The Four Yugas or Ages.
The four Yugas or Ages have been mentioned many times in Guru Granth Sahib Ji, here we present a detailed description of the four era’s from ancient scripts.
 
SATYA YUGA
Amongst the four era’s, the Satya yuga is the first and the most significant one. This era began on Sunday, Vaishakh Shukla Tritiya day which is also known as Akshaya Tritiya. This extends up to 17,28,000 years. God incarnated in four forms i.e. Matsya, Kurma, Varaha and Narsimha in this era. Knowledge, meditation and penance would hold special importance in this era. The average height of people was more than what it is today. Every king would attain the pre-determined attainments and would experience bliss. All the four pillars of religion i.e. truth, penance, yagya (religious sacrifice) and charity were present in totality. The only text which was considered credible and was followed was Manu’s Dharma Shastra. Satya yuga shall be established by Kalki again after the Kali yuga. The average life expectancy of a human being in Satya yuga was approximately 4000 years.
At the end of this era when the Sun, Moon, Jupiter together enter Pushya Nakshatra that is the Cancer Zodiac then the Satya yuga shall begin. During this time the stars/constellations shall become auspicious and radiant. As a result it shall accrue in the well being of all creatures and the health will ameliorate. It is during this auspicious time that Vishnu’s Incarnation Kalki shall take birth in a Brahmin family. After this all the generations to come shall follow the ideals established by Bhagwan Kalki and shall engage in religious activities. Accordingly on the advent of the Satya yuga all people shall engage assiduously in good, sublime deeds.

One shall witness the emergence of beautiful gardens, Dharmashalas (Resting Inns) and majestic temples. One shall see the execution of many a huge yagyas. Brahmins, sages, ascetics according to their nature shall be absorbed in penance. Ashrams shall be devoid of the wicked and the deceits. This era shall usher better agriculture and one shall be able to grow all foodgrains in all seasons. People shall generously donate and will follow all the rules and regulations mentioned. The kings shall protect their subjects and earth very sincerely.

The Vaishya (traders) of this era shall engage in trade and business very justly and honestly. Brahmins shall be engaged continually in religious sacrifices, study, teaching, charity etc. The Kshatriya (warriors) shall be inclined towards exhibition of valiance and might. The Shudras shall sincerely serve the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. This form of religion shall remain intact and absolute in the Satya yuga.

One shall witness the total establishment of Sanatan Dharma (eternal religion). During the Satya yuga, the child was not ruined when the father or mother expired. This era was devoid of agricultural activities or rather any other type of activity. Just by mere contemplation one would beget desired results. The only religion that was relevant was- the renunciation of vested interests. People in this era would never fall ill. No one would try to point out faults or demerits in anyone’s personality. The personality was not plagued by demerits alike ego, sorrow, violent thought (aggression), jealousy, hatred, backbiting, fear, anger and lethargy.

All the people that are Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras were embellished with all the good qualities. At that time, the only saviour of all the people was God. People would practice austerities and penance to attain God. All would be inclined towards the supreme knowledge and all actions performed would be in the intention of attaining celestial bliss.

In this way all these divine people would be bestowed with sublime faith and piousness. Very valiant, mighty, intelligent and people gifted with all good qualities would take birth in this era. They would surprisingly give birth to thousands of children. Great sages embellished with divinity would take birth in this era.

 
 

TRETA YUGA


One sees the advent of religious sacrifices i.e. Yagyas in the Treta yuga. One pillar of the four pillars of religion meets its end. People in this era will be truthful and would perform all the religious ceremonies according to the sacrifices. It is the Treta yuga where one can see the overtures of Yagyas, religion and allied activities. People would beget desired fruits by performing actions, donations mentioned in the Vedas and by taking resolutions
All people in this era were assiduous and active. The main religion of Brahmins was truth that is truthful speech, good conduct and love towards all creatures. The common religion of all the Brahmins was Yagya, self-study and donation. The primary aim of Shudras was service towards Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. The duties of Kshatriyas and Vaishyas were the protection of people and agriculture, trade and poultry respectively. All people would sincerely adhere to their respective duties and as a result they would be blessed with celestial bliss
The average life expectancy of a human in the Treta yuga was approximately 3000 years. All the Kshatriyas born in this era were valiant, zealous, big thinkers, pious, truthful, beautiful, suitable to be blessed, revered and the protectors of all people.

DWAPAR YUGA
There are only two pillars left of religion in the Dwapar yuga. People were engaged only in penance and charity. They were kingly and pleasure seeking. In this era, the divine intellect ceased to exist, hence seldom anyone would be truthful. Consequently people were plagued by ailments, diseases and various types of desires. After suffering from these ailments people would perform penance. Some would also organize Yagya for material benefits as well as for divinity.

