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Date Posted: 10:21
Author: Hendrik - 29 Apr 2001
Subject: ENC: Evaluation of Sri Yukteswar's yuga theory
Sri Yukteswar wrote a book "The Holy Science" which presents a new calculation of the ancient tradition of yugas (theory of world ages).
Some time the thought stroke me why virtually everyone, for milleniums, believed that we are living in Kali Yuga, whereas the findings of Sri Yukteswar (and perhaps no one else) differ considerably from this belief. Sri Yukteswar tried to prove that we have entered Dwapara Yuga already, the second of an ascending line of ages.
I have experienced that SRF members as well as many other Kriyavans generally accept Sri Yukteswar's teachings.
I cannot say that either Yukteswar or the ancient tradition is right, I have no idea at all.
Now a few days ago I came across an article who presents a critical look on Yukteswar's astrological calculations and tries to prove that he was wrong.
The article is part of a huge web site that I do not like and the URL of which I don't want to present on this board.
I copied the source text of the article so that not all of the formatting gets lost. May look a bit strange now, but the text is complete. The internal links are truncated.
A chart is mentioned somewhere in the article but however there is no chart even on the web site itself.
Some of the links leading to external web sites may be of interest.
I am far too lazy and disinterested in indulging in astrological calculations. I present this article here just for the sake of information. If the author has calculated correctly, Sri Yukteswar may have arrived at wrong results even within the limits of his own novelty theory.
Four ages and Sri Yukteswar
In The Holy Science [Hos], written in 1894, Sri Yukteswar
considers European and American scientists fit to hold communion with
spiritual devotees (of India). [Hos 3n, 5] His Great Preceptor Babaji (so
called) wanted him to help in establishing basic truth. [Hos 6] And truth
is exact correspondence with reality, according to one definition by
Paramahansa Yogananda. [Ha 476]
Sri Yukteswar presents the concepts of "ages" that are similar to
the Greek golden, silver, bronze and iron ages. The corresponding Sankrit
terms are krita (satya) yuga; treta yuga; dwapara (also dvapara) yuga; and
kali yuga. A yuga is an era, then, a period of time. Sri Yukteswar holds
that the ages come in cycles, and fixes them to an astronomical
phenomenon, the precession of the Vernal Equinox.
He also links up the cycles to the star zeta Piscium; in
Sanskrit the star is called Revati [Hos 12, 13, 17]
He renders Manu Samhita when it comes
to how long each age is, and what characteristics each has. [Mux 20 (Ch 1,
v 69-71), 20-22 (Ch 1, v 81-92), 396 (Ch 9, v 302] etc.] He correctly
points out that Manu in the old book has postulated a cycle of 24,000
years, and not divine years. The latter was arrived at a long time
ago through text interpolations.
Sri Yukteswar goes on to fix one bottom arc to AD 499 [Hos 12-13].
But recent attempts indicate somewhere around 560 AD. [href="http://www.astro.com/swisseph/swisseph.htm#_Toc476664205">Check
it!] Based on 499 AD Sri Yukteswar calculates eras and
their lengths in ways that can't fit:
It was around 560 AD (hopefully 18 Mar 564) that the tropical
and the sidereal zero points were at exactly the same place, not in 499
AD, Sri Yukteswar's date. [href="http://www.astro.com/swisseph/swisseph.htm#_Toc476664205">Check this
Apart from giving a first date (499 AD) that may not fit, the
swami fixes the spans of each era to the slow retrograde motion of the
Equinoctial points: the complete retrograde cycle takes roughly 25,770
years*, not 24,000 years, as he postulates and makes use of for the
time-reckoning he launches. Granted this, the length and time span of each
era according to the swami is twice at fault: (1) The starting point of
499 AD is but debatable - and may be 564 AD according to old
sources. (2) Each yuga (era) is too short in his calculations. It
means a lot in the long run, like basing life on a clock that runs too
fast, over one hour per day.
