Article

Millenarian Elements in the Hindu Religious Traditions

Hugh B. Urban

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195301052
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195301052.003.0019

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Millenarian Elements in the Hindu Religious Traditions

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This article deals with the temporal framework of Hindu religion, which consists of four yugas—Satya, Treta, Dwapar, and Kali. All four combined create a “manvantara”, after a thousand of which, the entirity of creation is destroyed and then begins another thousand manvantara. The total cycle is called kalpa, which is a recurring one. This article describes the incarnation of Lord Vishnu throughout the four yugas, to salvage man. The last incarnate, Kalkin, is supposed to manifest in the present age. Several holy men such as Chaitanya, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, and Sri Sathya Sai, have been proclaimed as incarnates in Kaliyug. In the course of suppressive colonial rule, militant nationalism emerged in messianic attire. Spiritual nationalist Sri Aurobindo described it as a religion directly presented by God. The new age came up with lifestyle gurus such as Osho Rajneesh, who asserted a symbolic end of time by surrendering typical lifestyle practices.

Keywords: yugas; manvantara; Ramakrishna; Hindu religion; kalpa; militant nationalism

Article.  6570 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Hinduism ; Religious Studies

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