According to the Puranas, this yuga ended when Krishna returned to his eternal abode of Vaikuntha. According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Dvapara Yuga lasts for 864,000 years or 2400 divine years.
There are only two pillars of religion during the Dvapara Yuga: compassion and truthfulness. Vishnu assumes the colour yellow and the Vedas are categorized into four parts: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. During these times, the Brahmins are knowledgeable of two or three of these but rarely have studied all the four Vedas thoroughly. Accordingly, because of this categorization, different actions and activities come into existence.
Yuga (Sanskrit: युग), in this context, means "an age of the world", where its archaic spelling is yug, with other forms of yugam, yugānāṃ, and yuge, derived from yuj (Sanskrit: युज्, lit. 'to join or yoke'), believed derived from *yeug- (Proto-Indo-European: lit. 'to join or unite').
Dvapara Yuga (Sanskrit: द्वापर युग, romanized: dvāparayuga or dvāpara-yuga), sometimes spelled Dwapara Yuga, means "the age of two", where its length is two times that of Kali Yuga, and the Dharma bull, which symbolizes morality, stands on two legs during this period.
Duration and structure
Hindu texts describe four yugas (world ages) in a Yuga Cycle, where, starting in order from the first age of Krita (Satya) Yuga, each yuga's length decreases by one-fourth (25%), giving proportions of 4:3:2:1. Each yuga is described as having a main period (a.k.a. yuga proper) preceded by its yuga-sandhyā (dawn) and followed by its yuga-sandhyāṃśa (dusk), where each twilight (dawn/dusk) lasts for one-tenth (10%) of its main period. Lengths are given in divine years (years of the gods), each lasting for 360 solar (human) years.
Dvapara Yuga, the third age in a cycle, lasts for 864,000 years (2,400 divine years), where its main period lasts for 720,000 years (2,000 divine years) and its two twilights each lasts for 72,000 years (200 divine years). The current cycle's Dvapara Yuga has the following dates based on Kali Yuga, the fourth and present age, starting in 3102 BCE:
|Dvapara-yuga-sandhya (dawn)||867,102 BCE||72,000 (200)|
|Dvapara-yuga (proper)||795,102 BCE||720,000 (2,000)|
|Dvapara-yuga-sandhyamsa (dusk)||75,102 BCE – 3102 BCE||72,000 (200)|
|Years: 864,000 solar (2,400 divine)|
|Current: Kali-yuga-sandhya (dawn).|||
(17) A year (of men) is equal to a day and night of the gods ... (19) I shall, in their order, tell you the number of years that are for different purposes calculated differently, in the Krita, the Treta, the Dwapara, and the Kali yugas. (20) Four thousand celestial years is the duration of the first or Krita age. The morning of that cycle consists of four hundred years and its evening is of four hundred years. (21) Regarding the other cycles, the duration of each gradually decreases by a quarter in respect of both the principal period with the minor portion and the conjoining portion itself.
(67) A year is a day and a night of the gods ... (68) But hear now the brief (description of) the duration of a night and a day of Brahman and of the several ages (of the world, yuga) according to their order. (69) They declare that the Krita age (consists of) four thousand years (of the gods); the twilight preceding it consists of as many hundreds, and the twilight following it of the same number. (70) In the other three ages with their twilights preceding and following, the thousands and hundreds are diminished by one (in each).
(13) ... twelve months make a year. This is called a day of the gods. (14) ... Six times sixty  of them are a year of the gods ... (15) Twelve thousand of these divine years are denominated a Quadruple Age (caturyuga); of ten thousand times four hundred and thirty-two [4,320,000] solar years (16) Is composed that Quadruple Age, with its dawn and twilight. The difference of the Golden and the other Ages, as measured by the difference in the number of the feet of Virtue in each, is as follows : (17) The tenth part of an Age, multiplied successively by four, three, two, and one, gives the length of the Golden and the other Ages, in order : the sixth part of each belongs to its dawn and twilight.