The Kshatriyas in this era were humble and performed their duties by controlling their senses. The king would avail to the advice of the learned scholars and accordingly would maintain law and order in his empire. The king who was addicted to vices would definitely end up defeated. Kings were diligent in maintaining public decorum and order.

Kings would plan many a conspiracy surreptitiously along with the scholars. Strong people would execute work where execution of policies was involved. The king would appoint priests etc to perform religious activities, economists and ministers to perform monetary activities, impotents to take carte of women and cruel men to execute heinous activities

Brahmins would attain celestial bliss by engaging in penance, religion, control of senses, restraint, Yagya etc. Vaishya would attain higher planes through charity and hospitality.The Kshatriyas would honestly execute all policies of law and order without being angry, cruel and being devoid of greed and consequently attained bliss.The average life expectancy of humans in Dwapar was 2000 years. All people in this era were zealous, valiant, courageous and competitive by nature

 
KALI YUGA

At the end of the Dwapar Yuga, at that time Kali Yuga, the source of all chaos took birth in the minds of the ignorant. When king Yudhishtir realized the advent of the Kali Yuga that is chaos, greed, violence, debauchery and lies, he expressed a desire to go to the forest and do penance. Accordingly, he abdicated the throne and coronated his grandson Parikshit as the king.

When Kali Yuga met king Parikshit, he was shivering with fear and said humbly:" O king! Brahma created 4 eras that are Satya, Treta, Dwapar and Kali Yuga. Satya Yuga enjoyed his reign for 17,28,000 years and went away. Treta Yuga enjoyed his reign for 12,96,000 years and Dwapar Yuga enjoyed his reign for 8,64,000 years and passed away. Now the time for me has come to reign which is 4,32,000 years and you tell me to get out from your empire. You rule over the entire world. Where should I go after all? O king! What is once proposed by the Gods cannot be erased or eliminated."
Kali Yuga told Parikshit that:" You point your fingers on my flaws and demerits but do not see my merits and positive aspects. I am embellished with sublime merits. That is the reason I request you.

During the Satya Yuga if any one inadvertently committed a wrong deed the entire kingdom had to bear the punishment. During Treta, if any one committed a wrong deed, the people of that town had to bear the punishment. During Dwapar Yuga, if anyone happened to commit a wrong deed, the entire family had to bear the punishment, but in Kali Yuga, he shall only bear the punishment who has committed the wrong deed. I am not concerned about anyone else."

Unlike the other eras where one had to inevitably bear the punishment for a wrong and bad thoughts, In my era, this shall cease to happen but one shall be bestowed with good fruits who thinks good."
Even after listening to this, King Parikshit did not relent, Kali Yuga said that he was endowed with yet another sublime merits. He said:" One could fulfill all ones wishes and desires in the Satya Yuga only after practicing penance for 10,000 years. Similarly in the Treta Yuga and the Dwapar Yuga, one had to collect a lot of money and perform Yagyas and had to engage in charity, penance, vows and worship for a 100 years respectively to fulfil ones desires. Unlike the others, in this era, if one even prays to God for sometime with total faith and devotions and sings the praises of the Lord, he shall fulfill all his desires within no time. He shall be liberated from all his sins and shall consequently attain salvation."

Listening to this King Parikshit was pleased. King Parikshit finally allowed Kali Yuga to stay and allowed him four places where he could stay, liquor and wine, where a prostitute stays, where there is animal slaughter and where gambling would be allowed. Kali Yuga humbly pleaded that his family was very big that is it comprises of members like lust, anger, greed, ego, jealousy, lies etc.

How shall all of them fit in these allotted places? On this king Parikshit said that they should all then dwell in gold. In this way, Kali Yuga resides in the 5 places allotted by king Parikshit. Those people who yearn for higher ideals should not even go near these five things.
In the Kali Yuga, there is no average life expectancy of humans. Even a child in the womb can die inspite of his mother and father living..

Humans taking birth in this era will usually be radiant, bad tempered, greedy and untruthful. The personality will be plagued by flaws such as jealousy, ego, anger, pleasure, instinct, desires and greed. There shall be only one pillar of religion in the Kali Yuga..

All types of problems such as ailments, lethargy, anger, mental diseases and hunger, thirst tend to aggravate. Gradually even happiness and comforts of humans become decadent and morbid.

In Kali Yuga, Brahmins shall renounce self-study, contemplation and shall eat every thing that is prohibited. They will no more be inclined towards penance and on the contrary Shudras shall take interest in recitation of Vedic chants.