*"The IAU [International Astronomical Union]
system of constants sets the general precession rate to be 5029.0966
arcseconds per century. At this rate, a full cycle (360 degrees) is
completed in 257.7003591 centuries, or 25770.03591 years." - Chris
If the retrograde cycle is taken to be 25,770 years, the two postulated
half-cycles in it will be 12,885 years each, and the allotted yugas or
eras as follows:
Note the numbers in the table are not completely accurate - you may want
to revise them just a little in the light of the more exact knowledge of
the retrograde cycle given right before the table. It's easy to do it.
What such a table helps us see, is that the swami (Hindu monk) that the
venerated guru of Paramahansa Yogananda got only wrong figures in
calculating time according to the system he set up. Sri Yukteswar is
called Jnanavatar (wisdom incarnated) with "unerring spiritual insight" by
his disciple Yogananda. [Hos v]
There's a danger in that. When the map doesn't fit the terrain,
the map-maker is not to be called unerring and hailed far and wide for
such feats as well.
Some say that Sri Yukteswar arrived at his
strong points by divine insights alone or mainly. They are
surely taken in. Sri Yukteswar studied astrology for long.
From his studies of Astrology and Vedic literatures Swami Sri
Yukteshvar found ... the constellation Aries ... 501 B.C. [href="http://home.maine.rr.com/yoganiketan/Kriya_Library/Kriya_Yoga/chapter_4.htm">Check]
Reverse the scheme to get the downward cycle. As you have seen, the sum of
these two will be 25,770 quite accurately.
The proportions between eras are 1 : 2 : 3 : 4. You may have noted
that in the Manu Samhita and in Sri
Yukteswar's use of it [Hos 11 et, Mux ch 1, cf v 81-86 too], each era has
a grey zone (mutation period) in front and rear, and that a grey zone,
sandhi is one tenth of its respective 'era proper', the 'strict'
yuga. that is 10/12 of the whole yuga era.
A REPEAT: The guru postulates that the Vernal Equinox left the star sign
Aries in AD 499 and entered Pisces. [Hos 13] Opinions differ about when
this celestial phenomenon took place. However, most often you could see
somewhere in the 560s AD.
The guru further employs the wrong time scale of 24,000 years in
fixing ages, and not the more appropriate 25,770.036 year cycle. Based on
this, we are not really in Dwapara Yuga 300 in AD 2000, contrary to the
Indian swami'’s views. Then, in what "age" are we now?
Based on the fixed date AD 564,
Ascending iron age mutating: 564 AD - ca. 671.375 AD
Ascending (proper) iron age: till ca. 1745.125 AD
End of iron age mutation period: 1852.5 AD
Ascending bronze age (Dwapara yuga) mutation
period: from 1852.5 AD to 2067.25 AD, roughly.
Ascending (proper) Dwapara yuga: (bronze age proper): ca 2067.25 AD
Accordingly, we are in a Transitional Bronze Age, a "bronze
mutation period", in 2001 AD, and a "proper bronze age" (Dwapara yuga) has
not started yet. What do you say to that?
Where are we?
The ways of fixing time that Sri Yukteswar wanted the public to
use, has not been well received. The disciples of his disciple Yogananda,
with a quite large following in the West, dropped it. They date their
publications otherwise. If your followers don't stick to your
recommendations, don't expect the public to take after you.
There is one exception, though. Swami Kriyananda, born J. Donald
Walters, has used the reckoning of Sri Yukteswar. There is some court
evidence, a deposition, where it is explained that according to Sri
Yukteswar, year 1995 AD is 295 Dwapara. You may understand that Donald
Walters was in trouble, but astronomial topics was not the great issue.
Our revision of the texts in the light of present-day astronomical
knowledge yields another date to think you're inside: Subtract 1852.5
years from what your (Gregorian) calendar shows, and you might just have
According to this, The year 2001 AD is 148.5 Dwapara mutation
(Bronze mutation). It must be good to know: We are all in an
upward Bronze transit period of time (2000 AD) - And
Kali-yuga-Christ was not born exactly in year 0 anyway. [href="http://www.rog.nmm.ac.uk/leaflets/new_mill.html">Check]
A little chart may shed further light here, and maybe not:
The four ages, yugas, according to Sri Yukteswar. [Hos 9] Click on the
chart to inspect a larger one.
