The Four Yugas, Kali Yuga

The Four Yugas Of Hindu Mythology And The Timeline Of Kali Yuga

If Hindu mythology is to be believed, then the world is composed of four different yugas, namely the Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and the Kali Yuga, which is perceived as the final and ultimate time duration of humans on Earth. Each of these yugas is made up of tens of thousands of human years, and all these years are associated with reincarnation and the deaths of humans.

In Hindu cosmology, it has been asserted that every 4.1 to 8.2 billion years, the entire universe is created and annihilated to get rid of all the evils. It is considered that this cycle represents one complete day and night for Lord Brahma, the universe’s creator. Brahma’s lifespan is estimated to be approximately 311 trillion and forty billion years.

The time duration of each Yuga is filled with changes, not only the physical changes but also the changes that our cosmos go through. The entire cognitive process and consciousness of humanity are also believed to be changed, either for the better or for the worse, depending on the Yuga in question.

The entire Yuga cycle commences at its height, the Golden Age of knowledge. From there, it advances progressively, stage by stage, until it reaches a Dark Age of evil and ignorance, before reversing course and returning to the Golden Age to finish the cycle. Hindus believe that one Yuga cycle corresponds to the time it takes the solar system to circle around another star.

How Long Is Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and the Kali Yuga?

In the ancient texts, there is no presence of explicit reference to the exact duration of a year for the demigods. However, the most credible reading of the Shrimad Bhagavatam indicates that the period of the Satya Yuga is similar to around 4,800 years of the demigods, that of the Dvapara Yuga is approximately 2,400 years, and that of the Kali Yuga is approximately 1,200 years.

As a result, it is believed that 360 human years would be tantamount to one year for the Demigods. Believing that, it is assumed that the Satya Yuga has lasted around 1,728,000 years or 4,800360 years. The duration of the Treta Yuga, on the other hand, was 3,600360 years, or 1,296,000 years.

Likewise, the Dvapara Yuga lasted 2,400360 years or 864,000 years.  It is believed that the Kali Yuga would be the shortest, lasting only 1,200360 years, for a total of 432,000 years. It may be deduced from the aforementioned data that the four Yugas have a chronology ratio of 4:3:2:1.

The Four Yugas Of The Hindu Mythology

As previously said, each succeeding era witnesses a progressive loss in humankind’s wisdom, knowledge, intelligence, life expectancy, and physical and spiritual vigor. This necessarily entails the downfall and destruction of dharma or goodness.

1. Satya Yuga

Human stature was reported to be 21 cubits at this time. In Satya Yuga Dharma was believed to be the supreme power. In Satya Yuga, the average human life was one hundred thousand years.

Amreet Manthan: An event of Satyuga
Amreet Manthan: An event of Satyuga

The Satya Yuga is the initial and most prominent of the four yugas which lasted for around 17,28,000 years. In this Yuga, God ascended on Earth in four incarnations, namely Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, and Narsimha. In this era, wisdom, mindfulness, and discipline were believed to be of particular importance. Allegedly, every king achieved pre-set achievements and experienced happiness.

Truth, penance, yagna or Yagya (holy sacrifice), and altruism, the four foundations of religion, were present in their entirety. The only text regarded as authentic and followed was Manu’s Dharma Shastra. It is widely believed as per the Hindu Mythology that after the Kali Yuga, Kalki will reinstate the Satya Yuga.

Once the Kali Yuga will end, and the Sun, Moon, and Jupiter all reach Pushya Nakshatra, also known as Cancer, the Satya Yuga will once again be initiated. During this time, the stars and constellations will become dazzling and auspicious. As a result, it will contribute to the improvement of the health of all living things.

Throughout that fortunate moment, Vishnu’s incarnation Kalki will be born into a Brahmin family living in some small village in the State of Himachal Pradesh located in India. After this, all succeeding generations will adhere to the principles set by Bhagwan Kalki and partake in religious activities. Consequently, upon the entrance of the Satya Yuga, all people will engage in assiduous virtuous, and noble activities.

 The human population will once again observe the establishment of lovely gardens, Dharmasthanas (Resting Inns), and imposing temples. One shall witness the implementation of numerous enormous yagyas. According to their nature, Brahmins, sages, and ascetics will be absorbed in penance.

Ashrams will be devoid of evildoers and dishonesty. This period will usher in improved agriculture, and all food grains will be cultivable in all seasons. People will donate freely and adhere to the stated norms and regulations. The kings will diligently preserve their subjects and the earth.

