What Age Are We In?

In my readings, I have been coming across two systems of calculating the yugas. One is the traditional Hindu system in which Kali Yuga began about 5,000 years ago and lasts for 432.000 years. The other, put forth by Sri Yukteshwar, guru of Yogananda, claims we are in Dwapara Yuga.

“According to Swami Sri Yukteswar, the descending phase of Satya Yuga lasts 4800 years. That of Treta Yuga lasts 3600 years. That of Dwapara Yuga lasts 2400 years. That of Kali Yuga lasts 1200 years. The ascending phase of Kali Yuga then begins, also lasting 1200 years; and so on. The ascending phase of Kali Yuga began in September of 499AD. Since September 1699, we have been in the ascending phase of Dwapara Yuga.This is not the traditional schedule of mainstream Hinduism, which holds that the yugas are much longer, and that we are in the long Kali Yuga today. For example, many followers of Sri Satya Sai Baba agree that Lord Rama was an avatar of Treta Yuga and Lord Krishna an avatar of Dwapara Yuga, but say we are still in Kali Yuga today.

“Satya Yuga or Krita Yuga – 1,728,000 years Treta Yuga – 1,296,000 years Dwapar Yuga – 864,000 years Kali Yuga – 432,000 years Traditionally, upon conclusion of 71 circuits of this cycle, (1, 728,000 years) there is a period equally long during which the world is inundated; then the cycle begins again.

“According to Yukteswar (in The Holy Science), the traditional view is based on a misunderstanding. He says that at the end of the last descending Dwapara Yuga (about 700 BC) “Maharaja Yudhisthara, noticing the appearance of the dark Kali Yuga, made over his throne to his grandson [and]…together with all of his wise men…retired to the Himalaya Mountains…Thus there was none in the court…who could understand the principle of correctly accounting the ages of the several Yugas.”

The full article can be found here on Wikipedia. As a sidereal astrologer, Yukteswar’s arguments and those of his followers sound very convincing and appealing. This affects how we view yuga dharma and the future prognosis of the direction our planet is heading.

I came across Yukteswar’s theory twice in the past year. First in a “fringe science” magazine a friend gave me. Most recently in a Vedic astrology book which I took more seriously. Yukteswar’s system is a least based on something of an observable scientific basis in the precession of the equinoxes, and we know the Indian tendency to use really big numbers. I tend to be iconoclastic and not believe things just because many persons have believed them for a long time. Bhaktivinode Thakur, my grand-guru and a contemporary of Yukteswar, warned us not to believe everything we read in old books.

I am at the point of accepting Sri Yukeshwara’s dates and calculations. He explains things rationally and they make sense. I am more of an intuitive than an intellectual, and my intuition is telling me it is Dwapara Yuga. We are still in the early stages of Dwapara and there are still plenty of influences from Kali Yuga around, just as there are influences from the previous Dwapara Yuga. Ages don’t change all of a sudden, but gradually like the seasons. This also explains the rapid changes that have occurred in the past three hundred years.

While I see darkness and ignorance all around me, I also see the growth of the light. I am going to be an optimist at this point and say that the light will win over the darkness. We are in the ascending stage of Dwapara Yuga. Things will get better, but not without much travail resulting from cosmic, environmental and human caused events.

Just as Krishna appeared just before the end of the decending Dwapara Yuga, 700 BCE, and passed on the essence of all that came before, so Krishna Chaitanya appeared just before the end of Kali Yuga, 1700 CE, and gave us a means of enlightenment which is the distilled essence of the previous ages’ teachings. In the descending cycle of ages, people look back to the glorious past to try and preserve it. In the ascending cycle, people look ahead to a glorious future. Rather than lament a past that is no more, I think it might be helpful if we started looking at the bright side and help bring in a glorious new future rather than 427,000 more years of doom and gloom.

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