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2012 December 21 Doomsday – Will the end of Mayan Calendar Destroy Life on Earth?

In late 1990’s every other day there used to be articles and books which claimed that the Earth would be destroyed in the year 2000. Some of them attributed the reason to the famous Y2K Bug in the then computers which they claimed would reset the computer clocks causing all Russian nuclear missiles to be launched leading to a world war. All those authors who wrote these stuff continue to live a great life today in 2010. Some of them have now postponed the destruction dates to 2012. The dooms day prophecies today have set the next doomsday date to Dec 21 2012. There are numerous websites dedicated to the destruction of Earth in 2012. Most of them cite the ancient Mayan Calendar that ends on December 21, 2012 and claim that a cataclysm will occur on this date when this ancient calendar ends. There are even websites and books which claim to be the survival guides for this prophetical dooms day.

Doomsday Claims

So? Is the Earth going to end in 2012, or will it be life on Earth that will be gone, or is it only the humans? Obviously, Earth will continue to be there, and so would numerous species like Cockroaches who can survive nuclear strikes and have seen both Dinosaurs and Humans thrive on this planet. So then it should be only humans and the larger species that would be gone in 2012. But yet the dooms day proposers would love to call this event, the End of Earth! Well, they forget the fact that Earth has been here for over 4.5 billion years compared to the tiny life span of human species which is just around 0.2 million years. In other words, if the history of Earth is written as a 24000 page book then Human genus would appear only in the last page of that book. And if we consider the period only after the last Neanderthal man died, then modern humans would appear only in the last line of the last page of this huge book!

So it would be not just silly, but foolish to say that Earth would be destroyed in 2012. Even if a third world war starts and all the nuclear power nations on this planet use all their nuclear weapons to destroy each other, humans would obviously be gone without a trace and a lot (but not all) of other life forms gone too. But just like the way new life forms evolved after dinosaurs were destroyed 65 million years ago when a giant asteroid hit earth, the evolution of life would start again from scratch on this beautiful planet. Fresh new life forms, dense forests, amazing new species, all would be back on Earth within the next few million years. All traces of the nuclear radiation due to the world war would be gone by then. And for any aliens visiting Earth after a few million years after the last world war, it would be difficult to find any trace of an intelligent life once having lived on this planet. They will have to start doing excavations to dig deep to find any traces of humans. And that too would be available only if some super volcano on Earth has not yet wiped out all human constructions.

The conclusion is that when we say silly things like Earth would be destroyed, Doomsday in 2012, Save Earth from Pollution etc what actually we mean is that save humans from these destructions because Earth would continue to live irrespective of what happens to Humans.

Mayan Calendar and the Doomsday

The Mayan Calendar that is said to end on December 21 2012 is the basis on which a date has been set for this doomsday. Let us see what this Mayan Calendar is all about. Firstly, this calendar was used not just by the Mayan civilization, but also by other ancient American civilizations like Incas, Aztec, Zepotec etc. But it was most widely used by the Mayans and hence the name.

Now, how does the Mayan Calendar work? First let us see the Mayan Numeral System. They used a base 20 system, like how we use the ancient Indian base 10 system in modern world today. So while we have 9 symbols (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) and a zero in our system, Mayans had 19 symbols and a zero in their system.

Mayan Numeral System – Source Wikipedia

And the calendar system they used was five base 20 numerals each separated by a dot (.)  which looked like x.x.x.x.x where x is some base 20 number. (Base 20 means it has 19 symbols for numbers from 1 to 19, just like our base 10 has 9 symbols for numbers from 1 to 9).

No months, no years, just numbers separated by dots is what the Mayan calendar system is.

For example the 10th day in this calendar is represented by

The 19th day is represented by and being a base 20 system, the 20th day is represented by, and 21st day by and so on.

A peculiar nature of this calendar is that while all digits are in base 20, the second number from the right is in base 18.

