American Institute of Vedic Studies

Keys to the Yugas or Cycles of the Ages: Subyugas in the Sri Yukteswar Yuga Cycle

The following article is authored by David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) – Sri Yukteswar, the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, in his book the Holy Science (Kaivalya Darshana) has provided an excellent model for understanding human history through the four Yugas of Hindu thought, which he has explained in a new way that brings much clarity into the system.

The purpose of the present article is to suggest an additional enhancement to Yukteswar’s Yuga theory, adding a set of ‘subyugas’ or minor yugas to add more detail to it.

These additional subperiods can explain historical changes over centuries that the Yuga model of thousands of years can miss.They also tell us why, though we are no longer in the Kali Yuga, that we are still in a difficult time that is likely to continue for some decades.

First of all, let us take a quick overview of Sri Yuktewar’s Yuga theory. Yukteswar proposes a four yuga cycle of 12,000 years with transitional periods called ‘sandhis’ coming in between. Each sandhi is 10% the length of the main period and occurs at both its beginning and end.

Kali Yuga of 1000 years has two sandhis of 100 years for a total of 1200 years. Dwapara Yuga of 2000 years has two sandhis of 200 years for a total of 2400 years. Treta Yuga of 3000 years has two sandhis of 300 years for a total of 3600 years. Satya Yuga of 4000 years has two sandhis of 400 years for a total of 4800 years. This makes for a total of 12,000 years for the cycle of the four yugas.

Yukteswar has the yuga cycles coming in pairs. One set of ‘descending Yugas’ from Satya to Treta, Dwapara and Kali is followed by another set of ‘ascending Yugas’ from Kali to Dwapara, Treta and Satya. According to him the midpoint of the descending and ascending yuga cycles occurred around 500 AD.

In addition to this scheme of Yugas and Sandhis, I am proposing dividing up each Yuga itself into four sections or subyugas of Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali in the same relative proportions.

We can divide up the 1000 year yuga of Kali into four yugas, 400 years of Satya Kali, 300 years of Treta Kali, 200 years of Dwapara Kali and 100 years of Kali Kali. We would divide up Dwapara Yuga of 2000 years into 800 years of Satya Dwapara, 600 years of Treta Dwapara, 400 years of Dwapara Dwapara and 200 years of Kali Dwapara. In this manner, we can bring more specificity into the kind of historical changes that we can expect during the long period of each Yuga.

Relative to ‘descending yugas’, I would begin them with the Satya period as they begin with a period in which there is the greatest light. Relative to the ‘ascending yugas’, I would end them with the Satya period in which there is the greatest light.

Below I have listed the regular Yugas and their sandhis (transitional periods) along with the proposed subyugas that occur within each Yuga. This provides the following scheme.

Ascending Dwapara Yuga proper 1900 – 3900 AD
Satya subyuga 3100 – 3900 AD
Treta subyuga 2500 – 3100 AD
Dwapara subyuga 2100 – 2500 AD
Kali subyuga 1900 – 2100 AD
Dwapara Yuga sandhi 1700 – 1900 AD
Kali Yuga sandhi 1600 – 1700 AD
Ascending Kali Yuga proper 600 – 1600 AD
Satya subyuga 1200 – 1600 AD
Treta subyuga 900 – 1200 AD
Dwapara subyuga 700 – 900 AD
Kali subyuga 600 – 700 AD
Ascending Kali Yuga sandhi 500 – 600 AD
Descending Kali Yuga sandhi 400 – 500 AD
Descending Kali Yuga proper 600 BCE – 400 AD
Kali subyuga 300 – 400 AD
Dwapara subyuga 100 – 300 AD
Treta subyuga 200 BCE – 100 AD
Satya subyuga 600 – 200 BCE
Kali Yuga sandhi 700 – 600 BCE
Dwapara Yuga sandhi 900 – 700 BCE
Descending Dwapara Yuga proper 2900 – 900 BCE
Kali subyuga 1100 – 900 BCE
Dwapara subyuga 1500 – 1100 BCE
Treta subyuga 2100 – 1500 AD
Satya subyuga 2900 – 2100 BCE
Dwapara Yuga sandhi 3100 – 2900 BCE
Treta Yuga sandhi 3400 – 3100 BCE
Descending Treta Yuga proper 6400 – 3400 BCE
Kali subyuga 3700 – 3400 BCE
Dwapara subyuga 4300 – 3700 BCE
Treta subyuga 5200 – 4300 AD
Satya subyuga 6400 – 5200 BCE
Treta Yuga sandhi 6700 – 6400 BCE
Satya Yuga sandhi 7100 – 6700 BCE
Descending Satya Yuga proper 11,100 – 7100 BCE
Kali subyuga 7500 – 7100 BCE
Dwapara subyuga 8300 – 7500 BCE
Treta subyuga 9500 – 8300 BCE
Satya subyuga 11,100 – 9500 BCE

I believe that this addition of the subyugas explains a lot historically.

