Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sandhya, Sandhyamsa and the entry of Kali in Dharma Yuga scale. (Supplement to Mahabharata date series - 7)




·         The 5-year Yuga was conceived sometime after the episode of Mārtanda, the blurred sun of the Younger Dryas period the ended c. 11,700 BCE. The conjunction of the sun and the moon at the beginning of Uttarayana marked the first year of the 5 year Yuga.

·         The Catur Maha Yuga running into lakhs of years was conceived after Saturn was discovered in the Younger Dryas period. After the discovery of all the nine planets (that include the sun and the moon and the nodal points of the moon), the orbital cycles were observed and calculated that facilitated the computation of the conjunction of the all of them at one point of the zodiac. This is found to happen at the beginning of Aries every 4,32,000 years. That conjunction was due after the Mahabharata war.

With this background, let me focus on three features that are needed to be known.

The first is about the names of the four Yugas, the second about Sandhya and Sandhyamsa period and third on the mathematic validation of the Kali Yuga. The first two features are explained in this part while the third will be given in the next part that would further establish how the Aihole inscription must be read.

To understand any concept, the name-form and works must be analyzed for they are integral to each other, says Chandogya Upanishad.[1] The names of the Yugas, Krita / Satya, Treta and Kali must be understood in that way. These names have appeared in contexts other than the Yugas. In Taittriya Samhita they appear with meanings - path, moving, leading and as carrier. While placing the layers of bricks for the yajna kunda, Krutamayānām is in the East, Tretāyānām is in the South, Dvāparoyānām is in the West, but instead of Kali, it is Askandoyānām in the north. Askanda has many meanings, including attack and ascending. The verse further goes on to name the zenith as Abhibhu which means both superior and suppressor. This naming appears to represent counting and also the movement. As such these names became the natural choice to indicate the movement of Time as Yuga.

Counting associated with the four names Krita, Treta, Dvapara and Kali appear in the dice game too. They represent the numbers 4, 3, 2 and 1 respectively form Krita onwards. The die having one dot on its side is Kali, two dots are for Dvapara, three dots represent Treta and four dots are known as Krita. Krita (4 dots) means winning and Kali represents loss. Tough these names were meant to be numbers; specific characterization is associated with them.

Such characterization is used to describe personalities, such as Duryodhana as having born of Kali and Shakuni of Dvapara. Shakuni attained the realm of Dvapara after his death. Such characterization is used to describe the nature of times too. Before leaving Hastinapur after the failed peace mission, Krishna kept repeating to Karna that there would not be Krita or Treta or Dvapara but only Kali Yuga when the Pandava brothers destroy the Kauravas.[2]

Wars had taken place many times in the life time of Krishna and Karna but we never came across any mention of Kali then. Krishna’s rise to popularity started with his slaying of his uncle Kamsa, but none said there was Kali then. Krishna himself was targeted by the Pandya king who wanted to avenge Krishna for having killed his father. There was no talk of Kali then. But in the big war of the cousins, Kali’s furious dance was expected to be seen because the war was not just for the land but for honor, for restoration of honor and revenging for the humiliation meted out to Draupadi more than the Pandavas themselves. So the display of extreme Krodha was expected then. Krishna forewarned it to Karna when the war was certain, and expressed the same when Duryodhana was given a fitting reply by Bhima for what he did to Draupadi. In the absence of corroborative support from the presence of Kali Yuga of the Catur Maha Yuga system at that time, one cannot assume that Kali Yuga started then.

By the mention of Krita and Treta -in the Yuga of Dvapara, Krishna had also indicated that there were times of Krita and Treta even within Dvapara Yuga as these are all about presence of certain characteristics of those Yugas for some time. In this way certain instances have been recounted by the sages on the presence of Krita and Kali Yuga in Treta Yuga and Treta in Dvapara Yuga.

The chastisement of the King also determines the nature of the Yuga. Many instances are given in Mahabharata in support this. Even in the Vaiṣṇavite literature, the Alwars who lived in the period of Pallavas in the Common Era were pronounced as having lived in Dvapara Yuga though Kali Yuga was running then. (Written by me HERE) All these imply that one needs to do contextual reading to understand what is being said.

Yuga Sandhi and Sandhyamsa

The second feature I want to highlight is about Sandhya and Sandhyamsa of the Yugas. Manu being earliest in chronology, his version can be taken as the early Thought on the Yugas. His version of duration of 4000, 3000, 2000 and 1000 divine years (1 divine year = 360 solar years) respectively for Krita, Treta, Dvapara and Kali is found in almost all the literature on Yuga. However his reference to Sandhya (twilight) period is not unanimously echoed in other texts. He added Sandhya period before and after a Yuga. [3]

Name of the Yuga

























             Yugas with Sandhya period (in Divine years)

This is markedly different from the Puranic version.

The Puranas give a more detailed classification for each Yuga. According to them there are two - Sandhya and Sandhyamsa - both of them occurring one after the other at the end of a major Yuga. The Sandhya being evening time, it represents the time coming after the Yuga and not before.

