Occult evolutionary cycles

An investigation of the great Cycles of Sleep and Waking to which our Earth and the Kosmos are subject


As several readers have asked us to say something about the Kali Yuga or 'Black Age' (as it is also known), we have decided to devote part of this article to answering their questions and concerns. But our main aim is to introduce the subject of the great Cycles of Sleep and Waking, or inactivity and activity, to which every Kosmos (Solar System) is subject, of which the Kali Yuga forms but a very brief part. For although the 432,000 years the Black Age lasts may seem like an eternity to us, it is the blink of an eye to the great Beings who rule our Kosmos under God. In addition to these cycles we shall also touch on the subject of 'Manvantaras', 'Rounds', 'Planetary Chains' and 'Globes' in occult parlance. For these all play a vital role in the Grand Scheme of Evolution which we discussed in the fifth part of our Occult Studies Course, and which we are now extending and enlarging.

However, we must stress that this is a highly condensed overview of these complex subjects—a birds eye view if you wish—which cannot be distilled down into a short article. Nonetheless, what we shall put before you should fill in many blanks in your understanding that may have puzzled you before, as well as giving you some idea how very much older our Earth is than material science yet realises. We would add that nothing in this article has been invented. Neither are any of the facts given figments of our imagination. All rest upon the unshakeable foundations of the Ancient Wisdom, gathered together over uncountable Ages by the great occult scientists and Sages of the faraway past—much further away than you may now realise. Finally, don't worry if some of the terms we use are unfamiliar to you; we will explain them as we go along.

Cycles of Sleep and Waking

The immense time periods through which our Earth and our Kosmos pass, called 'Yugas' in occult parlance, were worked out many millions of years ago in Atlantis. From thence, they were carried to India, Egypt and other places. Now you should not suppose that these Ages change exactly at the end of their separate periods. They foreshadow and overlap one another just as night and day foreshadow and overlap one another on earth. But when we deal with such huge figures as those of the Yugas, a few thousand years of transition amount to very little when compared with the totals.

Before we give you the duration of these Ages, we wish to make it quite clear that the figures we provide, though exoteric, fit in almost correctly with those of the secret calculations of the Atlantean Sages. We say this because there are many websites and books in which these figures are given incorrectly, either because the authors do not know the full Scheme of Evolution to which our Kosmos is subject, or because they have interpreted them in their own way to suit their particular beliefs. An example of this are those who say that the Kali Yuga has either not yet begun, or lasts only 4,320 years. Some scholars and mystics assert that we are still in the previous Age—the Dvapara Yuga. All these and similar claims are wrong.

For once Wikipedia is correct when it states that: "Kali Yuga began at midnight on 18 February 3102 B.C." This date coincided with the death of the Holy Hindu Saviour, Krishna, as you can read in The Book of Sa-Heti published on this website. Wikipedia also says that the duration of the Kali Yuga is 432,000 mortal years. Again this is correct, as we shall see when we come to discuss the 'Black Age' later on. We now give the duration and names of the Yugas as they are known in the Aryan Philosophy of India.

NameDuration in mortal years
Krita or Satya Yuga:1,728,000
Treta Yuga:1,296,000
Dvapara Yuga:864,000
Kali Yuga:432,000
The total of these 4 Yugas constitute a Maha Yuga which adds to:4,320,000

71 of such Maha Yugas form the period of the reign of One Manu which adds to 306,720,000 years. The reign of 14 Manus embraces the duration of 994 Maha Yugas, which is equal to 4,294,080,000 years. Now we need to add what are called 'Sanhis', the intervals between the reign of each Manu, which amount to 6 Maha Yugas. This is equal to 25,920,000 years. The total of these reigns and interregnums of 14 Manus is 1,000 Maha Yugas, which constitute a Kalpa, or ONE DAY of BRAHMA, a period of 4,320,000,000 years.

