How Long is Kali Yuga?

I am still in the process of researching this significant question and have not come to a conclusion, but here is some evidence that, at least for now, seems to bear very significant weight in my mind.

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.14 says that Vyasa began his work when the Second Age was on the verge of beginning.1.4.20 says that he began by creating the Rg and other three Vedas. 1.4.23 indicates that the further development of literature took place as a combined effort of sages under Vyasa’s leadership over a span of many generations. The remainder of the chapter and beginning of the next makes it clear that after seeing the compilation of so many expansive upanishads and puranas, Vyasa remained dissatisfied and later became inspired by Narada to create the Bhagavatam to remedy his dissatisfaction. So Bhagavatam is the last effort.

We hear elsewhere in the text itself that Bhagavatam was created just after Krishna’s departure from the Earth and the beginning of Kali Yuga.

Astronomically speaking we know with sufficient confidence that the Rg Veda created roughly 5,000 years ago – because it specifies that the “first star” was Krittika (Pleiades) and we can reconstruct the movement of the vernal equinox (the starting point of the celestial circle) to see that it was last in Krttika about 5,000 years ago.

This indicates that 5,000 years ago is when Vyasa began his efforts, not when he completed them by creating the Bhagavatam. So it seems to be a clear indication that 5,000 years ago was the beginning of the Second Age (Dvapara). And that Kali Yuga began several generations of sages after that.

This assessment does not support the long version of yugas as multiples of 1,000 years multiplied by 360. Rather it supports the short version of yugas simply as multiples of 1,000 years.

Please see this addendum correcting a mistaken concept in this post.

– Vic DiCara

22 thoughts on “How Long is Kali Yuga?

  1. vicji, by traditional knowledge, we know that vyasa started compiling when arjuna ran to him, and had lost every luster and power after krishna left the planet.

    his bows and supernatural weaponds were sealed. and his gandhiva was broken by some mands stick alone, and all krishna’s wives were taken by the tribe race in a near by village who attacked him.

    and after this lifeless and weeping he went through few thigns and finally reached vyasa. after arjuna was given advice and sent to convey message to his brothers, tradition says vyasa seeing this crude condition started the writings.

    but one thing is that tradition clearly says, kaliyuga exactly started on the exact moment when krishna presence was gone from the plane. the kali has to appear 3 days in advance, but due to presence of krisna it could not even come near the mind of the age, and waited unitl krisna departed.

    and tradition even says that kali at this time indeed has a body of 96 tattvas, all crudely organized and not well, and the body was very fragile weak and wihtotu the tenth door. but kali had by then recieved all the 48 boons and he threw away the body after 100 years of twilight. have few interesting details and proofs , will keep posting here.

    1. I am happy to receive your comment. But I must ask “which tradition are you talking about.” It is not the view of any tradition that I am familiar with that Vyasa began compiling the vedas after Krishna left the planet. This is in direct contradiction to explicit statements from shastra (such as those quoted in the post itself). In Vedic Darshans (the Vedic view of things) Shastra-praman (the epistemological authenticity of authorities) always soundly trumps loka-praman (the epistemological authenticity of tradition and folklore).

  2. and for the shastra pramana, i respect shastras immensely, but in this age, my most beloved teachers, said only thing that can be errorfree is atmapramana, everything else can be cut by illusion.

    1. Dear Chandan,

      Atma may be free from error, but it is deluded by maya and is not active in the material world. Only ahankara is active. Speaking of supramundane topics without deference to supramundane authories (self-realized atmas who have communicated Sastra to us) is merely ahankara-pramana. It is not cut by illusion because it is itself illusion.

      With great care and affection,
      Vraja Kishor das

  3. I hear you, and i see your caring. both. thanks is indeed not right world, gratitude looks more beautiful.

    but as brothers, I guess this is the place where we will have disagree and i respect this words which very much. i know they have been born from affection and care.