In this way when hypocrisy reaches the zenith, it initiates the final annihilation. Many a king of the inferior category shall reign the earth who shall be sinners, unfaithful and wicked. No Brahmin in this age shall earn his daily bread and butter honestly.
Kshatriyas and Vaishyas shall engage in all duties other than those, which are coveted. All shall become less valiant, they shall be short lived, will lack energy and strength. Humans shall be short in height and shall seldom speak the truth. All the directions will have snakes and animals.
Many a creatures, insects etc. shall take birth in Kali Yuga. All things that ought to have fragrance shall not be that fragrant, and food shall relatively become tasteless. Women shall be short and have many children. Women in this era shall be immoral and licentious by nature. Most people shall be traders of food while Brahmins shall sell the Vedas. Many of the women shall engage in prostitution. In the Kali Yuga, there will be very less milk in the udders of the cow. Seldom will there be fruits and flowers on trees. There will be excessive number of crows in comparison to other birds. Brahmins will engage in killing and shall take donation from kings inspite of lying. Brahmins as a whole shall be imposters and feign to be very pious and pure. They will harass the common people for alms etc.

Householders shall indulge in robbery because they will be unable to pay up their taxes. They shall disguise in the form of sages, ascetics and earn their livelihood. Even people who are celibates shall give up their purity and engage in intoxication and shall have illicit sex. People will engage in all those material activities that ushers physical energy only. All Ashrams shall be a haven of all imposters and they shall be totally dependent on food from others. During this time, seldom shall it rain and even the yield, production of grain will not be satisfactory. People will be aggressive by nature and consequently unholy and impure. The ones indulging in irreligious and blasphemous acts shall emerge powerful and prosperous. Those who are righteous shall be in penury.

Just by amassing a little amount of wealth one shall become proud and they despite having wealth shall have an eye on others wealth and property. In Kali Yuga, girls, 8-10 years old shall become pregnant while boys of the age of 10-12 years shall have children. On the sixteenth year itself the hair will turn white. Youth shall become alike old men and old men shall become energetic and youthful. Women will engage in sex with inferior men, servants and animals inspite of having a good husband.
Religion, truth, thoughts, pity, age, energy, memory all shall get gradually emaciated and drained. People will love only their own children and family and will not hesitate to deceive their own friends, benefactors. Judges of events shall favor the wealthy and the impoverished shall be denied justice. One who constantly blabbers shall be called a saint and one who is in a miserable state will be called an imposter.

Any lake or reservoir situated far away will be referred as a holy shrine. People will take interest in religious actions so as to become prosperous and successful. He who subdues the others shall be self-proclaimed king. Subjects to protect their families shall seek refuge in caves and caverns and will lead a miserable life.

People will be plagued with all types of extreme climatic conditions. Average life expectancy of a human being in Kali Yuga will be approximately 20 to 30 years only.As the delusion will aggravate people will become weak and devoid of radiance, medicines and food will plummet. and all the four stages (Varnashrams) will be represented by Grihastashram (householder’s duty). By the end of the Kali Yuga, The God shall reincarnate to protect religion and to destroy all evil.
 
Guru Ram Das Ji composed this shabad in raag Aasaa, the parallels with the above descriptions of the four ages is easy to see but the whole shabad has a definite Sikh slant to it. The fundamental difference is that Guru Sahib Ji emphasizes the planting of the seed of Naam and Simran. Only through the remembrance of the Lords name shall one be saved in this age of Kali Yuga. In some ways we are unfortunate to be living is such dark times but in others we are fortunate that we have Guru Granth Sahib Ji to guide us and only in this age can be progress towards nirvana at a very fast pace.
 
AASAA, FOURTH MEHL:

