4 Yugas in Hinduism and their Importance
According to Hinduism there are 4 Yugas and we are currently living in the 4th Yuga (Kali Yuga). Yugas somewhat means cyclic ages or epochs or world ages. With the change in Yuga we witness a change in environment, mankind and the basic nature of humans. The shift is very dramatic and impactful in nature. According to the Hindu belief creation, restoration and destruction for a new creation is an endless cycle and one of the most important aspects of the universe. The 3 acts are symbolized by the trinity of Gods or ‘Trideva’. Where Lord Brahma is the creator, Lord Vishnu is responsible for functioning & stability of the universe and Mahesh (Lord Shiva) is the destroyer of the universe (destruction for the formation of new). Every Yuga has its own significance and meaning. So, let’s discuss about the 4 Yugas in Hinduism and their importance.
The first Yuga is termed as ‘Satya Yuga’ or ‘Krita Yuga’. It is considered to be the best Yuga or world age. The word ‘Satya’ when translated into English, means ‘truth ‘. That’s the reason this age was referred to as the age of truth and truthfulness. In this World Age humanity was at its peak. In this Yuga the world was blissful, peaceful and joyful. Goodness, values and moralities of mankind was a site to witness in this Yuga. Because of the great virtues of humans (at that time) this age is also referred to as the ‘Golden Age’. It is believed that ‘Dharma’ stood on all four legs during this period. ‘Dharma’ is depicted in the form of a Bull/Cow. The four legs symbolize the four pillars; austerity, cleanliness, truthfulness, and kindness.
However, as time progressed, people became less inclined towards spirituality and wished for comforts & luxury beyond their needs. With the falling of the Satya Yuga a spirit of competition and jealousy started to rise among men. Many also believe that Satya Yuga people lived upto a lakh years (100,000). The Satya Yuga lasted for a duration of 1,728,000 years which equates to 4,800 divine years in Hinduism.
The second Yuga is ‘Treta Yuga’ which started after the fall of Satya Yuga or the Age of Truthfulness. The Dharma stood on three legs in this Yuga. As the golden age had passed there were some visible flaws in the world which were quite significant and started to manifest the decay and downfall of mankind. However in this Yuga too people were extremely polite, were morally upright and were compassionate toward their fellow living beings and creatures. The lifespan of humans in this Yuga decreased from a hundred thousand years (in Satya Yuga) to just ten thousand years (10,000). However, there was some division among society at this point of time. Jealousy and evil competitive spirit start taking over humans.
The Treta Yuga witnessed the arrival of Lord Rama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Who fought the evil yet knowledgeable demon King Ravana. Rama teaches us a lot of life lessons which are restored in the Indian Epic Ramayana. Lord Rama was believed to be a perfect man who lived within his boundaries. He was a perfect king and established ‘Rama Rajya’ (a perfect state where people are happy, prosperous and live with peace).
Dvapara Yuga is the 3rd Yuga which arrived after the falling of Treta Yuga. This Yuga lasted for 864,000 years which accounts for 2,400 divine years. In this Yuga the Dharma only stands on its 2 legs (two pillars) which will later be on a single leg in the last and current ‘Yuga of Kali Yuga’. In this Yuga people started leaving the path of Dharma, morality and spirituality. The misuse of power, corruption started to occur frequently in the Dvapara Yuga. The Bronze age saw a rapid rise in selfishness.
This Yuga also witnessed the arrival of Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) who came here to establish and balance the falling morality, injustice and humanity in the society. The Hindu Epic Mahabharata also took place in this Yuga. Where Lord Krishna enriched Arjuna with his knowledge and thoughts. Lord Krishna’s teachings and lessons are restored in the renowned book ‘Bhagavad Gita’.
‘Kali Yuga’ is the fourth and last Yuga (according to the Hindu texts and scriptures). This Yuga is said to be the worst Yuga out of the four Yugas. It is the most dark & evil Yuga where darkness & evil will take over humanity. In this phase humanity and morality will reach its lowest point. A point that can scare and hunt even the bravest person out there. In the Kali Yuga people will lose their consciousness and will only be filled with negative emotions like anger, greed and lust. With every passing day the righteousness, humanity and peacefulness of the society will decrease and reach a point of utter misery and darkness.
All the suffering and darkness will finally come to an end with the arrival of the incarnation of Lord Vishnu (‘Kalki’). However, we are still in the initial days of the Kali Yuga (which is believed to be the most pleasant time of this Yuga) and 426,877 years are still left in the Kali Yuga.
Also Read: Fourteen Lokas in Hindu Mythology Explained