Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

A - B - C - D - E - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - P - R - S - T - U - V - Y


Read about the Yugas at Wikipedia or Encyclopedia Mythica.

YUGA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] An age of the world. [.,.]

The Krita is the age in which righteousness is eternal, when duties did not languish nor people decline. No efforts were made by men, the fruit of the earth was obtained by their mere wish. There was no malice, weeping, pride, or deceit; no contention, no hatred, cruelty, fear, affliction, jealousy, or envy. The castes alike in their functions fulfilled their duties, were unceasingly devoted to one deity, and used one formula, one rule, and one rite. Though they had separate duties, they had but one Veda and practiced one duty.

In the Treta Yuga sacrifice commenced, righteousness decreased by one-fourth; men adhered to truth, and were devoted to a righteousness dependent on ceremonies. Sacrifices prevailed with holy acts and a variety of rites. Men acted with an object in view, seeking after reward for their rites and their gifts, and were no longer disposed to austerities and to liberality from a simple feeling of duty.

In the Dwapara Yuga righteousness was diminished by a half. The Veda became fourfold. Some men studied four Vedas, others three, others two, others one, and some none at all. Ceremonies were celebrated in a great variety of ways. From the decline of goodness only few men adhered to truth. When men had fallen away from goodness, many diseases, desires, and calamities, caused by destiny, assailed them, by which they were severely afflicted and driven to practice austerities. Others desiring heavenly bliss offered sacrifices. Thus men declined through unrighteousness.

In the Kali Yuga righteousness remained to the extent of one-fourth only. Practices enjoined by the Vedas, works of righteousness, and rites of sacrifice ceased. Calamities, diseases, fatigue, faults, such as anger, etc., distresses, hunger, and fear prevailed. As the ages revolve righteousness declines, and the people also decline. When they decay their motives grow weak, and the general decline frustrates their aims. - Muir, i. 144.

In the Krita Yuga the duration of life was four thousand years, in the Treta three thousand, in the Dwapara two thousand. In the Kali Yuga there is no fixed measure. Other passages of the Mahabharata indicate "that the Krita Yuga was regarded as an age in which Brahmans alone existed, and that Kshatriyas only began to be born in the Treta."

KRITA YUGA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] The first age of the world, a period of 1,728,000 years.

TRETA YUGA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] The second age of the world, a period of 1,296,000 years.

DWAPARA YUGA [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] The third age of the world, extending to 864,000, years.

KALI YUGA . [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] The fourth or present age of the world, which is to endure for 432,000 years. It commenced in 3102 B.C.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM