Difference Between Sat-yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapar-yuga & Kali-yuga


What makes Sat-yuga auspicious and Kali-yuga abominable?

How to differentiate between the four yugas?   The following verses quoted from Bhagvad Puran describe the difference.

Presented here is the exact translation of the verses for our reference.


Differences based on the decline of four pillars of religion: Truth, Mercy, Austerity & Charity.

Sat-yuga

SB 12.3.18 — Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, in the beginning, during Satya-yuga, the age of truth, religion is present with all four of its legs intact and is carefully maintained by the people of that age. These four legs of powerful religion are truthfulness, mercy, austerity and charity.
SB 12.3.19 — The people of Satya-yuga are for the most part self-satisfied, merciful, friendly to all, peaceful, sober and tolerant. They take their pleasure from within, see all things equally and always endeavor diligently for spiritual perfection.

Treta-yuga

SB 12.3.20 — In Tretā-yuga each leg of religion is gradually reduced by one quarter by the influence of the four pillars of irreligion — lying, violence, dissatisfaction and quarrel.
SB 12.3.21 — In the Tretā age people are devoted to ritual performances and severe austerities. They are not excessively violent or very lusty after sensual pleasure. Their interest lies primarily in religiosity, economic development and regulated sense gratification, and they achieve prosperity by following the prescriptions of the three Vedas. Although in this age society evolves into four separate classes, O King, most people are brāhmaṇas.



Dvapar-yuga

SB 12.3.22 — In Dvāpara-yuga the religious qualities of austerity, truth, mercy and charity are reduced to one half by their irreligious counterparts — dissatisfaction, untruth, violence and enmity.
SB 12.3.23 — In the Dvāpara age people are interested in glory and are very noble. They devote themselves to the study of the Vedas, possess great opulence, support large families and enjoy life with vigor. Of the four classes, the kṣatriyas and brāhmaṇas are most numerous.



Kali-yuga

SB 12.3.24 — In the Age of Kali only one fourth of the religious principles remains. That last remnant will continuously be decreased by the ever-increasing principles of irreligion and will finally be destroyed.
SB 12.3.25 — In the Kali age people tend to be greedy, ill-behaved and merciless, and they fight one another without good reason. Unfortunate and obsessed with material desires, the people of Kali-yuga are almost all śūdras and barbarians




Differences based on the reduction of satv-gun and increase in rajas-gun and tamas-gun.


(To know more about the three gunas visit Satva, Rajas & Tamas Gun.)
  

SB 12.3.26 — The material modes — goodness, passion and ignorance (satva, rajas & tamas) — whose permutations are observed within a person’s mind, are set into motion by the power of time.                                                           

SB 12.3.27 — When the mind, intelligence and senses are solidly fixed in the mode of goodness (satv-gun), that time should be understood as Sat-yuga, the age of truth. People then take pleasure in knowledge and austerity.


SB 12.3.28 — O most intelligent one, when the conditioned souls are devoted to their duties but have ulterior motives and seek personal prestige, you should understand such a situation to be the age of Tretā, in which the functions of passion (rajas-gun) are prominent.


SB 12.3.29 — When greed, dissatisfaction, false pride, hypocrisy and envy become prominent, along with attraction for selfish activities, such a time is the age of Dvāpara, dominated by the mixed modes of passion (rajas-gun) and ignorance (tamas-gun).



SB 12.3.30 — When there is a predominance of cheating, lying, sloth, sleepiness, violence, depression, lamentation, bewilderment, fear and poverty, that age is Kali, the age of the mode of ignorance (tamas-gun).





Conclusion

The four yugas are differentiated on the basis of decline in four principles of religion and subsequent slide in qualities of mass of people as described by three gunas.

The following two charts explain these


FOUR LEGS OF RELIGION
Sat-yuga
Treta- yuga
Dvapar- yuga
Kali- yuga
Corresponding irreligion increases
TRUTHFULNESS
100%
75%
50%
25%
lying
MERCY
100%
75%
50%
25%
violence
AUSTERITY
100%
75%
50%
25%
dissatisfaction
CHARITY
100%
75%
50%
25%
Quarrel, enmity




Sat-yuga
Treta-yuga
Dvapar-yuga
Kali-yuga
GUN / QUALITY OF PEOPLE

Satva-gun
Rajas-gun
Rajas & Tamas- gun
Tamas-gun
PURPOSE OF WORK
People then take pleasure in knowledge and austerity.

Duties with ulterior motives and seek personal prestige,
Greed, dissatisfaction, false pride, hypocrisy, envy& attraction for selfish activities

Cheating, lying, sloth, sleepiness, violence, depression, lamentation, bewilderment, fear and poverty,
VARNA OF PEOPLE
People endeavor diligently for spiritual perfection
Society evolves into four separate classes but, most people are brāhmaṇas

Kṣatriyas and brāhmaṇas are most numerous.

Mostly śūdras and barbarians



 To see prediction on age of Kali as described in Bhagvad Puran :People in Kali-yuga.

 To see quality of kings in the age of Kali as described in Bhagvad Puran :Kings of Kali-yuga.


_________ XXX __________


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Rajeev Gupta
Delhi, India
Management teacher by profession, I follow the Vaishnav Tradition of Hinduism as a path to liberation. By blogging I try to develop interest in Indian spirituality & culture.