2. Treta Yuga

In the Treta Yuga, religious sacrifices, also known as Yagyas, originated. One of the four religious pillars came to an end. People in this time period were honest and conducted all religious ceremonies in accordance with the sacrifices. People obtained desired results by performing deeds, making Vedic offerings, and making resolutions.

Everyone at this age was diligent and busy. The primary religion of Brahmins was the truth, which included truthful speech, moral behavior, and love for all living things. The religion shared by all Brahmins was Yagyas, self-study, and giving. Shudras’ major objective was to serve Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas. Kshatriyas and Vaishyas were responsible for the protection of people and agriculture, commerce, and poultry, respectively.

Everyone faithfully performed their responsibilities, and as a result, they enjoyed heavenly delight.
In the Treta Yuga, the average human lifespan was roughly 3000 years. All Kshatriyas born in this era were courageous, passionate, large-minded, religious, honest, gorgeous, blessed, revered, and the defenders of all people.

3. Dwapar Yuga

There were just two remaining religious pillars in the Dwapar Yuga. People solely performed acts of penance and charity. They were regal and pleasure-oriented. In this era, divine intelligence ceased to exist, resulting in the rare occurrence of truthfulness. As a result, individuals were troubled with sicknesses, diseases, and different wants. After experiencing these afflictions, individuals did perform penance in various different modes. Some also organized yagna for material gain in addition to religious purposes.

In this age, Kshatriyas were modest and did their tasks by exercising control over their senses. The monarch kings sought the guidance of accomplished intellectuals and establish law and order in their empires accordingly. The ruler was dependent on unhealthy habits leading them to lose their kingdoms. Kings had to maintain public decorum and order with diligence.

Together with the scholars, kings plotted numerous conspiracies in secret. Work involving the implementation of policies was performed by robust individuals. The kings assigned priests, etc., to carry out religious duties, economists and ministers to carry out monetary duties, impotent men to care for women, and vicious men to carry out horrific deeds.

Brahmins were considered to be of high class and were engaged in penance, religious offerings, yagnas, etc., through charity and generosity, Vaishyas ascended to higher levels. The Kshatriyas executed all policies of law and order without anger, cruelty, or covetousness, and thereby gained happiness. By nature, everyone in this era was ardent, gallant, fearless, and competitive.

Lord Krishna rode his chariot with Arjuna, the great archer of all the time. Kali Yuga
Lord Krishna rode his chariot with Arjuna, the great archer of all the time.

4. Kali Yuga

Kali Yuga’s duration and beginning point in human history has been the subject of varying assessments and interpretations. According to the Surya Siddhanta, Kali Yuga began on 18 February 3102 BCE on the proleptic Julian calendar, or in January 3102 BC on the proleptic Gregorian calendar. This date is also regarded by many Hindus as Krishna’s departure from Earth.

Hindus believe that during the Kali Yuga, also known as the Dark Age, human civilization quickly devolved spiritually because people are as distant from God as possible. Symbolically, Hinduism frequently depicts morality (dharma) as a bull. In Satya Yuga, the first stage of evolution, the bull has four legs, but morality decreases by a fourth with each passing age. By the age of Kali, morality has decreased to a fraction of what it was during the golden period, and the bull of Dharma has only one leg.

The Beginning of The Kali Yuga

Even though an intricate theological framework outlines the attributes of this period, the exact commencement and the end of the Kali Yuga remain a secret. The universally understood date for the commencement of the Kali Yuga is 3102 BCE, which is thirty-five years after the end of the Mahabharata war. This is astonishingly near to the projected start of the current “Great Cycle” of the Mayan Long Count Calendar in 3114 BCE.

As per Surya Siddhanta, the five geocentric planets, the planets which could be seen with naked eyes were positioned around 0° of Aries at the start of the Kali Yuga on 17/18 February 3102 BC. Richard Thompson’s current models indicate that on 17/18 February 3102 BC, the five geocentric planets comprised an arc of approximately 42° in the sky and were dispersed throughout three zodiac signs: Aries, Pisces, and Aquarius.

This cannot in any way be called a conjunction. In the preceding and ensuing millennia, the ‘arrangement’ of the planet has been far more remarkable. Interestingly, the Surya Siddhanta never states that such a planetary alignment occurred at the commencement of the Kali Yuga. Contrarily, the Surya Siddhanta indicates specifically that this confluence of planets at 0° Aries occurs at the end of the Golden Age (Satya/Krita Yuga).

