History of Ancient Ages
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology, particularly the Works and Days of Hesiod, and is part of the description of temporal decline of the state of peoples through five Ages, Gold being the first and the one during which the Golden Race of humanity (Greek: χρύσεον γένος chrýseon génos) lived. Those living in the first Age were ruled by Kronos, after the finish of the first age was the Silver, then the Bronze, after this the Heroic age, with the fifth and current age being Iron.
By extension “Golden Age” denotes a period of primordial peace, harmony, stability, and prosperity. During this age peace and harmony prevailed, people did not have to work to feed themselves, for the earth provided food in abundance. They lived to a very old age with a youthful appearance, eventually dying peacefully, with spirits living on as “guardians”. Plato in Cratylus (397 e) recounts the golden race of humans who came first. He clarifies that Hesiod did not mean literally made of gold, but good and noble.
In classical Greek mythology the Golden Age was presided over by the leading Titan Cronus. In some version of the myth Astraea also ruled. She lived with men until the end of the Silver Age, but in the Bronze Age, when men became violent and greedy, fled to the stars, where she appears as the constellation Virgo, holding the scales of Justice, or Libra.
European pastoral literary tradition often depicted nymphs and shepherds as living a life of rustic innocence and peace, set in Arcadia, a region of Greece that was the abode and center of worship of their tutelary deity, goat-footed Pan, who dwelt among them.
[Men] lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all devils. When they died, it was as though they were overcome with sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint. They dwelt in ease and peace.
Other Golden Ages
There are analogous concepts in the religious and philosophical traditions of the South Asian subcontinent. For example, the Vedic or ancient Hindu culture saw history as cyclical, composed of yugas with alternating Dark and Golden Ages. The Kali yuga (Iron Age), Dwapara yuga (Bronze Age), Treta yuga (Silver Age) and Satya yuga (Golden Age) correspond to the four Greek ages. Similar beliefs occur in the ancient Middle East and throughout the ancient world, as well.
The Indian teachings differentiate the four world ages (Yugas) not according to metals, but according to quality with Truth being the defining feature of the Golden Age. After the world fall at the end of the fourth, worst age (the Kali yuga) named after the Messianic figure Kali, the cycle should be continued, eventually culminating in a new golden age.
The Krita Yuga also known as the Satya yuga, the First and Perfect Age, as described in the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic:
Men neither bought nor sold; there were no poor and no rich; there was no need to labour, because all that men required was obtained by the power of will; the chief virtue was the abandonment of all worldly desires. The Krita Yuga was without disease; there was no lessening with the years; there was no hatred or vanity, or evil thought whatsoever; no sorrow, no fear. All mankind could attain to supreme blessedness.
Satya Yuga lasts for 1,728,000 years, Treta Yuga 1,296,000 years, Dvapara Yuga 864,000 years and Kali Yuga 432,000 years. According to the Puranas there are 71 such cycles in a life of Manu whose life duration is 306.72 million years. The reign of fourteen Manus (4.32 billion years) comprises one day (Kalpa) of Brahma. Knowledge, meditation, and communion with Spirit hold special importance in this era. The average life expectancy of a human being in Satya Yuga is believed to be about 100,000 years. That duration of life declines in next age, Treta Yuga to 10,000 years, followed by Dvapara Yuga 1 000 years and Kali Yuga up to 100 years. During Satya Yuga, most people engage only in good, sublime deeds and mankind lives in harmony with the earth. Ashrams become devoid of wickedness and deceit. Natyam (such as Bharatanatyam), according to Natya Shastra, did not exist in the Satya Yuga “because it was the time when all people were happy”.
The Brahma Kumaris and Prajapita Brahma Kumaris make reference to five yuga in a single cycle of 5,000 years in which the Golden Age, or Satya yuga, is the first and lasts for 1,250 years. Three of the remaining four; Thretha Yuga (Silver Age), Dwarpar Yuga (Copper Age) and Kali Yuga (Iron Age), also last for 1,250 years each. The fifth age, Sangum Yuga (Confluence Age), is given to the last 100 years of the fourth age and represents the period when the Iron Age is destroyed and the next Golden Age is created. The World Drama is the story of the rise and fall of human souls during their sojourn in this world. It is about the interplay of souls, matter and God, and of the different stages through which human souls pass in five different epochs or acts of this drama.The drama begins with the Golden Age, when every soul expresses its original qualities of purity, peace, love and truth, and human relationships are marked by complete harmony. The virtuous nature of these divine beings is mirrored by nature, which is in its pristine state and serves humans with abundance. This is the time remembered as heaven or paradise by humanity.
