The Cycle of the Yugas

The cycle of the yugas is an aspect of natural law that transcends the individual human being, since it describes a spiralling cycle of evolution that spans 24,000 years*. The yugas are a tradition in India that goes back millennia and Sri Yukteswar included an explanation of the yuga cycle in his book ‘The Holy Science’, inspired by Mahavatar Babiji, a revolutionary book that combines vedic tradition with insights born from self-realization.

* I am using the system brought forward by Sri Yukteswar as it resonates the most with what I observe in the world, but there are other interpretations of the yugas taken from the vedas, which use much larger spans where one cycle is approximately 4.3 million years.

Sri Yukteswar Giri (1855-1936) was a Kriya Yogi, a Jyotisha (vedic astrologer), a scholar of the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible, an educator, an astronomer and guru to Paramahansa Yogananda who wrote Auto-biography of a Yogi.

In The Holy Science, Sri Yukteswar describes a cycle of human evolution, called the cycle of the yugas, or ages. The complete cycle is made up of an ascending arc, and a descending arc, each lasting 12,000 years. In the ascending arc of 12,000 years, humankind evolves through four distinct ages, reaches a peak of development, and then undergoes a loss of awareness diminishing through the four ages, in reverse order, in another 12,000 years of the descending arc. Thus, in the course of 24,000 years, humanity as a whole rises in knowledge and awareness, and again falls, in a cycle that occurs again and again. The cycle is comprised of 4 types of yuga (epoch) and each yuga represents a span of time when a specific quality of consciousness is available to humanity as a whole.

  • The Satya Yuga or Golden Age, the first and best yuga described as the age of truth and perfection

  • The Treta Yuga or Silver Age, an age where virtue diminishes slightly and people are less conscious than their predecessors

  • The Dwapara Yuga or Bronze Age, where humanity is affected by imbalance and negativity

  • The Kali Yuga or Iron Age, the age of ignorance and darkness

Note that in the above diagram the present day in the sign of Virgo relates to the sign rising on the ecliptic at the autumn equinox as the ancients used to do. These days we use the spring equinox, and the sign would be Pisces, and approaching the coming age of Aquarius.

The yugas are not all the same length in time as one might expect, with the Satya yuga (golden age) being 4800 years long, the Treta yuga (silver age) being 3600 years long, the Dwapara yuga being 2400 years long and the Kali yuga only 1200 years long. Sri Yukteswar proposed that this 24,000 year cycle, which differs from the theory that a wobble on the Earth’s axis is the cause for the precession of the equinoxes, commonly thought to be approximately 26,000 years, relates to the motion of the Sun, which takes some other star as it’s dual and revolves around it, much like moons revolve around planets, and planets with their moons revolve around the sun. The Sun’s revolution around this other star is exactly 24,000 years. In addition he also proposed that while our Sun (and all the planets and their moons revolving around our Sun) revolves around its dual (or both twin stars revolve around a central point), this stellar pair is also revolving around a grand centre called Vishnunabhi, the seat of Brahma or universal power. I believe a contender for the Sun’s dual could be the star Sirius, since the Ancient Egyptians took a great deal of interest in it and are thought to have based a calendar on it, and also because of the work of Karl-Heinz Homann who studied the movements of Sirius over a 20 year period and found that Sirius does not precess; it appears to maintain its position relative to the position of the Sun.***

In addition to the possibility that our Sun Helios is part of a binary star system paired with Sirius, it is also considered to orbit around another Grand Central Sun. Some consider that Helios and Sirius cycle around Alcyone, the brightest star of the Pleiades. The ancients may have thought this star to be that Grand Central Sun; The Arabs had two names for it – Kimah, the Immortal Seal or Type, and Al Wasat, The Central One. The Babylonians called it Temennu meaning foundation stone. For the Hindus it was Amba, the mother, and it’s current name from the Greek word meaning peace is Alcyone. It is also possible that the Grand Central Sun refers to the centre of our Galaxy, what the freemasons refer to as the black sun, and which is in modern times thought to be a black hole. There are also some references to Alcyone cycling around the star Acturus, which in turn cycles around the Galactic Centre. *** For more on the theory of binary star systems see Comparison of Precession Theories: An Argument for the Binary Model by Walter Cruttenden -