The book adds, “Now, at the conclusion of the Golden Age (Krita Yuga), all the planets are in conjunction in the first of Aries, by their ordinary movement, with the exception of their node and apsides.” In their haste to discover an astrological justification for the 3102 BC date, nevertheless, some initial commentators misunderstood this simple statement, and it has since been propagated as fact. In ancient Hindu astrology, it was believed that at the beginning of the present order of things, all the planets began their motion simultaneously at 0° of Aries; and that all the planets returned to the very same location in the heavens, leading to universal conjunction.

According to the Surya Siddhanta, this conjunction occurs towards the conclusion of the Golden Age. Ancient Greek literature also shares similar details concerning planetary conjunctions. Plato mentions a “Perfect Year” in the Timaeus, which occurs when the sun, moon, and planets all returned to the very same position relative to their previous discrepancies.

Censorinus, a Roman author from the third century, stated that the orbits of the sun, moon, and five wandering planets complete one “Great Year of Heraclitus” when they reappear at the very same time to the same sign where they once were. This “Great Year,” also known as the “Perfect Year,” the “Platonic Year,” the “Supreme Year of Aristotle,” etc., was variably described as lasting 12,954 (Cicero) or 10,800 (Heraclitus) years.

There is no certainty that the date of 3102 B.C. for the commencement of the Kali Yuga was not derived from the Surya Siddhanta and any other astronomical literature. The date appears seemingly from nowhere. Occasionally, it is asserted that the date can be determined from a comment given by the renowned astronomer Aryabhatta in the Sanskrit work Aryabhatiya, in which he writes:

“When sixty times sixty years (i.e. 3600 years) and three quarter Yugas had elapsed, twenty-three years had then passed since by birth.”

Aryabhatiya

This indicates that Aryabhatta authored the work when he was around 23 years old, meaning 3600 years into the current Yuga. However, the problem here is that we do not know when was Aryabhatta born or when he penned the Aryabhatiya. In his work, he did not even acknowledge the Kali Yuga by name, stating only that 3600 years of the Yuga had passed.

Scholars typically assume that the Kali Yuga began in 3102 BCE, and utilize this assumption to legitimize the composition of the Aryabhatiya in 499 CE. It is difficult to determine when exactly Aryabhatta completed his work, which makes the determination of the commencement of Kali Yuga an impossible task. 

If the Aihole inscription refers to the Old Saka period, then the Kali period begins a few hundred years before 3102 BCE.

The reality is that no document or inscription provides a definitive date for the commencement of the Kali Yuga. There is no astronomical basis for the beginning date, and there is no proof that Aryabhatta or any other astronomer calculated it.

Before the sixth century, no Sanskrit texts or inscriptions include the date. It may have been created by later astronomers or adapted from a different calendar. Due to the obscurity surrounding the origin of this crucial temporal marker, its veracity is extremely dubious.

The Saptarishi Calendar and the Kaliyuga

Saptarishi is a Sanskrit word that can also be translated as the seven sages, Sapta, or Saptan. These seven rishis lived in ancient India and are praised in a number of places in the Vedas and other pieces of Hindu literature.

Matsya incarnation rescuing the saptrishis from the universal flood. Kali Yuga
Matsya incarnation rescuing the saptarishis from the universal flood.

The original Yuga Cycle theory seems to have been quite straightforward: Each Yuga lasts for around 3,000 years, meaning that one complete cycle consists of 12,000 years. This cycle is documented in the ancient Indian calendar known as the “Saptarishi.” It was widely employed during the reign of Maurya in the fourth century BCE and is still in use in some regions of India.

“Saptarishi” alludes to the “Seven Rishis” or “Seven Sages” who represent the seven stars of the Great Bear constellation (Ursa Major). They are considered the knowledgeable rishis who emerge at the commencement of each Yuga to propagate civilization’s laws. The Indian Saptarishi Calendar had a 2,700-year cycle; it is stated that the Great Bear constellation spends 100 years in each of the 27 “Nakshatras” (lunar asterisms), adding up to a 2,700-year cycle. The 2,700-year cycle was also known as the “Saptarsi Era” or the “Saptarsi Yuga.”

“We may conclude that the older and original version of the Era of the Seven Rsis commenced with the Seven Rsis in Krttika in 6676 BC…This version was in use in northern India from at least the 4th century BC, as witnessed by the statements of Greek and Roman writers; it was also the version used by Vrddha Garga, at around the start of the Christian era.”

“Traditions of the Seven Rsis”, Dr.J.E. Mitchiner

The Yuga Cycle Timeline

If 6676 BC is perceived as the commencement of the Dwapara Yuga in the downwards cycle and the 2700-year Saptarishi Cycle and a 300-year transitional period as the grounds for the Yuga Cycle, then the entire Yuga Cycle timeline falls apart.

