Luis González-Reimann

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:


This article deals with Hinduism’s views of the spatial structure and organization of the world as well as the world’s transformation throughout time. It focuses especially on Hindu theories of large cosmic time cycles. There are three distinct cycles that were most certainly of separate origins but were early on combined into one complex system. They are the yugas, the kalpas, and the manvantaras. The yuga cycle is concerned with dharma, or proper conduct. There are four yugas, named Kṛta (later also Satya), Tretā, Dvāpara, and Kali, and they represent a gradual descent from an age of perfection (Kṛta/Satya) to one of moral degeneration and diminished mental and physical capacities (Kali). The kalpas are the basic unit of world creation, destruction, and re-creation. They are also known as the days of the creator god Brahma because he creates the world when he wakes up and it is destroyed when he goes to sleep. The Puranas developed a still larger cycle, called the life of Brahma. The manvantaras are fourteen periods associated with a particular Manu, a progenitor of humanity. They deal mainly with the lineages of kings and the creation and re-creation of the Vedas and some divinities. The yugas are especially important to Hindu traditions because they establish the mythic-historical background upon which Hinduism places itself. According to the theory, we have been living in the Kali Yuga, the worst age, for the last five thousand years, and Kali will continue for thousands of years into the future. Many modern movements, however, claim that a new Kṛta/Satya Yuga has arrived or is about to begin.

Article.  5389 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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