Hindu literature had the concept of Yugas – four periods during which time humans move from a Golden age to one of sin (which is supposed to be the age that we are currently in). There is some debate over the time period of each Yuga. The original translations actually state the ages to be:
- Kruta (Golden) 4,800 years
- Treta (Silver) 3,600 years
- Dwapara (Bronze) 2,400 years
- Kali (Iron) 1,200 years
You can look up the original references in a good translation of the Mahabharata. One full cycle is thus (4,800 + 3,600 + 2,400 + 1,200) + (1,200 + 2,400 + 3,600 + 4,800) = 24,000 years (ie from golden age there is descent into the Kali Yuga or Iron Age, and then the ascension back through Bronze and Silver to the Golden age again – 2 x 12000 years) which is somewhat close to one full precession of the equinox (25,772). Our ancestors spent a good deal of time studying the night sky and were good astronomers (which is where the signs of the zodiac came from). The suggestion is that the human race is influenced in some way by emanations from other parts of the galaxy during this precessional period.
For some reason, an early Indian scholar decided that the above periods needed to be multiplied by a factor of 360 since they were “divine years“, one divine year being 360 human years (and one human year being one divine day). Thus the Kali Yuga was calculated to be 1200 x 360 = 432,000 years, and the periods of human existence in the various Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron ages (Kruta, Treta, Dwapara and Kali) would correspond to ancestors of the human race, ie Kali age = Homo Sapiens, Dwapara = Homo Erectus, Treta = Homo Habilis, Kruta = Australopithecus. Whichever Hindu text you read, there is general agreement that currently the human race is in the Kali Yuga – the age of vice or sin, discord, ignorance and darkness.
Paramahansa’s guru Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri wrote a small book call The Holy Science in which he stuck to the original 24,000 year Yuga cycle (which is what the original vedic text states) and he dated the end of the Kali age as 1699 and has us now ascending through the Bronze age. This is a more optimistic view and perhaps helps to explain the recent technological progress of the human race. In any case, it is all based on galactic emanations being responsible in some way for our destiny and the mechanism by how this might occur has yet to be proven.