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Each mahA-yuga is made up of four yugas of which the last one is the smallest, known as kaliyuga, of 432,000 human years. We shall use the letter symbol k to denote this number 432,000 in the rest of this description. The other three yugas are, respectively in the backward chronological order, two times, three times and four times this duration. In the present mahA-yuga we are in kaliyuga in which we are in the 5102nd year (corresponding to 2000-2001 A.D.). How do we know all this ? Well, we know that today is Tuesday, say, because yesterday was Monday. Yesterday was Monday because the previous day was Sunday. There is no other reason. The year is, say, 2000 A.D. because the previous year was 1999 A.D. There is no other reason. It is an age-old practice of Hindus to keep track of each year (and each yuga, mahA-yuga and manvantara) in their calendar of religious observances and that is how they claim to know. Though India has been criticized for its lack of historical sense, Indians have been doing a good job in terms of keeping track of their calendar (irrespective of the life-history of any individual). The rituals which every Hindu goes through, if not on auspicious occasions like marriage, certainly on inauspicious occasions like death, always start with the fixation of time and date in the age-old calendar. In fact those who perform ritual worship daily cannot but be aware of the calendar. In this way the exact date in the eternal cycle of the yugas has been passed on to us from generation to generation.
Table of Past Manvantaras
Names of manvantaras upto the present are given below, with some events that happened according to mythological history, in the particular manvantara:
During the Twilight before the first manvantara: CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE
VarAha-Avatara (= boar incarnation of the Lord) happened at the beginning
of the kalpa. This kalpa is hence called Sveta-varAha-kalpa.
Dhruva looks for God and finds Him by penance
Narasimha-Avatara (= man-lion incarnation of the Lord); Prahlada
The liberation of the elephant-king (gajendra-moksha)
kUrma-avatAra (= tortoise incarnation); the churning of the ocean ofmilk,;
Goddess Lakshmi appears; Lord Siva consumes kAlakUTa poison
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