In Hindu Vedic and Puranic cosmology, a yuga is an extremely long time period, especially when measured on the human scale. The Hindu understanding of the yuga suggests that the experience of time, itself, differs for gods and humans. In the Mahabharata an entire human year translates into a single day for the devas.
Each of the four different yugas represent four general ages of the devas. As with the ancient Greek and Hebraic sense of time, these ages progress from an initial, ideal Golden Age (Krita/Satya Yuga) to increasingly corrupted ages. In the Hindu system, however, its believed that the “ages” are cyclic. That is, the universe evolves in great cycles. The four yugas and their human equivalents are:¹
|Yuga||Deva Years||Human Years|
|Mahayuga (Great Yuga)||12,000||4,320,000|
A single day for the creator god Brahma is 1,000 Mahayugas (4,320,000,000 human years). One year for Brahma is 1,555,200,000,000 human years. Brahma’s life span is 155,520,000,000,000 human years.
All this indicates that Brahma exists in an entirely different place and time frame than human beings.
An arguably mythical, quasi-scientific scheme like this may seem irrelevant to contemporary thinkers but it points to the notion, worth considering, that the universe contains different yet interacting regions of space-time, each region containing its own unique properties, beings or perhaps just consciousness.
The Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung alluded to this idea with his concept of the archetypes. Jung said the archetypes were powerful enough to eclipse ego consciousness and even drive a person mad. He also said that the archetypes were both biological and spiritual. This latter aspect tends to vex materialist thinkers, something that Jung was fully aware of in his time.
Also from the perspective of depth psychology is the notion that psychological development may progress in cycles. Some feel that comparing this idea to the notion that the universe, itself, moves in cycles is pushing it. Others say that there’s a structural correspondence between micro and macro events. The debate goes on…
¹ A Mahayuga (Great Yuga) is one complete cycle of the four yugas. Table adapted and condensed from Keith R. Crim (ed.) The Perennial Dictionary of World Religions. New York: Harper & Row, 1989, pp. 818-819. Depending on who’s doing the naming, the names of the yugas vary a little. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuga