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The Dvapara Yuga is the third out of four yugas, or ages, described in the scriptures of Hinduism. This yuga comes between Treta Yuga and Kali Yuga. According to the Puranas, this yuga ended at the moment when Krishna returned to his eternal abode of Vaikuntha. According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Dvapara Yuga lasts 864,000 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.
The roles of the classes
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 Yagya for material benefits as well as for divinity.
In this Yuga, the Brahmanas are involved in Yagya, self-study, donation 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 to 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. 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 Vansha' and 'Chandra Vansha'.
Vaishyas are mostly landowners and merchants. The duties of Vaishyas are trade and agriculture. Vaishyas attain higher planes through charity and hospitality. Krishna, eighth Avatar of Vishnu was brought up in a Vaishya family though he was a born Kshatriya.
The duty of Sudras is to perform tasks that demand highly physical work. Since they typically do not follow the regulations of the Vedic rituals, the Sudras are discriminated against. However, Vidura, the famous Prime Minister of Hastinapura was born in the Sudra community and attained the status of a Brahmin due to his wisdom, righteousness and learning. The same discrimination against the lower communities still exists in major parts of India.
In modern culture
In 1894, Swami Sri Yukteswar, with his book The Holy Science, broke from Hindu tradition in stating that the earth is not in the age of Kali Yuga, but has advanced to Dwapara Yuga. His proof was based on a new perspective of the precession of the equinoxes, correcting a problem of interpretation of the ancient texts.
In Namco's Soul series, Kilik, the wielder of the Kali Yuga staff, also possess the mirror sash by the same name. In the end of the battle against Inferno, he uses the mirror to extinguish the flames. In Soulcalibur II, Soulcalibur III, and Soulcalibur IV he wears a necklace that includes a piece of the Dvapara Yuga used as a pendant for rituals.
The following are notes/references about the term Dwapara Yuga:
- There are many various spellings naming the time period, using either letter v/w or dropping the ending "a" (also as "Yug"):
- Dvapara Yuga, Dvapara yuga, Dvapara-Yuga, Dvapara-yuga
- Dwapara Yuga, Dwapara yuga, Dwapara-Yuga, Dwapara-yuga
- Dvapar Yuga, Dvapar yuga, Dvapar-Yuga, Dvapar-yuga
- Dwapar Yuga, Dwapar yuga, Dwapar-Yuga, Dwapar-yuga
- Dvapar Yug, Dvapar yug, Dvapar-Yug, Dvapar-yug
- Dwapar Yug, Dwapar yug, Dwapar-Yug, Dwapar-yug.
- Yukteswar, Swami Sri (1990). The Holy Science. Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-87612-051-4.
- Bhāgavata Purāṇa 12.2.29-33