Manvantaras and Yugas
Jul 23, 1997 09:01 AM
by Titus Roth
> Sometimes spiritual teachings do seem to discourage active working on
> behalf of humanity. The belief that humanity (per Theosophy and others)
> moves from advanced to depraved can be disheartening. Conversely,
> science and humanism declare the opposite - that life begins as
> rudimentary and progresses (according to fossil study).
I have to agree about the dangers of a certain passive view that has crept
into the East. Of course, there is something to be said for not interfering
with the Will of God. But there is also something to be said for being
responsible for carrying out the Will of God.
Regarding progression and regression, I can't speak as well for Theosophy as
for other teachings, but many speak of a *spiral* not circular path of
evolution. Much as in psychology we regress to pick up things we should have
learned early in life but didn't, so does humanity have periods of regression
to "re-parent" itself, but after a progression back it emerges not quite in
the same place on a circle, but a little wider out on the next cycle of a
spiral. Progress from life to life is much the same. We re-learn many things
over again, but to erase certain prejudices that we need to forget. I believe
the veils of forgetfulness, called kloshas, are a net positive thing.
> If there is such a thing as manvantaras - where, at the end of one, all
> is supposed to be wiped out by a flood, except for a few humans - just
> to have it happen all over again - then "what's the point?" (We're
> supposed to have anywhere up to or beyond another 400,000 years in Kali
> Yuga, which is the cycle we’re supposed to be in now - I think - I got
> lost a long time ago in the jumble of vast and differing numbers).
My paragraph above gives the answer as I see it, but I'd like to address HPB's
calculations about Yugas. Sri Yukteswar, in a very interesting booklet titled
"The Holy Science", gives a correction to how Yugas are calculated:
"The position of the world in the Dwapara Sandhi era at present (A.D. 1894) is
not correctly shown in the Hindu almanacs. The astronomers and astrologers who
calculate the almanacs have been guided by wrong annotations of certain
Sanskrit scholars (such as Kulluka Bhatta) of the dark age of Kali Yuga, and
now maintain that the length of Kali Yuga is 432,000 years, of which 4994 have
(in A.Dl 1894) passed away, leaving 427,006 years still remaining. A dark
prospect! and fortunately one not true.
"The mistake crept into almanacs for the first time about 700 B.C. during the
reign of Raja Parikshit, just after the completion of the last Descending
Dwapara Yuga ...
[Digression deleted about why the mistake was made to reconcile certain
"... By way of reconciliation, they fancied that 1200 years, the real age of
Kali, were not the ordinary years of our earth, but were so many daiva years
('years of the gods'), consisting of 12 daiva months of 30 daiva days each,
with each daiva day being equal to one ordinary solar year of our earth."
> If one really believes that humanity worsens - or individuals only reach
> spiritual perfection in their own particular time - or that trying to
> change someone’s opinion/action is hampering their development and, in
> addition, getting you a extra heap of karma to have to deal with - why
> bother? Where do we go from here? Just work on ourselves? Stay out of
> politics, debates, conflicts, wars? Trust that all is well and going
> according to plan? Is it really not possible to hasten another person's
It's true that some interpretations of "yield and overcome" come dangerously
close to this view - inspite of violating common sense.
> The more I read, the more I end up chasing my tail.
Hopefully that circle spirals out after a while ;)
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