As Brahma's Night is of equal duration, one Day and Night of Brahma contains 8,640,000,000 years. 360 of such Days and Nights make one Year of Brahma which is equal to 3,110,400,000,000 years. 100 such years constitute the whole period of Brahma's Age. This is called a Maha Kalpa and lasts 311,040,000,000,000 years. It is important to note that such Cosmic evolutions pertain to our Solar System only and not to the entire Universe as some scholars think. So a Yuga is simply an age, or cycle. A Krita Yuga is also called a Satya Yuga, which in both cases means 'the Age of Purity', or the 'Golden Age'. This Age always comes first in the series of four Ages or Yugas, and the Kali Yuga Age comes last. Consequently, a Maha Yuga is the aggregate of the Four Yugas, and forms a thousandth part of a Day of Brahma.

These figures will give you some idea of just how old our Earth actually is. It will also remind you in no uncertain manner how little material science really knows about such things, and why we talked about cycles of incarnations in our article on Evolution. For astonishing as it may seem to you now, the average human being spends many millions of years on this Earth during his or her cycles of incarnations, and many more millions of years in the Astral World between these cycles, corresponding to the periods of sleep and waking to which our planet and Solar System are also subject. If this demonstrates nothing else it shows that there is no hurry in Eternity, and that each and every one of us has countless opportunities to learn the Mysteries of God. In short, a few lifetimes, or even a few hundred, spent drifting in no particular direction, does not matter a rap in the Grand Scheme of Evolution. We are all in far too much of a hurry nowadays!

Not that this should be taken as an excuse for idleness, for as we shall see when we come to discuss the Kali Yuga later on, spiritual progress gets progressively harder as the various Ages succeed one another during each Maha Yuga. It was comparatively easy in the great days of Egypt's glory, thousands of years before the Kali Yuga began, to learn the great truths of life. There then existed hundreds of temples and schools within which the pupils of the Mysteries were able to devote their entire lives to occult studies, without having to worry about such things as paying the rent, noisy neighbours, interfering busybodies and the 1001 distractions and annoyances our modern 'civilisation' has blest us with. So, difficult as modern conditions are, we must make the best of them, for future conditions for those who come after us, will become very much harder as we move deeper into the Kali Yuga.

Rounds and Planetary Chains

In order to complete our overview of this important branch of the occult sciences, we shall now consider the subject of 'Manvantaras', 'Rounds', 'Planetary Chains' and 'Globes' mentioned in our introduction. Before we do so, some explanation of the terminology used so far will be appropriate, especially for those of our readers who know little or nothing about Occult cosmogony or the Aryan Philosophy of India. Brahma is the First Person of the Hindu Trinity or Trimurti (assuming three aspects) consisting of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Vishnu represents the idea of evolution—the process by which the inner Spirit unfolds and generates the universe of sensible forms. Shiva represents the idea of involution, by which thought and the sensible universe are indrawn again into quiescence; and Brahma represents the state which is neither involution nor evolution and yet is both—existence itself, now first brought into the region of thought through relation to Vishnu and Shiva.

A Planetary Chain is a series of seven Globes or worlds which form the field of evolution during the Planetary Cycle or Manvantara. The first three of these Globes form a descending arc, the densest physical matter of the descent being reached in the Fourth Globe, of which our physical Earth is an instance. The next three Globes form an ascending arc, during which matter becomes gradually more rarefied and spiritualised. The Globes on the descending and ascending arcs are invisible to physical sight and correspond to what is known as the 'Astral World' or plane. Actually, there are seven such 'worlds' or 'planes' (including our Earth) as you may read in The Secret Doctrine, as well as in The Quest of Ruru.

There is a correspondence between the Globes in the arc of descent and those in the arc of ascent. Those in the upward arc showing out in perfection that which those on the downward arc adumbrate embryonically, while the Middle Globe (our Earth) is the point of conflict and turning. Or we might say that it marks the halfway point in the evolution of our Earth and all that dwells within and upon it. The Nadir of materiality has been reached and now commences the path of ascent back to pure Spirit, enriched with all the experience gained during the previous descent. The diagram reproduced below should make this arrangement clearer to you.

