The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Reckoning of Yugas which is chapter 273 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the two hundred seventy-third chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 273 - Reckoning of Yugas

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-3. O Brāhmāṇas, a thousand Caturyugas (group of four Yugas) constitute one day of Brahmā. In that single day fourteen Thousand-eyed Ones (Indras) are born. The present Indra is the seventh one. In one day of Vidhi (Brahmā), there are fourteen units of seventy-one Saṃvartas (Caturyugas). One Śakra reigns supreme for a period of seventy-one Caturyugas. So also in the case of Manus beginning with Svāyaṃbhuva. These Manus and Śakras rule in the same way.

4-5. The Śakra who rules now is called Jayanta and the Manu is Vaivasvata Manu. In his reign, twenty-eighth unit of Caturyugas runs now (27 elapsed. 28th is current). When the present Śakra passes away, Bali will become Śakra with the favour of Vāsudeva.

6. He had promised this kingdom to Bali in the reign of the eighth Manu.

7. The same is the case of all other Suras. They are thirty-three crores in number. They remain in the same way as was in the earlier periods.

8. Eight years have gone by, O Brāhmaṇas, in the case of. the Brahmā who is the present creator and those too according to his own reckoning.

9. So also six months, one Pakṣa (i.e. Śukla, the bright fortnight) and half a day have also gone by.

The calculation of Saṃvatsara (year) is of four types based on Saura, Sāvana, Cāndra and Ārkṣa (Nakṣatra) reckoning.[1]

10. In Kaliyuga all the living beings in the region of the earth pass away. The Saura (Solar) Saṃvatsara consists of three hundred sixty-five days. If it is less by five it is the Sāvana year (i.e. 360 days).

11. The Cāndra (lunar) Saṃvatsara is less by eleven days (354 days) and the Uḍūdbhava (Stellar) is less by thirty days (335 days).

The coolness of winter, the heat of summer, and the rainfall are based on Saura reckoning.

12-14. The outcome of fruits on trees, the harvesting stage of the plants, Agniṣṭoma and other Yajñas that are being conducted on the earth, festivals and marriages are based on the Sāvana reckoning.

Calculation of interests and dealings of professional activities are based on Cāndra reckoning with the intercalary month taken into consideration.

The movements of the planets are calculated on the basis of the Nakṣatra (or Ārkṣa-stellar) reckoning.

15-17. Beyond these four types of reckoning there is no other type of calculation in the whole of the world. O excellent Brāhmaṇas. Devas, Daityas and human beings accept these reckonings. This is the eternal dictum of the Śruti.

If, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, anyone reads with devotion the extent of the Yugas before these seven Liṅgas, he will never have the fear of premature or accidental death.

Footnotes and references:


A Saura year consists of 365 days. It begins with Meṣa saṅkramaṇa. Sāvana—from Savana ‘Pressing of Soma’. In Brāhmaṇa texts a year consisted of 360 days or 720 days and nights (see Aitareya Brāhmaṇa VII. 7).

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