Rise Above the Times
Ages of the World
According to the Shastras (teachings of metaphysics passed down through the millennium) there are four Ages, which are called YUGAS. The first Age is called Satya Yuga, the second is Treta Yuga, the next is Dwapara Yuga, and the last Age is called Kali Yuga. The entire cycle of four Yugas is called a Chaturyugi.
The approximate length (rounded to the nearest quarter million years) of each Age is as follows: Satya Yuga is about 1.75 million years; Treta Yuga is about 1.25 million years; Dwapara Yuga is about .75 million years; Kali Yuga is about .5 million years. Thus, one Chaturyugi equals approximately 4.25 million years.
The Cosmic Day and Night
The Ages, or epochs of time, follow one another, over and over again, from the time of the Creation until the Destruction of the world. The period of time from the moment of Creation until the Destruction of the world is called a single Cosmic Day, and the period of time that passes before the next Day is called a Cosmic Night. The Cosmic Day lasts for a period of 1000 Chaturyugis, and the Cosmic Night is of the same length. Thus, a Cosmic Day equals approximately 4.25 billion years, after which there is an intermission of 4.25 billion years of non-existence, or Cosmic Night. The Cosmic Night is then followed by another Cosmic Day, and the process goes on repeating itself forever.
Note: the prevailing view of many Shastris (scholars of the Shastras) is that the period of 1000 Chaturyugis, or roughly 4.25 billions years, is the period of the existence of the entire Universe. However, this does not seem to coincide with the findings of modern science. This period of time may actually refer to the age of our Solar System, and since our ‘world’ is really (from the perspective of ‘hands-on’ experience) limited by the vastness of time and space to our single solar system, one could argue that the Yugas pertain to this ‘world’ only, that is, to our ‘solar world’ comprised of the Sun and its planets.*@ Our Earth is not necessarily the only, or first, or last inhabitable planet in our solar world. Also, our solar world is only one of many, many solar worlds. Within our galaxy (the Milky Way) there are millions of other ‘solar worlds,’ and within our universe there are billions of other galaxies and trillions of ‘solar worlds’.
Alternatively, it may refer to our Galaxy.
* Alternatively, it may refer to our Galaxy.
Then again, it may indeed refer to the entire Universe. For example,
since the calculations of modern day scientists are based on the premise
that the speed of light is a constant, using speed of light as the basis
for calculating the age of the Universe, the age varies widely from
10 to 20 billion years or more. Thus, a galaxy that is, for instance,
15 billion light years away, may in fact no longer even exist. Why?
Because the light from that galaxy has taken 15 billion years to reach
our eyes, the galaxy may have disappeared 10 billion years ago, but
we will continue to see the galaxy for another 5 billion years. Now,
it is possible that all the different galaxies that we see outside of
our galaxy no longer exist at all! Perhaps they are the record of previous
Creations. This idea is certainly far-fetched, but no more far-fetched
than the far reaching, apparently limitless, boundary of the Cosmos.
@ Then again, it may indeed refer to the entire Universe. For example, since the calculations of modern day scientists are based on the premise that the speed of light is a constant, using speed of light as the basis for calculating the age of the Universe, the age varies widely from 10 to 20 billion years or more. Thus, a galaxy that is, for instance, 15 billion light years away, may in fact no longer even exist. Why? Because the light from that galaxy has taken 15 billion years to reach our eyes, the galaxy may have disappeared 10 billion years ago, but we will continue to see the galaxy for another 5 billion years. Now, it is possible that all the different galaxies that we see outside of our galaxy no longer exist at all! Perhaps they are the record of previous Creations. This idea is certainly far-fetched, but no more far-fetched than the far reaching, apparently limitless, boundary of the Cosmos.
any case, without a doubt, the boundary of the visible world is the
invisible, and the boundary of the invisible is the Supreme Consciousness
which is boundless (Aseem).
In any case, without a doubt, the boundary of the visible world is the invisible, and the boundary of the invisible is the Supreme Consciousness which is boundless (Aseem).
Seasons of Time
In some ways, the four Ages can be compared to seasons of time. If we consider that there are four seasons in a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter), we could correlate these seasons to the four Yugas, with Spring being the equivalent of Satya Yuga and Kali Yuga the equivalent of Winter. As spring follows winter, Satya Yuga follows Kali Yuga.
Age of Darkness?
Satya Yuga is called the Golden Age, or the Age of Truth. Kali Yuga is called the Age of Darkness. Many people consider Kali Yuga to be the period of time when people are the most foolish, stupid, and even wicked. They say that during this Age, people are the least evolved spiritually, and that the innate powers of the soul are buried beneath the materialistic nature. But this is only half the picture: and half-truth is NOT the Truth. The truth is that everyone is always WHOLE—every soul is complete. There are no part-time souls: we are always essentially what we really are, regardless of the changing circumstances or changing times.
The soul is like a diamond: in Satya Yuga the diamond is set in a beautiful gold setting; in Treta Yuga it is placed in a silver one; in Dwapara Yuga it is set in a bronze setting, and later in an iron one; and now, in Kali Yuga, the iron setting has rusted away and the diamond has fallen to the ground and has become completely buried in the mud. But even when buried in mud, the diamond of the soul is still priceless and its essential glory remains forever untarnished.
We should think always in positive terms, especially now in this Age. This Kali Yuga is the most challenging, and that’s why we were born during this time, because we are ready to meet the challenge and manifest the unfathomable glory of our ATMA (Soul). This Kali Yuga presents a rare opportunity for each of us to realize fully the power that is latent within us.
