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This excerpt from the Prabhasa Kanda of the Skanda Purana describes how long different demons ruled the three worlds for:

Hiranyakashipu shone as the king for one hundred seven million two hundred eighty thousand years. He was the emperor of the three worlds.... He performed a very severe penance for a hundred thousand years. Formerly he had stayed in the womb of Diti for ten thousand years.... After his term was over, Bali became the king for ten million three hundred sixty thousand years....The rule of the Daityas continued thus for ten Yugas without any enemy. Then for eighteen Yugas, the entire region of the three worlds was protected carefully by Mahendra....Kaikasi ... gave birth to Ravana who later became the lord of Rakshasas.... He was a king for fourteen Yugas as a Rakshasa. O my beloved, in terms of years, the time extended to five crore sixty-one lakh sixty thousand years.

So to sum up according to the Skanda Purana, Hiranyakashipu ruled for 107.28 million years, Mahabali ruled for 10.36 million years, and Ravana ruled for 56.16 million years. And the Asuras collectively ruled for 10 Yugas, the Devas ruled for 18 Yugas, and Ravana ruled for 14 Yugas. Whew!

But my question is, during what specific Yugas/Mahayugas did Hiranyakashipu, Mahabali, and Ravana respectively rule? For those who don't know, as I discuss in this answer we are currently living in the 28th Kali Yuga of the Vaivasvata Manu, Rama was born in the 24th Treta Yuga, and Krishna was born in the 28th Dwapara Yuga.

By the way, I think at least some of the instances of the word "Yuga" in this passage actually refers to Mahayuga; Ravana is said to have ruled for 56.61 million years, which works out to 13 Mahayugas, close to the figure of 14 that's given in the passage.

Note: I'm not looking for answers that dispute the traditional Yuga lengths or the notion of people living millions of years. I just want answers that explain what Yugas the Skanda Purana is referring to.

  • do u have link to the original text in sanskrit ? better to verify the translations first.. – ram May 8 '17 at 5:23
  • A useful clue (?) could be that while debating how to kill Prahlada Hiranyakashipu remembers how the devas saved Shunahshepa from fire. – Surya May 8 '17 at 10:12
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    I mean that since before Ravana 28 Yugas are described, ie. 7 Mahayugas, when we go backwards these seven Mahayugas we will get our starting point, over here the Third Mahayuga. – Surya May 9 '17 at 9:58
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    @user1952500 Here's the exact words: ""In the tenth Treta Yuga, Kartavirya was the extrmely powerful king for eight-five thousand years. He was an emperor in possession of seven gems." But yeah, I suppose it could mean that the first 85,000 years of his rule was during the 10th Treta Yuga. – Keshav Srinivasan May 12 '17 at 17:36
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    @user1952500 By the way, just to provide you with some info on the Yuga system, Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga together form one Mahayuga. There are 71 Mahayugas in a Manvantara. There are 1000 Mahayugas in a Kalpa. There are 14 Manvanataras in a Kalpa. We are living in the 28th Kali Yuga of the Vaivasvata Manvantara, which is the seventh Manvantara of the Shwetavaraha Kalpa. – Keshav Srinivasan May 12 '17 at 17:39
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This is a tough question.

Ravana is separate from Hiranyakashipu and Bali.

Evidence:

Brahmanda Purana (2.3.8.34) talks about birth of King Trnbindu in the 11th Dwapara yuga. He married her daughter to sage Pulastaya who was the grandfather of Ravana. We know from Vayu Purana (ii.36.92) that Lord Rama killed Ravana in 24th Treta yuga.

Synthesis:

Ravana was born in the 11th Dwapara yuga and killed in 24th Treta Yuga by Lord Rama. He lived and ruled for little more than 13 divya yugas. Each divya yuga is 4.32 million yrs. So Ravana ruled for 4.32*(24-11) = 4.32 * 13 = 56.16 million years. As he was born in Dwapara and died in Treta so one may say that he ruled for 14th yugas (little more than 13).

On a side note, except from 28th divya yuga cycle, the Yugas run as Satya, Dwapara, Treta & Kali.

Next are Hiranyakashipu, Prahlad and Bali (Mahabali):

Evidence: From Srimad Bhagavatam canto 7 we know the general story. Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu were born to Diti and Kashyapa. Hiranyaksha was killed by Lord Varaha. This made Hiranyakashipu angry. He did austerities and became even more powerful king. He was later killed by Lord Narasimha. Hiranyakashipu's son was Prahlad. Prahlad's son was Virochana and Virochana's son was Bali Maharaj. Bali Maharaj was defeated by Vamanadeva. That was the end of Daitya's rule over the three worlds.

We know Diti was born to Daksha and Daksha took birth in Chaksusa manvantara (LB 3.13). So Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu were born in Chaksusa manvantara.

We also know that Vamanadeva came in 7th Treta Yuga (What is chronological timeline (in Manvantara and Mahayuga) of Lord Vishnu incarnations?) So that's the end of the rule of Bali Maharaj in the 7th Treta yuga.

Skanda Purana mentions the rule of Hiranyakashipu as Arbuda + 7200,000 + 80,000 and Bali's rule as Arbuda + 30 Niyuta + 60,000

Finding what Arbuda stands for? The translation shared in the question above uses a 100 mil for Arbuda. However, as per Monier-Williams dictionary, Arbuda is 10 million

Finding what Niyuta means? Padma purana mentions the rule of Hiranyakashipu to be Arbuda + 72 Niyuta + 80,000 so Niyuta would be 100,000

Thus, Hiranyakashipu ruled for 17.28 million years or 4 Maha/Divya Yugas Bali ruled for 13.06 million years or 3 Maha/Divya Yugas Prahlad ruled for 13.06 million years or 3 Maha/Divya Yugas In total the Daityas ruled for 10 Maha/Divya Yugas as mentioned in the curse by Sukra.

For the rest of the story we would need more details of the pastimes.

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