In the Golden Age of Sat Yuga, everyone embodied contentment and meditation; religion stood upon four feet. With mind and body, they sang of the Lord, and attained supreme peace. In their hearts was the spiritual wisdom of the Lord's Glorious Virtues. Their wealth was the spiritual wisdom of the Lord's Glorious Virtues; the Lord was their success, and to live as Gurmukh was their glory. Inwardly and outwardly, they saw only the One Lord God; for them there was no other second. They centered their consciousness lovingly on the Lord, Har, Har. The Lord's Name was their companion, and in the Court of the Lord, they obtained honor. In the Golden Age of Sat Yuga, everyone embodied contentment and meditation; religion stood upon four feet. || 1 || Then came the Silver Age of Trayta Yuga; men's minds were ruled by power, and they practiced celibacy and self-discipline. The fourth foot of religion dropped off, and three remained. Their hearts and minds were inflamed with anger. Their hearts and minds were filled with the horribly poisonous essence of anger. The kings fought their wars and obtained only pain. Their minds were afflicted with the illness of egotism, and their self-conceit and arrogance increased. If my Lord, Har, Har, shows His Mercy, my Lord and Master eradicates the poison by the Guru's Teachings and the Lord's Name. Then came the Silver Age of Trayta Yuga; men's minds were ruled by power, and they practiced celibacy and self-discipline. || 2 || The Brass Age of Dwaapar Yuga came, and people wandered in doubt. The Lord created the Gopis and Krishna. The penitents practiced penance, they offered sacred feasts and charity, and performed many rituals and religious rites. They performed many rituals and religious rites; two legs of religion dropped away, and only two legs remained. So many heroes waged great wars; in their egos they were ruined, and they ruined others as well. The Lord, Compassionate to the poor, led them to meet the Holy Guru. Meeting the True Guru, their filth is washed away. The Brass Age of Dwaapar Yuga came, and the people wandered in doubt. The Lord created the Gopis and Krishna. || 3 || The Lord ushered in the Dark Age, the Iron Age of Kali Yuga; three legs of religion were lost, and only the fourth leg remained intact. Acting in accordance with the Word of the Guru's Shabad, the medicine of the Lord's Name is obtained. Singing the Kirtan of the Lord's Praises, divine peace is obtained. The season of singing the Lord's Praise has arrived; the Lord's Name is glorified, and the Name of the Lord, Har, Har, grows in the field of the body. In the Dark Age of Kali Yuga, if one plants any other seed than the Name, all profit and capital is lost. Servant Nanak has found the Perfect Guru, who has revealed to him the Naam within his heart and mind. The Lord ushered in the Dark Age, the Iron Age of Kali Yuga; three legs of religion were lost, and only the fourth leg remained intact. || 4 || 4 || 11 ||

Here Bhai Gurdass Ji describes the four ages in his Vaars.

The Four Ages (Yugs) were established and the first three were given names Satyug, Treta, Dvapar.
Fourth one was Kalyug. And four castes came to be known as the kings of four ages.
Brahmin, Vishay and Sutra became predominate in each age.
In Satiyug, Vishnu is said to have come to earth as Hansavaar and explained the problems pertaining to metaphysics (The story is there in the eleventh canto of the Bhagvat Purana), and nothing but the one was discussed and pondered upon.
Getting indifferent to Maya, people would praise One Lord.
They would go to forests and pull on life by eating natural vegetations.
Though they lived for Lacs of years but they would construct the palaces, forts and grand mansions.
On the one hand the world was passing away and on the other the life current would go stably.(5)

 In the Satyug the whole country suffered because of the evil deeds of one wrong-doer.
In Treta the whole city was surrounded and in Dvapar, the whole family was to suffer hell.
The justice of Kalyug is True because only he suffers who does the evil deeds.
In Satyug, the Truth, in Treta the yajn, in Dvapar ritualistic worship were accomplished.
In Kalyug through no action other than constant remembering the Lord’s name could attain liberation.
In all the yugs (ages) the individual reaps what he has sown and earns sufferings and delights in accordance with his demerits and merits.
In Kalyug, the individual desires to have the fruits of meritorious actions though he remains absorbed in the sinful deeds.
Gurmukhs attain the pleasure fruit only by losing their sense of ego.(17)

 
In Dasam Granth Sahib Ji (p279), Guru Gobind Singh Ji also touches on the four ages as Guru Ji describes the undescribable limits of the Almighty.
Knower's of births and Karmas and superb Philosophers of religious qualities;
And Vedas, Shiva Rudra and four-faced Brahma could not reveal His mystery.
Myriads of Indras, Upindras, Vyas, Sanak and Sanat Kumar (sons of Brahma),
All got weary by singing His praises and four-faced Brahma too, was confused.(18)(198)
The origin, the end and the middle of Him are not known throughout the past, the future and the present times.
He is the Supreme Authority of the aeon, consisting of four ages Le. Satya (golden age), Treta (second age), Dvapar (third age) and Kalyuga (present age).
Great sages got tired during their meditations and innumerable Gandharvas became weary of singing for Him.
All have got tired and have accepted defeat and have been unable to discover His limits.(19)(199)
.Narda, Ved Vyas and multitude of such superb ascetics,
Got weary of meditating upon Him and of suffering myriads of strenuous austerities.
Gandharvas got. tired of singing and innumerable Apasaras (nymphs) got weary of dancing.
Many eminent gods got weary of their search but could not discover His secret.(20)(200)
By Thy Grace. Dohra
Once the Soul addressed to the Intellect and asked the following questions;
Using all the techniques, explain the entire magnificence of the Lord of the Universe.(1)(201)
 
But the age of Kalyug is very dark and full of despair, here is the beginning of the Kalki Avatar compsition as narrated by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in Dasam Granth. The situation of Dharam and righteousness will be turned upsude down with people indulging in matters one wishes not to think about .
Kalki Avatar