This Yuga Cycle chronology says that the Golden Era started more than 14,500 years ago, in 12676 BC, when the Great Bear was in the “Shravana” nakshatra. It aligns with the Indian tradition as it has always been stated in the Mahabharata.

The Shravana nakshatra was granted the utmost importance in the Nakshatra cycle. The chronology also shows that the rising Kali Yuga will end in 2025 CE. The full appearance of the next Yuga, the rising Dwapara, will happen in 2325 CE, taking a break of almost 300 years. In the Sanskrit book Brahma-vaivarta Purana, the Hindu Lord Krishna and the Goddess Ganges are said to have a conversation where they discussed that after 5,000 years of Kali Yuga, a new 10,000-year Golden Age will begin.

In the frame of reference of the Yuga Cycle timeline explained here, this is easy to understand. We are close to the end of the Kali Yuga, which began in 3676 BC and will soon meet its doom. And after the end of the Kali Yuga, there will be three more Yugas that are going to last 9,000 years each. This is how long the ascending cycle will last.

Historical Evidence Of The Earlier Catastrophic

The human civilization has witnessed several disasters since its inception and as per the Yuga Cycles, the time period between Yugas is always marked by the collapse of ancient civilizations around the world and severe environmental disasters (pralaya) that wipe out almost all traces of any human civilization. The few people who made it through the disaster and into the new Yuga are in charge of the new civilization. They have the technical and divine knowledge from the prior period in history with them.

The mysterious “Seven Sages” (Saptarishi) are said to appear at the start of every Yuga and spread the arts of civilization, according to many old sources. People from Sumeria, India, Polynesia, South America, and North America all have stories about them. They were wise and powerful beyond measure, could move over land and water, and could change into any shape they wanted.

The ancient Indian Saptarishi Calendar seems to have been based on its appearance at the start of each Yuga. As we’ll see, there is a strong link between the times when the Yugas changed and the big disasters that happen on Earth on a regular basis, as shown by archaeological records. Also, the transitional periods line up with a number of important dates that are written down in different ancient calendars and texts.

1. The Ice Age

Ice Ages started about 2.4 million years ago and ended 11,500 years ago. Throughout this time period, the earth’s climate went back and forth between extremely cold times when the parts of the world were covered by glaciers and extremely hot times which compelled the glaciers to melt. The times when it is cold are called glacials, and the times when it is warm are called interglacials. There were at least 17 cycles between the ice ages and the times when the ice melted. The ice ages lasted longer than the times between ice ages. The last time when the Earth was covered with ice started about 100,000 years ago and ended about 25,000 years ago. 

This catastrophe is also described in the flood myths of numerous traditional civilizations, which nearly invariably describe massive walls of water that engulfed the entire area to the highest mountain peaks, followed by severe rain, fireballs from the sky, extreme cold, and lengthy periods of darkness. According to Indian legend, this deluge occurred at the conclusion of the Satya Yuga (Golden Age). Manu, the father of humanity, who is placed at the head of the lineage of Indian monarchs, survived the great flood. What may have caused this unexpected global flood? Archaeologist Bruce Masse of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico analyzed 175 flood myths from various cultures and concluded that the environmental aspects described in these events, which are also consistent with the archaeological and geophysical data, could have only been caused by a destructive, deep-water, oceanic comet impact.

In recent years, an international team of scientists discovered compelling evidence that the earth was bombarded by multiple fragments of a giant comet approximately 12,800 years ago, which triggered the beginning of a period of rapid and intense cooling known as the Younger Dryas, which lasted for approximately 1200 years until c.9700 BCE. The intensity of the comet impact, coupled with the brutal cold snap that followed, caused the extinction of a vast number of North American megafauna, such as woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths, as well as the Clovis culture, the first human occupants of the New World.

Interestingly, the sudden change in climate happened in 9703 BC, which is in the 300-year transitional period at the end of the Golden Age from 9976 BC to 9676 BC. This is the first important proof that the Yuga Cycle timeline which has been formulated under the Hindu literature is correct.

What followed next is the Black Sea Catastrophe

In the 300 years between the Treta Yuga (the Silver Age) and the Dwapara Yuga (the Bronze Age), from 6976 BC to 6676 BC, there was a major environmental event called the Black Sea Catastrophe, which was recently found to have happened around 6700 BC. Between 7000 BC and 6000 BC, there were also huge earthquakes in Europe. Some of these earthquakes in northern Sweden caused “waves on the ground” that were 10 meters high. These waves are called “rock tsunamis.” It’s possible that the global chain of terrible things that happened during this time of change were all caused by the same thing, which has not been discovered yet. 

