Understanding Misconceptions about The Yugas.

Exclusive to Vedic Management Centre by U. Mahesh Prabhu

Vedic calendars called as Panchanga which are followed even today by religiously sagacious Hindus can predict with precision the rise of the sun, the moon, arrival of seasons, comets and even solar and lunar eclipses. These Panchanga divide time in Kshana (seconds), Kastha (5 Kshana), Laghu (15 Kastha), Danda (15 Laghu), Muhurta (2 Danda), Ahoratram (30 Muhurta), Masa (30 Ahoratram), Ritu (2 Masa), Ayana (3 Ritu) and Samvatsara (2 Ayana or 1 year). Yugas (which are four, namely: Krita, Treta, Dwapara, and Kali) in most Vedic texts they are mostly as a metaphor.

We often hear Hindus cursing the Kali Yuga for virtually anything and everything that creates obstacles in their lives. They lay the onus of that encumbrance upon Kali Yuga sighing, “This is owing to Kali Yuga, the world is going to the dogs.” and, even, “This is going to go from bad to worse.” There are even those who are eagerly waiting for the arrival of “Kalki” the avatar of Vishnu, to liberate them from their despicable state. They’re sure that world is beyond repair and, that, if all there is an iota of chance for revival then that chance rests in the arrival of Kalki.

It won’t be wrong to suggest this mentality hasn’t helped Hindus in any way. When you put the onus squarely on something external, which is beyond your control, you have no scope of getting out of the vicious cycle of psychological victimhood. Some people when they indulge in heinous crimes or even corrupt acts, they conveniently place their blame on Kali. I’ve heard some narrating the tale of Raja Parikshit, the descendant of Pandavas who was overwhelmed by evil desires of the Kali to do some unwise as well as unjust acts.

The question we must be asking is whether all these have any justification in the Vedic texts. Hindus, at least majority of them, believe that they are the adherents of the Vedic school of thought. Their reverence for the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Ramayana, and Mahabharata is unmistakable. Having read all these texts for almost 15 years – in original Sanskrit – I can claim safely that none of the original Vedic texts claim or support these bizarre assumptions and presumptions about the Yugas.

However, there are some Sanskrit texts which are bereft of Vedic doctrine which supports such bizarre theories. These Sanskrit texts are those which are followed by religious Hindu cults. Particularly those with a holy pontiff like Pope at the helm of their affairs. These institutions in no way resemble the lives of the Vedic Rishis and Munis who lived secluded and away from the presence of material and plentiful.

When you create cults and institutions, even with the best intentions, they are bound to get corrupted eventually and fail. As rishis say “All that is born has to die, all that begins must end, this is the eternal truth about life. Attachment to an individual or institution is in vain. Detachment is the only way out of misery.”

Today, there are many self-styled Vedic schools which teach Sanskrit. Those who’ve completed even their most advanced course cannot decode Vedic text. I can tell you with confidence because I’ve learned, before unlearning, them to understand the colossal wisdom of the Vedic rishis and munis coded in these texts.

These schools which are run by religious Hindu cults follow Panini’s Vyakaran or Grammar. Panini, they claim was the person who streamlined the Sanskrit language. But they don’t say, or maybe they don’t know, that none of the Vedic text follows Panini’s Ashtadhyayi.

The idea of “horrid” Kali Yuga stems from Sanskrit texts like Bhagavatam. Followed by many Vaishnava cults (from which I hail). Bhagavatam is a vast work claiming to depict the life and times of Krishna.  But I must add here that Krishna portrayed in Vyasa’s Mahabharata and Bhagavatam are two different personalities.

Vyasa’s Mahabharata presents Krishna as a diplomat, self-less Yogi and, importantly, a pragmatist who had only one wife – Rukmini.  Bhagavata’s Krishna is entirely a different character – a playful, joyful, extravagant, adventurous and even as a vagabond with some 15,000 wives!

It is safe to conclude that Bhagavat and Mahabharata are not just written by different authors but also in different time capsules, Bhagavatam’s Sanskrit resembles that of Panini, unlike Vyasa’s Mahabharata. Vyasa’s Mahabharata also does not endorse the idea that Kali Yuga will commence the beginning of bad or worse times.

Valmiki’s Ramayana is one of the highly regarded texts during the Vedic period. In it is a commensurate chapter popularly known as Yoga Vashistha. The story goes that when Prince Rama of Ayodhya completed his education at Gurukul and returned home, he desired to take a sabbatical and go around his country. During his travel along the countryside, he saw abject poverty, suffering, and pain of his people. All of it made him feel dejected and depressed. When he returned to the palace, his father King Dasharatha was concerned and sought the advice of his Rajaguru or Royal Mentor Vashistha who then engaged Rama in a long and retrospective conversation. According to Valmiki’s Ramayana, this conversation made Rama, not just to recover from his grief and depression but made him comprehend and become an enlightened being.

Ramayana is believed to have happened in Krita, also known as Sat Yug. Supporters of Yuga theory argue that Sat Yug and Treta Yug are the best of Yugas where “there’s no pain whatsoever.” If such is the hypothesis then how did Rama see so much pain and suffering in people across his land that he suffered chronic depression?

Fear is the worst enemy of humanity. It is a tool of the despots for restraining and subjugating their victims. It’s also the ultimate deception. Most of the time fear itself is worse than the object of fear. Ignorance is the root of fear. According to the rishis, it’s only through right knowledge, or Jnana, and wisdom, or Vijnana – that we can free ourselves from fear. Any texts which instill fear in us are verily manifestation of ignorance and are not Vedic. And it’s better to ignore or best to forget any books that harps on instilling fear in our minds. To revere them is to invite our peril.


November 10, 2018

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