just as he was about to do so, Lord Kṛṣṇa stopped him and spoke the following words. Text 45: [Lord Kṛṣṇa said:] I will show you the brāhmaṇa’s sons, so please don’t despise yourself like this. These same men who now criticize us will soon establish our spotless fame. Text 46: Having thus advised Arjuna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead had Arjuna join Him on His divine chariot, and together they set off toward the west. Text 47: The Lord’s chariot passed over the seven islands of the middle universe, each with its ocean and its seven principal mountains. Then it crossed the Lokāloka boundary and entered the vast region of total darkness. Texts 48-49: In that darkness the chariot’s horses — Śaibya, Sugrīva, Meghapuṣpa and Balāhaka — lost their way. Seeing them in this condition, O best of the Bhāratas, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme master of all masters of yoga, sent His Sudarśana disc before the chariot. That disc shone like thousands of suns. Text 50: The Lord’s Sudarśana disc penetrated the darkness with its blazing effulgence. Racing forward with the speed of the mind, it cut through the fearsome, dense oblivion expanded from primeval matter, as an arrow shot from Lord Rāma’s bow cuts through His enemy’s army. Text 51: Following the Sudarśana disc, the chariot went beyond the darkness and reached the endless spiritual light of the all pervasive brahmajyoti. As Arjuna beheld this glaring effulgence, his eyes hurt, and so he shut them. Text 52: From that region they entered a body of water resplendent with huge waves being churned by a mighty wind. Within that ocean Arjuna saw an amazing palace more radiant than anything he had ever seen before. Its beauty was enhanced by thousands of ornamental pillars bedecked with brilliant gems. Text 53: In that palace was the huge, awe-inspiring serpent Ananta Śeṣa. He shone brilliantly with the radiance emanating from the gems on His thousands of hoods and reflecting from twice as many fearsome eyes. He resembled white Mount Kailāsa, and His necks and tongues were dark blue. Texts 54-56: Arjuna then saw the omnipresent and omnipotent Supreme Personality of Godhead, Mahā-Viṣṇu, sitting at ease on the serpent bed. His bluish complexion was the color of a dense rain cloud, He wore a beautiful yellow garment, His face looked charming, His broad eyes were most attractive, and He had eight long, handsome arms. His profuse locks of hair were bathed on all sides in the brilliance reflected from the clusters of precious jewels decorating His crown and earrings. He wore the Kaustubha gem, the mark of Śrīvatsa and a garland of forest flowers. Serving that topmost of all Lords were His personal attendants, headed by Sunanda and Nanda; His cakra and other weapons in their personified forms; His consort potencies Puṣṭi, Śrī, Kīrti and Ajā; and all His various mystic powers. Text 57: Lord Kṛṣṇa offered homage to Himself in this boundless form, and Arjuna, astonished at the sight of Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu, bowed down as well. Then, as the two of them stood before Him with joined palms, the almighty Mahā-Viṣṇu, supreme master of all rulers of the universe, smiled and spoke to them in a voice full of solemn authority. Text 58: [Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu said:] I brought the brāhmaṇa’s sons here because I wanted to see the two of you, My expansions, who have descended to the earth to save the principles of religion. As soon as you finish killing the demons who burden the earth, quickly come back here to Me. Text 59: Although all your desires are completely fulfilled, O best of exalted personalities, for the benefit of the people in general you should continue to exemplify religious behavior as the sages Nara and Nārāyaṇa. Texts 60-61: Thus instructed by the Supreme Lord of the topmost planet, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna assented by chanting om, and then they bowed down to almighty Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu. Taking the brāhmaṇa’s sons with them, they returned with great delight to Dvārakā by the same path along which they had come. There they presented the brāhmaṇa with his sons, who were in the same infant bodies in which they had been lost. Text 62: Having seen the domain of Lord Viṣṇu, Arjuna was totally amazed. He concluded that whatever extraordinary power a person exhibits can only be a manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. Text 63: Lord Kṛṣṇa exhibited many other, similar heroic pastimes in this world. He apparently enjoyed the pleasures of ordinary human life, and He performed greatly potent fire sacrifices. Text 64: The Lord having demonstrated His supremacy, at suitable times He showered down all desirable things upon the brāhmaṇas and His other subjects, just as Indra pours down his rain. Text 65: Now that He had killed many wicked kings and engaged devotees such as Arjuna in killing others, the Lord could easily assure the execution of religious principles through the agency of such pious rulers as Yudhiṣṭhira. https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/10/89/

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    Hello. Can you elaborate your answer a bit and give some explanation about Kakabhushundi and Ramcharitmanas? How they have travelled and how the time travel is explained? One liners are not encouraged on the site. Please edit to add more information. – Sarvabhouma May 31 '19 at 15:55
  • Go thru "uttar kand" of the RamacharitaManas by Tulsidas Gosvami Pandit, Gita Press (English version). – user30612 Jun 2 '19 at 4:23
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    What is the time travel part then? – Wikash_ Jun 2 '19 at 6:17

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