Excerpt from Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions
Hinduism has de-emphasized the period of its origin. Instead, it has taken a philosophical route which is cyclical rather linear. It does not traverse from a start point, and it does not move on a linear pathway. Rather Hinduism is a successive rotation of “yugas” or age periods of the cyclical phenomenon.
The Yuga-time clock in Hinduism is divided into cyclic four eras. It starts with Satya Yuga, followed by Treta, Dvapara and Kali Yugas. The cycle is eternal. Each of these epochs, which run into thousands of years individually, the whole universe is involved.
As Hinduism believes in the theory of creation and destruction of the universe, this cosmogony is repeated after the end of one full Yuga-calendar. And the phenomenon begins all over again with the Satya Yuga.
Satya means truth, and this Yuga is believed to be the supreme. In declining order it is followed by the other three Yugas.
What motivates the decline of one Yuga to be replaced by another is believed to be divine involvement to reinvigorate universal order of righteousness back to the Satya Yuga. It is the degree of loss of righteousness which Treta, Dvapara and Kali Yugas represent. Full glory of Satya Yuga is restored after the three Yugas have passed in that order. And the cycle continues.
The cyclic inclusion of Yugas in Hinduism can be interpreted that the religious progress does not mean only going forward. Moving back to its future in the realm of Satya Yuga is also part of its advancement to achieve completeness and wholesomeness in the faith.
Whereas the Yuga periodization is deeper in its manifestation and metaphysical features, the history of Hinduism is more revealed thru its sequential growth stages.
The acknowledged story of its development is based on sighted and archeological findings, traditions and recognized scriptures dealing in philosophies, sciences and spirituality from a period of 2000 BC up to the present. The known history of Hinduism is a chain collection of five phases.