For example, the Satya Subyuga of the Descending Kali Yuga from 600 – 200 BCE was the main period of religious and philosophical development in the ancient world, particularly through the the Indians, the Chinese and the Greeks, when Vedantic, Buddhist, Taoist and Greek philosophies were at there highest. This would agree with it being the Satya or spiritual portion of the descending Kali Yuga.

The Satya subyuga of the Ascending Kali Yuga from 1200 – 1600 AD marked the High Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation in which there was also a development of knowledge in Europe. This would agree with it being the Satya or spiritual portion of the ascending Kali Yuga.

The Descending Dwapara Yuga and its Satya subyuga (2900 – 2100 BCE), Treta subyuga (2100-1500 BCE) and Dwapara subyuga (1500 – 1100 BCE) correspond fairly well with the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms of ancient Egypt. These are the usual periods given by scholars for their main flourishing. After 1100 BCE, the civilization of ancient Egypt declined severely.

In this regard, it is important to note that the current Kali subyuga of the Dwapara Yuga that runs from 1900 – 2100 AD explains our continued global problems even though Dwapara proper has already begun. These problems will probably not be resolved until 2100 AD when the Kali subyuga ends and the Dwapara subyuga of Dwapara Yuga begins.

Presently we stand only slightly more than half way through the Kali subyuga of Dwapara Yuga. The question is whether the second half will be as destructive as the first half.

So the good news that Sri Yukteswar taught, that we are in Dwapara Yuga, needs to be tempered with the fact that we are also in its Kali subyuga. This means that some of the negative influence of the previous Kali Yuga will remain. These are reflected in our current ecological crisis and in the problem of religious fundamentalism and terrorism.

We must also recognize that Dwapara Yuga itself is not a spiritual age like Satya Yuga. It is an age of subtle materialism that brings some development over the gross materialism of Kali Yuga. But the powers that Dwapara develops from electricity to nuclear and the mass media create their challenges as well, along with their more dangerous weapons and possibility of a greater civilizational collapse. The beginning of Dwapara Yuga can result in wars and disasters greater than Kali Yuga because the energies and weapons are stronger!

We should additionally note that the cycle of the yugas does not proceed in a uniform way but through a series of transformations, which can have a destructive side. Often the forces of darkness increase or amass before they are eliminated or cast out. So struggles between the powers of light and the powers of darkness can heighten even in an era of generally increasing light, such as we see today.

The twenty-first century therefore is an important transitional period. As Dwapara Yuga moves forward, the shadow of Kali Yuga lingers on along with the immaturity of the new Yuga. As we are half way through this Kali subyuga that began around 1900, we can expect the next hundred years to present similar challenges to the planet as the twentieth century, though with greater technological capacities and dangers.

Another Level of Subsubyugas

We can add a third level to the Yugas or ‘sub-subyugas’. For the current subyuga these would be.
1900 – 1920 Dwapara Kali Kali
1920 – 1960 Dwapara Kali Dwapara
1960 – 2020 Dwapara Kali Treta
2020 – 2100 Dwapara Kali Satya

In this scheme, we see that the Kali Kali subsubyuga of Dwapara Yuga was marked by the First World War. The Dwapara Kali subsubyuga was marked by the Second World War. The Treta subsubyuga has not yet been marked by another world war but has had the Cold War and now the global war on terrorism.

We are not beyond further World Wars or global calamities. The centralization of the global politics, media and economy as Dwapara Yuga is developing, may make our society more vulnerable to attack and collapse. 2020 will mark a change from Dwapra Kali Treta, in which we are now in, to Dwapara Kali Satya. One should expect more positive developments after that time, though one can still not rule out some major restructuring of human civilization and a good deal of suffering along the way.

In conclusion, I would urge any who follow Yuktewar’s yuga theory to look into the additional possible influence of these subyugas.

Our current global difficulties are not a sign that we remain in Kali Yuga but that we are in the Kali aspect of Dwapara Yuga. During this dangerous period we have the new energy of Dwapara Yuga but have not yet learned the wisdom to use it properly. This period will last throughout the coming century! So major shifts are yet to come.

Latest Articles
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Embodied Mind and Transcendent Consciousness

We human beings are embodied creatures defined by our birth in a particular physical body as indicating our real identity and the focus of our lives. Our minds are not only located in the body but ruled by an entire set of bodily needs, imperatives, appearances and actions and their

Read More »
Articles by Yogini Shambhavi

Kali as the Yuga Shakti: the Power to Create a New World Age

By Yogini Shambhavi   As the great power of time, Kali’s Shakti creates the different Yugas or world ages that humanity passes through during the long cycles of cosmic evolution. Kali is the Goddess of eternity watching over all our temporal changes and facilitating those which promote our inner growth.