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All people in the Dvapara Yuga are desirous of achievement of the scriptural dharma that is prescribed to each class, valiant, courageous and competitive by nature and are engaged only in penance and charity. They are kingly and pleasure-seeking. In this era, the divine intellect ceases to exist, and it is therefore seldom that anyone is wholly truthful. As a result of this life of deceit, people are plagued by ailments, diseases and various types of desires. After suffering from these ailments, people realize their misdeeds and perform penance. Some also organize yajnas (sacred fire rituals) for material benefits as well as for divinity.
In this Yuga, the Brahmanas are involved in yajnas (sacred fire rituals), self-study and teaching activities. They attain celestial bliss by engaging in penance, religion, control of senses, and restraint.
The duties of Kshatriyas are the protection of their subjects. In this era, they are humble and perform their duties by controlling their senses. The Kshatriyas honestly execute all policies of law and order without being angry or cruel. They are devoid of injustice towards the ordinary citizens and consequently attain bliss.
The king avails the advice of the learned scholars and accordingly maintains law and order in his empire. The king who is addicted to vices will definitely end up defeated. That is why Yudhisthira never got defeated as he had no vices despite being only a Rathi and other kings being Atirathis and Maharathis, some Atimaharathis also. One or two or all from Sāma, Dāna, Danda, Bheda and Upeksha is/are brought into use and help attain the desired. Kings are diligent in maintaining public decorum and order.
A few of the kings, however, surreptitiously plan a conspiracy along with the scholars. Strong people execute work where execution of policies is involved. The king appoints priests, etc. to perform religious activities, economists and ministers to perform monetary activities, impotents to take care of women, and cruel men to execute heinous activities.
There are two kshatriya dynasties, namely 'Surya (solar) Vansha' and 'Chandra (lunar) Vansha'.
The duty of Shudras is to perform tasks that demand highly physical work. Vedas says everyone is a born shudra and with their deeds, they can become a kshatriya, brahman, or vaishya. For political reasons Shudras had difficulty going up the ranks unless they were extraordinary. Vidura, the famous Prime Minister of Hastinapura was born in the Shudra community and attained the status of a Brahmin due to his wisdom, righteousness, and learning.
- Chapter 224 (CCXXIV) in some sources: Mahabharata 12.224.
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- Bhāgavata Purāṇa 12.2.29-33
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- Kane, P. V. (September 1936). Sukthankar, Dr. V. S.; Fyzee, A. A. A.; Bhagwat, Prof. N. K. (eds.). "Kalivarjya (actions forbidden in the Kali Age)". Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. The Asiatic Society of Bombay. 12 (1–2): 4.
- Godwin, Joscelyn (2011). Atlantis and the Cycles of Time: Prophecies, Traditions, and Occult Revelations. Inner Traditions. pp. 300–301. ISBN 9781594778575.
- Merriam-Webster (1999). "Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions". In Doniger, Wendy; Hawley, John Stratton (eds.). Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. pp. 445 (Hinduism), 1159 (Yuga). ISBN 0877790442.
* HINDUISM: Myths of time and eternity: ... Each yuga is preceded by an intermediate "dawn" and "dusk." The Krita yuga lasts 4,000 god-years, with a dawn and dusk of 400 god-years each, or a total of 4,800 god-years; Treta a total of 3,600 god-years; Dvapara 2,400 god-years; and Kali (the current yuga) 1,200 god-years. A mahayuga thus lasts 12,000 god-years ... Since each god-year lasts 360 human years, a mahayuga is 4,320,000 years long in human time. Two thousand mahayugas form one kalpa (eon) [and pralaya], which is itself but one day in the life of Brahma, whose full life lasts 100 years; the present is the midpoint of his life. Each kalpa is followed by an equally long period of abeyance (pralaya), in which the universe is asleep. Seemingly the universe will come to an end at the end of Brahma's life, but Brahmas too are innumerable, and a new universe is reborn with each new Brahma.
