The Vedas list 4 Dissolutions (Pralayas):
- Nitya Pralaya or Nitya Dissolution: This is the daily dissolution that takes place when we fall into a very deep sleep.
- Naimittik Pralaya or Naimittik Dissolution: This is the dissolution of all the celestial abodes up to Mahar Lok which happens at the end of Brahma’s one day. At that time, the souls residing in these celestial abodes become unmanifest and further they reside in suspended state in the body of Vishnu. Again when Brahma creates these lokas, they are given births according to their impending Karmas.
- Maha Pralaya or Complete Dissolution: This is the dissolution of the entire universe at the end of Brahma’s life of 100 years. At this time, all the souls in the Universe go into a state of suspended animation in the body of Maha Vishnu. Their gross and subtle bodies dissolve but the causal body remains. Whenever next cycle of creation starts, they are again given birth, according to their sanskars and karmas stored in their causal body (karan sharir).
- Ayantik Pralaya or Ayantik Dissolution: When the soul finally attains God, it gets released from the vicious cycle of constant births and deaths forever. Ayantik Pralaya is the dissolution of bonds of Maya (Material Bondage), which were tying the soul since Eternity.