So the number after is and NOT as one would expect if the second number were also in base 20.

This was designed so because by restricting the second digit from right only to base 18, the total number of days represented by the last two numbers in this five number calendar would come to 360 days which is approximately one solar year. So this would mean that the first three digits can be used as nearest approximation to the number of solar years in this calendar. For instance can mean about 12 solar years.

Now the next thing to know here is that the Mayan Calendar is a long count calendar. The first digit from the left denotes the long count. As you can see, for the first count from the left to change the calendar has to pass 20x20x18x20 days ie 1,44,000 days. So from the day the calendar shows till it becomes the number of days passed would be 1,44,000 which is around 395 solar years.

A Mayan Calendar Long Count Date : Source WikipediaThe left most column represents the date of (June 23, 156 BCE) 

Based on the ancient Mayan inscriptions we can see that the current Mayan calendar started on ie became on Aug 12, 3114 BCE and currently we are running in the 12th long count ie the current dates according to the Mayan calendar are 12.19.x.x.x and the next long count ie would start on Dec 21 2012.

So where does the Mayan calendar end on Dec 21 2012? It still continues in the 13th long count and still have many more long counts to go till 19.x.x.x.x gets completed. So why then do the doomsday prophets claim that  the Mayan Calendar ends on Dec 21, 2012? It doesn’t end on that day, just one long count ends. When all the long counts ends, the Mayan calendar restarts again with in a repeating cycle. This is similar to the ancient vedic concept of repeating time cycles called Yugas which are again long counts. Well, vedic yugas also predict doomsday which are called MahaPralayas during which one creation ends leading to another creation cycle, and that is said to happen once in 4.32 million years  8.64 billion years!!

Why fear the beginning of 13th Long Count of the Mayan Calendar on Dec 21 2012?

So why are the doomsday claimers saying that the world will end when the 13th long count starts in the Mayan Calendar?

That is because the ancient Mayan’s said that the previous doomsday occurred when the previous 12th long count ended on Aug 11, 3114 BCE. In other words even though Aug 12, 3114 BCE was of the current cycle of the Mayan Calendar, Aug 11, 3114 BCE was not, instead it was of the previous cycle, and the Mayan’s say it was a doomsday, and so they started the next day with a new calendar cycle so that the calendar is in sync with the aftermath events after that dooms day.

To summarize, Mayan history says that the previous doomsday occurred when the 12th long count ended, and so the current doomsday prophets say that even this time history would repeat and so the world would end in 2012. But the Mayans have never said anything like that anywhere. Mayans have no where predicted that the next dooms day also would occur when the 12th long count ends in their calendar. If the world were to end every time after the completion of the 12th dooms day then they would never have had a calendar with 19 long counts in the first place. They would have simply had a calendar with only 12 long counts. After all what is the use of dates that would never come, isn’t it? :)

So what is the basis for the worldwide destruction predicted in 2012? It is just that the previous doomsday as specified in Mayan Calendar occurred on a similar date 5000 years back. But is that enough proof for the next doomsday? Just because something happened once in history mean that it will repeat every time on the same date?

Moreover, in its future predictions Mayans themselves have predicted events beyond 2012, but have never specified 2012 as having a doomsday.

If I went to some Mayan-speaking communities and asked people what is going to happen in 2012, they wouldn’t have any idea. That the world is going to end? They wouldn’t believe you. We have real concerns these days, like rain” says the famous Mayan archaeologist Jose Huchm.

Co-incidentally Dec 21, 2012 is also the day of winter solstice, the day on which night is the longest in the northern hemisphere. John Major Jenkins author of Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 claims that a rare Galactic alignment would occur on this date where in the Sun would align directly with the center of our Galaxy and this would cause the galactic forces to impact fields on earth and cause disastrous events like pole shift and destroy Earth.

Well, Winter Solstice occurs every year on almost the same date and the so called galactic alignment occurs every ….