Let me begin from the six features of the Yuga given in the Puranas. The following is told by Vayu Purana. [4]

A similar version is given by Brahmanda Purana as follows:[5]

Six features appear in both these Puranas.

1.      Yuga

2.      The difference of Yugas

3.      Yuga Dharma

4.      Yuga Sandhi

5.      Yugamsaka or Sandhyamsa

6.      Yuga Sandhana

There is no difficulty in understanding Yuga and the difference of Yugas.

But Yuga Dharma is unique for each Yuga. It is basically formed by the dominance of a Guna. Sattva Guna is dominant in Krita, Rajasa in Treta, a mix of Rajasa and  Tamasa in Dvapara and only Tamasa in Kali Yuga.[6]

The Dharma - adharma  proportion of the Yugas are given as follows.

Krita  -  1 part dharma - 0 adharma

Treta - 3/4 part dharma - 1/4 adharma

Dvapara - 1/2 dharma - 1/2 adharma

Kali - 1/4 dharma - 3/4 adharma

Thus the decline in dharma factor leads to a change in the Yugas.

Towards the end of a Yuga, its Yuga Sandhi appears.

The Sandhyamsa comes up after the Sandhi period ends.

Then the next Yuga takes over.

The Puranas differ from Manu in the placement of the sandhi period as follows:

The Sandhya period is followed by Sandhyamsa which means ‘part of Sandhya’. The dharma of a Yuga dwindles by 3/4th in the Sandhya of that Yuga. In other words, only 1/4of the Dharma of a Yuga prevails in the Sandhya period. The reduced Dharma of the Sandhya period gets further lessened by 3/4th in the Sandhyamsa period. This remnant part of Dharma of the Sandhyamsa period becomes the Dharma of the next Yuga. The Brahmanda Purana version is given below: [7]

The Vayu Purana version is reproduced below:[8]

Brahmanda Purana tells how the residual Dharma of the Sandhyamsa of a previous Yuga becomes the Dharma of the next Yuga.[9]

This can be expressed as follows:

Krita Yuga – Dharma 1 part

Krita Sandhya – ¼ dharma

Krita Sandhyamsa  = ¼ of ¼ = 1/16

1/16th of Krita Yuga Dharma becomes the Dharma of Treta Yuga.

Since Treta Yuga has 3/4th Dharma and 1/4th Adharma, the Dharma portion is equal to only 1/16th of the Krita Yuga Dharma.

In Treta Sandhya this Dharma further gets reduced to 1/4th

 = 1/4 of 1/16 of Krita Yuga Dharma = 1/ 64.

Treta Sandhyamsa = ¼ of 1/64 = 1/256

At the end of Treta Yuga only 1/256 Dharma of Krita Yuga remains.

This becomes the amount of Dharma in Dvapara Yuga which has ½ Dharma and ½ Adharma

By continuing in terms of the remnant Krita Dharma,

Dvapara Sandhya = ¼ of 1/256 Dharma = 1/1024

Dvapara Sandhyamsa = ¼ of 1/1024 = 1/4096

The Mahabharata war occurred in Dwapara sandhi when there was 1/1024th of Krita Yuga Dharma was present.

Now we will take up only the portion of dharma of Dvapara Yuga for easy understanding of the verses of Mahabharata.

In terms of Dvapara Dharma ( ½ Dharma and ½ Adharma )

¼ of ½ Dharma of Dvapara prevailed at Dvapara Sandhya = 1/8 parts

When the prevailing Dvapara Dharma was perceived to have dwindled to 1/8th, it was a warning bell that Kali Yuga was nearing.

The war of Mahabharata was fought in the Sandhya period of Dvapara. 1/8th Dvapara Yuga Dharma was prevailing then. Many transgressions occurred in that war for the first time in the known history of the people of Dvapara. When Bhima hit Duryodhana below his waist against the norms of the mace fight, Krishna exclaimed, “prāptaṃ kaliyugaṃ viddhi[10]

{Prāptā = attained to, reached to.

Viddhi = the act of piercing, perforating (second person singular present imperative class 2 parasmaipada √vid)}

This doesn't mean that Kali Yuga had arrived. That being the Sandhya period, 1/8th of Dvapara Dharma was still prevalent. The transition is yet to happen to Sandhyamsa and then only to Kali Yuga. The drop in the Sandhya Dharma by three-fourth signals the arrival of Sandhyamsa when 1/32 part of dvapara dharma would remain (1/4 of 1/8). The Sandhyamsa must go on with quarter of Sandhya Dharma steadily for some time. Then only the complete transition to Kali Yuga can take place.

With Sandhyamsa yet to come, the Praptam Kali Yugam verse by Krishna did not mean the arrival of Kali Yuga.

This kind Sandhi was reported earlier between Treta and Dvapara when Parashurama killed many Kshatriyas. The same location, Samanta Pancaka hosted the river of blood in that sandhi, says Mahabharata. [11] The carnage unleashed by Parashurama was of a nature heavily loaded with Tamasa also in addition to Rajasa which was a prominent trait in Treta Yuga. This was followed by Treta Sandhyamsa and then Dvapara Yuga having a mix of both Rajasa and Tamasa.

