Prehistoric Yugas


Swami Sri Yukteshwar mentions in his book that all the yugas occur within a 24000 yr period and that we are currently in the dwapara yuga. Based on this theory it believed that perhaps the human civilization has already seen several such complete 24000yr yugas and we refer to them as ' Days of Brahman' . I was wondering as to where prehistoric animals such as dinosaurs etc fit into the yuga cycle? Furthermore how does the yugas account for the prehistoric ape man? where does he fit it?

—A, Canada


Dear A,

We know from Sri Yukteswar that the yugas pertain to the human level of consciousness and the process of soul evolution leading to liberation. What they mean to animal consciousness in prehistoric times is an open question.

The consciousness of early humans is not recorded in bones. The influence of Darwin and the notion of linear, rather than cyclic, development have strongly colored conventional thinking. The peoples of the Satya Yuga are characterized by paleoanthropologists as “hunter-gatherers”, yet at Göbekli Tepe in Southern Turkey there are elaborate megalithic structures built about 9000 BC, in the middle of the Satya Yuga, with no sign of a permanent settlement nearby contemporary with those structures. The popular image of a hunter-gatherer’s life style of that time period doesn’t fit with these discoveries of coordinated work at a fixed location over a 1500 year time period. If you strip away the thick layer of biased guess work and just look at the data, what is known about the period of the higher yugas is not inconsistent with Sri Yukteswar’s description.

It has been very roughly 100,000 years since the earth has experienced an extended period of climate like today’s. In between there was ice in the north and oceans were lower. Whatever evidence peoples of the intervening four full cycles of yugas left behind is probably under the sea. Would we even recognize and understand artifacts of earlier cycles? The finest cave art comes from two periods: the Satya yuga of our current cycle and the Satya Yuga of the previous cycle. Why? Nobody knows. The uncertainty of the dates and of the meaning of prehistoric archaeological artifacts leaves us with little to say about earlier cycles. Our present understanding of the yugas is far too limited to apply to early hominids, let alone the dinosaurs.

These issues are addressed in our forthcoming (early 2011) book The Yugas by J. Selbie and D. Steinmetz

Nayaswami Byasa Steinmetz


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