  4. In mahabharata, the udyog parva and others, angaraka going vakra is clearly mentioned, with which the date of mahabharata can be very accurately determined.

    once done, the date of krishna leaving the body can be determined.

    once that is determined, bhagavath purana and vishnu purana can be consulted. I am aware that suka ha mentioned exact positions of sun, moon, brihaspati and pushya, and the quarter.

    further vishnu purana eloborates on the positions of saptarishis and there century wise movement of over 12.99 degrees movement from one sign to another.

    it also states the position of saptarishi when kali started, and gives the conditions when it ends.

    and now with advanced astrological simulators and planetary orbit simulators, we can simply run simulations and we will gather all the proof, and one matching the other, we will have accurate date , isn’t it ?

    Let me know if you need the related verses and sections and related details, i can grab all that for you .

    1. Angaraka is Mars. Mars goes retrograde very very often. Can you please explain how Mars retrogression can time a historical event? Is it a retrogression in specific conjunction with stars and planets?

      Please tell what Suka has mentioned. Please give references.

      Bhagavata Purana also mentions the positions of the Saptarishis in movement from one nakshatra to another, and at the beginning and end of kali yuga. I am unable to understand this clearly, however. I am interpreting the Saptarishis to be Ursa Minor, and fail to see how they move in relation to the nakshatra. Can you explain? Can you give the quote and reference from Vishnu Purana? It might be very helpful to me.

  5. Heres the part of vishnu puraana you requested, which also includes explaination of how the saptarishis move in relation ot nakshatra ( precisely ) / raasi ( generically )


    सप्तर्षीणां तु यौ पूर्वौ दृश्येते ह्युदितौ दिवि
    तयोस्तु मध्ये नक्षत्रं दृश्यते यस्यमं निशि ( २०५ )

    saptarshinAm tu yau pOrvau drushyate hyuditau divi
    thayostu madhye nakshatram drushyate yasyamam nishi ( 205 )

    saptarshinAm ( saptarishis ) , tu yau pOrvau – in the east, drushyate – appears , hyuditau – arises two of them, divi – day, thayostu madhye – between these two stars, nakshatram drushyate – the star that appears, yasyamam nishi – which is seen in the night

    तेन सप्तर्षियो युक्तास्तिष्ठंत्यब्दशतं नृणाम्
    ते तु पारीक्षिते काले मघाश्वासन्द्विजोत्तम ( २०६ )

    tena saptarshiyo yuktthAstiShtantyabdashatam nrunAm
    te tu pArEkshito kaalo maGhAshwAsandwijottama ( 206 )

    tena saptarshiyo – Those Saptarishis, yuktthAstiShtantyabdashatam – Stays Situated in that star for one hundred years of, nrunAm – motal/man
    te tu pArEkshito kaalo – those two in the times of parikshita, maGhAshwAsandwijottama – adored maGha between themselves.

    तदा प्रवृतश्च कलिर्द्वादशाब्दशतात्मकः ( २०७ )

    tada pravrutaschha kalirdwaadashaabdashataatmakaha ( 207 )

    tada- then, pravrutascha – developed, kalirdwaadashaabdashataatmakaha kali of twelve hundred units.

    Note : everywhere human time is mentioned, it is specifically told so, hence this should surely be some other timeline.

    यदैव भगवन्विश्नोरम्शो यातो दिवं द्विज
    वसुदेवकुलोब्धुतस्तदैवात्रागतः कलिः ( २०८ )

    yadaiwa bhagavanvishnuramsho yaato divam dwija
    vasudevakulabdutastadaiwaatraagataha kalihi ( 207 )

    yadaiwa – when , bhagavanvishuramsho – the part/amsha of bhagavan vishnu yaato divam dwijah – when signed off , vasudewakula – aaDhbutasta – tadaiwa – atra – agataha – kalihi, the reign of vasudeva being submergedm, at that intant , there came the kali

    यावत्सपादपद्माभ्यां पस्पर्शमां वसुन्धरां
    तावत्प्रित्विपरिश्वाङ्गो समर्थो नाभवत्कलिः ( २०९ )

    yaawatsapaadapadmaabhyam pasparshamaam vasundharam
    taavatpritviparishwaangho samarte naaBhawatkalihi ( 209 )

    yaawatsapaadapadmaabhyam – till the day the lotus feets , pasparshamaam vasundharam – touched the earth,
    taavatpritviparishwaangho – till that day occupation on this earth, samarte naaBhawatkalihi – was not successful for kali


    hope this helps, let me know if you want me to try to find soemthign more.

