2010 | 18,115 words
The Narada Purana (Nārada Purāṇa) is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It deals with the places of pilgrimages and features a dialogue between the sage Narada, and Sanatkumara. During the course of the dialogue between the two, Narada explains to Sanatkumara the major places of piligrimages, their location, ...
“You have answered all our questions,” the sages told Suta. “We are much obliged. There remains one final question. Please tell us about the four yugas and their characteristics.”
There are four yugas (eras). They are known as satya yuga or krita yuga, treta yuga, dvapara yuga and kali yuga. Four such yugas constitute a mahayuga and a mahayuga lasts for twelve thousand years of the gods.
In satya yuga dharma reigns supreme and everyone is as righteous as the gods. Each varna pursues the duties that are prescribed for it and people are devoted to Vishnu and to tapasya. The law of the four ashramas is meticulously followed and the Vedas are studied. In treta yuga the miseries of people increase, although the dictates of dharma continue to be followed. In dvapara yuga the power of dharma diminishes and the Vedas have to be divided to disseminate the knowledge among humans. People start to lie and anger and hate start to become common. If yajnas are performed, they are always with some end in view, not because of selfless and altruistic reasons. Life expectancies start to diminsh.
Kali yuga is the worst of the four eras. It is extemely rare to find a righteous person. Yajnas also become rare. Jealousy, vanity and hatred are however very common. People do not live for very long. Even the brahmanas stop studying the Vedas. The kings who rule then are bad kings; they are obsessed with the idea of accumulating wealth. In fact, the word king conveys no meaning at all. Anyone who has many chariots, horses or elephants comes to be called a king. The brahmanas become the slaves of the shudras. The brahmans strive after evil pursuits and forever try to acquire the possessions of others. Sons hate their fathers, students their teachers, and wives their husbands.
People eat fish and meat. They even plough the banks of rivers to grow foodgrains. If cows are taken care of, that is only because they provide milk. No one likes a person who is devoted to Vishnu. Towards the end of kali yuga, no one even remembers the name of Vishnu.
But because evil reigns supreme in kali yuga, a minor good act in kali yuga gives a lot of punya. The punya that takes ten years to be acquire din satya yuga can be acquired in one year in treta yuga, one month in dvapara yuga and one day in kali yuga. The punya that required meditation and sacrifices in the other three eras can be acquired through just chanting the name of Vishnu in kali yuga. Vishnu is the salvation for everyone in kali yuga.