The hierarchies that did not exist in the previous golden SATYA YUGA begin to take form in the second cycle of time, the TRETA YUGA, the Age of Ritual.
The TRETA is the age of energy (RAJAS), and of the three ritual fires and the hearth. It is a time of sedentary agricultural and urban civilization. It seems reasonable to assume that the Goddess became paramount in the TRETA. It was perhaps an era in which women were honored, respected, and even exalted.
Ritual became necessary in the TRETA Yuga because as the pieces of God/Isness – now caught up in the Illusion of Separation - descended further into time and space, their ability to consciously focus thought and thus manifest their desires weakened. Ritual is the intermediary mechanistic tool to manipulate creative power from the ‘form’ side.
As density increases, rituals are used to bridge worlds and to direct etheric energies into becoming form within the temporal illusory hologram. Rituals allow access to raw power (SHAKTI) from the unformed, from the ethers.
The Linga Purana (Ch. 39) says that in this second age, the Treta Yuga, the Age of Ritual, we began to no longer revel in the taste of existence and when that fulfillment was lost, another sort of fulfillment was born. Rain was born and as soon as the surface of the earth was touched by rain, trees appeared. These trees became houses for the people. We lived inside what must have been enormous trees and used these trees for our livelihood and enjoyments.
Referred to as ‘wishing trees’ these friendly trees brought forth clothing, fruits and even jewelry. On the very same trees there would grow, in bud after bud, honey made by no bees, powerful honey of superb aroma, colour and taste. People lived on that honey, lived happily all their life long, finding their delight and their nourishment in that perfection, always free from fever.
So for a time in the Treta, we lived in trees and ate honey produced by them. But then one day, the text says that people became greedy and lopped off the limbs of the trees and took by force the honey that no bees made. As a result of that crime committed in greed, the magic trees, together with their honey, vanished, first here, then there, and as time exerted its power, very little of that fulfillment was left.
As time continues to move down through the Treta Yuga into density, the solidification of matter increases the intensity of polarities. As this Age of Ritual came on, the opposing pairs of emotions arose, and people became quite miserable as a result of the sharp cold and rain and heat. We began to wear clothes to keep warm and to look for dwellings that would protect us from the elements.
As time moved on, the force of the Treta - which is also the age of energy (RAJAS)- altered the frequencies of the temporal illusory hologram. Water became scarce and had to be ‘lifted by hand’. Those who wanted to sustain themselves began to practice agriculture. I suppose the experience of having to work in order to eat somehow contributed to the fall of human consciousness, because people then became lustful and greedy.
In the Treta the subjects in their fury seized on another, even their sons, wives, riches, etc., forcibly. Such was the characteristic of that yuga.
Knowing all this, the lotus-born lord (Brahma) created the KSATRIYAS (a class of noble warriors), to protect people from wounds and injuries and also for establishing the rules of conduct.
[Linga Purana, Ch.39.48-49
These warriors cannot be compared with what we know today. They were not mercenaries. They were men of knowledge, culture, the arts, and had powers of ‘wizardry’ that would seem out-of-this-world to us. They were Sacred Warriors sworn to protect the DHARMA. They remained on this earth until the end of the third yuga.
Thus as far back as the second cycle of time, The Treta Yuga, the Age of Ritual, there is the need for a warrior class in this, a polarity universe. We had devolved to the point of requiring rules and thus by means of his own brilliance, the god Brahma brought forth the Vedas.
The Sanskrit Epic, The RAMAYANA takes place in the Treta Yuga. There is no written word in this era. Writing is developed later on and is considered a symptom of the yet to come fourth cycle, our present Kali Yuga. People in those eras had amazing memories and were able to recite entire epics of hundreds of verses from memory. Obviously that kind of memory no longer exists and seems superhuman to us now.