globes, chains and rounds

A 'Manu' is the presiding Spirit, or if we wish to personalise it, the 'Creator', 'Ruler', and 'Guide' of a Round or a Globe. A 'Round' is the great 'Life-wave' from the Source of all Being, vivifying successively the seven Globes that constitute a Planetary Chain. As this creative energy passes on from one Planet to another, so does that Planet go into what is termed 'Pralaya'—the period when the life of a Globe, Planetary Chain or Solar System is partially or wholly 'indrawn'; activity or manifestation ceasing in part or in whole. The Pralaya of a Planet, the 'winter' between the Rounds of a Life-wave, is known as a 'Minor Pralaya'; and the Pralaya of a Solar System as a 'Kosmic Pralaya'. During the Minor Pralayas, the Planets remain intact, though dead, just as a huge animal, caught and embedded in Polar Ice, remains the same for ages. The planet Mars is an example of this in our Solar System. Dark nebulae such as the famous 'Pipe Nebula' (Barnard 59) in the constellation Ophiuchus are examples of galaxies in Pralaya. Thus material Science is gradually confirming what Occult Science has long known. When one Planet goes into Pralaya the next Planet awakes, and its latent activities begin to manifest. Seven Rounds constitute a Manvantara, or the complete evolutionary cycle of our Planetary Chain, as shown in the diagram above.

Esoterically, every Manu, as an anthropomorphised Patron of his special Cycle, or Round, is but the personified idea of the Thought Divine. Each of these Manus, therefore, may be regarded as the special God, Creator, and Fashioner of all that appears during his own respective Cycle of Being or Manvantara. Each Round has two Manus, a Root Manu and a Seed Manu. A 'Root Manu' is the general term for the Great Cause from which life proceeds during the Round of a Planetary Chain; and a Planetary Chain is a series of seven Globes or worlds which form the field of evolution during the Manvantara. A 'Seed Manu' is a general term for the Great Effect into which humanity is gathered up at the close of each Round of a Planetary Chain.

We have now learnt that the complete Evolution of our Kosmos or Solar System is known as a Manvantara. That this comprises Seven Rounds, and that each Round consists of a Planetary Chain of Seven Globes successively brought forth, each Chain being, as it were, a reincarnation of the preceding one. Three of these Chains belong to the past; the Fourth and present Chain is the Terrene, of which the Earth forms the Fourth Globe. The remaining Three Chains have yet to appear. A Manvantara is thus the Cycle of Manifestation, as opposed to Pralaya or non-manifestation that includes the Seven Rounds of the great Life-Wave of the Creative Logos mentioned above.

You may be asking at this point just where we—that is the present-day nations of the world—stand in relation to all these Chains, Rounds and Ages. Just when did the evolution of our own planet begin? We do not know, and we doubt that any living Adept does. For this would require a knowledge of the exact duration of the previous three Rounds which have already run their course as well as those yet to come. All we can say is that we are halfway through the evolutionary cycle of our planetary scheme, to which our present earth belongs.

This tells us two things. Firstly, that modern science still has a long way to go in estimating the true age of our earth and our Solar System, never mind the Milky Way Galaxy within which it is an infinitesimal speck, or the greater Universe of which our Galaxy is just one among countless billions of similar galaxies. The second is that the human mind reels at such figures and such enormities of scale. And yet, the same enormities can be found within our very own bodies if we but think of the cells within them. Each one a miniature universe in its own right comprised of billions of atoms just like the macrocosmic Atom of our Solar System. Some of these microcosmic universes exist for only a few days, others much less, before they are replaced by other cells as science teaches us. Were there intelligent beings dwelling upon the atoms within those cells (and no one can say there are not), and were they aware of our existence we should appear as veritable 'Brahmas' to them, and our lifetime, short as it may seem to us, would be an eternity of incalculable duration. Truly, our finite minds are incapable of grasping the full implications of this Grand Scheme, which extends in both directions—to the infinitely small and to the infinitely large. Here is food for thought enough for several lifetimes!

We hope we have now satisfied those readers who have asked us where the number 432,000 comes from and whether it is correct. Many more readers have asked us if some of the scenes depicted in The Matrix and similar dystopian movies are what we may look forward to as the Kali Yuga progresses, whilst others wonder whether the longed-for 'Golden Age' will ever arrive. We hope to answer these and many more questions in the next section.

