yuga युग

Definition: In the Rigveda frequently denotes a ‘generation’; but the expression daśame yuge applied to Dirg’hatamas in one passage must mean ‘tenth decade’ of life. There is no reference in the older Vedic texts to the five-year cycle (see Samvatsara). The quotation from the Pañcavimśa Brāhmaṇa given in the St. Petersburg Dictionary, and by Zimmer and others, is merely a citation from a modern text in the commentary on that work. Nor do the older Vedic texts know of any series of Yugas or ages such as are usual later. In the Atharvaveda6 there are mentioned in order a hundred years, an ayuta (10,000?), and then two, three, or four Yugas: the inference from this seems to be that a Yuga means more than an ayuta, but is not very certain. Zimmer adduces a passage from the Rigveda, but the reference there, whatever it may be, is certainly not to the four ages {cf. also Triyug’a). The Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa recognizes long periods of time—e.g., one of 100,000 years. To the four ages, Kali, Dvāpara, Tretā, and Kṛta, there is no certain reference in Vedic literature, though the names occur as the designations of throws at dice (see Akça). In the Aitareya Brāhmana the names occur, but it is not clear that the ages are really meant. Haug thought that the dice were meant: this view is at least as probable as the alternative explanation, which is accepted by Weber, Roth,Wilson, Max Mūller, and Muir. Roth, indeed, believes that the verse is an inter¬polation; but in any case it must be remembered that the passage is from a late book of the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa. Four ages—Puṣya, Dvāpara, Khārvā, and Kṛta—are mentioned in the late Sadvimśa Brāhmaṇa, and the Dvāpara in the Gopatha Brāhmana.


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