The Ramayana is the story of Rama (an incarnation of the god Vishnu, the Preserver) and his wife Sita, and their struggle against the rather amazing demon Raksasas King, the Ten-headed Ravana. Ravana, who has his own aerial celestial chariot, is a ‘foolish man-eater’ who despises humans. Ravana lusts after the lovely Sita and kidnaps her. Rama must rescue his wife, but a major theme of the story is the enormous courage Sita wields to resist Ravana’s intense advances and defend her honor by an ordeal of fire.
Rama of course must fight the heinous Ravana and his demon armies. Rama has the help of the Monkey King, Hanuman and his vast and skilled armies. I suggest that the existence of an entire race of beings that are half-man and half-monkey is not mythology and perhaps does beg the question of the possibility of genetic alteration in the ancient times.
Ravana is quite the ascetic and has performed unimaginably intense austerities and therefore has been granted certain boons. The idea of performing austerities to receive boons from the gods is very important in Sanskrit literature and demonstrates the very real relationship that exists between all the worlds.
One of the most interesting and amazing descriptions in the Ramayana is of the magical military ‘wizardry’ the demon king Ravana has at his disposal to fight Rama. This is a war of created illusions designed to disorient the enemy.
Ravana has the power to bring his dead warriors back to life, right then and there on the battlefield with all their weapons. He can manipulate the hologram. Ravana can also assume the shapes of Rama, Rama’s brother and generals to confuse Rama’s armies. Fortunately our virtuous hero Rama has his own wise wizard advisor who tells him to go ahead and slay even those who look just like him and his brother.
The battle is eventually won only when Rama recites the mysterious Brahma Spell. We are not actually told what this spell was, but whatever it was, it enveloped Ravana in a fiercely blazing fire and he was ‘toppled in all the five worlds’ by its power! Rama’s great purity of being did not allow for either his defeat or death by the hand of one such as Ravana.
In the Sanskrit text The Mahabharata - a very long epic, which occurs in the following cycle of time, the DVAPARA YUGA - the Monkey King Hanuman appears as a vision. Hanuman describes all four yugas and emphasizes the variations in the experience of time from one yuga to another.
Hanuman explains that he cannot manifest the form he took during the previous TRETA YUGA because no one in the DVAPARA has the capacity to perceive it. No one could see his previous form, when he was with Rama, because Time is different in each of the yugas. Everyone, it seems, even the gods and great seers, must ‘adjust to time from eon to eon’ and so Hanuman’s original form no longer exists. Worlds such as Avalon do disappear.
According to Hanuman, the Sacrifice appears in the Age of Ritual and the Law, meaning Vedic law and the Dharma, is diminished by one quarter. Men are truthful, devoted to the Law of Rites. Sacrifices are made and all manner of Laws and rituals come into being and are motivated by specific purposes, which give rise to acts and their ‘fruits’ or results.
The Mahabharata also contains two very intriguing passages that clearly suggest that the gods did incarnate into human bodies:
“… Take ye form on earth with all the hosts of the Gods…mighty and able to assume any shape… Thereupon the Gods… all took pleasure in descending to earth with varying portions of themselves… to make successful the mission of the Gods…”
[The Mahabharata 3(42)260.7-10]
“… then made a covenant… the Gods they would descend from heaven to earth with a portion of themselves… so the celestials in succession descended from heaven to earth, the for destruction of the enemies of the Gods and the well-being of the worlds.”
[The Mahabharata 1(6)59.1-5]
Translated & Edited by J.A.B. van Buitenen
University of Chicago Press, 1981
The Bhagavadgita in the Mahabharata
Translated by J.A.B. van Buitenen
University of Chicago Press, 1981
While the Gods Play: Shaiva Oracles & Predictions on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind
Inner Traditions, 1987
The VAYU Purana
Translated and Annotated by Dr. G.V. Tagare
Part I & II
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers; 1987 & 2003, Delhi
The LINGA Purana
Translated by a Board of Scholars and Edited by Prof. J.L. Shastri
Part I & II
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers; 1973 & 1997, Delhi
Translated by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati; 2002, Ulysses Press
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