Ancient Wisdom on the Cycle of Time: It isn’t hard to recognize that even though we live on a planet that surrounds us with beauty, that there is a lot of darkness happening within humanity. The ancient Sanskrit teachings understood that civilization goes through distinct cycles of creation and destruction. Native traditions have similar stories to describe different ages of humanity as well. It can be easy to lose hope sometimes, but there many possibilities for spiritual growth and awakening during this time. Let’s look at the bigger picture knowing that the warm glow of dawn always follows the coldest, darkest moments of the night.
What is a Yuga?
The ancients understood time as a circle, not linear, and the circle of ages are known as the yoga’s. Like the four seasons in our year, there are four yoga’s in the full cycle (Mahayuga). Each cycle has distinct themes and spiritual lessons for humanity. Below are the four yugas in order from beginning to end. It is important to note that the first yuga is the longest with each one getting successively shorter (4:3:2:1) until the cycle starts again.
The ancients understood time as a circle.
Satya Yuga: First we see the time of truth and perfection, which thankfully lasts four tenths of the cycle. These humans are honest, youthful, vigorous, and virtuous. Everyone is happy, and religions live as one. Disease in non-existent, as is fear. Those living through this part of the cycle are gifted with abundance through the land, along with great weather.
Treta Yuga: The second Yuga lasts for three tenths of the cycle. Unfortunately, this is where human virtue begins to fall away. Leaders gain more dominance, causing wars to rise. As if to reflect the state of humanity, the weather also moves to more extremes. It is unsurprising that people’s health begins to lessen in this part of the cycle.
Dvapara Yuga: The third Yuga lasts for two tenths of the cycle. During this time, people become more sluggish and slow, many aren’t as strong as their ancestors, and the number of diseases increases. Becoming discontent with their lives, humans fight each other. This could possibly be because maturity decreases, with some people still possessing characteristics of youth in old age.
Kali Yuga: The final age lasts only one tenth of the cycle, however, that is certainly long enough as it is the age of darkness and ignorance. People slide further down the path of dishonesty, with virtue being of little value. Passions become uncontrollable as unrestrained sexual indulgences and manipulations run through society. Liars and hypocrites rise. Important knowledge is lost and scriptures become less and less common. The human diet is now ‘dirty’, and people are not even close to being as powerful as their ancestors in the Satya Yuga. Likewise, the once pristine environment is now polluted. Water and food become scarce, as do family bonds.
Other cultural descriptions of the time cycles
The ancient Greeks called these four ages of human civilization the Age of Gold, Silver, Bronze, and the Age of Iron.
The Phoenix always rises from the ashes of its predecessor.
The Hopi tribe believe that a cycle when humans head and heart are disconnected (Fourth World of Separation) is followed by an era when they are in harmony (Fifth World of Peace).
The Lakota believe that the birth of a White Buffalo in 1994 signified a time of great healing and unification around the world.
The Pan-American prophecy of the Eagle and Condor speaks of the re-uniting of the tribes through sacred wisdom and power.
For as much darkness as one might see in the wor