Maybe it is because it is the turn of the new century and the beginning of the Aquarian Age. Or maybe it is because at all times in history people want to be positive about the present and the future. But there is a prevailing notion at this time that because of our place in history that a bright future awaits us. In all cases, we should never ignore the signs around us while making such predictions. I guess it is just so bad right now that everyone wants to hope that things will get better, soon. The Aquarian Age beginning now is a sign of change. But there are much more accurate assessments of time, devised thousands of years ago, that shed new light upon our current time period and the future.
Ancient Yogic scriptures, known collectively as the Puranas, give a picture of time that is vast and highly detailed. And according to these works of knowledge, our planet has been around much longer than anyone imagined and will be around for much longer too. In their cosmology, time is basically divided up into major chapters of time known as Yugas. There are four Yugas that repeat just like the four seasons of our year. However, each of these four Yugas are different in length. They are as follows:
Satya Yuga 1,728,000 years The Age of Light or Golden Age
Treta Yuga 1,296,000 years The Silver Age
Dwapara Yuga 864,000 years The Bronze Age
Kali Yuga 432,000 years The Iron Age
A complete cycle of four of these Yugas makes up on Mahayuga, which totals 4,320,000 years. Then, it proceeds to another measure called a Day of Brahma, which is 1,000 Mahayugas, or 4,320,000,000 years. Needless to say, that is a very long time. But there are even greater measurements of time. One Cosmic Day consists of one day and one night of Brahma or 8, 640,000,000 years. 360 full Cosmic Days make up one year of Brahma and the life span of Brahma is 100 Brahma Years, or close to 311 trillion earth years. As long as that is, there are even greater measurements to behold.
A thousand life spans of Brahma are equal to only 24 minutes of one day of Vishnu. And you can multiply this out for a hundred Vishnu Years to get the number of earth years for one of his life spans.
And then comes Lord Shiva, who has the longest life span of all. One thousand Vishnu life spans (each of 100 Vishnu Years) equals only 24 seconds of one Shiva Day. And if that wasn’t enough, a thousand life spans of Lord Shiva only equal 12 seconds in the life of Ishvar (God). And so it goes.
Brhama, Vishnu and Shiva are the three manifest beings of this earth plane and their life spans seem beyond belief to most of us. But in accordance with this time system, amazing predictions have been made and are coming true.
These four ages have distinctly different characteristics. In each age, the overall consciousness and purity of the souls that are alive is at a different level. If you haven’t guessed already, the Satya Yuga is the highest age of all. In this age, all beings have the highest consciousness possible and there is no evil or darkness upon the earth at all. This age gradually translates into the Treta Yuga where there is a little less Dharma (right action) and more Adharma (negative behavior that produces pain and suffering). It is possible to achieve enlightenment in any age but the overall makeup of each age more or less supports it. The lowest age of all is the Kali Yuga where immorality, injustice and every crime against humanity and individuals that is conceivable occurs. And that is the age that we are presently in.
In yogic scriptures written tens of thousands of years ago, the characteristics of what we are experiencing each day were described. Men and women killing each other over money and passion, having sex with children, wholesale slaughter, immorality in every conceivable form and the utter lack of any theme of righteousness are all characteristics of the Kali Yuga. Similar predictions were made in the Bible and it is interesting to read the two separate predictions of today’s culture and society. They seem to be written by the same person!
In the other three Yugas, people tend to have many magic powers. Things that occur in those Yugas seem unimaginable now. If you want to get a glimpse of how life was in just the previous Yuga, which was Dwapara, read from the book, the Mahabharata. This ancient Sanskrit poem, which is over 200,000 verses long in rhyming Sanskrit, has been translated into English many times and there are some condensed versions available since the full translation spans 17 volumes. In this epic tale is depicted much of the life of Krishna who incarnated at the end of the Dwapara Yuga, as he was predicted to, to cleanse the earth of millions of demons who dwelt here. In that account you will read of people and beings that had great powers. A Brahman priest in that age, for example, had the power that anything they proclaimed would come true. If they blessed you or cursed you, the power of their accumulated spiritual power (tapas) ensured that their words would come to pass. Even they could not take back their curses once uttered.
The apparent good news is that we will move from the Kali Yuga directly to the Satya Yuga. But alas, that is going to occur a very long time from now. According to the Puranas, our present Brahma is now 50 years old. He has just entered his 51st Cosmic Year and this is the first Comic Day or first Day of Brahma in his 51st year. We are now in the fourth Kali Yuga of the 28th Mahayuga of this Cosmic Day. Our current Kali Yuga began in 3102 BC, so it is about 5,000 years into it, leaving about 427,000 years of this Kali Yuga before beginning a new Satya Yuga.
For this reason, I think it is a mistake to assume that something wonderful is going to happen to today’s society that is going to lift us all out of our fear, greed, lust and anger and transport us to a life of peace and harmony. There are no signs of it present today and I think it much wiser to assume that this is the way it is going to be for a while. Though we are in the Aquarian Age now, which will bring a new focus for our world and certainly a lot of new technology, we can expect people to use all these newfound inventions and technology to kill and rob each other just as they have been doing with whatever means is at their disposal now and in the past. And, with the new things being ushered in by Uranus in this age, I would expect some even more extreme examples of cruelty and mass murder to emerge over the next century.
Another thing to consider is that, according to the ancients texts on this subject, at the end of each Mahayuga, there is a period of time in which all life on earth ceases to exist. The earth becomes covered with water and it isn’t until the next Satya Yuga that life begins the slow process of evolution again. Our modern scientist are having a field day digging fossils of dinosaurs and other ancient species. What a surprise it would be for them to discover that all these life forms evolved solely from the current Mahayuga.
Still, as I said earlier, it is possible to achieve enlightenment in any age. And this Yuga presents opportunities the same as any. It is said that in each Yuga, Dharma (right action and morality) stands on one, two, three or four legs. In the Kali Yuga, Dharma has only one leg and that leg is devotion. Through the practice of devotion to God, one can achieve the impossible in the Kali Yuga. This is what the Hare Krishna group practice constantly by chanting the name of Lord Krishna, who was the last incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the sustainer. But one can achieve liberation by devotion to any high spiritual being such as Jesus, Moses, Buddha or others. It is the attitude of devotion and surrender to God that brings quick liberation in this Dark Age we live in. Perhaps that is what Jesus was referring to when he said “The meek shall inherit the Earth.” Meekness is one quality of devotion.
One last point is that during any age, one can achieve enlightenment through the practice of Yoga. However, when I say the practice of Yoga, I am not referring to the many forms of Hatha Yoga that are common today. The real purpose of Yoga is for an individual to merge back with his or her divine self and that process is not a simple matter of doing certain stretches and breathing exercises. However, I do not have the time to go into that in this article. If you are interested in hearing more about this, let me know and I may publish a future article.
There are other cosmologies and time systems to consider as well, such as the Mayan calendar, which runs out in twenty years or so. I only wanted to present a very ancient calendar system that is dear to my heart as one on the Shiva path so that we can gain a little perspective about our current period of time.