yuga

yuga (Sanskrit: युग, "age or cycle; aeon; world era;") — an age of the world, of which there are four — satya-yuga or krita yuga (Golden Age), treta-yuga (Silver age), dwapara-yuga (Bronze Age), and kali-yuga (Iron Age) — which proceed in succession during the manvantara cycle. Each Yuga is preceded by a period called in the Puranas Sandhya, "twilight, or transition period", and is followed by another period of like duration called Sandhyansa, "portion of twilight". Each is equal to one-tenth of the Yuga. The group of four Yugas is first computed by the divine years, or " years of the Gods" — each such year being equal to 360 years of mortal men. The cycles are said to repeat like the seasons, waxing and waning within a greater time — cycle of the creation and destruction of the universe. Like Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn, each yuga involves stages or gradual changes which the earth and the consciousness of mankind goes through as a whole. (see: yuga dharma)

The 4 yugas are collectively called a Mahayuga. 2,000 such Mahayugas, or a period of 8,640,000 years, make a Kalpa the latter being only a "day and a night", or twenty-four hours, of Brahma. Thus an "age of Brahma", or one hundred of his divine years, must equal 311,040,000,000,000 of our mortal years.

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The Satya Yuga is four times as long as the Kali Yuga; Treta Yuga is three times as long; and Dwapara Yuga is twice as long. The Kali Yuga (our present period), which began in 3102 BC, has another 427 centuries to run.

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