TO THIS: To the left near the bottom of the figure, is an arrow that
indicates the position of the autumnal equinox in the
constellations somehow. The vernal equinox is opposite
However, there is reason to have some misgivings here too.
Modern astronomers don't seem to know exactly where in Pisces the
vernal equinox is. But estimates can be found, different authors have
different outlooks. Astrodienst Online
in Zürich uses a displacement of 24.44 degrees (May 21, 2000 AD), you
can see, if you inspect their Extended Chart Selection too. Their
"geocentric sidereal selection" - which comes with a warning - employs a
divergence of nearly 25 degrees today. Accordingly, the vernal equinox is
now at "constellation Pisces 5" - but only when we ignore that
the constellation Pisces is broader that the star sign Pisces,
and a few other things, which include the problem of determining where and
why to think an irregular polygon shape ends along the zodiac belt and
another starts; and also the uncertainty of the displacement span itself,
due to differently fixed focal points somehow. Maybe 5 degrees Pisces
fits, and maybe not. It seems wise to allow judiciousness and leave the
matter be for now, if you don't have fit clues for the plumbing in these
But the gap (now nearly 25 degrees according to Astrodienst)
increases in time: there is a displacement of 50.29 seconds of celestial
longitude yearly. Thus, it takes almost 72 years to complete one degree -
and there are 360 degrees around the Zodiac circle. [See also Maso 63,
Said in other words: When the sun reaches the vernal equinox in
its yearly round (one day in March), the sun enters the first degree of
the Aries star sign. But the constellation is different, it
drifts away from the star sign and also away from here (and changes its
contours through that). Yes the constellation is yet getting steadily
displaced throughout time - 50.29 seconds a year. Thus, the vernal equinox
is in the constellation Pisces 5-9 could fit if we think in a
certain way. Other numbers may arise if we think along other veins. That
should be welcomed as a problem.
Has the Age of Aquarius come?
The Age of Aquarius, a New Age after the Piscean era we are
inside, is not now. At least the given technicalities support this
The full cycle that these ages link up to, is the retrograde
movement of the equinox axis through the zodiac. As you may know, the
zodiac is a ring of constellations that the Sun seems to pass through each
year as the Earth orbits around the sun. There are actually 13 zodiacal
constellations today, as defined by astronomers: The Serpent Holder has
entered a little between Scorpio and Sagittarius. Now, as for the equinox
retrogression cycle through the zodiac, it takes about 25,770 years to
complete one cycle which is divided in 360 degrees. [Maso]
Each star sign ins 1/12 of that again, i.e. 30 degrees. It will
take 25,770.036 : 12 = 2148 [better: 2147 1/2) years to span one
age. If the Pisces Age started in 564 AD (give and take) - and not in
0 or 499 AD - the Age of Aquarius is about in 2712 AD. We hope
this is exact enough.
Accordingly, the Age of Aquarius is not now - over twenty
generations till it arrives if the star sign reckoning holds good.
According to that, we are in Pisces (and also a rising Bronze transit
period) in 2000 AD.
It takes the equinox axis nearly 72 years to traverse one degree
of the zodiac circle (and it moves roughly 1 degree and 24 minutes per
century). Thus, rest assured, there are years and centuries to go till the
Age of Wisdom (Aquarius) arrives.
The span of constellations
There is a problem. Our calculations so far tie in with the fact
that any star sign is 30 degrees wide and
broad. It's so defined. Thus, the sign Pisces is 30 degrees. But the
constellation Pisces which is linked to what we love to call fixed
stars, even if they are in a slight movement away from here, is over
30 degrees wide. Gemini is far less than 30 degrees. An astronomer
can tell you how many degrees each constellation (handed-over star image)
covers. But there is another snag to it:
"The International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted boundaries for
each constellation in 1930. The accepted boundaries are published in the
following work: E. Delporte, in, Delimitation scientifique
desconstellations (tables et cartes), Cambridge University Press,
1930. The boundaries are irregular polygons, so the width varies
depending on where you choose your starting and ending points."
