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A Yuga (Sanskrit: युग, lit. 'age') is an epoch or era in Hindu cosmology. There are a total of four yugas—Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga—each having 1/4th less duration and dharma than the previous, with a ratio of 4:3:2:1 (Satya most, Kali least). Combined, they make one Yuga Cycle (Chatur Yuga).
There are a total of four yugas : Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga, each having 1/4th less duration and dharma than the previous (Satya most, Kali least). The descending yugas see a gradual decline of dharma, wisdom, knowledge, intellectual capability, lifespan, emotional and physical strength.
Within a yuga are Sandhis, or a starting Sandhya and ending Sandhyansa, both lasting 1/10th the main part of the yuga. Most of the characteristic changes can occur in these Sandhyas and Sandhyansas, especially if that change is from Kali Yuga to Satya Yuga (two extremes).
- Satya Yuga (Krita Yuga, "the age of truth", or "hindu golden age") : the first and best yuga. It is the age of truth and perfection. This yuga has no crime, and all humans are kind and friendly. The Krita Yuga is so named because there is one religion, and all men are saintly : therefore they are not required to perform religious ceremonies. Humans are long living, powerfully built, honest, youthful, vigorous, erudite and virtuous. The Vedas are one. All mankind can attain to supreme blessedness. There is no agriculture or mining, as the earth yields those riches on its own. Weather is pleasant, and everyone is happy. There is no religious sect. There is no disease, decrepitude, or fear of anything. Virtue reigns supreme. Human stature is 21 cubits (33 ft, 6 inches). Average human lifespan is 100,000 years.
- Treta Yuga : this is the second yuga in chronological order. However, "treta" means the "third". In this age, virtue diminishes slightly. At the beginning of the age, many emperors rise to dominance and conquer the world. Wars become frequent and weather begins to change to extremities. People become slightly diminished, compared to their predecessors. Agriculture, labour and mining become existent. There are 3 quarter virtues and 1 quarter sin. Normal human stature is 14 cubits (22 ft, 4 inches). Average human lifespan is 10,000 years.
- Dvapara Yuga : this is the third yuga in order. However, "dvapara" means "two"/"second". In this age, people become tainted with qualities, and aren't as strong as their ancestors. Diseases become rampant. Humans are discontent and fight each other. Vedas are divided into four parts. People still possess characteristics of youth in old age. Average lifespan of humans is around a few centuries. There are 1 half virtue and 1 half sin. Normal human stature is 7 cubits (11 ft, 2 inches). Average human lifespan is 1,000 years.
- Kali Yuga : the final age. It is the age of darkness and ignorance. People stop following dharma, and lack virtue. They become slaves to their passions and are barely as powerful as their earliest ancestors in the Satya Yuga. Society falls into disuse and people become liars and hypocrites. Knowledge is lost and scriptures are diminished. Humans eat forbidden and dirty food. The environment is polluted, water and food become scarce. Wealth is heavily diminished. Families become non-existent. There is 1 quarter virtue, and 3 quarter sins. Normal human stature is 3.5 cubits (5 ft, 3 inches). Average human lifespan is 100 years.
In Brahma's calendar, we are in his 51st year of 100 — 1st month of 12 — 1st day (Shveta-Varaha Kalpa) of 30 — 7th manvantara (Vaivasvatha) of 14 — 28th maha-yuga of 71 — 4th yuga (last, Kali-yuga).
According to Puranic sources, Krishna's departure marks the end of Dvapara Yuga and the start of Kali Yuga, which is dated to 17/18 February 3102 BCE. Kali Yuga ends in 428,899 CE (432,000 years). (See Kali Yuga).
Theorized yuga cycles
Breaking from the long duration of a Puranic Yuga Cycle, some believe we are in a different yuga, and even propose a completely different cycle of four descending yugas followed by four ascending yugas:
- Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri (1855 – 1936), in his book, The Holy Science (1894), and through his primary disciple, Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952), proposed ascending Dvapara Yuga: 1699 CE – 4099 CE (2,400 years).
- René Guénon (1886 – 1951), in his book, Traditional Forms & Cosmic Cycles (1970), proposed Satya Yuga: 1999 CE – 27,919 CE (25,920 years).
- Alain Daniélou (1907 – 1994), in his book, While the Gods Play (1985), proposed Kali Yuga: c. 3606 BCE – 2442 CE (~6,048.72 years).
- Jaggi Vasudev (Sadhguru) (born 1957), in his DVD, Yugas: The Tides of Time (2013), proposed ascending Dvapara Yuga: 510 BCE – 2082 CE (2,592 years).
- Hindu units of time
- List of numbers in Hindu scriptures.
- Vedic-Puranic chronology
- Hindu eschatology
- "yuga". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
- "Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 12.2.39". Bhaktivedanta Vedabase. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
The cycle of four ages [catur-yugam = four yuga age] — Satya, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali — continues perpetually among living beings on this earth, repeating the same general sequence of events.
