August 9, 2007

What is a Yuga?

In 1894, Swami Sri Yukteswar made two startling predictions in his book the Holy Science: “matter will be found to be energy” and “our sun has a twin star”. Einstein proved the first prediction true in 1905 and over the course of the last century more and more evidence is pointing to the truth of the second prediction. As of 2006, it is thought that two out of three stars in the Milky Way are part of binary systems.

The Swami writes that our sun is part of such a binary system, orbiting another star, with an orbital period of about 24,000 years. In scientific terms, the rotation of the earth relative to the stars we see (the zodiac in astrological terms) is called the precession of the equinoxes and follows this cycle.

Sri Yukteswar described the orbit, called a Great Year by the Greeks, as moving the earth repeatedly in a natural ascending arc of 12,000 years, raising the consciousness of man, and then a falling arc of 12,000 years, lowering it, relative to a cosmic vibrational center called Vishnunabhi.

One day of Brahma is the time taken for one thousand cycles of all four Yugas. A day of Brahama is followed by the night of Brahma. The Universe is many days and nights of Brahma old.

The Greeks and many other ancient cultures (for example: Egyptians, Persians, Sumerians, Aztecs, Hopi, Celts and Norse) shared this idea of the ages of man. With more modern analysis, many ancient sites are now known to have been constructed with elements demonstrating very sophisticated astronomical knowledge. For example, the orientation of the shafts on certain ancient pyramids can be read as date-stamps and their locations align with distant constellations.

The Hindu ages or Yugas are summarized below, with their Greek equivalents.

Ascending Arc

Kali Yuga or Iron Age
From 500 AD for 1,200 years
Characteristic: Materialism/ignorance

Dwapara Yuga, Bronze Age
From 1700 AD for 2,400 years
Characteristic: Space-annihilators

Treta Yuga or Silver Age
From 4100 AD for 3,600 years
Characteristic: Time-annihilators

Satya Yuga or Golden Age
From 8900 AD for 4,800 years
Characteristic: Harmony with divine plan

A graphic illustrates the Yugas in our current cycle here.

This interpretation by Sri Yukteswar is at odds with the Orthodox Hindu interpretation, under which we are still in the age of Kali Yuga, rather than Dwapara Yuga. Much as for the festivals of the Christian Calendar, the original facts are of secondary importance to the force of tradition to conservative elements (after all the calculation error has been in place a very long time).

Dwapara Yuga can be characterized as a breakdown of the idea of a material world and a growing consciousness of the underlying unity of peoples, energy and nature, manifesting in:

• Understanding of finer energies and the structure of universe

• Freedom of
o Speech
o Travel and communication
o Sharing and community of all kinds
o Acquisition and access to all knowledge
o Consumption and creation of media of all forms

• End of Mayic/Demonic/Satanic powers (in the sense of limiting/obstructing the individual) of
o Theocracy
o Collectivism
o National Socialism
o Communist Socialism
o Authoritarianism
o Totalitarianism
o Dictatorship
o Monarchy
o Petromonarchy (many Middle Eastern States)
o Kleptocracy (Many African States)
o Oligarchy (France would be a good example)
o Aristocracy
o Autocracy
o Technocracy
o Slavery
o Monopolies
o Cartels
o Nepotism
o Cronyism
o Matriarchy
o Patriarchy
o Mafiosi

. End of discrimination by
o Religion
o Geography
o Class
o Caste
o Race
o Gender
o Health
o Age
o Wealth

. Free trade, globalization, capitalism, meritocracy, freedom and democracy
. Empowerment of the individual, rise of a middle class, strength thru diversity

The rich wield financial, political and social power, controlling countries overtly or covertly, the poor have nothing and the middle class are somewhere in between. In third world countries, there tend only to be rich and poor. One sign of the development of a country is how much of a middle class it has and whether it is growing or shrinking, gaining or lessening in financial, political and social power.

Politicians, inventors and thinkers who are in line with Dwapara Yuga ideas have flourished and been feted. Those who opposed them had limited or only short-lived success. Paramhansa Yogananda, disciple of Sri Yukteswar, explained the mechanism for the Yugas: ideas are tuned-into by great minds rather than being created by them. These ideas in turn drive great civilizations. The United States best exemplifies outer freedom where someone not a king, nor noble, nor well-born can achieve any material success. India best exemplifies inner freedom thru meditation. Yogananda proposed a future with a best of America’s “can do” attitude and India’s inner mental hygiene.

Interestingly Yogananda explains that the success of the United States is not due to it's scientific and technological supremacy rather the good karma of its religious population and foundation along spiritual principles, in sharp contrast to Latin America, founded for the exploitation of resources.