More on this in the next article :)


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Gurudev is the developer of Gurunudi AI Platform. This is his official website where he pens his thoughts on a wide range of topics, answers queries, shares resources and tools developed by him.


  1. Sooner or later, irrespective of what Mayans have predicted, the world is going to witness a disaster if we do not take care of planet earth.  Over population, over consumption, pollution, nuclear weapons, are all a recipe for a great disaster. This has caused a great increase in natural disasters in recent times.

  2. hey i was just thinkin if mahapralayas hapeen in every 4.32 million years ,is it written that they should only causephysical changes,it can cause spiritual changes and a new civilization can grow .See all this anti corruption,terrorism been wiped out,it may be the cycle of golden age

  3. hey i was just thinkin if mahapralayas hapeen in every 4.32 million years ,is it written that they should only causephysical changes,it can cause spiritual changes and a new civilization can grow .See all this anti corruption,terrorism been wiped out,it may be the cycle of golden age

  4. Hi buddy.

    Great articles! But i see only material logic in all of em… But there are a lot of spiritual reasons also which control the happenings in our world.

    By this i mean the thoughts which exist and take diff shapes of feelings. Nowhere have i seen authors discussong with a due respect for this (not d way they talk of matter).

    I feel that alot many things happening could be better explained if we consider the spiritual energy with the principles of science. What do you say?

    • Yes Srikanth, you are right that the collective thoughts of the present day human society is much more important in shaping the future than what past civilizations have predicted. Or it could be other way round too, that the past civilizations had thoughts about how future civilizations could evolve and made predictions based on that knowledge. The collective human psyche today is all about terrorism, war, corruption, making money, little regard for nature and its laws. Going by the law of action and reaction – we destroy nature and nature in turn is then bound to destroy us unless and until we correct ourselves before it is too late.

  5. In my opinion, 2012 is not the end of the world as being predicted/popularized by Humanity. From teachings of various civilizations it is quite clear that the time line brings us close to the end of cycle and this in turn would bring in many changes in the world that we perceive today! The conditions for the changes are being laid down, it is how we react that will decide what the consequences of this shift would be.

    It may not bring widespread destruction and definitely would not perish the world on one fine day, but the change is evident.
    We are already in the process of that change induced by the cyclic shift in every aspect both geographically and consciously.
    Whether it paves way for a smooth or a destructive transition depends on the collective consciousness.

    • You are right that there are signs of changes around us today. But these also existed always, we since live in the current period feel that the signs of changes are there today. For instance, even worse signs existed in the late 80s and early 90s during the cold war era and there were a multiple just misses of a nuclear holocaust those days. Again going back by 60 years or so, the second world war lot more destructive than any other even in contemporary history and lasted for over 6 years. So going by what the world has experienced 60 years back there are no such signs of such large scale destruction today. Those were the days when each and every country was fighting every other country. Today we have much more controlled manner in the way the world functions. Having said that, it 2012 has to turn out to be a real end of cycle as is being made out to be, then it will have to be on scales bigger than the second world war, else there would be no meaning to this end of the cycle. And if the scale turns out to be larger than the second world war, then I guess we are in for a very big disaster.

    • Thanks for that link Sachin. Yes, but this has happened numerous times in the past, with the only difference being this time we have satellites in space :)
      So at the most our communication systems will be down. This is a 12 year cycle and sometimes it is really huge. What is missing in the news is that there is the Earth’s magnetic field which will be deflecting most of these so called bombs, like how it has continued to do so for thousands of years. Just read this line

      “Similar storms back in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale.”

      I guess not being able to talk on mobile phones will not destroy humanity :)

  6. The idea of long scale calender coming to so primitive people is quite astonishing, I suspect if they learned it from some other ET species. may be aliens of such a planet which might have one year of our 395 solar year, I think it can be ascertained which starsgalaxiesplanets could have such astrophysical time scale. 2200 year ago India was well inhabited while americas were largely primitive couldnt something like this happen? It needs some research.

