Yuga Purana

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Mitchener's translation of the Yuga Purana.

The Yuga Purana ("Story of the Ages") is an ancient Indian text, part of the larger Puranic literature. It is considered as one of the oldest Purana, written around 250 CE. The Yuga Purana consists two chapters, within the larger text of the Gargi Samhita, also called Vriddha Gargiya Jyotisha (Astrolgy of the Sage Garga). It is the most extensive Indian text to describe the invasion of the country by foreign rulers (Indo-Greeks and Indo-Scythians) during the 2nd and 1st century BCE.

"The Yuga-Purana is unique in being the only Indian text that refers in any detail to Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian incursions into Central India. It also contains what is almost certainly the earliest account of the four Yugas—the ages of man—in a form that was later adopted by both the Mahabharata and the Puranas. It is thus a key text for the study of both a period of early Indian history and the evolution of Indian ideas of time." (Jacket of the English translation, The Yuga Purana, 2002 edition)

Narrative style[edit]

Although the Yuga Purana was written during the 1st- 2nd century CE, the text itself is written in the past tense for the parts referring to the ages previous to the Kali Yuga age, and then in the future tense from the beginning of Kali Yuga (around 3000 BCE). This is because its content is supposed to have been revealed, and all subsequent historical events predicted, at the time when Kali Yuga began.[1]


The Yuga Purana has been fully translated into English by Dr. James Mitchiner, who was British Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata.

Contents of the Yuga Purana[edit]

A. Janamejaya Pariksit.[edit]

B. Udayin and the founding of Pataliputra.[edit]

C. Salisuka in Pataliputra.[edit]

D. The Yavana incursion.[edit]

The invasion of the Yavana (Indo-Greeks) is described in a rather detailed account:

"After having conquered Saketa, the country of the Panchala and the Mathuras, the Yavanas, wicked and valiant, will reach Kusumadhvaja ("The town of the flower-standard", Pataliputra). The thick mud-fortifications at Pataliputra being reached, all the provinces will be in disorder, without doubt. Ultimately, a great battle will follow, with tree-like engines (siege engines)." (Gargi-Samhita Paragraph 5, Yuga Purana.)
"The Yavanas (Greeks) will command, the Kings will disappear. (But ultimately) the Yavanas, intoxicated with fighting, will not stay in Madhadesa (the Middle Country); there will be undoubtedly a civil war among them, arising in their own country (Bactria), there will be a terrible and ferocious war." (Gargi-Samhita, Yuga Purana chapter, No7).

E. Seven kings of Saketa.[edit]

After the departure of the Yavana, the Yuga Purana explains that seven kings ruled in the area of Saketa.

F. Anarchy and Amrata in Pataliputra.[edit]

G. The rule of the Agnivesya kings.[edit]

H. The reign of king Satuvara.[edit]

I. The Saka incursion and defeat.[edit]

The Yuga Purana describes a powerful Saka king raiding Pushpanama (Pataliputra), where he kills a quarter of the population. He is later killed by the king of Kalinga Shata and a group of Sabalas (Savaras).

J. Regions in which men will survive and prosper.[edit]


  1. ^ "The account is composed partly in the past tense, and partly in the future tense. This latter use of the future tense constitutes the style which is also generally found in passages speaking of the Kali Yuga in the Epics and the Puranas: the reason for this being that such passages - as indeed the Mahabharata and the Puranas in general- profess to have been uttered or revealed around the start of the Kali Yuga, whence their descriptions of the Kali Yuga are phrased in the form of prophecies." (The Yuga Purana, Mitchener, 2002 edition)


"The Yuga Purana/edited by John E. Mitchiner". Reprint. Kolkata, The Asiatic Society, 2002, xviii, 160 p., ISBN 81-7236-124-6

External links[edit]