The Difference Between Satya Yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapar-yuga and Kali-yuga

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The Difference Between Satya Yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapar-yuga and Kali-yuga
Lord Vishnu

What makes Sat-yuga auspicious and Kali-yuga abominable?

How do differentiate between the four yugas? The following verses quoted from Bhagavad Puran describe the difference.

Presented here is the exact translation of the verses for our reference.

Differences are based on the decline of four pillars of religion: Truth, Mercy, Austerity & Charity.

Satya-yuga

  • SB 12.3.18 — Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, in the beginning, during Satya-yuga, the age of truth, religion is present with all four of its legs intact and is carefully maintained by the people of that age. These four legs of powerful religion are truthfulness, mercy, austerity, and charity.
  • SB 12.3.19 — The people of Satya-yuga are for the most part self-satisfied, merciful, friendly to all, peaceful, sober, and tolerant. They take their pleasure from within, see all things equally and always endeavor diligently for spiritual perfection.
Lord Rama making Ram Setu to reach Lanka
Lord Rama making Ram Setu reach Lanka

Treta-Yuga

  • SB 12.3.20 — In Tretā-yuga each leg of religion is gradually reduced by one quarter by the influence of the four pillars of irreligion — lying, violence, dissatisfaction, and quarrel.
  • SB 12.3.21 — In the Tretā age people are devoted to ritual performances and severe austerities. They are not excessively violent or very lusty after sensual pleasure. Their interest lies primarily in religiosity, economic development, and a regulated sense of gratification, and they achieve prosperity by following the prescriptions of the three Vedas. Although in this age society evolves into four separate classes, O King, most people are brāhmaṇas.
lord krishna in mahabharataThe Difference Between Satya Yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapar-yuga and Kali-yuga
Lord Krishna in Mahabharata

Dvapar-Yuga

  • SB 12.3.22 — In Dvāpara-yuga the religious qualities of austerity, truth, mercy, and charity are reduced to one-half by their irreligious counterparts — dissatisfaction, untruth, violence, and enmity.
  • SB 12.3.23 — In the Dvāpara age people are interested in glory and are very noble. They devote themselves to the study of the Vedas, possess great opulence, support large families and enjoy life with vigor. Of the four classes, the kṣatriyas and brāhmaṇas are the most numerous.
Hitler in Kali Yuga
Hitler in Kali Yuga

Kali-Yuga
  • SB 12.3.24 — In the Age of Kali, only one-fourth of the religious principles remain. That last remnant will continuously be decreased by the ever-increasing principles of irreligion and will finally be destroyed.
  • SB 12.3.25 — In the Kali age people tended to be greedy, ill-behaved, and merciless, and they fight one another without good reason. Unfortunate and obsessed with material desires, the people of Kali-yuga are almost all śūdras and barbarians

Differences based on the reduction of satv-gun and increase in rajas-gun and tamas-gun.

(To know more about the three Gunas visit Satva, Rajas & Tamas Gun.)
  • SB 12.3.26 — The material modes — goodness, passion, and ignorance (satva, rajas & tamas) — whose permutations are observed within a person’s mind, are set into motion by the power of time.                                                  
  • SB 12.3.27 — When the mind, intelligence, and senses are solidly fixed in the mode of goodness (satva-gun), that time should be understood as Sat-yuga, the age of truth. People then take pleasure in knowledge and austerity.
  • SB 12.3.28 — O most intelligent one, when the conditioned souls are devoted to their duties but have ulterior motives and seek personal prestige, you should understand such a situation to be the age of Tretā, in which the functions of passion (rajas-gun) are prominent.
  • SB 12.3.29 — When greed, dissatisfaction, false pride, hypocrisy, and envy become prominent, along with attraction for selfish activities, such a time is the age of Dvāpara, dominated by the mixed modes of passion (rajas-gun) and ignorance (tamas-gun).
  • SB 12.3.30 — When there is a predominance of cheating, lying, sloth, sleepiness, violence, depression, lamentation, bewilderment, fear, and poverty, that age is Kali, the age of the mode of ignorance (tamas-gun).

The following two charts explain these :

FOUR LEGS OF RELIGION Sat-yuga Treta- yuga Dvapar- yuga Kali- yuga Corresponding irreligion increases
TRUTHFULNESS 100% 75% 50% 25% lying
MERCY 100% 75% 50% 25% violence
AUSTERITY 100% 75% 50% 25% dissatisfaction
CHARITY 100% 75% 50% 25% Quarrel, enmity

-- Sat-yuga Treta- yuga Dvapar- yuga Kali- yuga
GUN/QUALITY OF PEOPLE Satva-gun Rajas-gun Rajas and Tamas-gun Tamas-gun
PURPOSE OF WORK People then take pleasure in knowledge and austerity. Duties with ulterior motives and seek personal prestige Greed, dissatisfaction, false pride, hypocrisy, envy& attraction for selfish activities Cheating, lying, sloth, sleepiness, violence, depression, lamentation, bewilderment, fear and poverty
VARNA OF PEOPLE People endeavor diligently for spiritual perfection Society evolves into four separate classes but, most people are brāhmaṇas Kṣatriyas and brāhmaṇas are most numerous Mostly śūdras and barbarians


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