He predicted that the joining of the United States of America, United States of Europe and United States of Asia would unify the world. Although this is not yet a political reality, many large corporations already run the world as only three divisions: Americas, EMEA – Europe, Middle East & Africa - and APAC – Asia Pacific.

The following timeline, briefly detailing ascending Kali Yuga and then the beginning of ascending Dwapara Yuga, to the present day, covers:
- Scientific and medical discoveries
- Expansion of travel and communication networks
- Political progress
- Social progress
- Economic progress
- Spiritual awakening
- Important books
- Ends of wars
- Pandemics, natural and man-made disasters
- Recent events echoing corresponding past events

A pattern emerges of rising tension in Kali Yuga institutions - monarchies, aristocracies, authoritarian regimes and their likes becoming unbearable for their subjects and being overthrown, with new institutions replacing them, more in line with Dwapara Yuga's vibrations.

Unfortunately, but perhaps inevitably it seems, it has taken the English Civil War, American Revolutionary War, American Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the proxy conflicts of the Cold War, together with disasters and epidemics, so far, to dislodge old mindsets and practices. Yogananda predicted that Dwapara Yuga itself would not end world conflicts, rather in the short term intensify them.

India's peaceful independence, at least prior to partition, holds out hope for the future, as does South Africa's ending of Apartheid despite the ruling regime possessing nuclear weapons.

Since the Yugas previously descended and are now ascending again, as our perceptions sharpen, we increasingly are discovering that past civilizations had our inventions and structures and were not, as previously thought, 'primitive'.

Another sign of the advancing age is the increasing life span and rediscovery of healthy modes of exercise, living and eating. People are all becoming taller, again in line with ancient texts that speak of long-lived giants. They are also much healthier, recent centuries were racked with pandemics and life expectancy was short.

It will be interesting to see what develops in the domains of genetics and the prospect of complete availability of all knowledge, of everyone, all the time, everywhere. The lessons of the (ancient) past suggest not more and bigger metropoli and stressful societies but rather a simpler living, in harmony with nature.

Disasters and great reverses can be read as divine signals for change.

In our immediate history, we are seeing the resurgence of Russia, China, India, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and even now France as dissonant political philosophies are left behind.

After all, Darwin's survival of the fittest wasn't quite that, rather survival of those who adapt the best to the prevailing environment -- so the most free, open, democratic, meritocratic will prevail. Right now, despite recent mistakes like the Iraq peace and mistreatment of prisoners, that remains the United States of America.

How can we see if the theory is reasonable?
1) that we should see an arc of history that reflects the ages, with corresponding dates, which appears well born out from 500 AD to 1700 AD and beyond
2) that looking back in time we should see similar events reflected in the descending Dwapara Yuga and descending Kali Yuga, i.e. with 500 AD as the low point, we should see similar events reflected at 1700 AD and 700 BC. We should see the peak of man's civilization at 11500 BC.

The challenge here is the relative lack of knowledge of ancient civilizations since the pit of the dark ages brought about much destruction of documents. Similarly, the backwards-focused Taliban focused in their reign not in helping people, rather persecuting them and destroying the past.

We also know that there has been geographical change with many past cities potentially underground and underwater. The obvious example would be Atlantis, first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias. In Plato's account, Atlantis, lying "beyond the pillars of Heracles", a naval power which conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa in approximately 9400 BC. The Atlantic Ocean between the US and Europe and the Atlas Mountains in North Africa both are named in honor of the lost civilization.

Recently man made underwater structures have been found off Japan at Yonaguni, which date back to at least 8000BC.

As of yet, there is no 'smoking gun'. If flight, say, was invented in 1900 AD, we should see flight around 900 BC and before. We have many ancient accounts of flying machines in the Vedas and the Bible, for example, followed by a deluge that set civilization back. Such descriptions support the argument but are no means conclusive since they also support alternative explanations.

If we look at the Yugas as consciousness, in the year 2007 AD, we have the same insight as in the year 1007 BC and should be able to find and understand remains from that period.

As the ages rise, people become more and more in tune with the inner spiritual life and less and less focused on outer accomplishments so it may also be the case that there are less artifacts to be dug up from previous, higher ages, or they are in a form that we do not recognize for their real nature, for example, crystals or some other common item.

(c) All Rights Reserved 2007

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(c) Dwapara 307-317 or 2007-2017 AD

The views expressed are the personal, independent views of the author and are not intended to reflect the views of any other individual(s) or organization(s).