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Yuga in Hinduism is an epoch or era within a four-age cycle. A complete Yuga cycle starts with the Satya Yuga, via Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga into a Kali Yuga. According to the epic Mahabharata, the current age is Kali Yuga and it started in the year 3102 BCE after lord Krishna left this world.
Some scholars say that our present time is ascending Kali yuga,^{[1]} while some scholars say that Kali Yuga has ended in 1700 A.D. and now we're in ascending Dwapara Yuga.^{[2]}
There are four Yugas in one cycle:
The duration of yugas is traditionally believed to be a 4,320,000 year long cycle. In modern times,a shorter cycle is written as 24,000 years by another author is more commonly accepted as 25,772 years because it coincides with axial precession, Astronomical precession and another planetary body (Planet Nine) that influences our solar system
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. However, the traditional timescale is widely accepted within India.
The traditional cycle of the Yugas has been mentioned in the Mahabharata and it is widely accepted since ancient times. The 4th century indian mathematician Aryabhata calculated the beginning of Kali Yuga. The Yuga cycle contains 4 yugas (ages) - Satya Yuga, Dwapar, Treta and Kali Yuga.
The age of Kali Yuga = 4,32,000 years
The age of Dwapar Yuga = 4,32,000 * 2 = 8,64,000 years
The age of Treta Yuga = 8,64,000 * 2 = 17,28,000 years
The age of Satya Yuga = 17,28,000 * 2 = 34,56,000 years
One Mahayuga is the entire one cycle = 64,80,000 years. This duration is equal to one day of Lord Brahma. His night is of equal duration. So the entrie day of Brahma becomes -
64,80,000 * 2 = 1,29,60,000 years
Lord Brahma lives for 100 years and passes away and the universe ends. A new Brahma is born and creates the universe again.
So the entire duration of life of universe is -
1,29,60,000 * 365 * 100 = 4,73,04,00,000 years
This shorter calculation is promoted ^{[3]} by modern day spiritual leaders such as Jaggi Vasudev and Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri giving the approximate length of yugas as:
This results in a near 24,000 year cycle.meaning that the following calculation relating to Mahayugas is erroneously used:
The common belief until Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri had analyzed the dating of the Yuga cycles was that the Kali Yuga would last for roughly 438,000 years after the end of the Dwapara Yuga (3102 BCE). This originated during the puranic times when the famous astronomer Aryabhatta recalculated the timeline by artificially inflating the traditional 12,000 year figure with a multiplication of 360, which was represented as the number of "human years" that make up a single "divine year". This was likely a purposeful miscalculation due to conflicts with one of the preeminent astronomer of the time Brahmagupta. However, both the Mahabharata (which was used by Aryabhatta in his calculations) and the Manu Smriti have the original value of 12,000 years for one half of the Yuga cycle. According to one Puranic astronomical estimate, the four Yuga have the following durations:^{[4]}
Together, these four yuga constitute one Mahayuga, equal to 4.32 million human years.^{[4]} According to one version, there are 1,000 Mahayugas in one day of Brahma or 4320 million human years. A Mahakalpa consists of 100 years of Brahma.^{[4]}
According to Srimad Bhagavatam 3.11.19, which most scholars agree was composed around Mahabharat war (3000 to 3100 BC), the Yugas are much longer, using a divine year in which one day is equal to one human year, thus:
“ | one year of divine beings is equal to 360 years of the human beings. The duration of the Satya Yuga is therefore 4,800 × 360, or 1,728,000 years. The duration of the Tretā Yuga is 3,600 × 360, or 1,296,000 years. The duration of the Dvāpara Yuga is 2,400 × 360, or 864,000 years.^{[6]} | ” |
The Viṣṇu Purāṇa Time measurement section of the Viṣṇu Purāṇa Book I Chapter III adds:
While the long yuga count is the most popular, it does not correlate to any known celestial motion found in the Astronomical Almanac. The value of 24,000 years fits relatively close with the modern astronomical calculation of one full precession of the equinox, which takes 25,772 years.^{[a]} Thus the yuga cycle may have some basis in known terrestrial cycles. Srimad Bhagavatam 3.11.19 describes the timespans of the devas, in which a year of a yuga is a year of the demigods. It is this second sloka which appears to have been modified over the years.
The ages see a gradual decline of dharma, wisdom, knowledge, intellectual capability, life span, emotional and physical strength.
In the present days we may be said to live in a Kali Yuga, which is said to have started in 3102 BCE^{[7]} with the end of the Mahabarata(Dwapra). This date is also considered by many Hindus to be the day that Lord Krishna left Earth and went to abode.^{[b]}