It is generally thought that the Yuga classification is
on the basis of chathur yugas which run into lakhs of years.
It is on this basis, Ramayana is believed to have occurred about 17 lakh years ago.
But there is a distinction between yuga classification on the basis of ‘Div”
or stars that revolve in the universe
and the classification based on the human level of existence.
The yuga classification on the basis of divya yuga (sun and stars) is used
to express a particular event in the macrocosmic time scale,
starting from the beginning of creation
which occurred 10 to the power of 17 times the solar years.
(Bhaskara has given this number which is equal to Para-ardha = half of Brahma’s Parama ayuL
of 100 deva / divya years)
An year in this 100 year duration is made of 365 days of devas.
Each of this day is made of 2 kalpas.
A kalpa =a day of Brahma = a night of Brahma = 14 manvanthras of 71 chathur maha yugas each = 20 rounds of sun around the galactic centre of roughly 220 million years of duration = ½ the duration of Sun’s estimated life )
Since a day is made up of a day--kalpa and a night-kalpa,
a day of Brahma is equivalent to the life of sun with its brilliance for 10+ billion years +
a period of anthakaara (darkness) without sun for the same duration of 10+ billion years.
This yuga classification runs into millions and billions of years which is suitable
to express the life span of stars (nakshathras which are considered to be devas ) (1)
This classification is primarily used in the context of dik, desa and kaala.
Dik (direction), desa (country) and kaala (time)
are the most important factors
in any work.
When someone wants say or convey something,
he / she will say the place and time from where he / she is speaking or communicating.
This is about desa.
Dik is also important as desa,
because the division of earth into north and south in terms of ayana
makes a difference to the other two, namely, desa and kaala.
Dik is important for another reason too
as it is relative to desa and time (night or day).
So any religious rite that has to be done, is carried out
first by stating the place of performance in terms of dik, desa and kaala.
Kaala is not just about day or night at a place.
It is about that time in the month (solar / lunar month),
in the paksha,
in the rithu,
in the ayana,
in the 60 years rotation (prabhavaadhi) of the sun,
in the divya yuga,
in the manvanthra,
in the kalpa and
in the context of
This line of progression from the lowest unit to the highest unit
is reversed in practice and is said from the highest to the lowest, for,
only then it will make sense!
(It is interesting to note that this kind of deduction from
the large scale to small scale
or the unit level is followed in
It is like how it is said that I am the great grand child of so and so,
grand child of so and so and child of so and so.
We start from the higher unit or that which forms the Whole
and deduce from that,
our relationship or position at the bottom level.
It is from the Whole, the location of the Part is known.
Any religious rite starts with a sankalpa or vow in this way
by identifying oneself
with dik, desa and kaala.
Thus the Divya yuga classification had been vogue for enunciating Kala-parimaaNa.
Whereas, the yuga classification at human level is known by Yuga dharma only.
Even in Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that he will be born again and again
in the yugas,
for establishing dharma.
(dharma samsthaapanarthaaya sambhavaami yugE yugE)
At human level, day and nights, or years and yugas
do not have relevance
they are about some works related to them
As such, yuga is known by its yuga dharma –
about the acts and works that have to be done.
Nowhere in Ramayana or Mahabharatha or any purana,
do we come across a statement
that such and such a yuga got ended on such and such a date or day
because the stipulated number of a particular yuga got over then.
On the contrary the ushering in of a yuga is known
by spotting certain symptoms
in terms of dharma.
Some instances on Yuga dharma as basis of yuga.
The discussion about the beginning or the end of yuga
is found in the Ithihasas,
but on the basis of the dharma of the respective yuga.
For instance the ushering in of Kali yuga came to be known
and talked about in Mahabharatha
by the way dharma in fighting the war was trespassed.
As long as
when the yuga dharma of Dwapara yuga was in vogue.
Only after the departure of
But even then it could not come to stay,
because the King Pareekshit requested Kali purusha
not to enter his kingdom as long as he was there.
As long as he was alive, Kali was able to stay only in specific locations
(as permitted by King Pareekshit)
where the four sinful activities of gambling, drinking, prostitution and animal slaughter
[dyûtam, pânam, striyah, sûnâ] were taking place.
