Although many Western scholars believe the Puranas of India are mythological, they are actually accurate accounts of former eras in the history of our universe. The book the Big Bang and the Sages documents several important historical events in the timeline of our solar system that were first correctly dated by the Puranas.

In this article we discuss the major events of the Silver Age, Treta Yuga. Although many of them may sound fantastic, remember that life today is far different—even unimaginable—compared to the way humans lived one or two thousand years ago.

What are the Four Yugas?

A yuga is a cosmic age according to the Vedic system of measuring universal time. Unlike the Western concept of linear time, Vedic time is cyclical.

The four yugas are Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali. Together they form a time-unit known as the chaturyuga. One chaturyuga lasts for 8.64 million years of our Earth years. Like the four seasons of the year, the four ages of a chaturyuga rotate without end.

Puranic Cosmology

The Vedas contain both topographical and topological descriptions of our solar system and larger universe. In the Bhagavata Purana, Sage Shukadeva explains that there are many races of extraterrestrial beings who inhabit higher and lower dimensions of existence.

This is a map of our universe, known in Sanskrit as Bhu-mandala. The geographical region which we refer to as Earth is part of the landmass known as Jambudvipa.

Map of Bhu-Mandala

From a higher-dimensional perspective, Bhu-mandala comprises seven concentric islands, each island separated by a concentric ocean, and further subdivided by four prominent mountain ranges.

Oceans of the Universe
Map of Jambudvipa

As with any map, these images or descriptions cannot fully capture the entirety of cosmic geography. Just as an ant cannot fathom the 3-dimensional life of a human being and the scope of human activities, most human beings are similarly unable to comprehend extraterrestrial life in higher dimensions and the scale and symmetry of extra-dimensional geography.

The Puranas give just enough cosmological insight so that we can understand our place in the larger universe and focus on the areas of life that truly matter most: spiritual enlightenment.

LEARN MORE: The Puranas provide an advanced understanding of our universe, including descriptions of life on other planets. Check out our guide to Vedic Cosmology.

By the process of yoga, one can gain the ability to travel to these higher and lower dimensional realms. For such a person, the descriptions of the Puranas serve as a map for navigating the universe.

Events in Treta Yuga

Treta Yuga is the first of the four ages that make up a chaturyuga. In English it is often referred to as the Silver Age.

LEARN MORE: Check out our article on the avatars that appear every Treta Yuga.

The Beginning of Social Order

In Satya Yuga, all human beings were experts in meditation. The human lifespan was 100,000 years, and the entire population of Earth existed in a state of peace and harmony. However, with the dawn of Treta Yuga, things began to degrade.

As a result of shorter lifespans in Treta Yuga (now 10,000 years) and an increase in selfishness and materialism, humans were no longer able to occupy themselves simply with meditation. Thus the social order of varnashrama was introduced to channel the creative energy of mankind in productive and uplifting ways.

In Treta Yuga, King Prithu was the first to develop cities and towns in a form that resembled the cities of today.

In addition, at the beginning of Treta Yuga, Vishnu expanded the Vedic literature. Instead of simply meditating on the sacred syllable om, the people of Treta Yuga studied the four-fold Veda along with its corollary literatures, such as the Puranas.

Lord Rama Conquers Lanka and Defeats Ravana

Rama is one of the most popular avatars of Krishna. He appeared as the son of King Dasharatha, and as a young boy he learned the art of warfare, including how to conjure mystic weapons.

Due to the envy of his step-mother, Rama was exiled for a period of 13 years. Rama’s brother Lakshman, as well as Rama’s wife, Sita, accompanied him to the forest, although he did not wish to cause them hardship. Then one day, when Rama was away, an evil rakshasa—a man-eating race of human-like beasts—abducted Sita. This rakshasa was known by the name Ravana.

Rama immediately set out on a quest to discover Ravana’s whereabouts, obliterate his army, and rescue Sita. Along the way, he met Hanuman and Sugriva, and he recruited Sugriva’s vanara army. Vanaras are a species of ape-like humanoids that became extinct on Earth many years ago.

After sending out many search parties, Rama managed to find Ravana’s kingdom. Leading a great mass of soldiers, Rama storms the city of Lanka where Ravana has been hiding and easily killed him. Then Rama and Sita return to Rama’s kingdom of Ayodhya, where Rama accepted the throne of his father as ruler of the land.

LEARN MORE: Read about the life of Lord Rama.

Further Reading