A Yuga (Sanskrit: युग, lit. 'age'), in Hinduism, is a large period of time as it relates to the past, present or future.[1] It is mostly used to describe one of the four dharmic ages⁠—Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga or Kali Yuga⁠—or a cycle of the four ages, Chatur Yuga.[2][3]

Depending on context, it can refer to one of the seasons, generations, reigns, kalpas (days of Brahma), stages of creation (manifest, maintain, unmanifest), or 1,000 year periods.[4]


The archaic form of the Sanskrit word "yuga" is "yug". Other forms are "yugam", "yugānāṃ" and "yuge". In Latin, "juga" or "jug" are used from "jugum" meaning "yoke", used to connect two oxen (e.g. cali-juga = kali-yuga).[5] The word "yuga", as well as "yoga", are derived from Sanskrit: युज्, romanizedyuj, lit. 'to join or yoke', believed to be derived from Proto-Indo-European language: yeug, 'to join or unite'.[6]

Yuga characteristics[]

There are a total of four yugas : Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga, each having 1/4th less duration and dharma than the previous (Satya most, Kali least). The descending yugas see a gradual decline[citation needed] of dharma, wisdom, knowledge, intellectual capability, lifespan, emotional and physical strength.

Within a yuga are Sandhis, or a starting Sandhya and ending Sandhyansa, both lasting 1/10th the main part of the yuga.[citation needed] Most of the characteristic changes can occur in these Sandhyas and Sandhyansas, especially if that change is from Kali Yuga to Satya Yuga (two extremes)[citation needed].

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  1. ^ Sundarraj, M. (1997) [1st ed. 1994]. "Ch. 4 Asvins⁠—Time-Keepers". In Mahalingam, Dr. N. (ed.). RG Vedic Studies. Coimbatore: Rukmani Offset Press. p. 219. It is quite clear that the smallest unit was the 'nimisah' ['winking of eyes'], and that time in the general sense of past, present and future was indicated by the word 'yuga'.
  2. ^ "yuga". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  3. ^ A kalpa is described as lasting 1,000 catur-yuga in Bhagavata Purana 12.4.2 ("catur-yuga") and Bhagavad Gita 8.17 ("yuga"):
    * "Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 12.4.2". Bhaktivedanta Vedabase. Retrieved 2020-05-10. One thousand cycles of four ages [catur-yuga] constitute a single day of Brahmā, known as a kalpa. In that period, O King, fourteen Manus come and go.
    * "Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 8.17". Bhaktivedanta Vedabase. Retrieved 2020-05-10. By human calculation, a thousand ages [yuga] taken together form the duration of Brahmā’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.
  4. ^ Kane, P. V. (September 1936). Sukthankar, Dr. V. S.; Fyzee, A. A. A.; Bhagwat, Prof. N. K. (eds.). "Kalivarjya (actions forbidden in the Kali Age)". Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. The Asiatic Society of Bombay. Vol. 12: 1–2. In a few places yuga means yoke ... In many places it appears to refer to a very brief period ... Generally yuga appears to mean in the Rigveda 'generation' ... In other places 'yuga' must be given the sense of a 'long period of time' ...
  5. ^ Lewis, Ph.D., Charlton T. (1879). A Latin Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 1016. ISBN 0198642016. Jugo: In general, to join, connect. Jugum: [kindred to Sanskrit yuga from yug-, jungere; v. jungo], a yoke for oxen, a collar for horses.
  6. ^ Hypothetical source of yeug.

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