Brahma has four heads from which He spoke the four vedas – the Rig Veda, Yaju Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. When the three guna (Satva, Rajas and Tamas) manifest, they do so in a combination such that either one of the three predominates or they are in a confused proportion where neither predominates. This results in four types of ‘Guna manifestation’ as explained by Parasara in his monumental classic Brhat Parasara Hora Shastra.
The four-fold division is based on these four faces of Brahma and the four types of signs as Fire, Water, Air and Earth which manifest as Uttama, Madhyama, Udasena and Adhama Guna. Time is accordingly divided into the four types of Kreta (4), Treta (3), Dvapara (2) and Kali (1) respectively.
The basic quantum of time is 120 years which is the Param Ayus of the Human birth (Parasara gives the exact figure of 120 Years & 5 days, but we stick to the round figure of 120 years for the preliminary understanding). As explained earlier, this is also two cycles (Aaroha or increasing and Avaroha or decreasing quality of time) of Jupiter & Saturn of 60 years each. This is also a Kali (literally ONE) Chakra. Dwapara( Literally TWO) Chakra is 240 Years, Treta(literally THREE) Chakra is 360 Years and Kreta(literally FOUR) Chakra is 480 Years.
By adding all these four Chakra, we get a Maha Chakra of 1200 Years. (120+240+360+480=1200). Thus, Kali (ONE) Maha Chakra is 1200 Years, Dwapara (TWO) MahaChakra is 2400 years, Treta (THREE) Mahachakra is 3600 years and Kreta (FOUR) Mahachakra is 4800 years.
By adding all these four mahä chakra, we get a daiva chakra of 12000 Years. (1200+2400+3600+4800=12000). As the name implies, the daiva indicates the luminous ones (Sun & Moon) and we again come to the ahoratra (hora) concept where we have one aroha (increasing) cycle and one avaroha (decreasing) cycle of 12000 years each to give the period of 24,000 years.
Thereafter, 18 ahoratra of the daiva chakra or 36 daiva chakra form a yuga of 4,32,000 Years. This number is based on the drekkana division ruled by the maharishi’s (3×12=36). Thus, kali (one) yuga is 4,32,000 Years, dwapara (two) Yuga is 8,64,000 years, treta (three) yuga is 12,96,000 years and kreta (four) yuga is 17,28,000 years. The yuga chakra is the sum total of these four yuga which is 43,20,000 years.
अतो धर्माणि धारयन्॥
trīṇi padā vi cakrame viṣṇurgopā adābhyaḥ |
ato dharmāṇi dhārayan || Rig Veda
The spiritual meaning (Veda) of this Gayatri from the Rig Veda can be studied from the works of Sri Dayananda Saraswati & Aurobindo. I can only attempt one lower level (vedanga) jyotish interpretation where ” The bha-chakra or zodiac is divided into three parts called the nabhi or navel (occurring in the junction between the water and fire signs). These are the vishnu-nabhi and brahma (gopa) nabhi at the two levels of daiva chakra and chakra respectively. It is on the basis of this inviolable principle that Dharma is established.
On the basis of this we can define two pada.
First, on the basis of the Vishnu nabhi, is the daiva-pada where three daiva chakra are included to give 36,000 Years. Since at this level, Vishnu is one of the 12 Aditya’s (Sun’s or Diva or Daiva), the 12 Aditya’s give 12 Daiva-Pada’s of 36,000 years each which is equal to one yuga (36,000 x 12 = 4,32,000 years).
Second, on the basis of the Brahma Nabhi, is the Chakra-Pada where three Chakra’s of 120 years each are included to form a Daiva-Varsha or the popularly known “Year of the Gods” of 360 years.
kali (one) yuga is 1200 daiva-varsha,
dwapara (two) yuga is 2400 daiva-varsha,
treta (three) yuga is 3600 daiva-varsha and
kreta (four) yuga is 4800 daiva-varsha .
By adding all these four yuga, we get a Maha yuga of 12000 daiva-varsha or 4,320,000 Earth years. (1200+2400+3600+4800=12000).