[Chris Palma in a personal communication]
Thus when does the Pisces Age end? According to what? The star
signs, what beginnings and ends of the constellation images? What is the
proper guideline? If you can tell us, please do so.
Rubbing it in: Are we considering star signs of 30
degrees each when we should deal with constellations of irregular
polygon shapes and unequal length? Can anyone resolve this without
yodeling a bit off tune here and there? [Cf. Maso 148; Alk]
Name Star sign dates*
Actual* (2000) Days or
22–Apr 21 Apr 18–May 13 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">25
22–May 21 May 13–June 22 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">40
22–June 21 June 22–July 21 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">29
22–July 21 July 21–Aug 10 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">20
22–Aug 21 Aug 10–Sept 16 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">37
22–Sept 21 Sept 16–Oct 31 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">45
22–Oct 21 Oct 31–Nov 23 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">23
22–Nov 21 Nov 23–Nov 29 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">6
width="155"> Nov 29–Dec 18 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">19
22–Dec 21 Dec 18–Jan 21 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">34
22–Jan 21 Jan 21–Feb 16 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">26
22–Feb 21 Feb 16–Mar 11 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">24
22–Mar 21 Mar 11–Apr 18 width="55" bgcolor="#ffff66" align="center">38
Rooted in a table by David Hasenauer. [href="http://www.britannica.com/bcom/magazine/article/0,5744,43234,00.html">Check]
THE DATES given in
the column of "star sign dates" may vary with a day or at most two in a
leap year cycle of 4 years. They are approximate, then.
OPHIUCHUS, 'Oph', is the Serpent
Holder or Serpent Bearer:
This constellation is not part of the zodiac, but the sun passes
through it in December each year. When the zodiac was drawn by
the Babylonians 3000 years ago or so, the sun passed through just the
twelve constellations we still refer to as the zodiac. Because of the
Earth's precession (wobble) the apparent way of the sun through the sky
has changed through the milleniums. [href="http://www.seds.org/Maps/Stars_en/Fig/ophiuchus.html">Check]
"While the sun still traverses Scorpius, it only takes nine days [sic] to
do so; most of the time is spent in neighbouring Ophiuchus (which is the
only constellation that the sun enters but which is not a part of the
"Each year the Sun spends ... only six days within the boundary of
Scorpius. ... And ... for those born in early December, the Sun spends
some time within Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer. Although it's one of the
largest constellations in area, Ophiuchus is the unrespected Rodney
Dangerfield of the zodiac." [href="http://www.britannica.com/bcom/magazine/article/0,5744,43234,00.html">Check]
There is a rich mythology around the Serpent Holder
DATE AND DEGREE DIVERGENCES:
Astrodienst in Zuruck doesn't operate with exactly the same DATE AND
DEGREE DIVERGENCES as D. Hasenauer in their strict-looking
The handy purpose of presenting the "Hasenauer survey" is to show color="#000099">how widely the spans of constellations seem to vary -
it's seen from the right column above through "one day is
approximately one degree of arc". - As for Scorpius and Ophiuchus, they
are taken as 'one Scorpius' too.
Why the equinox axis moves backwards through the stars
According to Sri Yukteswar, the equinox axis moves backwards
through the stars because our sun has a dual star and revolves around it.
According to astronomy based on known occurrences, however, the
precession of the equinoxes is caused by the gravitational attraction of
the Sun and Moon on the protuberant matter at the Earth's equator. In
other words, the gravitational attraction of the Sun and Moon on earth
causes the axis of the earth to tilt. [Maso 63, 148]
We have found no evidence that there is any dual star. In science,
what is proposed but not (yet) founded on solid documentation, does hardly
belong to science proper ... perhaps to pre-stages where theories are
proposed, considered and laid to rest as well if they cannot be documented
well enough. Such ways of handling theories may make science fit. The lack
of such handling schemes calls for faith and proselytising, which you
should steer out of, too.
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