Upon further request by Kali purusha,
it was granted that he could dwell in the place where there is gold,
as gold by passion is the fifth sin bringing falsity, intoxication, lust and enmity. (3)
This shows that yuga starts or ends only by its identification
with the dharma
it comes to exhibit.
We come to hear of the yuga definition
on the basis of yuga dharma in Ramayana too.(4)
Yuga is known by the dharma followed by people.
Satya yuga is known as Satya, because Truth reigned then.
It is also known as Krutha yuga,
because Kruthya means doing things or duties
that ought to be done.
Since all those people of Krutha yuga
were doing only those works or duties
that were to be done by them
and were doing only in the ways in which they were to be done,
that time period came to be known as Krutha yuga.
In that yuga,
only one varna, namely the Brahmins
were engaged in tapas.
Others were doing their regular duties (nithya – naimitthila karmas)
No one was found wanting in knowledge and
whatever they wanted, they got instantly gratified.
In this yuga, dharma was perfect (pari-poorNam)
In Tretha yuga, both Brahmins and Kshathriyas were entitled to do tapas.
There was thus equality between these two varnas.
Others were doing their duties.
Tretha is derived from “thrayee” which means the three types of yajnas,
namely, Soma yajna (of 7 types), Havir yajna (of 7 types) and Bhaga yajna (of 7 types)
The Kshathriyas and Brahmins took part in or conducted these yajnas.
The others were doing their duties as prescribed.
But some violation of dhrma happens in Tretha yuga.
Because in Tretha yuga, adharma spreads ¼ of its influence.
The adharma in Tretha yuga was in the form of rivalries among kings.
The first symptom of this is seen in the reign of Rama’s ancestor, Asita,
when rivalries were first reported.
Asita however defeated the detractors and banished them as mlecchas.
They were settled in the middle east,
which later came to be known as the cradle of civilization of the modern era –
as the yuga dharma of Kali yuga in the cosmic scale (Kali of Chathur maha yuga)
is that what is banished in the previous yugas will get glorified in Kali yuga
(and vice versa).
In Tretha yuga, the first symptom of violation of that yuga dharma was untimely death.
When adharma was there, the first casualty was the life span.
This means there will be unnatural, and untimely death, calamities and sorrow.
In Dwapara yuga, adharma spreads 2/4 th of its influence,
and that is why it is dwapra (dwi).
In this yuga, Brahmins, Kshathriyas and Vaisyas get equal status in doing tapas.
In Kali yuga, only ¼ th dharma is there, as adharma spreads ¾ of its influence.
In this yuga,
all the four vanas get equal status in doing tapas or in religious activities.
This is how it is explained by sage Narada in urttara khanda of Valmiki Ramayana.
This explanation is given by Narada to Rama in the context of
why a young boy died before 14 years (alpaayuL) in Tretha yuga.
Such an incident could not happen in Tretha yuga
unless the yuga dharma was flouted.
It was found that a person belonging to the 4th
was doing tapasya which was a dharma only in kali yuga
and which was against the yuga dharma of Tretha yuga.
That person was eliminated by Rama as it was his duty to see that
Tretha yuga dharma was maintained.(the dead boy regained life after this)
This is something unacceptable in today’s world.
But we must know how Rama lived.
His yuga dharma was such that
he did not even accept his wife after securing her release from Ravana.
He banished her later, after knowing the mind of his subjects.
We can say that Rama could have as well relinquished his crown
and chosen to live with his wife who was pregnant then.
The same predicament, if it has happened in this Kali yuga,
would have been dealt with in this way only.
We know of a British monarch in waiting,
who gave up his right to the throne to live with his lady-love.
Such an incident is indicative of Kali yuga dharma
but can not happen in Tretha yuga.
Rama could not leave the throne for the sake of his wife.
Instead he and his wife had to do the needful
so that the Throne receives the first born as a blemish-less king.
That was the dharma then.
Yes another dharma of Tretha yuga is that,
the king must be the first born of his father.
It is on this basis only,
Bharatha refused to accept the throne after Rama’s return
and in spite of Rama’s request. (5)
That is also why Sibi,
the ancestor of Rama is not mentioned in the chronicles of Ikshvaku dynasty (6).
It is known from the copper plates of Thirvaalangaadu,
that the Cholas were the descendants of Sibi..
