For convenience the article about Yuga is divided into five parts.
- Emergence of the Yuga System
- Yuga Definitions in Mahabharata
- Yugas mapped to Common Era
- Events in Chatur Yuga 1
- Events after Chatur Yuga 1
This is the fifth part of the article about Yuga, where we will discuss on the various events mentioned in Mahabharata. We try to map these events into the extended Yuga system. Focus is on events that occurred after the first Chatur Yugas. Reader is recommended to read the previous parts of this article. Usually many events mentioned in Book-3 (Vana Parva), Book-12 (Santi Parva) and Book-13 (Anusasana Parva) maps to the second set of Chatur-Yugas. Note: Start of Kali-Yuga-1 is taken exactly as 3000 BC. This is for the convenience of calculation. This can have a variation of 150 years.
Chatur Yugas after Kali Yuga 1
2000 BC onwards
Due to the multiple invasions occurred in Kali Yuga (3000 BC to 2000 BC), the cultural fabric of ancient India altered drastically. Many traditions and practices lost its continuity. One of the causality was the Yuga system itself. People were confused on how to count the Yugas. Some people divided the 1000 years that followed the last Kali Yuga in the ratio 4:3:2:1 so that we get Krita-2 as 400 years long (2000 BC to 1600 BC); Treta-2 as 300 years long (1600 BC to 1300 BC); Dwapara-2 as 200 years long (1300 BC to 1100 BC) and Kali-2 as 100 years (1100 BC to 1000 BC). Some considered the 1000 years following the last Kali Yuga (Kali Yuga 1) as an ascending Kali Yuga (2000 BC to 1000 BC). Some considered the ascending Kali Yuga of 1000 years as the Krita Yuga (Krita Yuga 2: 2000 BC to 1000 BC) and reduced one quarter from the subsequent Yugas to get Treta-2 of 750 years (1000 BC to 250 BC), Dwapara-2 of 500 years (250 BC to 250 AD) and Kali-2 of 250 years (250 AD to 500 AD). This was a 2500 year long Chatur Yuga. This had some acceptance since it was around 1/10th of the period of axial-precession (26,000 years) and close to the | Saptarshi Yuga (2700 years).
Vana Parva, Santi Parva and Anusasana Parva contains narration of events up to 500 AD. By 500 AD, the Yuga system of time recording became totally obsolete. This was because of various invasions, cultural changes and the conflicting ways in which the Yugas were calculated. By this time Aryabhata's Yuga definition based on planetary alignment became prominent. It overshadowed other Yuga definitions. As per this, the duration of Yugas grew into astronomical proportions. In Aryabhata's definition a Chatur-Yuga was 4,320,000 years long and Kali Yuga (following the ratio 4:3:2:1) was 432,000 years long! Then people started to believe that they are living in the Kali Yuga that becan after the Kurukshetra War! This belief continues even today. According to this belief, Kali Yuga will only end in 427,000 AD! That is more than 4 Lakh (400 thousand) years! It is like eternity for all practical purpose! This also deludes people to think that they are now living in a near perpetual and hopeless Kali Yuga!
Krita Yuga 2
2000 BC to 1000 BC
As discussed, length of Krita Yuga 2 can be 1000 years (2000 BC to 1000 BC) or 400 years (2000 BC to 1600 BC). Currently I am giving more weight to a 1000 year long Krita-Yuga-2.
The details of Krita Yuga2 events are moved to the following article:- Krita-Yuga2
Treta Yuga 2
1000 BC to 250 BC
Mbh.12.336:- After the expiration of this the Krita age, when the Treta age comes in course of the Vivaswat cycle, a great calamity will overtake the worlds - a statement mentioned at the end of Krita-2 (1000 BC).
The details of Treta Yuga2 events are moved to the following article:- Treta-Yuga2
Dwapara Yuga 2
250 BC to 250 AD
The details of Dwapara Yuga2 events are moved to the following article:- Dwapara-Yuga2
Kali Yuga 2
250 AD to 500 AD
The details of Kali Yuga2 events are moved to the following article:- Kali-Yuga2
The Yuga system was a valid method of time reckoning used to record events involving thousands of years. However the definition of Yuga changed from time to time. Thousand year long Kali Yuga was current (3000 BC) during the period of Parikshit and Janamejaya. During this period Dwapara was considered twice larger and Treta thrice larger. Krita was considered four times larger than Kali Yuga. Thus we had a 4000 year long Krita-1 (12,000 BC to 8000 B), 3000 year long Treta-1 (8000 BC to 5000 BC), 2000 year long Dwapara-1 (5000 BC to 3000 BC) and a 1000 year long Kali-1 (3000 BC to 2000 BC).
Subsequently Yuga definition underwent changes and thus we got a 1000 year long Krita-2 (2000 BC to 1000 BC), a 750 year long Treta-2 (1000 BC to 250 BC) , a 500 year long Dwapara-2 (250 BC to 250 AD) and a 250 year long Kali-2 (250 AD to 500 AD). By this time celestial Yuga definitions became prominent and people forgot about other kinds of Yuga-definitions. Based on this new definition a Chatur-Yuga was 4.32 million years and Kali Yuga was 432,000 year long. Thus people of the current age began to believe in a Kali Yuga that started since Kurkshetra war and Dwaraka submergence (3000 BC) and which is going to end only after 400,000 more years.
Had we followed the traditions we could have had a Krita-3 of 1000 years (500 AD to 1500 AD) and a Treta-3 (1500 AD to 2250 AD) as our current age. Personally I feel it make sense to believe that we are now in the third Treta Yuga that started since 1500 AD and is going to end by 2250 AD. One astonishing narration in Mahabharata strengthens this view though by strange coincidence:- In the Krita, Penance occupies the foremost place. In the Treta, Knowledge is foremost. In the Dwapara, Sacrifice has been said to be the foremost, In the Kali yuga, only Gift is the one thing that has been laid down.
Strangely enough now we are living in a knowledge age (information age / internet age) and the definition in Mahabharata rightfully considers Treta to be an age when knowledge is the foremost!