The decline in the nature of Dharma had not followed any specific time period. This can be established from the verses of Srimad Bhagavatam.

Bhagavatam states in no uncertain terms that Kali entered only after Krishna left the earth.

This cut-off date marked by Krishna’s exit is repeated again in Srimad Bhagavatam.

The next verse also repeats this idea.

Now a crucial verse comes. The very next verse talks about the Saptarishis! The Saptarishis had laid down the rules of law and guided humanity as per the scriptures including the Puranas. The sages had a measure of unit to gauge the rise or decline of Dharma by a calculation of the movement of the Saptarishi Mandala in the sky. After having said that Kali Yuga started at the exit of Krishna, Bhagavatam says that Kali Yuga started at the time the Saptarishis were passing through the star Magha!

Similar reference to Saptarishis in Magha appears in Brihat Samhita that “The earth was controlled by the king Yudhishthira in his shaka kala of 2526 (years) (when) the Saptarṣis (muni) were in Maghā (star)” [12] This repetition shows that it was a cut-off date, 2526 years after Kali Yuga started at the exit of Krishna. The next verse gives further clarity by stating that Kali Yuga began from the time of Nanda Dynasty!

What is this Kali Yuga? Then what was that kali at 3101 BCE when Krishna left? Vyasa clarifies in the very next verse that, “ Those who scientifically understand the past declare that on the very day that Lord Sri Krishna departed for the spiritual world, the influence of the Age of Kali began.”

The word “Pura-vidah” is used to show the source from which this knowledge that Kali Yuga started only after Krishna left the world. Pura means olden, formerly, in the beginning. Vida means knowledge. So that Kali Yuga was the original cut-off date sanctioned by the sages soon after Krishna left. Once again Kali Yuga coming 2526 Years after the Kali Maha Yuga could only mean that it signaled the end of Sandhyamsa of Dvapara Yuga in DHARMA scale!

Certain texts coming up after this later date even state that Parikshit was the king then. It cannot be so. Janamejaya Pariskhita’s inscription at Kali 89 is proof of Parikshit having lived before that time. A combined reading of these two Kali Times given by same text emphasizing that Kali Yuga did start at the time of Krishna’s exit could only mean that there existed two different yardsticks for measuring the Yugas. One was the Catur Maha Yuga measured by planetary conjunction. The other was based on the nature of Dharma and the decline in its measure. The Saptarishis were taken as pointers for deciding the decline in Dharma.

Another major difference between these two Yuga scales is the absence of any specific time period for the Dharma based Yuga cycle (whereas the Catur Maha Yuga has fixed number of years computed on the basis of planetary movement)

In the many ways that I tried to figure out a rationale for the 2526 year period, I found that there was no pattern detectable. Perhaps Saptarishis in Magha, the star of Pitrus signaled the death of many in unfortunate ways and hence taken as a marker for Kali Yuga in terms of Dharma. That period (575 BCE) also coincided with the rise of Mleccha-hold in Bhartavarsha.

In 100 years from now the Saptarishis are going to cross the same star Magha! Whether we will be entering Kali Sandhya or Sandhyamsa or just further intensification of Kali is not known. What is known is that the Maha Yuga scale of the Yuga should not be confused with the Dharma based Yuga scale.

It is in the Dharma based Yuga scale of Treta Yuga Parashurama and Rama lived. It should not be confused with Treta Maha Yuga of lakhs of years.

It was on the basis of Dharma of the Dvapara Sandhya, Krishna said ‘Praptam Kali Yugam Viddhi’. It should not be assumed as the beginning of Kali Yuga. With scriptural evidence shown above for Kali Maha Yuga starting at the exit of Krishna and Kali Dharma Yuga starting only at 575 BCE, the planting of wrong information among the public on Kali Yuga date must stop. If it continues it is a case of Krishna dealing with people pressing them more and more in tandem with their nature. 

The discourse on this particular topic is not yet over. There is a clear cut time period from the start of Treta Yuga onwards in the Dharmic cycle, decipherable from the Puranas - concurring with the deduction done earlier on post -11,700 BCE for the genesis of the Yuga concepts. That will be discussed in the next part following which we will see mathematical proof for the Kali Maha Yuga that started with the exit of Krishna.

(To be continued)

[1] Chandogya Upanishad: 8-14-1

[2] Mahabharata: 5-140

[3] Manu Smriti: 1. 69 - 72

[4] Vayu Purana: 1- 57

[5] Brahmanda Purana: 1-29

[6] Vayu Purana: 1-7-65

[7] Brahmanda Purana: 1-2-31

[8] Vayu Purana: 1- 58 – 73-74

[9] Brahmanda Purana: 1-2-31

[10] Mahabharata: 9-59-21

[11] Mahabharata: 1-2-3

[12] Brihat Samhita: 13-3

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