The copper plates reveal the Chola genealogy,
according which, the ancestry was the same for Rama and Cholas until Mandhatha
(mentioned as Mandhathri in the copper plates).
But the lineage differs from then onwards.
It is known from Valmiki Ramayna (6)
That Mandhatha’s son Susandhi had two sons
of whom the first one, Dhruva sandhi took over the reigns
and the lineage continues from him.
There is no mention of the lineage of the second son, Prasenajit.
In the copper plates of Cholas,
the lineage continues with Muchkundha and others
whose descendant was Sibi.
Though there is no mention of Sibi in the Ikshvaku chronicle
described by Vasishta at the time of Rama’s wedding,
Rama mentions Sibi as his ancestor elsewhere in Ramayana.
This is true as he belonged to the Ikshvaku family only.
But he was not of the direct lineage –
that is, in the lineage of the first born,
to be qualified to ascend the throne in Tretha yuga.
But Sibi's ancestors seemed to have got connected with other families
which will be discussed later in the 'No dravidian divide' posts.
This rule about the first born male,
also lends an explanation or rationale for the craving of Dhasharatha for a male child,
though there are indications in Ramayana
that he was not childless
and was already blessed with a female child, called Shantha.
The craving for a male child as the first born for even commoners
can be traced to this rule of Tretha yuga
when yajnas and manthra- based activities were at their peak.
The first son bequeathed the tradition of the family then.
Thus it can be seen that only the first born was given importance
for succeeding the throne.
When so much importance was attached to the King
there is no wonder that Rama stuck to the rule-book of the king.
Rama could not abdicate his responsibility to the throne
for the sake of his wife.
He had to sacrifice his personal life for the sake of the throne.
When he had to be ruthless - even with reference to his beloved wife,
he could not act against the yuga dharma
which did not allow the 3rd or 4th varnas to do tapasya.
But this particular episode (of killing the 4th
has become the whipping stuff
to accuse Hinduism itself.
We accept this accusation as the yuga dharma of Kali!!
Thus we find that yuga is based on yuga dharma.
Saptah rishi mandala as the basis for yugas.
The classification on the basis of yuga dharma
in my understanding is based on Saptha rishi mandala,
of 28,800 years by which time the precession of equinoxes completes one full circle
or in other words,
the movement of the sun’s apparent position as against the zodiac makes one full revolution.
Today the sun is at 6 degrees Pisces
(the intersection of the ecliptic with the celestial equator)
It takes 72 years for the sun to move from one degree to another.
There is information from texts that this point was at Mrigasira.
Balagangadhar Tilak discusses this in his book Orion.
Aithareya Brahmana mentions that this point was at Punarvasu.
There is yet another reference to this point in a yajur veda samhita
that it was at the star Magha.
This means the ayana itself was different then.
What is dakshinayana now was Uttarayana then!
If we calculate the time of this period,
120 (From aries to cancer)+ 24 =144 degrees multiplied by 72.
It gives 10,368 years.
That means 10,368 years ago,
the equinox was at Magam
when those yajur manthras were composed!
This information is provided here to show
that our past that is traced upto more than 10,000 years backwards in history
was marked by equinoctial calculation in the back-drop of the zodiac.
This coincides with the revolution around the saptha rishi mandala.
I can cite two pramanas for this.
One pramana for this is drawn from bhagavad Gita.
At the human level, how did creation proceed?
It is done by the saptha rishis.
“The seven great seers of yore and similarly the four Manus,
all possessing my disposition, were born of My mind.
All these creatures of the world were descended from them” (BG –10-6)
The seven rishis of yore were the Saptha rishis
who were the Manasa puthras of Bhagawan at the beginning of the first Manvanthra.
The Saptha Rishis who are endowed with 7 special gunas
(Vayu purana gives the details) have been spoken of by
the Bhagawan in Shanthi Parvam (Mahabharatha) as those
who have been commanded by Him to do the job of Prajapathi.
The saptha Rishis change in every Manvanthra,
that is, once in every 71 chatur yugas.
A particular set of saptha rishis take care of, supervise, devise rules
and become Gothra-pravarthakas for human race during those 30,67,20,000 years.
If we look at further details in this regard, we are pleasantly surprised to see
some crucial astronomical / cosmic data and connection
with a cycle of a whole lot of generations of mankind.