- "Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 8.17". Bhaktivedanta Vedabase. Retrieved 2020-05-10.
By human calculation, a thousand ages [yuga] taken together form the duration of Brahmā’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.
- "Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 12.4.2". Bhaktivedanta Vedabase. Retrieved 2020-05-10.
One thousand cycles of four ages [catur-yuga] constitute a single day of Brahmā, known as a kalpa. In that period, O King, fourteen Manus come and go.
- Burgess, Chapter 1, Verse 21-23.
- Krishnamurthy, Prof. V. (18 March 2019). MEET THE ANCIENT SCRIPTURES OF HINDUISM: Ch 20. Google Books. ISBN 9781684669387.
- The Bhagavata Purana (1.18.6), Vishnu Purana (5.38.8), and Brahma Purana (212.8), the day Krishna left the earth was the day that the Dvapara Yuga ended and the Kali Yuga began.
- See: Matchett, Freda, "The Puranas", p 139 and Yano, Michio, "Calendar, astrology and astronomy" in Flood, Gavin (Ed) (2003). Blackwell companion to Hinduism. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-0-631-21535-6.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link) CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Godwin, Joscelyn (2020-04-27). Atlantis and the Cycles of Time: Prophecies, Traditions, and Occult Revelations. Google Books. ISBN 9781594778575.
- "Four Ages and Yukteswar's Argument". The Gold Scales. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
The kriya yogi, guru and astrologer Yukteswar (1855–1936) wrote a slim treatise called The Holy Science (1894). In the first part of it, he erroneously postulates that a 24,000 year long cycle is as long as an astronomical cycle of about 25,770 years, the so-called Great Year, and builds time calculations as if the Great Year were 24,000 years. That is a mistake, and time calculations that are based on his error, will grow worse as time passes. ...
Speculation going into calendars for folks. It stands out that Yukteswar uses improper calculations for telling the times. He says the bottom of a main cycle was reached around 500 CE. But the data for saying so should be questioned. Also take into account that others have other such "cycle bottom" and "cycle start" years. There are divergent views. ...
(1) the calculations are at fault, and (2) their set low ebb and "bottom" smacks of idiosyncratic speculation. ...
The astronomically calculated Platonic Years of 25,770 years cannot be squared full well with Manu's yugas, since 24,000 is not 25,770. Should we seek to resolve the mismatch by stretching the Manu yugas so that they become Platonic Years? If so, we get other yuga calculations than Yukteswar. If not, we are out of step with current astronomical knowledge. ...
In The Holy Science (1972) Yukteswar Giri (1855-1936) speaks from The Laws of Manu (1984) ( and aligns the Manu eras of 24,000 years with the Platonic Years of 25770 years by disregarding the differences. That is not a passable error. In other words, he claims that the Ages Cycle of 24,000 years is the same as the cycle of the retrograde movement of the vernal equinox – in astronomy it is also called the precession of the vernal equinox around the heavenly equator, a movement that is considered to take ca. 25,770 years, which is called the Great Year and the Platonic Year. Yukteswar's time calculations will be wrong for thousands of years.
- "When Does the Kali Yuga End?". New Dawn Magazine. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
The link to historical chronology seems to be the traditional Kali Yuga starting-date of 3102 BCE, but moved to 3101 and to a different place in the Yuga sequence.
- "Are We in Kali Yuga or Dwapara Yuga?". Ananda. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
In his book Religion in the New Age, Swami Kriyananda writes about the “Yuga Cycle Theory” of Swami Sri Yukteswar, who passed along the information to his primary disciple, Paramhasa Yogananda and to the world, via his book The Holy Science.
- "World Crisis — Paramahansa Yogananda Best Quotes". Paramahansa Yogananda. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
The life cycles of the earth. These cycles consist of 24,000 years, divided into four yugas or ages—12,000 years of ascending through these yugas to increasing enlightenment, and then 12,000 years of descending through the yugas to increasing ignorance and materialism. Each of these half-cycles is called a Daiva Yuga. The earth has already passed through many complete cycles since the dawn of creation. The four ages of each Daiva Yuga are Kali Yuga, the dark or materialistic age, Dwapara Yuga, the electrical or atomic age, Treta Yuga, the mental age; and Satya Yuga, the age of truth or enlightenment. The earth has already passed through Kali Yuga, the materialistic age of 1,200 years' duration. According to the calculations of my guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, we are about 314  years into Dwapara Yuga, the second age, which consists of 2,400 years. Now in its ascendancy, this is the electrical age, even though it may yet seem very materialistic.
