The Yugas Explained Simply

The Yugas – All You Need To Know

In this post, we’ll unpack all you need to know about the Yugas, defining exactly what they are, their characteristics, identifying which Yuga we are currently in, how to leverage them and more.

What Are The Yugas?

The Yugas describe the cycles of human development. Each Yuga corresponds with certain characteristics that define mankind at that particular time.

We can describe the evolution of mankind, through the Yugas, as the evolution of consciousness. As mankind evolves, so too does its level of awareness. The gift of being human is that we can consciously accelerate our spiritual evolution with the ultimate goal of self-realisation.

The 4 Yugas

According to Indian cosmology, there are 4 distinct Yugas. The order of the four Yugas, progressing toward greater consciousness, is Kali Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, Treta Yuga and Satya Yuga. Each Yuga has transition periods (known as sandhis) from and to the next Yuga. The transitions are 1/10th of each Yuga’s length.

When adding together the duration of each Yuga and its transition periods, we see that the ascending arc of the Yuga cycle requires 12,000 years to reach the peak of mankind’s development. Then mankind’s consciousness begins to decline and the Yugas pass through the descending arc in reverse order and another span of 12,000 years. Together, the ascending arc and descending arc, which form one complete cycle of the Yugas, takes 24,000 years to complete.

The Characteristics Of The 4 Yugas

Below we’ll unpack the defining characteristics of the four Yugas.

  • Kali Yuga

Kali Yuga is the age of materialism. It lasts 1,000 years in addition to transition periods of 100 years before and 100 years after.

In Kali Yuga, mankind comprehends matter, its primary motivation is conquest and its perception is guided by a dull mind.

  • Dwapara Yuga

Dwapara Yuga is the age of energy. It lasts 2,000 years in addition to transition periods of 200 years before and 200 years after.

In Dwapara Yuga, mankind comprehends energy, its primary motivation is self-interest (individualism) and its perception is guided by reason.

  • Treta Yuga

Treta Yuga is the age of thought. It lasts 3,000 years in addition to transition periods of 300 years before and 300 years after.

In Treta Yuga, mankind comprehends thought, its primary motivation is self-mastery and its perception is guided by intuition.

  • Satya Yuga

Satya Yuga lasts 4,000 years and is the age of spirit. It lasts 4,000 years in addition to transition periods of 400 years before and 400 years after.

In Satya Yuga, mankind comprehends consciousness, its primary motivation is self-realisation and its perception is guided by direct experience with Truth.

The Yugas Table Summary

Below is a table summarising the 4 Yugas and their qualities.

KaliDwaparaTretaSatya
Duration1,000 Years2,000 Years3,000 Years4,000 Years
ComprehensionMatterEnergyThoughtConsciousness
MotivationConquestSelf-InterestSelf-MasterySelf-Realisation
PerceptionDullReasonIntuitionDirect

Consistent Across Cultures

While the names may be different, the four Yugas are consistent across many cultures across the world. Many other cultures express similar ideas through their traditions and myths.

For example, the ancient Greeks termed them the Iron Age, Bronze Age, Silver Age and Gold Age. There are many more examples from other cultures, including Norse, Celtic, Hope, Lakota, Persian and ancient Egyptian.

Which Yuga Are We Currently In?

According to Indian monk, yogi and astrologer Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, we are currently in ascending Dwapara Yuga which began in 1,700AD.

How To Leverage The Yugas

Understanding the Yugas gives us an unmatched insight into the past, present and future development of mankind.

Therefore, the key to leveraging the Yugas is to firstly identify which Yuga we are currently in, understand the the defining characteristics of that Yuga and then use that knowledge to navigate the physical and moral challenges of that Yuga.

Summary

The Yugas describe the cyclical ages of time that mankind goes through. Each Yuga corresponds with certain characteristics that define mankind at that particular time. The four Yugas are Kali Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, Treta Yuga and Satya Yuga.

The key to leveraging the Yugas is to understand the defining characteristics of the current Yuga we are in and then to use this knowledge to more effectively navigate the physical and moral challenges of that Yuga.

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