Summer Sale! Save 20% today and get access to all our member benefits.

The Four Yugas: Background information when reading Age of Vice

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Age of Vice

A Novel

by Deepti Kapoor

Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor X
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2023, 560 pages

    Jan 2024, 560 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

The Four Yugas

This article relates to Age of Vice

Print Review

Kedareshwar Cave Temple at Harishchandragadin Ahmednagar district Deepti Kapoor’s novel Age of Vice takes its title from the Hindu term Kali Yuga. In Hindu scripture and mythology, humanity is destined to cycle repeatedly through four great eras, known as yugas. Opinions as to the length of a single cycle (Kalpa) vary greatly — from around four million to four billion years — suffice to say, essentially an immeasurably long time in human terms.

Each of the four yugas has a different character. The first of these, the Satya Yuga (the Age of Truth) is often described as humanity’s golden age, a period of "truth, virtue and righteousness." Also known as Krita Yuga, it’s considered the age of perfection, a time when all humankind lives in harmony with each other and with nature, and war does not exist. Every person is enlightened, and the majority of their time is spent in meditation. People are fearless and content, and have no sorrow or concern for material gain. During Satya Yuga, the Dharma bull, the Hindu representation of morality, stands on four legs representing austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truth.

Satya Yuga gradually gives way to Treta Yuga, humanity’s silver age. The term translates into "The Age of Three," or "Three Collections," in part referring to the three incarnations of Lord Vishnu that arise during the era, but also referring to the Dharma bull, which stands on three legs (absent austerity) during this period. In Treta Yuga, divisions begin to arise within society, but nevertheless at the beginning of the yuga there is no envy; people work cooperatively for the good of all, and it is a time of peace and prosperity. As the yuga progresses, however, people become less spiritual and more focused on material wealth, and war becomes more frequent.

The next yuga in the cycle is Dvapara or Dwapara Yuga ("Two Ahead") — society’s bronze age — and throughout this epoch humanity becomes more selfish and irreligious. People lose trust in their neighbors and leaders, and they begin to abuse the natural world. The Dharma bull walks on two legs (only mercy and truth remain). The events depicted in the Mahabharata (an ancient Sanskrit poem about India’s history and moral law) are said to have occurred during the last Dvapara Yuga, and the era ended when Krishna left Earth to return to his eternal home.

The final epoch in the Kapla — and the one humanity is currently experiencing — is Kali Yuga, the Age of Vice. This is a time of darkness and violence, when people are consumed by selfishness and materialism. The Dharma Bull is down to just one leg (representing truth), and even that erodes as the age progresses. The photo at the top is of Kedareshwar Cave Temple at Harishchandragad in India's Ahmednagar district. Some believe the temple's four pillars symbolize the four yugas, with only one pillar, for the Kali Yuga, remaining; click the image to see in more detail.

Photo by Avinash Rohra

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

Article by Kim Kovacs

This "beyond the book article" relates to Age of Vice. It originally ran in January 2023 and has been updated for the January 2024 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Coin
    The Coin
    by Yasmin Zaher
    A popular choice for book jackets in recent years, perhaps especially in the historical fiction ...
  • Book Jacket: The Night of Baba Yaga
    The Night of Baba Yaga
    by Akira Otani, Sam Bett
    When Yoriko Shindo gets into a brawl on a busy street in 1970s Tokyo, she has no idea what the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Anthropologists
    The Anthropologists
    by Aysegül Savas
    A documentary filmmaker, Asya is interested in the "unremarkable grace" of daily life, "the slow and...
  • Book Jacket: Mood Swings
    Mood Swings
    by Frankie Barnet
    This book begins with a bombastic premise. Seemingly fed up with the heating planet, the world's ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The 1619 Project
by Nikole Hannah-Jones
An impactful expansion of groundbreaking journalism, The 1619 Project offers a revealing vision of America's past and present.
Who Said...

Finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver. Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

L T C O of the B

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.