The Kali Yuga

As we said earlier, the Kali Yuga began at midnight on 18 February 3102 B.C., and will last a total of 432,000 mortal years. This date coincided with the death of the Holy Hindu Saviour, Krishna, whose description of the conditions mankind will face during this Age can be found in chapter 39 of The Book of Sa-Heti published in full on this website. Thus we have roughly 426,800 years to go before the longed-for 'Golden Age'—the Satya Yuga—will arrive.

The first thing we would say is that the Kali Yuga is not one long descent into darkness, disorder and misery. Nor does it mean the end of all that is noble and good in man, or the complete destruction of our planet. There are many peaks and troughs along the way, or highs and lows if you like. We should think of this Age as a sine-wave, rather than a straight, linear graph. Though the overall direction is inexorably downwards there will be periods of lesser or greater stability when relatively good conditions will prevail for hundreds of years, constituting mini 'golden ages' for some parts of the Earth and those who dwell in such spots.

We emphasise 'some', for the dark conditions of the Kali Yuga are not uniformly distributed in either space or time. We see the first proofs of this today when some portions of the globe are ravaged by wars, others by poverty and disease, whilst other parts, such as Western Europe and the United States are enjoying relative stability, prosperity and good health. This is analogous to the seasons we experience on Earth. Winter is always cold in the northern hemisphere, but some spots are colder than others and there are even periods of relative warmth as those of us who have lived through unseasonably 'hot' Christmases will know.

Here we have an example of the universal applicability of the Hermetic Law 'As above‒so below' for there is a correspondence between the Great Kosmic Cycles we discussed earlier and their reflected cycles in Man. We touched on this in our article on the Occult Sun, in which we told you that the human heart beats 4,320 times per hour. If we multiply this figure by 71 we obtain 306,720—one hundredth of the reign of One Manu, or 306,720,000. Coincidence? Not at all. Remember, 'As above‒so below' always applies, but sometimes after another manner. You may profitably explore and extend the correspondences between the macrocosmic numbers we have given you to the microcosm—Man—and so enlarge your understanding further.

Yet there is no escaping the fact that as the Kali Yuga proceeds conditions will grow progressively worse for all mankind as you may read in The Book of Sa-Heti mentioned earlier. It is an Age of very severe tests and trials during which many bitter lessons will have to be learnt and the world will suffer many catastrophes, both 'natural' and man-made. But this is all part and parcel of the grand Scheme of Evolution so that all things (man included) may evolve to a higher state, and this should afford us some comfort and consolation as you can read in our afterword in which we use a simple analogy to illustrate this process.

We mentioned the movie The Matrix earlier. Leaving aside any consideration of the plot or the silly notions which underlie it, most of which are completely false so far as Occult Science is concerned, it is only fair to say that some of the conditions the characters encounter are not so very different from those described in The Book of Sa-Heti. To make ourselves quite clear, our Earth is emphatically not the creation of sentient 'machines' whose intention is to subdue the human population by 'harvesting' their bodies as an 'energy source.' Let us separate science-fiction fantasy—however 'thrilling'—from occult scientific fact!

Depressing as the dystopian future depicted in The Matrix and similar movies is, and we are here thinking of such films as Mad Max and the Terminator series, they fail to convey the fact that all material life on Earth (or any other planet) is merely a very brief and transitory episode in the evolution of consciousness. We are all, as we have pointed out so many times in our articles, spiritual beings incarnated in material bodies to gain experience, leading to Wisdom in the end. Experience which cannot be gained by sitting on a cloud in 'heaven' strumming an out-of-tune harp whilst choirs of virginal female angels (or male if you prefer) minister to our every desire. We have deliberately mixed up the orthodox Christian conception of the afterlife with the Islamic version in this rather silly way to show you that a life of ease and plenty in which every desire is instantly gratified and there is nothing to aspire to or lose at any time is most unlikely to further our evolution.

