Back to Home Page or Contents Page or Hinduism or Index

Yuga


Yuga, in Hinduism, is the Sanskrit term for an "age," meaning one of the four periods in which the world cycle is divided: (i) krta (or satya)-yuga, the golden age when there is unity (one god, one veda, one ritual), in which the varnas perform their roles without oppression or envy; (ii) treat-yuga, when righteousness begins to decline by a quarter and sacrifice begins; (iii) dvapara-yuga, when righteousness again declines by a quarter, the Vedas split into four and few study them; (iv) kali-yuga, further decline by a quarter, when disease, despair, and conflict dominate. At present the world is considered to be in kali-yuga, which began 3102 BC, so there should be no optimism concerning general future prospects. The duration of each yuga (with each in succession reducing by a quarter to reflect the decline in righteousness) is: (i) 1,728,000 human years; (ii) 1,296,000; (iii) 864,000; (iv) 432,000. The total 4,320,000 = one maha-yuga, or "great age"; 2,000 maha-yugas = one day and one night in the life of Brahma. A.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 1061