For simple understanding and for not stretching this write-up too long
to the level of boredom, let me summarise them as follows:
(1) The 7 rishis as we see in the northern sky
seem to rotate around the Pole star (Dhruva) ,
the circle formed by the axis of earth’s rotation due to precession of equinoxes,
encompasses the Saptha rishi mandalam (The Big Bear or Great Dipper).
The 7 rishis of the present Manvanthra are
Vishwamithra, Jamadhagni, Bhradwaja, Gouthama, Athri, Vasishta and Kashyapa
and it is interesting to note that according to texts,
barring Athri and Vasishta, others are not Maanasa puthras of Bhagawan.
Science has so far established that
in spite of individual motion of all these stars in different directions and in different speed,
vasishta (the 6th star in the handle of the dipper) along with the fainter star star Arundhathi
(which is however not a binary),
will seem to remain together,
as seen from the earth for thousands of years to come.
The implication is that Vasishta remains as he is
from the beginning of the 1st manvanthra
when he was created by the sankalpa of the Bahgawan.
(2) By saying that others are not maanasa puthras,
it may be implied that barring these two stars (Athri & Vasishta),
others were formed as second generation or third generation stars,
as how our Sun is a third generation star.
(3)It will be interesting if someone takes up the calculation given in scriptures
and produce computer models which in my opinion would give the precise nature of
how the 4 pole stars within the circle formed by the precession would be replaced,
with the complete shifting of the circle once every 71 chatur yugas,
thereby denoting a new set of Saptharishis
and a new cycle of human evolution and of course
a new place for the planet earth in the back drop of the zodiac etc.
This implies that Dhruva too changes from manvanthra to manvanthra
and it is to be investigated from scriptures whether,
he continues in the next generation of manvanthra too.
If so the new progression will continue to have this nakshathra.
(Again a challenging one for researchers of today,
who can however take clues from our texts.)
If not so, it is implied that repetition of events continue in the new set up too,
(just as saptha rishis etc) and Dhruva’s story may once be enacted.
But only that Dhruva may not be known as Dhruva but by some other name!
(4) Here we don’t consider the 4 Manus for determining this human level yuga cycle.
(In the above quoted verse)
The ‘PurvE chatwara:’ as mentioned by Bhagawan are the 4 purva rishis of ‘
namely, Sanaka, Sanandhana, Sanaadhana and Sanathkumara
whose job had been earmarked as reviving and giving the world (mankind)
the Athma jnana when it disappears during pralaya.
(5) The verse also tells about ‘manava:’
or the 14 Manus and we exclude them too for they too have been entrusted
with lesser tasks than the saptha rishis.
(6) Further on it is said by Bahgawan that other entities such as
Indra, manu-kumaras etc also change in each manvanthra.
But the crucial information for our exploration
that who is responsible for the propagation, sustenance etc of each manvanthra
is replied as ‘saptha rishis’.
This is made out in other puranas too by explaining their 7 gunas and the 6 jobs they do.
Now coming to the second pramana for yuga classification at human level,
Vedic astronomy speaks about
cycles of 28,800 years of precession of equinoxes
when the saptha rishis move around the 4 Dhruvas.
This is equivalent to the revolution of the sun around the zodiac
which is roughly equivalent to 360 X 72 = 25,920. (sandhi added makes it 28,800)
The zodiac determines the life and works of people
and the way karma has to take shape,
according to astrology.
It mirrors the life of human kind and therefore
it becomes the basis for yuga dharma and yuga.
The classification of Maha yugas,
namely the split up of the 4 yugas in the ratio 4:3:2:1 with a corresponding avathara of the Lord
(4 in Krutha yuga, 3 in Threta yuga, 2 in dwapara yuga and 1 in Kali yuga or in other words,
the Lord taking an avathara once every 10th of the total years of the of 4 yugas)
perfectly applies to this 28,800 year cycle of the zodiac.
The avathars are referred in the context of zodiac and other astrological features only.
Every religious activity,
every act of good and bad or a mix of good and bad
are guided by the zodiac map at any given time.
And every janma and marana had reference to a point in the zodiac.
Even the birth of river
There is every reason to say that the zodiac was related to yuga dharma
which defines yugas.
