Old Thoughts

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References to Yugas in Srimad Bhagavatham : Vyasa’s Birth


Source : 1.1.21

kalim agatam ajnaya

kshetre ‘smin vaishnave vayam

asina dirgha-satrena

kathayam sakshana hareh

Saunaka tells Suta that Kali has come. This is a reference to the beginning of the Kaliyuga. Saunaka received the puranas from Suta and his son, during the early part of the Kaliyuga.


Source : 1.4.14

suta uvaca

dvapare samanuprapte

tritiye yuga-paryaye

jatah parasarad yogi

vasavyam kalaya hareh

Vyasa was born to Parasara and Vasu’s daughter (Satyavati),

tritiye yuga-paryaye - after the tritiya (tretha) yuga, Using the correct translation of paryaye, in this context, we get during the tritiya yuga.

dvapare samanuprapte – as dvapara approached.

Apparent Contradiction : In the above couplet there appears to be a contradiction. How can dvapara, come after the the third yuga is over? We know that the sequence of yugas is Kruta, Tretha, Dvapara and Kali. While this Source explains this by speaking of an “overlapping” of yugas, my reasoning is given below.

Resolution :

  • Dharma walks on  four feet in Kruta/Satya, on three in Tretha, on two in Dwapara and on one in Kali. So the Yuga that was over was the one in which Dharma walked on 3 feet. The yuga that was approaching was the one in which Dharma walks on 2 feet.
  • Therefore, Vyasa was born in the Tretha Yuga as the Dvapara Yuga approached and lived to see the early part of Kaliyuga. So he was a chiranjeeva, a long lived one.

Source : 1.3.21 : States that Vyasa, son of Satyavati and Parasara was the 17th Avatara

tatah saptadase jatah

satyavatyam parasarat

cakre veda-taroh sakha

drishtva pumso alpa-medhasah

Source : 1.3.22 : Implies that Sri Rama was the 18th Avatar – God in human form who controlled the Ocean etc.

nara-devatvam apannah

sura-karya-cikirshaya

samudra-nigrahadini

cakre viryany atah param

Apparent Contradiction : How can Vyasa be prior to Sri Rama and be born in the sandhi of the tretha and the dwapara yugas? Using the correct translation of 1.4.14, there is no contradiction. Vyasa was born in the Tretha Yuga prior to Sri Rama.

Notes :

  • While it is generally worked out that Sri Rama was of the Tretha Yuga, upto this point I have not found direct reference in the Valmiki Ramayanam or in the Vyasa Bhagavatham to support this assumption. I am still looking.

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Written by Satya Sarada Kandula

October 2, 2009 at 10:50 pm

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