- "When Does the Kali Yuga End?". New Dawn Magazine. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
René Guénon (1886-1951) ... accepted that the four Yugas are in the proportion of 4:3:2:1, but questioned the Puranic figures. The zeros were put there simply to mislead, he says, and for good reason. If people knew the real dates, they would try to predict the future, which is unwise “because in practice, such knowledge brings many more problems than advantages.” ... There were two basic problems: first, to find the correct multiplier of 4320 in order to arrive at the true length of the Maha Yuga, and second, to find the anchor in known chronology. Guénon seems to have worked backwards from knowledge of another cycle, that of the precession of the equinoxes which is traditionally given as 25,920 years (4320 x 6). Assuming that the Krita Yuga or the “timeless” Golden Age lasted for a whole precessional cycle, this gives the following durations for the four Yugas in human years, with a total of 64,800 years or 4320 x 15: Krita, 25,920; Treta, 19,440; Dwapara, 12,960; Kali, 6480
For all his warnings about attempts to predict the future, Guénon planted straightforward clues, mostly in footnotes, to show how he connected these durations to known chronology. Writing about Atlantis, he says:
We think that the duration of the Atlantean civilisation must be equal to a “Great Year,” understood as half the period of the Precession of the Equinoxes. As for the cataclysm that brought it to an end, certain concordant data seem to indicate that it took place 7200 years before the year 720 of the Kali Yuga: a year which is itself the departure point of a familiar era, but one whose origin and significance are no longer known to those who currently use it.
Guénon typically does not reveal the “concordant data,” but his commentator Jean Robin explains:
If one knows that the era in question is none other than the Jewish one, whose beginning is traditionally placed 3761 years before the Christian era, it is easy to deduce… the “theoretical” end-date of the cycle. The beginning of the Kali Yuga would thus be in the year 4481 BCE (3761 + 720), and its end would have to come 6480 years later, i.e. in the year 1999 (6480 – 4481).
Robin was writing in the early 1980s. He reminds us that 1999 is the one date specifically mentioned by Nostradamus as when “a great King of Terror will come from the sky.” But like every other world-ending date, it has come and gone.
- Guénon, René (2001). Traditional Forms & Cosmic Cycles. Google Books. pp. 5–8. ISBN 9780900588174. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
- "When Does the Kali Yuga End?". New Dawn Magazine. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
The orientalist and musicologist Alain Daniélou (1907-1994) knew the Hindu tradition from the inside and was a correspondent of Guénon’s. He too could not accept the extremely large figures given in the Puranas, and reduced them in a different way. There are some problems with his method (explained in my book Atlantis and the Cycles of Time), but it is enough here to give his figures for comparison. Daniélou’s historical peg is the traditional date for the beginning of the Kali Yuga, 3102 BCE, which he says “represents a cosmological reality linked with an alternation in influx from the planetary spheres; it is not an arbitrary date.”
By these calculations, the Kali Yuga’s final phase began with World War II. Daniélou, although a much more cheerful type than the saturnine Guénon, was a complete cultural pessimist. He writes that, “the final catastrophe will take place during this twilight. The last traces of this present humanity will have disappeared in 2442.”14 I can imagine him adding, with a smile, “et bon débarras!” [and good riddance!].
- Daniélou, Alain (August 1987). While the Gods Play. pp. 193–198. ISBN 9780892811151. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
- "Kali Yuga – When Did it End and What Lies Ahead?". isha. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
The story of Mahabharat needs to be seen in a certain context. In 3140 BCE, the Kurukshetra War ended, and in 3102 BCE, Krishna left his body. Three to four months after the war, the Kali Yuga began. As of 2012 AD, Krishna’s era ended 5,114 years ago. If you subtract 2592, which is the cumulative number of years of the two Kali Yugas that are at the bottom of the ellipse which describes the axial precession, you arrive at 2522 years. That means we have already completed 2522 years of Dwapara Yuga, and since its total duration is 2592 years, we still have 70 years until its completion. In the year 2082, we will complete Dwapara Yuga and move on to Treta Yuga. The world will go through another upheaval, not necessarily in terms of war but probably in terms of population explosion and natural calamities, before moving on to this new era of wellbeing and upward movement of human consciousness.
The solar system with the Sun and the planets around it is moving in the galaxy. It takes 25,920 years for our solar system to complete one cycle around a larger star. From the effects upon the planet, we believe this big star or big system that our system is going around is not located in the center of the orbit but somewhere to the side. Whenever our solar system comes closer to this big system, all the creatures living in our system rise to greater possibilities. Whenever our system moves away from it, the creatures living in our system come to the lowest level of possibility – we say this is Kali Yuga.
When our solar system is closer to the “Super Sun,” Satya Yuga will begin. The human mind will be at its highest capability. People’s ability to know life, people’s ability to communicate, people’s ability to live joyfully will be at its highest. Or in other words, we will have sensible people. All it takes to live well on this planet is a bunch of sensible people.
- "The Great Cycles or 'YUGAS' Isha Fondation Sadhguru". YouTube. Retrieved 2020-04-28.