    1. Thank you very much. This is repeated almost word for word in the 12th canto of Bhagavata Purana, and I have been studying it. The problem is that I cannot clearly conceive of how one fixed star (a nakshatra) moves in relation to another fixed star (such as the stars of Ursa-Major, Saptarishi). Can you explain?

  6. True.

    the saptarishis are situated in the near quarters of the north pole point. above which resides the sacred ocean.

    They move much more slowly then other stars due to the proximity to the axis point ( it is called the same nort pole point called as alighnment of sustainance, and also the point that is pointed using the mind compass when a yogi leaves a body in mahasamadhi, seated in lotus posture , facing north , it is along this point all the planes upti tapaloka manifest)

    The secret is that there is a relative movement between the Saptarishi Mandala and the Nakshatra Mandala. So the Saptarishis are next to different rasis in different centuries. clearly observable in a single century.

    very accurately the relative movement is of 3.33 degrees per 24.67 human modern years. hence approximation of one raasi per century ( that is 3.33 X 4 )

    but the noting is not done by raasi, but a star in the raasi. how this star is calculated is what is given in the verse above.

    I donno the names, but i show you what it is :
    * *

    Now if you find the mid point on horisontal axis of first and fourth, and draw a parpendicular, then the star pointed by that parpendicular, in the raasi held is the star thus described.

    hope this helps

  7. sorry the formatting is gone…. see this image instead, and see the mid between first and fifth star. ( not fourth as typed wrongly in previous post )

    1. Your explanation is based on the idea that there is relative movement between the nakshatra mandala and saptarishi mandala. However, there is not. If there is please explain it to me, as it contradicts my understanding of astronomy. There IS relative movement between the spatarishi and the rashi mandala. However (a) the rashi mandala is distinct from the nakshatra mandala, and (b) the rate of movement between the rashi mandala and saptarishi mandala is too slow to match the measurements we are talking about.

      If you can clarify please do!

  8. Here is what my masters tell me:

    1.) the geographic axis of earth itself is revolving in a circle with approximate period of 25,800 years approx. this is our precession.
    2.) hence, due to point 1, It points to different stars at different times, we have had different pole stars in different eras.
    3.) always it is clearly known and verifiable knowledge that north point moved from abhijit to dhruva ( vega to polaris ). As the position of the pole changes, our North – South orientation also changes and we have to determine new coordinates for all the stars w.r.t. the then celestial pole
    4.) Also the stars have proper motion and called radial motion.
    5.) Usually the proper motion velocities are small enough to
    ignore in small time scale calculations. However, they certainly can‟t be ignored in calculations spanning few thousand years. Further, 2 stars of Ursa Major have proper motion in completely different direction as compared to the proper motion of the other stars of Ursa Major.
    6.) effect of company abiding nakshatras are certainly to be considered as Yoga tarakas ( principle stars – the name itself says effects of their union or unified effect, yoga = union and taraka = derived effectiveness )

    now the only more precise way i could show you this is by doing a simulation, but due to lack of abilities on my side, i checked youtube to see if anyone else has done it, and to our fortune my brother, seems like One ( that is all i could find🙂 ) person has done it and he has done it so well🙂

    here’s the link for you , i see he has done two simulations :

    current 21st century :

    and in 5561 BC

    i feel all these sample simulations and examples , will help in conveying what i tried explaining in words above.

    the movement of saptharishis is key to elaborate and clarify all other things, when identified this is the base. in 2700 years they certainly cross all the 27 points. if this circle is identified, in varying numbers of this circle time alights to cycles of yuga.

