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Short description: Age or era in Hinduism

A yuga, in Hinduism, is generally used to indicate an age of time.[1][2]

In the Rigveda, a yuga refers to generations, a long period, a very brief period, or a yoke (joining of two things).[3] In the Mahabharata, the words yuga and kalpa (a day of Brahma) are used interchangeably to describe the cycle of creation and destruction.[4]

The names "Yuga" and "Age" commonly denote a catur-yuga (pronounced Chatur Yuga), a cycle of four world ages, for example, in the Surya Siddhanta and Bhagavad Gita (part of the Mahabharata), unless expressly limited by the name of one of its minor ages: Krita (Satya) Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, or Kali Yuga.[1][5][lower-alpha 1]


Yuga (Sanskrit: युग) means "a yoke" (joining of two things), "generations", or "a period of time" such as an age, where its archaic spelling is yug, with other forms of yugam, yugānāṃ, and yuge, derived from yuj (Sanskrit: युज्, lit. 'to join or yoke'), believed derived from *yeug- (Proto-Indo-European: lit. 'to join or unite').[8]

In the Latin language, juga or jug is used from the word jugum, which means "a yoke used to connect two oxen" (e.g. cali-juga = kali-yuga).[9]

See also


  1. The general word "yuga" is sometimes used instead of the more specific word "catur-yuga". A kalpa is described as lasting 1,000 catur-yuga in Bhagavata Purana 12.4.2 ("catur-yuga")[6] and Bhagavad Gita 8.17 ("yuga").[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Yuga". Unabridged. Random House. 
  2. Mahalingam, N., ed (1997). "Ch. 4 Asvins⁠—Time-Keepers". RG Vedic Studies. Coimbatore: Rukmani Offset Press. p. 219. "It is quite clear that the smallest unit was the 'nimisah' ['winking of eyes'], and that time in the general sense of past, present and future was indicated by the word 'yuga'." 
  3. "Kalivarjya (actions forbidden in the Kali Age)". Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (The Asiatic Society of Bombay) 12: 1–2. September 1936. "The word yuga occurs at least thirty-eight times in the Rigveda, but the meaning is rather doubtful. In a few places yuga means yoke ... In many places it appears to refer to a very brief period ... Generally yuga appears to mean in the Rigveda 'generation' (lessening the life of human generations) ... In other places 'yuga' must be given the sense of a 'long period of time' ...". 
  4. Basu, Helene; Jacobsen, Knut A.; Malinar, Angelika et al., eds (2018). "Cosmic Cycles, Cosmology, and Cosmography". Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism. 2. Leiden: Brill Publishers. p. 415. doi:10.1163/2212-5019_BEH_COM_1020020. ISBN 978-90-04-17641-6. "The cycle [of creation and destruction] is either called a yuga (MBh. 1.1.28; 12.327.89; 13.135.11), a kalpa, meaning a formation or a creation (MBh. 6.31.7 [= BhG. 9.7]; 12.326.70; 12.327.23), or a day of the brahman, or of Brahmā, the creator god (MBh. 12.224.28–31). Sometimes, it is simply referred to as the process of creation and destruction (saṃhāravikṣepa; MBh. 12.271.30, 40, 43, 47–49).". 
  5. Gangooly, Phanindralal, ed (1935). Translation of the Surya-Siddhanta, A Text-Book of Hindu Astronomy; With notes and an appendix. University of Calcutta. p. 9. "The period of 4,320,000 years is ordinarily styled Great Age (mahayuga), or, as above in two instances [1.15-16], Quadruple Age (caturyuga). In the Surya-Siddhanta, however, the former term is not once found, and the latter occurs only in these verses; elsewhere, Age (yuga) alone is employed to denote it, and always denotes it, unless expressly limited by the name of the Golden (krta) Age." 
  6. "Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 12.4.2". "
    catur-yuga-sahasraṁ tu brahmaṇo dinam ucyate ।
    sa kalpo yatra manavaś caturdaśa viśām-pate ॥ 2 ॥

    (2) One thousand cycles of four ages [catur-yuga] constitute a single day of Brahmā, known as a kalpa. In that period, O King, fourteen Manus come and go."
  7. Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 8.17,, retrieved 2020-05-10, "
    sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ ।
    rātriṁ yuga-sahasrāntāṁ te ’ho-rātra-vido janāḥ ॥ 17 ॥

    (17) By human calculation, a thousand ages [yuga] taken together form the duration of Brahmā’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night."
     , Wikidata Q854700
  8. "युग (yuga)".युग#Sanskrit. 
    "Yuga". 29 June 2012. 
    "युज् (yuj)".युज्#Sanskrit. 
  9. A Latin Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 1879. p. 1016. ISBN 0198642016. "Jugo: in general, to join, connect. Jugum: [kindred to sanskrit yuga from yug-, jungere; v. jungo], a yoke for oxen, a collar for horses." 

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