A few days ago on reddit, there was an interesting link to this wiki page: Yuga; the name of an epoch or ega within a cycle of four ages.
The cyclical nature of Hindu cosmology is very interesting, because here you have another example of ancient civilizations intuiting a cosmic pattern of birth and death, shifting of seasons and times. From the Age of Aquarius, to the Mayan Calender–these things seem to be at least intuitive for ancient cultures. Why is that? What was it about these ancient cultures that allowed them to perceive a natural shift in the forces of the universe? It allowed them to see far beyond their own civilizations; in fact, it did little to inevitably help their own shifts and downfall. Strangely, each prediction, be it astrological or cosmological, predicts a similar theme:
We live in an age which will be coming to an end around 2000 AD or after. The new age will be rapidly approaching, and will be a time of new culture, events people. For Aquarius, the age is a time of science reason and reflection. For the Hindu cycles, we enter the Dwapara epoch:
Dvapara Yuga: archana (worship). In the Dvapara Yuga, science flourishes, people experience the spiritual in terms of subtle energies and rational choices, inventions are abundant, particularly those that dissolve the illusion of distance (between people and between things), and power is mostly in the hands of women. The end of this age (in the descending phase) is associated with the death of Krishna, and the events described in the Mahabharata
Interesting how this coincides with the age of Aquarius, no? And though labeled “New Age,” alot of theories on 2012 seem to coincide with these sentiments. The Yugas seem to express a natural, cyclical pattern which increases in speed as you progress through. Transitions happen faster, last shorter time, etc. It would make sense that we are emerging from “Kali Yuga,” or an age of bare physical subsistence, where power and survival and the physical world are all we are aware of (for the most part).
Fascinating that, should this be true, ancient civilizations living in the heart of Kali Yuga could predict such cosmic and unseen cycles. I don’t think this counters their philosophy, it just brings up a remarkable question: How did they do it? Was it the residual vibrations from the last greatest epoch, the Satya Yuga?
Here is a list of the ages:
1. Satya Yuga: (Dhyana) or meditation. The highest yuga, the greatest majority of people can experience spirituality by direct intuitive realization of truth. The veil between the material and the transcendent realms becomes almost transparent. Satya Yuga is also called the Golden Age.
2. Treta Yuga: Yajna (sacrifice). The Treta Yuga is the mental age. Mental power is harnessed and men are in power. There are inventions that dissolve the illusion of time (inventions are characteristic of both Dvapara and Treta). Clairvoyance and telepathy are common skills.
3. Dvapara Yuga: archana (worship). Science flourishes, people experience the spiritual in terms of subtle energies and rational choices, inventions are abundant, particular those that dissolve the illusion of distance (between people and things), and power is mostly in the hands of women. The end of this age (in the descending phase) is associated with the death of Krishna.
4. Kali Yuga: daana (alms). In the lowest epoch, most people are aware only of the physical aspects of existence. The predominant emphasis of living is material survival, and power is mostly in the hands of men.
Looking at these, and particularly 3) Dwapara Yuga. “Dissolve the illusion of distance (between people and between things)–could this be the development of quantum physics and string theory? The new technological revolution? Would the singularity play an important part in all of this?
We live now at the end of Kali Yuga, a time where the physical realms have their greatest hold on our experience of existence. Could this be why so many of us see nothing greater than the attainment of wealth, power? Could this also be why so many philosophers have become nihilist and existential? Or are these things, though they seem permanent, only shifting times, and those who know they are can perceive the dawn of a new age?
More questions than answers, I’m afraid. It leaves everything to be a greater mystery, but I’m beginning to suspect and perhaps intuit a bigger picture, and we’re all a part of it.