The Indian concept of time is cyclical in nature. All systems, ideas and events have a beginning a mid point and an end. Nothing is everlasting in the visible universe that we see all around us. The human intellect is limited in its scope and often assumes that a smoothly or chaotically functioning system will keep on doing so for ever. We take for granted that growth or decay will proceed in a straight line for all times to come. In reality, nature has no straight lines.
Night and day, growth and decay of animal and plant species is a natural part of life. Companies and corporations, kings and their kingdoms all appear on the world stage, flourish for a while, then die. This is the eternal truth.
The Rishis being one with the universe knew the reality of time. They knew it was unreal and had validity only in the three dimensional world. They also knew that under its influence everything will go through crests and troughs, life and death. The essence of this Vedic insight was reintroduced to the world in 1894 by Gyan Avatar Swami Sri Yukteswar ji. His concise but ground breaking book, The Holy Science explains in detail the creation and sustenance of this universe. The following is a summary of his teachings about the Yuga system.
We all know that our solar system has Sun at its center and the earth and the rest of the planets move around it. Sun itself is a dual star and revolves around another star. According to the Vedic philosophy, this dual system of stars orbits around a region in space called Vishnu Nabhi. This region is the seat of creative intelligence. When Sun reaches closest to the Vishnu Nabhi, the Dharma (mental virtue) is at its peak and humans are close to God. They understand the creative principals which create this universe and make life on earth and elsewhere in the universe possible. When Sun reaches a point farthest from Vishnu Nabhi, Dharma is at its lowest ebb and humans lose all their understanding of the creative principals. We understand nothing higher than the grossest material creation.
The autumnal equinox is the pointer to the position of the Sun in relation to the Vishnu Nabhi. When autumnal equinox falls in Aries, sun is closest to it. When autumnal equinox falls in Libra, the Sun is farthest from it. It takes twelve thousand years for the Sun to travel from the closest to the farthest point from Vishnu Nabhi.. At the end of this period The Sun swings around and again begins to advance towards the seat of creative intelligence. Each of these two periods of twelve thousand years is called a Daiva Yuga.
When the Sun is moving away from Vishnu Nabhi, the Daiva Yuga is known as descending Yuga. Conversely when the Sun is moving closer to the grand center, the period is called ascending Daiva Yuga. Each Daiva Yuga brings about a complete change in our external world as well as in our thinking process. In twenty-four thousand years the Sun completes one ascending and one descending Daiva yuga.
The growth and decay of Dharma is a slow and gradual process and is divided into four different and distinct stages in a period of twelve thousand years.
As mentioned above the Sun takes twenty four thousand years to complete one orbit around Vishnu Nabhi or grand center. 1/20th portion of this period or twelve hundred years is called Kali Yuga. Dharma during this period is only a quarter developed. The human intellect can not understand anything beyond the simple process of living like eating, sleeping and procreating.
The period of 2400 years during which the Sun passes through the 2/20th portion of twenty four thousand years is called Dwapar Yuga. Dharma at this point is in its second stage of development. It is only half complete. Humans can understand the electricities and their properties which are the creating principals of the external world.
The period of thirty six hundred years during which the Sun passes through the 3/20th portion of its orbit is called Treta Yuga. Dharma at this stage is three quarters developed. This enables us to understand the divine magnetism which is the source of all electricities and electrical forces on which creation is dependent for existence.
The period of forty eight hundred years during which the Sun passes through the 4/20th portion of its orbit is called Satya Yuga. At this stage the development of Dharma is complete and we can understand all principals of creation including God.
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