Let us enlarge on this. We cannot think of a single reader of this website who has written to us over the years who has not, in one way or another, been through the earthly school of hard knocks in a very real way. Some have experimented with drugs and paid a heavy price for their indulgence. Others have suffered from depression, mental and physical abuse, bereavement, poverty, ill-health and persecution. Yet others have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, had their homes destroyed in earthquakes and floods, and even in some cases come close to taking their own lives, unable to bear the heavy blows of Destiny any longer.

With very few exceptions, each one of these individuals began their search for occult Truth and Knowledge after they had gone through these tests, trials and sufferings, not before! This is one of the meanings of the NT verses in which Jesus tells his disciples: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Matthew 16:24-26). By 'cross' is meant the physical body and lower self as well as the many burdens earthly life imposes upon us all. The words "Deny himself" become self-evident once we know that it is the lower self that prevents us from obtaining any apprehension of Truth. In other words, it is by living the life of the Spirit in the way of good deeds, kind thoughts and aspiration toward all that is noble and wise that all the cares and illusions of earthly 'life' are lost and we find a new and better life immersed in God, which is our very own Soul.

Suffering, if born patiently without rancour, ennobles a man and leads to the awakening of our Higher Self, which will show us in no uncertain manner just what are our duties to our fellowmen and women and the best ways to fulfil them, so liberating ourselves and others by example. This is "taking up" our cross and walking bravely toward the Light in complete Faith that all that happens to us, however painful, is for our ultimate good. The opposite is to give way to self-pity, anger, fear and despair. In The Oera Linda Book, which we have mentioned in several articles, occurs the following passage: "This is my counsel: when in dire distress, and when mental and physical energy avail nothing, then have recourse to the spirit of Wr-alda (God); but do not appeal to him before you have tried all other means, for I tell you beforehand, and time will prove its truth, that those who give way to discouragement sink under their burdens."

It is the sum-total of the experience we gain from bravely enduring adversity, whatever form it may take, that leads to Wisdom in the end. Wisdom that no man can take away from us, for it is burned as an imperishable flame into our very mental and spiritual being. This brings with it forgiveness of others and understanding of the part good and evil play in the evolution and emancipation of all things. It brings certainty in the Goodness and Love of God who has ordered the Kosmos in just this way that we may profit by both the good and the evil which we encounter in our many cycles of incarnations. It brings gratitude that we have been considered worthy to be tested, so that the Light within us may overcome the darkness and transmute our dross into pure, spiritual, living Gold.

We hope that what we have said in this article has given you a glimpse of the Divine Wisdom which informs the great Cycles of Light and Darkness and the Holy Purpose behind them, a purpose far beyond and above the ken of lowly man whose brief span of life is over almost before it has begun; who sees nothing clearly and judges what he does behold by the illusions his erring senses convey to his unevolved, wandering mind. Such minds know naught of the Grand Design of the Gods who have Eternity at their disposal and Universes without end to bring it to its consummation to the Glory of the Unknown Deity who ruleth over all in unknown Majesty!


This brief overview of the Grand Scheme of planetary and Kosmic evolution must suffice for, as we said in our introduction, it is impossible to condense this important branch of the occult sciences into a short article. Those who wish to learn more will find further and fuller explanations of the great Cycles of Sleep and Waking—Manvantaras and Yugas—as well as Rounds, Planetary Chains, Globes, etc., in The Secret Doctrine. However, if you re-read what we have put before you and study the accompanying diagram you should have little difficulty in familiarising yourself with this rough outline of the Cycles of the Solar System and the various terms used to describe it.

The one subject we have not dealt with in this article is that of the Seven Root Races of Man, of which our present Aryan Race is the Fifth. This is deliberate, for unless you wish us to put the cart before the horse, which is something we hope we can never be accused of doing, it was necessary to discuss the stage upon which the Grand drama of Kosmic and planetary evolution takes place, before proceeding to the actors themselves—mankind. So that will be one of our future tasks. Thus we are gradually building up as complete a picture as we can of the Occult Mysteries of Man and the Universe, insofar as these may be disclosed and explained.

© Copyright occult-mysteries.org. Article published 20 January 2018. Updated 12 June 2023.

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