We are told in the Occult Glossary that the four Yugas, with their respective time-periods of 4, 3, 2, 1 take up just half of the duration of a Root-Race. I have been wondering in what order the Yugas follow after Kali-Yuga, in which we now are because by analogy it might mean that they would go in the reverse order, so that after Kali-Yuga there would be Dwapara-Yuga, and then Treta-Yuga and then Satya, but reasoning from another standpoint, it seems we merge into the Golden Age, at least that is what it seems to say in the Vedas. Then from another standpoint, when a Race is dying out, as some of the primitive Races that we now know of, some of the aboriginal Races they might be said to be in a Golden Age in one way, because they have no responsibilities, they are childlike and in that sense might be said to be in the Golden Age to the end. So my question is: In what order do the Yugas in a Root-Race come after the Kali-Yuga? (1)
I think I can best answer this very interesting question in a public gathering by pointing to the history of our own present or Fifth Root-Race. We are all at present, as you know, part of the Fifth Root-Race on this Globe D in this Fourth Round. Now then, it was a legend among the Greeks that the childhood of mankind was happy, that it was peaceful, blessed with plenty, with abundance, that there were no wars and harassing anxieties in those halcyon days of the childhood of man. They called it the Saturnian Age, the Age of Saturn, mainly, I think, because there were no real responsibilities, as the questioner has correctly stated. I question very much, however, whether I for one would like to live the life of a babe unborn, in the womb, without responsibilities, a mere human lump. No!
About the middle point of the Fourth Root-Race, our Fifth Root-Race began to take form, which merely means that certain individuals who had passed through the Fourth Root-Race incarnations up to that time on the Earth, made among themselves a society, not organized, but the mere fact of their being and having more or less arrived at similar mental and spiritual outlooks made them in the middle part of the Fourth Root-Race to be as it were a people apart. Do you catch my thought? It was not an organized Society, an organization, a brotherhood, at first. It was simply that at about the middle point of the Fourth Root-Race certain individuals were born, which means that they had reached a time when Fifth Root-Race qualities and attributes were to begin to appear in them; just as in our present Fifth Root-Race we have almost reached its middle point, we are in its fourth Sub-race, and the forerunners of the Sixth Root-Race are just beginning to appear amongst us here and there over the world. Sporadically they appear, forming no definite body, organization, society, or brotherhood; but nevertheless beginning to imbody, to incarnate.
Now, as time went on, the Fourth Root-Race, which was then in its Kali-Yuga, began to descend the facilis descensus averno, the easy descent to Hell more and more; but at the same time a greater number of more advanced human monads were incarnating, thus constantly increasing the number of the then Fifth Root-Race in the throes of its birth. These individuals were for the Fourth Root-Race set apart. Nature favored them, which does not mean that they necessarily had a very easy time, but Nature favored them. They were fortune's favored pupils; they were receiving, because they had won all these benefits, special guidance, special help, special instruction, mostly unconscious except for the highest among them. Why? Because they needed it. The balance of the Fourth Root-Race was simply running down hill, and with each thousand years going faster down. But these favored individuals, fortune's favored sons, were helped, guided, protected, sheltered — sheltered as far as it could be done — because they had merited it on account of their previous evolutionary strivings to ascend; and because they were the seeds of the Fifth Root-Race to come, our present one. They were in their Satya-Yuga, the first and the longest.
Thus the yugas begin with the longest, next the next long, third the next long, and finally comes the culmination of wickedness and evil-doing in the Kali-Yuga, which we of the Fifth Root-Race have just begun. How many among us, I ask the question right here, are to be among the "favored" to form the seed of the Sixth Root-Race now already beginning on this continent and elsewhere, but more particularly perhaps in the Americas? We have reached our Kali-Yuga; it will last more than four hundred thousand years, and we are only some five thousand years gone in it, barely entering upon it! And as the majority in the future days of the Fifth Root-Race will be growing worse and worse, and going steadily faster and faster down the relatively steep descent, the individuals of the forthcoming Sixth Root-Race will contemporaneously grow more numerous and will be in their Satya-Yuga, their highest.
I think I have given in Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy a diagram (2) in which the birth of each Race is shown as beginning at about the middle part of the preceding one. There you have the picture. Each Race begins with its Satya-Yuga, its longest; passes from that into the next, the Treta; then into the third, the Dwapara; and then into the fourth and shortest and most intensely individual, the Kali-Yuga. And just about that time the seeds of the Race to follow are in their throes of birth.
I might add this — although I hope that it won't complicate your understanding — that these wonderful figures, 4, 3, 2, followed by one or two or more zeros, are key-numbers in Nature, and they are computed by means of the six, commonly called the senary, or again the duo-decimal, system of reckoning either by six, or twelve which is twice six; and hence there are the same yugas but with more zeros added — for globes as well as for Races; for Chains as well as for globes, and so forth.
Thus it is that the hey-day of civilization and progress of a Root-Race lasts through the four yugas from beginning to end; during its Kali-Yuga and towards the beginning of it, the seeds of the new succeeding Race begin to appear, and these seeds are in the beginning of their Satya-Yuga. As the centuries and the millennia roll slowly by, the scepter of dominion and of empire, of progress and advancing intelligence and wisdom, slowly passes from the former Race to the latter Race; so that when the former Race is finishing its Kali-Yuga, the succeeding Race is already beginning the hey-day of its halcyon, times of progress and power and civilization.
Meanwhile, even after the Kali-Yuga of the former Race is ended, the more or less degenerate remnants of the former Race continue in existence, but steadily going down hill still, and these degenerate descendants, although slowly through the ages growing constantly fewer and fewer, nevertheless last on until the succeeding Race in its turn has run through its three yugas and is entering its fourth or Kali-Yuga.
This is what I meant when I stated that although a Race begins its career at the middle point of the previous Race, it lives on for pretty much the same length as before, although in a state of degeneracy and senile decrepitude; the old waters gradually mix with the new and fresh, because the more advanced and better egos of the previous Race begin to reincarnate in the bodies of the succeeding or newer Race.
1. Question asked by Mrs F M Dadd at a meeting of the Point Loma Lodge, T S. (return to text)
2. Page 251. (return to text)