    • Yes it looks like they had an encounter with ET. In fact if one looks at ancient Indian history from ET angle, then there are hundreds of suggestions about ET encounters in ancient India. Devas coming from other worlds, flying machines in space gifted by gods, weapons of mass destruction where each weapon killed thousands of enemy soldiers, and so on..

  7. I saw in one of the television channels regarding the end of the present KALI YUGA and also heard many books wrote this. KALI yuga is not going to end because of Pralaya. The end of the present yuga is going to be because of the draught is wat they described. Then a sage will be taking birth in a place in Karnataka, India who teaches a lesson to the world. All sinned people will be nomore in the world. Then the so called KRITA YUGA or SATYA YUGA starts ….
    Seems like a good ending. … Any comments on this??

    • Not sure from they got all this information. Basically all such propaganda is negative in nature, makes the society more pessimistic and nobody knows for sure what the truth is. And for the yuga to end there is still a lot of time to go :)

  8. Oh! Did you see series of programs in Kannada TV channels on this? I thought the anchors were real dumb and they were only interested in increasing TRPs than educating viewers. I hate these guys. They are misguiding people just for the sake of their business (aka money).

    • Oh yes Suresh, mostly what they do is take some english videos most of the time from youtube and give a strange kannada voice over. The other day they were showing an animated alien-planet series of discovery channel narrating it as if scientists had really discovered some large life forms in an extraterrestrial planet :)

  9. Hi Gurudev,

    Good to see the articles coming by :) you have stated in this article, MahaPralayas happens once in 4.32 million years. Isnt One Mahayuga 4.32 million years ? one pralaya is 1000 cycles (1 kalpa)which makes it 4.32 billion years when the physical and the subtle worlds are dissolved and Mahapralaya is 100 days and nights making it 864 billion years when the universe is annihilated ?

    have i interpreted your lines incorrectly ?

  10. Just a line of thought.
    Imagine, the King and his army who came from the other part of the world to take part in Mahabharta war. All got slained, Killed. No one went back. what would have happened in the other part of the world? when they got no news of the King, nor its Army. The very people who ensured that dharma has to be followed are not there any more now. Naturally, the economy will go down. No taxes,no rules nothing. The working class or those who were not kshatriyas must have taken over some of the kingdoms. Now when a new clan takes over a kingdom, he will delete all the history first, as he will not like the fact that his ancestors were working or were slaves to some king. He will inerpret the history in such a way, that his family was the royal one..He can start his own religion/Fatih. What makes me think on this line is, almost all religion outside hinduism ( which is not a religion :-)  ) talk about a great war that happened, and then the civilization started..No religion gives the details of the war. Probably because, they were on the other side of the planet, they would not have known exactly what happened here. Probably this is reason why all the religion which got started around that time or after that time had some base from hinduism, but as they were not qualified enough to understand the depth of Vedas, they interpreted in there own way.
    How nice it would have been, if the history was written, as it happened. Itihaas, as you would qoute :-)
    Please do write an article on this line of thought too..

  11. Hmmm…Last Doomsday as per Mayans is Aug 11, 3114 BCE.. approx. 5000 years ago. I was going thru some sites. Aryabhatta claims Mahabrata took place around this time only.. So Mahabharata was indeed a war equivelant to doomsday..
    ur thoughts Gurudev?

    • Correct Sujit, even I was thinking about this yesterday. That the ancestors of mayans lived in the times of Mahabharata or they knew the doomsday that occured then. Look at the very name of this civilization – Maya!
      Mahabharata talks about the great flood that occured after the end of the war, which caused Dwaraka to get submerged, which Krishna had prior knowledge of and had warned people about it. Mahabharatha was definitely a doomsday war atleast in the Indian subcontinent when you look at the sheer number of people killed in that war. It was an ancient world war where almost every kingdom of those days took part it.


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