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Comparison and the Incomparable Self

Your inner Self (Atman) and true nature cannot be compared to anything. It has no name, form or action, no shape, size or color. It is beyond all elements and qualities of nature. It is beyond body and mind, time and appearance altogether. It dwells within everything yet is not

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Shiva Ayurveda – The Yogic Power of Healing and Transformation

Most Ayurvedic practitioners look upon Lord Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, as the deity of Ayurveda and ideal doctor. Certainly that is an important tradition worthy of following based on profound Puranic stories and symbolism. Yet in the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic text, and Shruti or book of mantric

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Astrology

Winter Solstice, Galactic Center and New Time of Troubles

I have been writing for some years about 2020 as indicating the beginning of a “New Time of Troubles” for humanity, dangerous from 2020-2028, but continuing long beyond that. This relates astronomically to the Winter Solstice point transiting the Galactic Center in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is difficult to

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

The Ancient Yoga of the Sun

For the Winter Solstice December 21, which marks the rebirth of the Sun and Agni What if the most powerful force for energizing all Yoga practices were as obvious and visible as the Sun? The fact is that it is. The Sun, properly understood not merely as an outer but

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

Yoga as Samadhi

Yoga is defined as Samadhi in the Yoga Sutras. Yet few Yoga practitioners know what Samadhi is or how to approach it. But without understanding Samadhi one cannot understand Yoga in the true sense of the term. Samadhi is complete coherence and composure of mind, the mind fully united with

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

Yoga Nidra according to Adi Shankara

Yoga Nidra is a popular topic today but seldom taken to the depth that it is presented with in the Vedantic teachings. Here we will examine it according to the views of the great teacher, Shankara.   Adi Shankara or Shankaracharya is the most lauded exponent of Advaita or non-dualistic

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

Why Sri Krishna is the Avatar of Yoga

Sri Krishna is the only human guru and incarnation of Vishnu called Yogavatara or the Avatar of Yoga, and Yogeshvara or the Lord of Yoga. The Bhagavad Gita remains the most important and foundational Yoga Shastra or definitive Yoga text. To understand Yoga one must understand Sri Krishna, his life,

Read More »

Follow Dr David Frawley on social media @

Ayurvedic Healing Course

Take a comprehensive, yet affordable distance learning program in Ayurvedic healing, providing a vast set of resources, presented with clarity and depth. It is an excellent and accessible place to start your journey into Ayurveda from wherever you may be, and yet will take you very far. Our Ayurvedic Healing course covers mind-body constitution, daily health regimens, doshic imbalances, dietary and herbal treatment, sensory therapies and internal practices of Yoga and meditation. Our course aims to bring the deeper teachings of Ayurveda to everyone at an affordable price, whether for self-healing or helping others. It is connected to the classic books on Ayurveda of Dr. David Frawley. An internationally renowned course taken by over ten thousand people worldwide over the last thirty years, the course remains one of the best ways to learn Ayurveda both at a personal level and as a foundation for deeper study. Let the wisdom of Ayurveda transform your life and broaden your awareness!

Learn more and Signup Here »

Ayurvedic Astrology Course

Learn the secrets of Vedic astrology as taught relative to the healing powers of Ayurveda. View your birth chart to determine your Ayurvedic mind-body constitution according to their planetary connections, and promote longevity yoga and Self-realization. Learn how to read Vedic charts to help others recognize and optimize their karmas to fulfill their dharma. Study the teachings Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri), a master educator in Vedic astrology and Ayurveda of worldwide renown. This course has helped pioneered Vedic astrology in the West and made it accessible to all serious students. Join in this Vedic movement to connect to the universe, the stars and planets, within you!

Learn more and Signup Here »

Yoga, Ayurveda, Mantra & Meditation Course

Take an inspiring online program on classical Yoga and traditional Ayurveda for body, mind and consciousness. Learn how to heal yourself according to a higher awareness that you can share with all! This many-sided course covers all eight limbs of Yoga according to Ayurvedic principles, from asana and pranayama to deeper practices of mantra and meditation. It teaches an Ayurvedic Yoga approach for the full unfoldment of our inner awareness. It shares the secrets of Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, the Yogas of knowledge, devotion and action, in the context of a greater Raja Yoga. Study with one of the world’s leading experts and Acharyas in the field of Yoga and Ayurveda. Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri), linking yourself with authentic traditions going back to the Vedic Seers.

Learn more and Signup Here »
Learn Ayurvedic Astrologywith Dr David Frawley

Learn the greater wisdom of Ayurveda & Vedic Astrology (Ayurvedic Astrology) with internationally acclaimed scholar on the subject - Dr David Frawley (Acharya Vamadeva Shastri). Get a special limited time discount - sale ends shortly.

Layer 1