The 4 Yugas of the Endless Time: Hinduism


Hinduism is a religion with many interpretations and is also the third-largest religion in the world. It is an Indian religion and Dharma, and it is followed by a 15-16% of the global population, who are called Hindus. India has 95% of the total followers of the religion. Hinduism is a diverse religion studied and researched by many well-known philosophers, cosmologists, astrologists, astronomers, and but not limited to historians. They state that it is the oldest religion. Many scholars also believe that Hinduism's customs and roots date back to more than 4000 years.



Many beliefs and philosophies connect within the religion; hence it has different descriptions such as "family of religions" or "way of life." The Hindus follow various deities, many believe that are the manifestations of the three Gods. In summary, there are three triads of Gods, also known as Trimurti (Sanskrit: three forms): Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.


Knapp, S. (2021, Jan, 19). Timings of the Four Yugas [Illustration]. https://in.pinterest.com/pin/292874781997989738/


With this reference, Brahma is the God of the making of the Universe; Lord Vishnu is the one who looks after it and establishes Dharma; Lord Shiva is the one to bear the birth and death of the Universe and its matter. As per Hinduism, there are 4 Yugas into which the lifetime of the Universe is divided. It is believed that in every Yuga, Lord Vishnu takes Avatars in this world when there is a mishap between the understanding and performing of Dharma and establishing the same.

Now, to name the above mentioned 4 Yugas chronologically is as follows:

  1. Satya Yuga (first stage/age in time)

  2. Treta Yuga (second stage/age in time)

  3. Dvapara Yuga (third stage/age in time)

  4. Kali Yuga (fourth and the current stage/age in time)

The Yuga cycle (world ages) is the cycle on which the Universe revolves. As per the scholars, philosophers, and historians, the followers believe that the Universe is divided into four Yugas, namely as

Facebook. (2018, Jan. 15). Meld je aan of registreer je [Image]. https://www.facebook.com/sanskrit108/posts/yuga-sandhi-or-the-great-transition-we-live-in-the-great-transition-today-called/919361744894965/

above. With this chronology, the length of the Yuga cycle decreases 25% with every Yuga; therefore, the proportion comes to 4:3:2:1. So to state, the Satya Yuga is the longest with 1,728,000 (4,800 divines) years, then Treta Yuga 1,296,000 (3,600 divines) years, Dvapara Yuga with 864,000 (2,400 divines) years, and the last Kali Yuga with 432,000 (1,200 divines) years. Each Yuga is divided into four periods. The main period of the Yuga is the Yuga proper, which is preceded by yuga sandhya (dawn). The yuga sandhyamsa (dusk) is followed by the dawn of the era, with each twilight (dawn/dusk) lasting for one-tenth (10%) of the primary period. It is understood that each of the four Yugas is linked with one of the four universal powers of Maya. These Yugas are also called an interpretation provided to humankind to understand the power of Maya and keep it under control.

Satya Yuga:

It is the first of the Yuga cycle in the Hinduism religion. Preceded by Kali Yuga and followed by Treta Yuga, this Yuga is calculated to be the longest of all four Yugas. This Yuga was the stage of truth and humanity. The work followed in this Yuga was the purest form of its own. Satya Yuga or the Krita Yuga is also known as the Golden Age.

ApniSanskriti. Back to veda [Illustration]. https://www.apnisanskriti.com/interesting-facts-about-satya-yug-7652/satyayug

It means the age of truth or sincerity, also abbreviated as Satyug. This Yuga out of the four holds the most significance. It had knowledge, penance, and meditation. It had all the pillars of Dharma present in totality. The Sanatan Dharma (eternal religion) was established in this Yuga. As mentioned above, that Lord Vishnu takes Avatar in every Yuga; in Satyuga, he incarnates in four forms, i.e., Matsya, Kurma Varaha, and Narsimha. It is believed that the average human lifespan in this era began with 100,000 years and then with a gradual decrease to 10,000 years.

Human life in this era would not fall ill. There was no personality clash between people. Nobody would point out flaws in other's personalities, and no one was afflicted with shortcomings such as sorrow, violence, ego, hatred, anger, lethargy, and jealousy.

Treta Yuga:

It is the second of the four Yugas, also known as the Silver Age. It is preceded by Satya Yuga and followed by Dvapara Yuga. In Sanskrit, Treta means "a collection of three things," so, in this Yuga, people experienced three Avatars of Vishnu being the fifth, sixth, and seventh concerning the four avatars of the previous Yuga. In Treta Yuga, Vishnu is incarnated as Vamana, Parashurama, and Rama, progressively.


SwaiRaRa. (2020, April 12). Three Yugas in Hinduism [Illustration]. https://detechter.com/interesting-facts-about-four-yugas-in-hindu-dharma/

This Yuga experienced the essential factors of livelihood; mining and agriculture. Humankind became more focused on worldly possessions and less spiritual. The virtues and powers of humans were slightly diminished. Climate change happened so frequently and in such a ration that it gave rise to deserts and oceans. The average human lifespan was decreased to 1000-10000 years.

