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There is a cosmological premise in Hinduism and Buddhism, which also existed in a non-cyclical, linear form in Ancient Greek belief and which similarly exists in a linear, progressive form, in the spiritual practices of some Native American groups, particularly, the Hopi in the Southwestern US and of the Maya in Mesoamerica.

In the ancient Vedic system, it is believed that there are cycles of time, corresponding to virtue, lifespan and stature. These beliefs correspond in a fragmentary way to modern speculations about pre-Adamic man.

The Bible refers to a Great Flood and the destruction of most life, except that which was saved by Noah. The Hindus have their own version of Noah, called Manu. The Hopi and the Maya also believe that the last epoch ended in a Great Deluge.

However, where the Bible and the Native Americans see these events in a linear progression, the Vedic traditions see this last cycle of destruction as part of a vast cyclical continuum, which repeats infinitely.

There are 4 ages or yugas, which endlessly repeat: 1) The Satya Yuga (aka the Golden Age); 2) Treta Yuga (aka the Silver Age); 3) Dwapara Yuga (aka the Bronze Age) and 4) The Kali Yuga (aka the Iron Age).

During the Satya Yuga, people are said to be over 30 feet tall, they’re totally virtuous and wise and their lifespans are of 100,000 years. With each succeeding age, both the people and the environment become increasingly corrupt and less beautiful, their lifespans and statures shortened.

This short video gives a brief description of each yuga.

Alexandra Bruce

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Alexandra Bruce

Alexandra Bruce

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  • In terms of advanced civilations, one over the another, the Indian continant/culture never experienced an ice age; no break in its technology, science, industry, agriculture, language, (sanity) etc.
    All the mountain ranges in the rest of the world run north to south allowing the polar glaciers to cover the surface of the earth – except for India. The Himalayas run east to west and are have the greatest altitude, TALL! Indian has an unbroken civilation and culture. This is all spoken of in the vedic texts which are rewriten every so many thousands of years by Veda Vyas. Every habitable planet in the universe has an ‘India’…a continant that never experiences ice age devistation. This is where enlightened teachers, masters settle and impart their knowledge of God, universe, science, …
    The so-called ‘mythical’, advanced city if Dwarika India, was discovered submerged off the north western coast. A date of 12,000 was given, but the city is older then that. The world’s anthropologist’s are still snooping around in the middle east when greater, longer histories are seen in the ice age free continent of India.

    • I’d never considered that! It makes a lot of sense. I’ve thought for years that Indian culture appears to retain a strong memory of antediluvian times, as reflected in its mythology.

  • This is hardly a venue for entering into a long analysis of pro’s n con’s. My general answer to the linear vs cyclical critique is that cyclical has observable continuity in life around us whereas linear has no grounds for any ‘beliefs’ Darwin’s personally disavowed speculations might have in present day science.
    The Vedas origins came into being as long verbal singing presentations , memorized word for word and passed on generation to generation. They were not committed to written form until this present iteration of human civilization, how ever one chooses to consider that timeline. The Vedas are considered ancient when contrasted to any other philosophical/spiritual/religious perspectives.

  • The problem with Hindu accounting of history is that there is no accounting of Hindu history outside of Hindu writings which more or less ends with Shiva, doesn’t it? Outside of Hindu history it seems to trace to Nimrod and Semiramis where all mystery religions began in history. I’m no expert, so I’m open to instruction. If Shiva is the end of the line looking back, then it is from a human perspective just one mystery religion among many without empirical evidence, quite unlike other claims to divine origins connected with real historical human founders. I think this is why Hindu view of history is circular while Judaism, Christianity and Islam is linear. Personally, I have no interest in being recycled in this hell hole until I am finally worthy to become, metaphorically speaking, an impersonal hair follical on the face of Nirvana.

    • We’d be seen more like follicles on the body of Brahma in our current state and cycle but yes. It’s not linear. It’s never “the end” in Hinduism. It’s cyclical – but it’s also always Now. Hindu cosmology expresses the infinite multidimensionality of Creation. That’s why physicists dig Hinduism.

      Christianity doesn’t want us to be distracted or led down the wrong path by all of this profusion of possibility. It wants something very simple and very wonderful. It wants us to be Saved. Redemption, like this is not offered anywhere else.

      Something different is offered by Buddhism, which was founded by a Hindu prince, so is almost like a leaned-out, “Protestant” Hinduism, without any elephant god, etc.: The Four Noble Truths 1) Life is Suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in short, clinging desire is suffering; 2) The Origin of Suffering: the craving, which leads to re-becoming, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight; craving for sensual pleasures, craving for becoming, craving for death; all of these create suffering; 3) The Cessation of Suffering: to stop suffering, cease this craving, give it up, relinquish it, gain freedom from it; 4) The way to achieve this freedom is through the Noble Eightfold Path; A) right view, B) right intention, C) right speech, D) right action, E) right livelihood, F) right effort, G) right mindfulness, H) right concentration.

      In other words, it takes a lot of work for a Buddhist to get to Heaven, i.e., to be “saved”.

      • But I posted this more as it relates to how it might fit into the discussion of giants, from recent posts. That there may be a historical basis for giants memorialized not just in the Bible but also in these Eastern faiths (Buddhism has the yuga cycles, as well).

    • I think you have a misconception that Hindus and Buddhists want to come back here. They don’t. They strive to “Do the right thing” (dharma) and avoid temptation (karma) in order to NOT come back here. But they figure that they’re imperfect and will probably get sucked into coming back. The super-motivated devote their entire lives to the pursuit of liberating themselves from this temporal world of illusion (maya) and to getting off “the wheel of karma”.

      In contrast, Christianity says in Ephesians 2:8: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“. (New International Version). By accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you’re done. Christ offers to bestow upon you what the Buddhists and Hindus bust their hind-ends for lifetimes attempting to achieve.

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