One thousand Mahayuga are equal to one Kalpa. Thus, the Kalpa is the basic Vedic Cosmic cycle equal to 12,000,000 Daiva Varsha or 4,320,000,000 Earth years. This is also called the “Day of Brahma”. The “Night of Brahma” is of equal length to the “Day of Brahma”. Thus, the Ahoratra (Day & Night) of Brahma is 24 Million Daiva-Varsha or 8,640 Million earth Years. The Year of Brahma is 360 such days & nights thereby equal to 8640 Million Daiva-Varsha or 3,110,400 Million Earth years (or say 3.11 Trillion Earth Years). The Life of Brahma is said to be 100 such years of Brahma and is 8,64,000 Million Daiva Varsha or 311,040,000 Million Earth years (or say 311 Trillion Earth years). Thereafter Nirvikalpa Pralaya (complete dissolution of all worlds) occurs followed by the creation of another Brahma from the Navel of Narayana.
Material creation is the natural activity of Brahma during the Diva-kalpa (Day of Brahma)and material dissolution called Naimittika Pralaya (whereby the entire Universe is withdrawn into Him where it exists as a potentiality) followed by sleep is the activity in Ratri-kalpa (Night of Brahma). Brahma creates these material worlds due to yoga (union) with all the “Rasa’s”.[The spiritual concept (Veda) of all the Rasa’s is “Sa-Rasa-Wati” or the Divine Mother “Saraswati” whereas the Jyotish concept (Vedanga) is of the seven Rasa’s (of the Saptamsa or D-7 Chart) repeating in two cycles of odd and even signs thereby causing fourteen yoga’s of Brahma and Saraswati. These seven Rasa’s come from the seven planets from Sun to Saturn having physical bodies and Rahu & Ketu are excluded as they do not have any material body].
Thus, each Manvantara, which is the Yoga of Brahma with one of the Rasa’s, is for one-fourteenth the period of the Kalpa which is approximately 71 Mahayuga’s. The period of a Manvantara equal to 852,000 Daiva-Varsha (i.e 71×12000= 852,000) or 306,720,000 Earth years. Fourteen such Manvantara give the total period of 119,288,000 Daiva Varsha (i.e. 14x 852,000= 119,228,000) or 4,294,080,000 Earth years whereas that of the Kalpa is 12,000,000 Daiva Varsha or 4,320,000,000 Earth years. This leaves a gap of 72,000 Daiva-varsha between the 14 Manvantara. There are twelve gaps or period of dissolution of the animate world (the inanimate world continues to exist as Brahma is awake) between these fourteen Manvantara with each gap equal to 6000 Diva-varsha. Manu is the progenitor of the human race and a Manu appears at the begining of each Manvantara. We are presently, in the seventh Manvantara of the Kalpa started by Manu Vaivasvata. Thus, he is our penultimate forefather as far as this material existence is concerned.
Doomsday or Golden Age from 2000 AD
There is no doom. Sri Achyutu Dasa the direct disciple of Sri Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has stated in a stanza about India that “from 1300 AD to 2000 AD India shall suffer dasatwa or bondage. Towards the end, this will begin to break and from 2000 AD Satya Sanätana will be established.” Thus, when we are going to see a very glorious phase beginning 2000 AD, I cannot agree with those predictions about Doom. Later Sri Achyuta adds that this will be done by the strength or people of Baladeva (Sri Balaram, the elder brother of Bhagawan). Now, we can only speculate here.