A Drama of the Mind
The Ages of the World are the screen upon which the light of the soul seems to be dancing. The light is always shining, and it is only the shadows that we see cast on the screen. In this Age we have the most contrast (between good and evil) because the veil of Ignorance is very thick. But unless we focus, we will not see clearly and may easily mistake the unreal for the real, falsehood for Truth, and the meaningless for the meaningful.
For example, some people give the Yugas far more significance than what they deserve. They become entrenched in so-called metaphysical knowledge but have very little practical know-how with regard to living a meaningful and fruitful life. The truth is that just as one’s ‘age’ has more to do with one’s mental attitude than with the age of one’s body, so too the Age or ‘times’ in which we live have more to do with our state of mind than with the state of the world in which we live.
In fact, the world we live in is a projection of our own mind only. The more we change, the more we see the changes in the world around us. On the other hand, if we are complacent and live in mental stagnation, we also see the whole world as being in a similar state. If we are mean and miserable, we will likely also view the whole world as mean and miserable. If we are unjust to ourselves, we will see injustice everywhere.
If we want to bring about ‘Ram Raj,’ then we should become Ram-like. If we want to live in a Golden Age, then all we need to do is live by the Golden Rule and ‘Do Unto Others as We Would Have Others Do Unto Us.’
Supposedly this Golden Rule is more difficult to practice in these so-called Dark Times. But this is just not true. It is never difficult to do what is right; it is only difficult to keep covering up our wrongs and making believe that what we are doing is right. In one’s heart everyone knows right from wrong; we all have an innate ability to sense Truth from Falsehood, but the problem is that we have lost touch with our real self and have become caught up in the shadows of our mind.
These shadows are the not the Real Self. The shadows of doubt, despair, anxiety, frustration, annoyance, and so on and so forth, only exist because our ego is in the way. When ego is removed from the mind, all we see (as real) is the Light of Consciousness. The same Light is shining in all the seasons, in all the ages of life, and in all the ages of the World.
The Dark Cloud Has a Silver Lining
The saying goes that “the dark cloud has a silver lining.” We should keep in mind that the Age of Darkness, or Kali Yuga, has a golden lining, because it is Kali Yuga that ushers in the Golden Age. From the very commencement of Kali Yuga things have been getting better and will continue to get better until the Golden Age, or Satya Yuga is brought about. You could even say that the pinnacle of excellence is attained in Kali Yuga and that the highest point of that achievement has been designated as the start of Satya Yuga. From that point onward there is a slow and very gradual decline until the end of Dwapara Yuga is reached, which (in this present cycle of things) was marked by the death of Yogiraj Shri Krishna following the Mahabharat War.
Consider for a moment the state of the world just prior to the commencement of Kali Yuga. All one needs to do is to read about some of the events associated with the Mahabharat War which took place approximately 5000 years ago at the end of Dwapara Yuga:
Now, when even the noblest of people acted openly in this way, how can anyone not accept that those days were in deed the very darkest of times. The Mahabharat War which followed some 14 years later, resulted in the destruction of the few remaining truly noble people who were alive at that time. Dharma (or the Knowledge and Practice of one’s Real Nature) was buried in the ashes of that War, and what little knowledge remained was scattered and fragmented. Kali Yuga had begun.
In time, fragments of that Knowledge were used as the basis for the formation of the different religions and philosophies that have cropped up over the last 5000 years. Though many of the religions and philosophies were improvements in the conditions prevailing at the time, this fragmented knowledge cannot solve the problems that we face today, nor can it ever give lasting solace to those who seek Salvation, or Total Freedom. We cannot realize the whole Truth by believing in the half-truths.
The Truth Will Set Us Free—It is not the Golden Age That Will Set Us Free
It has been said that “the Truth will set you free.” To this we need to add, ‘the half-truth will only bind you to your images.’ This is the problem we face today in the world: the religions of the world propagate the half-truth and perpetuate Ignorance by ignoring or rejecting the whole Truth. Ignorance is the root of suffering, and few people are really removing the root. The only way to remove the root of ignorance is to embrace the Truth. Embracing the Truth has nothing to do with clinging to our images of truth, or our images of God, or our images of our religion.
Don’t Wait For Better Times
If a human being is truly imageless and free of falsehood, that human being will be open to the truth no matter which corner of the globe it comes from. The Vedas tell us: “Let the Truth come from all corners of the world.”
Wisdom is universal, it is not the brainchild of some prophet or some philosopher. Wisdom is not limited to any place or time. Now is the time to know the Truth, and there is no better time than NOW.
The ages of Time will continue to cycle over and over, again and again. The seasons will come and go. The body will grow old and die one day. We have lived before, and we will live again. But how we are living NOW is what counts the most. Only NOW is guaranteed to us, only NOW is for certain. NOW is a ‘sure thing’. We can only be sure about NOW, and NOW is what we make it.
Our fate is fashioned by ourselves, it is NOT fashioned by the times in which we live. Our fate is determined by how we spend our time. If we spend our time in the waves of our mind we are going to go up and down with those waves. If we rise above the waves of our mind, our mind will not disturb us, it will not distract us, it will not excite us, and it will not destroy us.
Become the Shining Light
The Age of Darkness is over the moment we embrace the inner Light. Only the light of Consciousness can remove our ignorance. When we remove our ignorance we become the Shining Light and that light enlightens the whole world.