Golden age is the time when the human beings are full of all the divine virtues and have all the seven qualities peace, purity, love, wisdom, happiness, power and bliss to the fullest. And henceforth they are called deities, that we remember them as were our ancestors and whose divinity is worshiped in Hindu temples. The silver age comes after golden age where as time goes by, the souls, who are the actors in this drama, undergo a gradual decline. By Act Two, the number of souls has increased significantly, and though all are still happy and prosperous, the radiance and fullness that characterized their lives is no more.
Rajayoga Mediation taught at the Brahma Kumaris are the way to revive the seven qualities within and awaken self true divinity, the souls of Satyuga AKA Golden Age has.
Meditation energizes your awareness, bringing both peace and wisdom to a busy mind. It expands one’s capacity to love, and heals broken hearts. It also dissolves many fears, replacing them with lightness and freedom from anxiety.
But perhaps the greatest gift that meditation brings is the glow of inner peace that is both gentle and strong.
Practice of Rajyoga meditation or intellectual communion with God brings into the soul many powers. Of these, eight are important.The Eight Powers.
The Old Norse word gullaldr (literally “Golden Age”) was used in Völuspá to describe the period after Ragnarök, where the surviving gods and their progeny build the city Gimlé on the ruins of Asgard. In this period, Baldrreigns.
There is a reference to a succession of kingdoms in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2, in decreasing order identified as gold, silver, bronze, iron and finally mixed iron and clay.
31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue – an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.” — Daniel 2: 31-35
The interpretation of the dream follows in verses 36–45.
In modern fantasy worlds, whose background and setting sometimes draw heavily on real-world myths, similar or compatible concepts of a Golden Age exist in the said world’s prehistory; when deities or elf-like creatures existed, before the coming of humans.
For example, in The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien, a Golden Age exists in Middle-earth legendarium. Arda (the part of the world where The Lord of the Rings is set), was designed to be symmetrical and perfect. After the wars of the Gods, Arda lost its perfect shape (known as Arda Unmarred) and was called Arda Marred. Another kind of ‘Golden Age’ follows later, after the Elves awoke; the Eldar stay on Valinor, live with the Valar and advance in arts and knowledge, until the rebellion and the fall of the Noldor, reminiscent of the Fall of Man. Eventually, after the end of the world, the Silmarilli will be recovered and the light of the Two Trees of Valinorrekindled. Arda will be remade again as Arda Healed.
In The Wheel of Time universe, the “Age of Legends” is the name given to the previous Age: In this society, channelers were common and Aes Sedai – trained channelers – were extremely powerful, able to make angreal, sa’angreal, and ter’angreal, and holding important civic positions. The Age of Legends is seen as a utopian society without war or crime, and devoted to culture and learning. Aes Sedai were frequently devoted to academic endeavours, one of which inadvertently resulted in a hole – The Bore – being drilled in the Dark One’s prison. The immediate effects were not realised, but the Dark One gradually asserted power over humanity, swaying many to become his followers. This resulted in the War of Power and eventually the Breaking of the World.
Another example is in the background of the Lands of Lore classic computer game, where the history of the Lands is divided in Ages. One of them is also called the Golden Age, a time when the Lands were ruled by the ‘Ancients’, and there were no wars. This age ended with the ‘War of the Heretics’.
The Golden Age may also refer to a state of early childhood. Herbert Spencer argued that young children progress through the cognitive stages of evolution of the human species and of human civilization, thereby linking pre-civilization and infancy. Kenneth Grahame called his evocation of early childhood ‘The Golden Age‘ and J. M. Barrie’s fictional character Peter Pan, who first appeared in ‘The Little White Bird‘ was named after Pan, a Greek god from the Golden Age. Barrie’s further works about Peter Pan depict early childhood as a time of pre-civilized naturalness and happiness, which is destroyed by the subsequent process of education.