Treta means 'a collection of three things' in Sanskrit, and is so called because during the Treta Yuga, there were three Avatars of Vishnu that were seen, the fifth, sixth and seventh incarnations as Vamana, Parashurama and Rama, respectively. The Treta Yuga lasts for 1,296,000 years or 3,600 divine years. The bull of Dharma symbolizes that morality stood on three legs during this period. It had all four legs in the Satya Yuga and two in the succeeding Dvapara Yuga. Currently, in the immoral age of Kali, it stands on one leg.[better source needed]
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').
Treta Yuga (Sanskrit: त्रेतायुग, romanized: tretāyuga or tretā-yuga) means "the age of three or triads", where its length is three times that of Kali Yuga, and the Dharma bull, which symbolizes morality, stands on three 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.
Treta Yuga, the second age in a cycle, lasts for 1,296,000 years (3,600 divine years), where its main period lasts for 1,080,000 years (3,000 divine years) and its two twilights each lasts for 108,000 years (300 divine years). The current cycle's Treta Yuga has the following dates based on Kali Yuga, the fourth and present age, starting in 3102 BCE:
|Part||Start (– End)||Length|
|Treta-yuga-sandhya (dawn)||2,163,102 BCE||108,000 (300)|
|Treta-yuga (proper)||2,055,102 BCE||1,080,000 (3,000)|
|Treta-yuga-sandhyamsa (dusk)||975,102 BCE – 867,102 BCE||108,000 (300)|
|Years: 1,296,000 solar (3,600 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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Vamana is the first avatar of Vishnu in Treta Yuga and fifth overall. It is said that Indra, king of Svarga had killed Virochana, son of Prahalada (an ardent devotee of Vishnu, whom to protect from his father Hiranyakashipu he took the incarnation of Narasimha) by unjust and unfair means much to Vishnu's disappointment just because he only promoted Vishnu's worship, and not other gods. So the son of Virochana, Mahabali made a yagna and was granted chariot and weapons with which nobody can defeat him. He used this opportunity to imprison Indra and other devas and conquered the three worlds. Aditi, mother of devas was highly worried that her sons were imprisoned by her great grand nephew Mahabali and she asked is their any way to release them, Vishnu stated that he can take the form of a dwarf in order to save her sons. Aditi accepted and gave birth to Vamana. Vamana asked Mahabali three steps of land and Mahabali accepted, and he assumed his vishvaroopa form and covered the Heaven and Earth, and when questioned where can he place the third step, Mahabali being a Vishnu devotee just like his grandfather offered his head and Vamana being Vishnu or Vishnu being Vamana sent him to Patala loka (actually Sutala which is a place below Patala), which is said to be even beautiful than Svarga. Now Indra's place is restored and Vishnu returned to his original form and Vishnu asked Mahabali for a boon, since Vishnu was impressed by Mahabali's act of charity and devotion towards god. Mahabali stated that he wanted to visit his subjects every single year, and this day till now is celebrated as Onam to mark the return of Mahabali to Earth. Vishnu happily granted him the boon and left. According to the story, common belief is that during the day of Onam, the king visits his subjects secretly, worships and blesses them happily and leaves back to his place.
Mahabali is one of the Ashta-Chiranjivi alive till today, some being immortal (forever living) or some being alive till the end current Kali Yuga. All the chirajivis or at least some are alive to help Vishnu's tenth and final avatar or Kalki to wipe out sinners and kill the demon Kali on Earth and restore dharma or righteousness.
Vishnu incarnated as the Brahman Parashurama in this era because there were too many warlike Kshatriyas plaguing the Earth, and he therefore had to wipe out most of the world's warriors. However, some of the Kshatriyas survived or more were created, and their population grew again. Eventually, the avatara of Vishnu in Parashurama ended, though it is said that he continued to live on as a mighty warrior-hermit. He confronted Rama, angrily, years later, before acknowledging the latter's supremacy and retiring. He lived on in the Dvapara Yuga, having a great duel with Bhishma for the sake of Amba. However he failed to defeat him and stopped fighting after he was forbidden by the divine sage Narada and his ancestors and learning that Bhishma had surpassed him in art of warfare. He mentored Dronacharya, teacher of both the Kauravas and Pandavas. Parashurama also taught Karna but when he found out that Karna had lied about being a Kshatriya, he cursed Karna that his knowledge would fail him when he needed it the most. He is believed to be still alive today, doing penance on the Mahendragiri mountain.
The hallmark of this era was the rise of evil in the form of the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. He conquered the three worlds namely, Earth, Heaven and the Netherworld (Patala) and terrorized everyone. Even the Devas were subordinate to him - his son Meghanada had earned the title Indrajit by defeating Indra, the King of heaven in battle; and even the Sun had to obey the king. In this scenario, Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as the son of King Dasharatha of the Suryavamshis or Ikshvaku dynasty and was named Rama. Due to his stepmother- Kaikai's wish, Rama was sent away to a forest in exile for 14 years, during which time he confronted and killed Ravana for kidnapping his wife, and thus restored peace on earth. He is said to have afterwards established Rama-rajya or Rama's Kingdom over the entire earth from his throne at Ayodhya for 11,000 years, before eventually returning to his Mahavishnu form.[better source needed]
- Chapter 224 (CCXXIV) in some sources: Mahabharata 12.224.
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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.
- Burgess 1935, p. ix (Introduction): Calculated date of 2163102 B.C. for "the end of the Golden Age (Krta yuga)", the start of Treta yuga, mentioned in Surya Siddhanta 1.57.
- 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).