Despite the seemingly adverse effects, this Yuga was also a source of knowledge of universal magnetism, which helped humans comprehend the forces of matter and the true nature of the Universe.


Drishith. (2018, Feb 24). Ramayana As a Real Historical Event [Illustration]. https://detechter.com/shocking-evidences-that-indicates-ramayana-as-a-real-event/

One of the two major Sanskrit epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, Ramayana took place in the Treta Yuga, in which Rama was the Avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Dvapara Yuga:

The third Yuga, also known as the Bronze Age, in the time stage is Dvapara Yuga, which means "two pair" or "after two." In this era, humankind was tainted with dark and evil qualities. They weren't as strong as their ancestors. Diseases were widespread. Humans tended to fight each other and were discontent. This stage of time also saw a decline in spiritual and divine beliefs, and the consequences for the same were that people became competitive and pleasure seekers.

Dvapara Yuga marked the divisions of Vedas into four parts; Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. The Brahmins acquired enough knowledge of two or three Vedas, but it was rare to have obtained and studied all four Vedas thoroughly. With this distinction and categorization came into existence different actions and activities.


The divine knowledge and intellectual spirits cease to exist, and therefore nobody was wholly truthful. Consequently, there was the life of deceit, and humanity was plagued by diseases, ailments, and other varied desires. After realizing the misdeeds, they would perform penance by organizing Yagyas to have worldly benefit and divinity. The average lifespan of humans was around a few centuries.


The second of the two major Sanskrit epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, Mahabharata took place in the Dvapara Yuga.

Ritu. (2021, April 28). Mahabharata [Illustration]. http://ritsin.com/51-facts-mahabharata-indian-mythology.html/

This era had the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth Avatar of Lord Vishnu. Like any other avatar, He took this Avatar to establish Dharma and also to teach the language of love.


Times of India. (2020, June 7) [Image]. RadhaKrishna. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/events/krishna-janmashtami-quotes-wishes-messages-status-20-best-lord-krishnas-quotes-that-will-change-your-perspective-towards-life/articleshow/70787528.cms

Kali Yuga:

The fourth Yuga, also known as the Iron Age, is the worst of the four Yugas. It is preceded by Dvapara Yuga and followed by the next and new cycle Satya Yuga. Kali Yuga is the present age of time in which we currently are living, and it is said in the Shastras and Vedas that Kali Yuga is full of conflicts and sins. The average human life span is 100.

"Kali" in Sanskrit means "discord", "quarrel", "contention" or "strife". This Yuga connects with the demon Kali and is not to be confused with the Goddess Kali. The Kali Yuga era is known as "the age of Kali (demon)," "the age of vice and misery," "the age of darkness," or "the age of quarrel and hypocrisy."

Spiritual Bliss. (2019, Dec. 12). Stages of Kali Yuga [Illustration]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0uVCoeITEM&ab_channel=SpiritualBliss

As per the Puranic sources, i.e., Puranas, Krishna's departure marked the end of the Dvapara Yuga and the beginning of Kali Yuga, dated 17/18 February 3102 BCE. According to the Surya Siddhanta, at midnight (00:00) on 18th February 3102 BCE, Kali Yuga began. This information is posted and framed at the temple of Bhalka, where this incident took place.

Kali Yuga is the reign of the demon Kali and his nemesis Kalki, i.e., the tenth and final Avatar of Lord Vishnu. As per the Vishnu Puran, Kali is the adverse manifestation working towards "the end" or rather towards the eventual rejuvenation of the Universe by entering into the Satya Yuga.


Times Now Digital. (2020, July 4). Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon on Guru Purnima [Illustration]. https://www.timesnownews.com/spiritual/religion/article/gautam-buddha-gave-his-first-sermon-on-guru-purnima-a-look-at-some-of-his-teachings-and-quotes/616209

Hinduism has adopted that Gautama Buddha was the ninth Avatar of Lord Vishnu, which also took place in the Kali Yuga.




References:


History.com Editors. (2019, September 30). Hinduism. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/religion/hinduism

Nidhi. (2020, April 12). Interesting Facts about Four Yugas in Hinduism. Retrieved from https://detechter.com/interesting-facts-about-four-yugas-in-hindu-dharma/

Wikipedia. (nd). Yuga Cycle. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuga_Cycle#Duration_and_structure

Wikipedia. (nd). Satya Yuga. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satya_Yuga

Newworldencyclopedia. (nd). Yuga. Retrieved from https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Yuga

Yogapedia.(nd). Treta Yuga. Retrieved from https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/6639/treta-yuga

Epuja. (nd). The Four Yugas of Hinduism. Retrieved from https://epuja.co.in/blog.php?blog_id=95

Dollsofindia. (2012, June 14). The Four Yugas - Epochs of Hinduism. Retrieved from https://www.dollsofindia.com/library/hindu-yugas/

Wikipedia. (nd). Gautama Buddha in Hinduism. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha_in_Hinduism

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