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The Four Yugas in one cycle, Hindu Cosmology

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]

Four yugas

There are four Yugas in one cycle:

Characteristics of each Yuga

  • Satya Yuga ("The age of truth" or "Golden Age") : The first and best Yuga. It was the age of truth and perfection. This Yuga had no crimes and all humans were kind and friendly. The Krita Yuga was so named because there was but one religion, and all men were saintly: therefore they were not required to perform religious ceremonies. Humans were long lived, powerfully built, honest, youthful, vigorous, erudite and virtuous. The Vedas were one. All mankind could attain to supreme blessedness. There was no agriculture or mining as the earth yielded those riches on its own. Weather was pleasant and everyone was happy. There were no religious sects. There was no disease, decrepitude or fear of anything.[citation needed]
  • Treta Yuga : Is considered to be the second Yuga in 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. Oceans and deserts are formed. People become slightly diminished compared to their predecessors. Agriculture, labour and mining become existent.[citation needed]
  • Dvapara Yuga : Is considered to be the third Yuga in order. Dvapara means "two pair" or "after two". In this age, people become tainted with Tamasic 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.
  • 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. By the end of Kali Yuga the average lifespan of humans will be as low as 50 years.[citation needed]

Duration of the four Yugas

Relationship between various time units in Hindu cosmology

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

. However, the traditional timescale is widely accepted within India.

The Traditional cycle of Yugas

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

The Modern cycle of Yugas

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:

  • Satya Yuga—4800 years
  • Treta Yuga—3600 years
  • Dvapara Yuga—2400 years
  • Kali Yuga—1200 years

This results in a near 24,000 year cycle.meaning that the following calculation relating to Mahayugas is erroneously used:

  • Satya Yuga = 4800 × 360 = 1,728,000 years
  • Treta Yuga = 3600 × 360 = 1,296,000 years
  • Dvapara Yuga = 2400 × 360 = 864,000 years
  • Kali Yuga = 1200 × 360 = 432,000 years

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]

  • Satya Yuga equals 1,728,000 human years[5]
  • Treta Yuga equals 1,296,000 human years[5]
  • Dvapara Yuga equals 864,000 human years[5]
  • Kali Yuga equals 432,000 human years[5]

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:

The Viṣṇu Purāṇa Time measurement section of the Viṣṇu Purāṇa Book I Chapter III adds:

  • 2 Ayanas (6-month periods, see above) = 1 human year or 1 day of the devas.
  • 12,000 divine years = 4 Yugas (= 4,320,000 human years) = 1 Mahā-Yuga (also is equal to 12,000 Daiva [divine] Yuga).
  • 2 × 12,000 = 24,000 divine year = 12000 revolutions of sun around its dual.

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.

  • Satya Yuga – Virtue reigns supreme. Human stature was 21 cubits (33 ft 6 inches). Average human lifespan was 100,000 years.
  • Treta Yuga – There was 3 quarter virtue and 1 quarter sin. Normal human stature was 14 cubits (22 ft 4 inches). Average human lifespan was 10,000 years.
  • Dwapara Yuga – There was 1 half virtue and 1 half sin. Normal human stature was 7 cubits (11 ft 2 inches). Average human lifespan was 1,000 years.
  • Kali Yuga – There is 1 quarter virtue and 3 quarter sin. Normal human stature is 3.5 cubits (5 ft 3 inches). Average human lifespan will be 100 years.

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]

See also


  1. ^ This phenomenon is observed as the stars moving retrograde across the sky at about 50 arc seconds per year, and is thought to produce periods of warm ages and ice ages known as the Milankovitch cycle.
  2. ^ According to Sri Yukteswar Giri, guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, The ascending phase of the Kali Yuga began in September 499 CE (not exactly). Since September 1699, we have been in the ascending phase of the Dwapara Yuga. According to Sri yukteswar,since nobody wanted to announce the bad news of the beginning of the descending Kali Yuga, so they kept adding years to the Dvapara date (at that time 2400 Dvapara) only retitling the epoch to Kali.[8]


  1. ^ Prophet, Mark L.; Clare Prophet, Elizabeth (2006). The Path to Immortality. Summit University Press. p. 15. ISBN 9781932890099.
  2. ^ Swami, Sri Yukeshwar Giri (1949). The Holy Science. Yogoda Satsang Society.
  3. ^ Sadhguru (2017-09-12), The Great Cycles or 'YUGAS' Isha Fondation Sadhguru, retrieved 2019-04-12
  4. ^ a b c Penprase, Bryan E. (2017-05-05). The Power of Stars. Springer. p. 182. ISBN 9783319525976.
  5. ^ a b c d Kng, Hans (2006-10-31). Tracing The Way: Spiritual Dimensions of the World Religions. A&C Black. p. 50. ISBN 9780826494238.
  6. ^ SB 3.11.19. 2011-07-15. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  7. ^ Richter-Ushanas, Egbert (1997). The Indus Script and Rg-veda. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 16. ISBN 9788120814059.
  8. ^ Swami Yukteswar (1949). The Holy Science. Yogoda Sat-Sanga Society of India. p. [page needed]..

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