    Much wishes. and needless to say please feel free to discuss , write and share anything with this little one.

    — human being with nerves and some identity

    1. I wish I could understand more clearly. There is very little explanation with that video. However it is helpful. I will need to run simulations myself. I will try to contact the person who made this video. THANK YOU.

  9. Also, I read Vishnu Purana more and found some other verses which I have real tough time translating, but feel very intuitive and key about them.

    below is the typed verses in Unicode so you can copy paste them pretty much in any browser etc and it works perfectly. If you know any person who is great in Sanskrit or you can do it yourself, please try.

    यस्मिन कृष्णो दिवं यातस्तस्मिन्नेव तदा हनि
    प्रतिपन्नं कलियुगं तस्य संख्यां निबोध मे (११३)

    त्रीणि लक्षाणि वर्षाणां द्विज मानुष्यसंख्यया
    षष्टिश्चैव सहस्त्राणि भविष्यत्येष वै कलिः (११४)

    शतानि तानि दिव्यानां सप्त पंच च संख्यया
    निश्शेषेण गते तस्मिन्भविष्यथि पुनः कृतम् (११५)

    ब्रह्मणः क्षत्रिया वैस्यास्षुद्राश्च द्विजसत्तम
    युगेयुगे महात्मानः समतीतास्सहस्त्रसः (११६)

    I have posted these verses on the above linked sites as well, As i see the lady has done so many great translations of verses from VP and others.

  10. my attempt on this which intrigues me so much, so clearly it comes to 1200 years :

    शतानि तानि दिव्यानां सप्त पंच च संख्यया
    निश्शेषेण गते तस्मिन्भविष्यथि पुनः कृतम् ! (११५)

    shatAni tAni divyAni sapta pancha cha sankyayA
    niShShena gate tasminbhavishyati punah kritam ! (115)

    shatAni tAni divyAni – Those centuries divine,
    sapta pancha cha sankyayA – seven and five in number
    niShShena gate – completely/entirely passed/gone
    tasminbhavishyati – Then it will be
    punah kritam – again kritam (golden age)

    Those centuries divine,seven and five in number,
    having completely passed, Then it will again be kritam (golden age) ! (115)

    Please note that seven + 5 = 12 * Shatani = 12 * 100 = 1200.

    I am most curious to decode the previous verse, i am certain it is meant to support this verse and give the required background.

  11. and here’s the previous one :

    त्रीणि लक्षाणि वर्षाणां द्विज मानुष्यसंख्यया
    षष्टिश्चैव सहस्त्राणि भविष्यत्येष वै कलिः (११४)

    trini lakshAni varshANAm dwija mAnuSHyasaNmkyayA
    sHastiSchaiwa sahasHrAni bhavisHyatyesha vai kalih ( 114 )

    trini lakshAni varshANAm – Three Lac Years
    dwija – twice Born
    mAnuSHyasaNmkyayA – human being numbers
    sHastiSchaiwa sahasHrAni – sixty added thousand
    bhavisHyatyesha vai kalih – happen then will kali

    three lac years in twice born human’s numbers
    added with sixty thousands is when happens kali (114 )

    Now the dilemma is with the time units, above it says 12 divine centuries, and here it seems to says 3,60,000 human years, but it is not martyavarsha or such, it says time of twice born humans specifically. we will need someone who understand the ending of the word and its context how and where it used to be used.

  12. My teachers have appeared and guided me not to refer any of these works which are reedited and are not unmodified copies. my teachers told me, these are all maintained copies, with other people adding content in the beginning and even medieval ages.

    they say its all messed up.😦 , they say the sages and many folks in these ages have added and modified texts with the intention of making the verses more elaborate and have confused it all up.

    they say on the face this looks like innocent modification, but on real, this is all effect of kali.

    you will not believe in all this, i guess. but just to share what i got to know, i am stating here.

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