The 5.9 Kiloyear Event

From 3976 BC to 3676 BC, when the Dwapara Yuga ended and the Kali Yuga began, there were again a number of natural disasters, the exact nature of which is still unknown. It is called the 5.9 kiloyear event in geology, and it is thought to have been one of the driest times during the Holocene period.
The famous Mahabharata War on the Indian subcontinent happened 35 years before the start of the Kali Yuga. We now know that it happened either in 3711 BC (35 years before 3676 BC) or in 4011 BC (i.e. 35 years prior to 3976 BC, the beginning of the transitional period).

The Mahabharata says that when Krishna left this world, the Dwapara Yuga ended and the Kali Yuga began. After that, the seas rose and flooded the island city of Dwarka, which was off the coast of western India. In 2002, the Indian National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIO) found two cities at a depth of 120 feet in the Gulf of Cambay. Around 7,000 years ago, these mysterious cities were all above water. They were laid out in a grid and had tall walls, huge geometric buildings, and huge engineering works like dams. Nearly 2,000 artifacts made by humans were found at the sites. Some of them have been carbon-dated between 6500 BC and 7500 BC, which shows that they were made during the Dwapara Yuga.

End of the Kali Yuga

Traditions from the past say that the battle on the plains of Troy marked the end of the Kali Yuga, which Hesiod called the “Age of Heroes.” The Yuga Cycle timeline shows that there was a 300-year gap between the Kali Yuga going down and coming back up. This happened between 976 BC and 676 BC, which is very interesting because it overlaps with the 300-year period from 1100 BC to 800 BC, which historians call the Greek Dark Ages.

The Yuga Cycle timelines are a good representation of the environmental disasters that happen during the transitions between Yugas. Every 2,700 years, our planet is hit by a series of catastrophic events that last for a few hundred years. These events cause all or almost all of the world’s civilizations to collapse. In every case, however, civilization starts up again as soon as the destruction is over. Since the end of the Golden Age, there have been four important times of change:

Transitional Period between the Yugas including the Kali Yuga
Transitional Period between the Yugas

“Since Egypt’s Old Kingdom, up until very recently…civilization has been going down, not up; simple as that. We can follow that degenerative process physically in Egypt; it is written into the stones and it is unmistakable. The same tale is told in the mythologies and legends of virtually all other societies and civilizations the world over…Progress does not go in a straight line from primitive ancestors to smart old us with our bobblehead dolls and weapons of mass destruction; our traffic jams and our polluted seas, skies and lands. There is another, and far more realistic, way to view history. Plato talked about a cycle of Ages: Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron (or Dark) Age; a cycle, a wave form – not a straight line. A similar understanding is reflected by virtually all other ancient accounts. The best known, and by far the most elaborately developed of these systems, is the Hindu, with its Yuga Cycle, which corresponds to the Platonic idea of four definable Ages.”

John Anthony West, Consider the Kali Yuga, March 2008

It is clear that the Saptarishi Calendar was once used to keep track of the Yuga Cycle. It lasted 12,000 years. It was made up of four Yugas that each lasted 2,700 years and were separated by 300-year transitional periods. The 24,000-year Yuga Cycle was made up of two parts: an ascending Yuga Cycle and a descending Yuga Cycle. These two parts followed each other forever, like day and night. We have been going through the rising Kali Yuga for the past 2,700 years, and this Yuga will end in 2025.

The Birth of Kalki Avatar: 10th Incarnation of Lord Vishnu

The Avatar Kalki Who Will Arrive To End The Kali Yuga
Kalki Avatar

The Srimad Bhagavatam says that the incarnation or avatar of Lord Vishnu will come to Earth at the end of the Kali-yuga. He will be the child of a learned Brahmin man named Visnu Yasa.

Interestingly, Nostradamus who happened to be a renowned astrologer, and the majority of his predictions have turned out to be true has predicted that a man bearing immense strength will walk on earth. Thursday will be his holy day. He will rule the whole world, both on land and at sea.

He will be the only one who can stop all the trouble in the world. Nostradamus said that this great person will leave his throne and move through the sea and air to eliminate evil from the earth. 

Srimad Bhagavatam says that Lord Kalki is a lot like what Nostradamus said would happen. In Hinduism, people believe that when Lord Kalki comes back, he will use his weapon to kill all of his enemies.


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