There seems to be some confusion about understanding of the Yuga cycles. This is so because of the lack of appretiation of the “Sankalpha” done at the begining of the prayers. The day of Brahma is called “Kalpha” from which the word “Sankalpha” is derived. Kalpha also means Lagna. Hence Brahma controls longevity. In the day there is “Leela” and in the Night, the universe is withdrawn and exists as a potentiality. This Kalpha is about 4320 Million years and 360 such Brahma days make a Brahma Year. Now, Brahma’s life is for 100 such years (followed by a dissolution called Prakrittika Mahapralaya) and it is believed that Brahma is in His 51st Year. The Kalpha is divided into 14 Manvantaras of which we are in the 7th called Manu Vaivasvata. Each Manvantara is for 306,720,000 years with gaps between the manvantara’s in any Kalpha. Each Manvantara is further subdivided into 71 Mahayuga (approx.) as 1000 Mahayuga make one Kalpha. Each Mahayuga is further divided into four Yuga’s called Krta (Four), Treta (Three), Dvapara (Two) and Kali (One) of lengths 4800, 3600, 2400 and 1200 “YEARS OF THE GODS”. Here the years of the Gods refers to the Sun as Deva is derived from Diva (Light) and the Sun is also called Divakara. This is where the error creeps in i.e. the interpretation of the term “year of the gods”. While this is generally accepted as the motion of the sun in one day, some have equated this to one year of human life. Thus, they misrepresent the periods as 4800, 3600, 2400 and 1200 human years instead.
The Manu Smriti has stated that “a day of the gods is equal to a year in human life” . This is also the reason why I have been requesting the Software programmers to calculate the dasa-antar and other smaller periods correctly on the basis of the Actual solar transit of 360 Degrees with fluctuations in one year instead of interpolating on the figure of 365.25 days as a lot of approximation creeps in. Another blunder is to equate the year of the Gods blindly to 360 human years on the approximate basis of 1 Degree transit of the Sun per day when we know this to be 365.25 solar days This is how another doubt of 360 days instead of 365.25 days per year has crept in.
Start of Kali
The dating of the Kali yuga is the vexed question. Tradition accepts this as 3102 BC, whereas others relying on the other factors give 900 BC or 600 BC etc. How do we resolve this?
Not going into other considerations, the 60 Year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn is considered very significant. The Yuga of Kali of 1200 Years of the Gods can be sub-divided into four sub-periods of 480, 360, 240 and 120 years of the Gods. WE can again divide this into sub-sub-periods…and so on. Now, Two such cycles of Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aries maybe called a “Chakra” with the first cycle called as Avaroha and the second as Aaroha. Thus the smallest measure of quality of time or “Chakra” is 120 solar years. These Chakras can again be grouped as Krta (Four Chakra), Treta (three Chakra), Dvapara (Two Chakra) and Kali (one Chakra) having periods of 480, 360, 240 and 120 solar years each and the MahaChakra will be for 1200 solar years. According to Sri Achyuta Dasa, the “Dasatwa (Bondage) of India ends in 2000 AD” showing that the Kali Chakra of 120 years that started in 1880 AD is to end in 2000 AD when Jupiter & Saturn are to conjoin in Aries again. Thus, this MahaChakra must have started 1200 years back in 800 AD. Further, the KrtaChakra should have been from 800 AD to 1280 AD and during this period the best temples were built and the finest literature produced. This was the golden age of India. After this, TretaChakra was from 1280 to 1640 AD during which we find that Satwa declines and strife increases. The Dasatva (Bondage) of India begins as invaders came to rule and Muslim dynasty’s are set up in India. DvaparaChakra was from 1640 to 1880 when the British directly ruled India under the Crown. With the advent of KaliChakra (1880 to 2000 AD), the fight for freedom begins in the form of revival of religion etc. Strife is at its highest and has gone to the villages as well. The main theme in India, the most spiritual Land, is still peace or a peaceful approach to freedom in the Aaroha (Increasing) portion of 60 years (1880 to 1940 AD) whereas in the Avaroha portion 1940 to 2000 AD even Mahatma Gandhi takes a war-like posture in the Quit India resolution of 1942.
The KaliChakra (1880 to 2000 AD) has seen the development of the most powerful weapons for mass destruction as well as their use. Next year, the entire cycle changes and another MahaChakra of 1200 Years begins with a KretaChakra (2000 to 2480 AD) and once again, the temples will be built, literature will flourish and a lot of good will happen on this planet. Sri Achyuta Dasa, the pride of the Tradition of Orissa and the Direct Disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has left such brilliant Gems in Oriya Prose and I hope to translate them properly for the benefit of all jyotish.