* YUGA: Each yuga is progressively shorter than the preceding one, corresponding to a decline in the moral and physical state of humanity. Four such yugas (called ... after throws of an Indian game of dice) make up a mahayuga ("great yuga") ... The first yuga (Krita) was an age of perfection, lasting 1,728,000 years. The fourth and most degenerate yuga (Kali) began in 3102 BCE and will last 432,000 years. At the close of the Kali yuga, the world will be destroyed by fire and flood, to be re-created as the cycle resumes. In a partially competing vision of time, Vishnu's 10th and final AVATAR, KALKI, is described as bringing the present cosmic cycle to a close by destroying the evil forces that rule the Kali yuga and ushering in an immediate return to the idyllic Krita yuga.
- Gupta, Dr. S. V. (2010). "Ch. 1.2.4 Time Measurements". In Hull, Prof. Robert; Osgood, Jr., Prof. Richard M.; Parisi, Prof. Jurgen; Warlimont, Prof. Hans (eds.). Units of Measurement: Past, Present and Future. International System of Units. Springer Series in Materials Science: 122. Springer. pp. 6–8. ISBN 9783642007378.
Paraphrased: Deva day equals solar year. Deva lifespan (36,000 solar years) equals 100 360-day years, each 12 months. Mahayuga equals 12,000 Deva (divine) years (4,320,000 solar years), and is divided into 10 charnas consisting of four Yugas: Satya Yuga (4 charnas of 1,728,000 solar years), Treta Yuga (3 charnas of 1,296,000 solar years), Dvapara Yuga (2 charnas of 864,000 solar years), and Kali Yuga (1 charna of 432,000 solar years). Manvantara equals 71 Mahayugas (306,720,000 solar years). Kalpa (day of Brahma) equals an Adi Sandhya, 14 Manvantaras, and 14 Sandhya Kalas, where 1st Manvantara preceded by Adi Sandhya and each Manvantara followed by Sandhya Kala, each Sandhya lasting same duration as Satya yuga (1,728,000 solar years), during which the entire earth is submerged in water. Day of Brahma equals 1,000 Mahayugas, the same length for a night of Brahma (Bhagavad-gita 8.17). Brahma lifespan (311.04 trillion solar years) equals 100 360-day years, each 12 months. Parardha is 50 Brahma years and we are in the 2nd half of his life. After 100 years of Brahma, the universe starts with a new Brahma. We are currently in the 28th Kali yuga of the first day of the 51st year of the second Parardha in the reign of the 7th (Vaivasvata) Manu. This is the 51st year of the present Brahma and so about 155 trillion years have elapsed. The current Kali Yuga (Iron Age) began at midnight on 17/18 February 3102 BC in the proleptic Julian calendar.
- Godwin 2011, p. 301: The Hindu astronomers agree that the [Dvapara Yuga ended and] Kali Yuga began at midnight between February 17 and 18, 3102 BCE. Consequently [Kali Yuga] is due to end about 427,000 CE, whereupon a new Golden Age will dawn.
- Dutt, Manmatha Nath (1903). "Ch. 231 (CCXXXI)". A Prose English Translation of The Mahabharata (Translated Literally from the Original Sanskrit text). Book 12 (Shanti Parva). Calcutta: Elysium Press. p. 351 (12.231.17, 19–21).
- Bühler, G. (1886). "Ch. 1, The Creation". In Müller, F. Max (ed.). The Laws of Manu: translated with extracts from seven commentaries. Sacred Books of the East. XXV. Oxford University Press. p. 20 (1.67–70).
- Burgess, Rev. Ebenezer (1935) . "Ch. 1: Of the Mean Motions of the Planets.". In Gangooly, Phanindralal (ed.). Translation of the Surya-Siddhanta, A Text-Book of Hindu Astronomy; With notes and an appendix. University of Calcutta. pp. 7–9 (1.13–17).