Looking at the cycles of yugas,
there is perfect symmetry.
There are 15 cycles of 28,800 years in the Kali maha yuga of 4,32,000 years
and 150 cycles in the entire Chatur yuga.
For 1 manvanthra it is 150 x 71.
In other words, 28,800 year cycle forms the basic unit of the whole classification.
Since every cycle is supposed to have 2 sides, like day and night,
white ( swetha varaha in sankalpa sloka) and black
(is the night kalpa of the manvanthra known as
positive and negative vibrations, progression and pralaya etc,
let us divide this period into 2.
Then we arrive at the figure 14,400 which is nothing but 120 times 120.
This once again sounds interesting and mystic too,
in that the average life span of a man as covered by the influence of the 9 planets is 120
The basic unit of this 120 years is 60 starting from Prabahva etc
and ending with Akshaya.
Siddhanthas of astrology talk about this 60 year duration.
The naming also has been found in siddhanthas
but it is not known who had done the naming.
While the solar years start from Prabhava, the Guru’s round ‘Brihaspathya mana’
start with Vijaya year, according to Surya siddhnatha.
This also covers only 60 years.
It is interesting to note that this 60 year division has no COSMIC basis.
The sun covers one degree in 72 years, not in 60 years.
The 60 years are connected with some aspect of life and dharma
as signified by the names they are assigned with.
The meaning conveyed by the name of each year indicates the nature of that year.
From Siddhanthic astrology
it is also known that this 60 year period is divided into
3 parts of 20 years each,
with each part standing for dharma at utthama (supreme) level,
mid 20 years with medium dharma
and the last 20 years with athama dharma (inferior)
By Yuga rationale 60 + 60 make one round.
That is why the 61st birth day is celebrated with ayush homa
as though the person is reborn.
The 60+60= 120 becomes the basis of next level of reckoning.
In 120 years, 3 generations come to live –
the three generations which are capable of influencing a person,
by means of vasu, rudra and adhithya (details in previous posts).
120 times 120 makes one half of this saptha rishi mandala cycle,
which is equivalent to 14,400 years.
14,400 + 14,400 years make one yuga cycle
which is exactly the duration taken by the sun to complete one revolution
around the zodiac.
The zodiac is the measuring scale for events and for karma theory
to get manifested in an individual’s life, as per astrology.
So I perceive this rotation of the sun around the zodiac,
which is nothing but the revolution made by earth’s axis
around the pole star in the sky
as the basis of yugas for Human life span and events in human life.
As per the calculation I had given in the previous post on the basis of this,
human activity started in the year 16,062 BC.
Prior to that there was no notable human activity.
This period coincides with the end of Ice age.
The period of human activity
will reach its slump in the year AD 12,738.
This will be followed by a period of
anthakaara or darkness or calamity for 14,400 years.
After that a new round of human activity will begin.
Another round of avatharas and Rama and
will be coming back again to establish dharma!
Ram Sethu will be built again and
Kurukshethra will be fought again.
Names may wary but yuga dharma will be the same!
But since the current period is Kali yuga at cosmic scale,
a steady deterioration in human affairs
might be noticed even in those future human yugas!
The split up of yugas in the zodiac based / saptha rishi mandala based system
in the ratio 4:3:2:1 (explained in the previous post) will be like this:-
On the ascending side of the yugas,
Krutha yuga started in 16,062 BC
Thretha yuga started in 10,302 BC
Dwapara yuga started in 5982 BC
and Kali yuga in 3102 BC.
On the descending side,
from 1662 BC to 4098 AD satya yuga,
from 4098 AD to 8418 AD Thretha yuga,
from 8418 AD to 11,298 AD Dwapara yuga
from11,298 AD to 12,738 AD Kali yuga.
The cycle also ends.
the rotation of the sun around the zodiac also ends.
The first of the 4 pole stars come in place.
(1) Purusha sookhtham which says that Purusha has the roopam or appearance of nakshathras / stars – “nakshathraaNi roopam”
(2) Srimad Bhagavatha (
(3) Srimad bhagavatham – canto 1.
(4) Utthara khandam of Valmiki Ramayana – chapter 13 & 14
(5) Yuddha khandam -131
(6) Balakhanda of Valmiki Ramayana – sarga - 70