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Kali Yuga

[kuhl-ee yoog-uh]
Kali Yuga (Devanāgarī: कलियुग, lit. "Age of Kali", "age of vice"), is one of the four stages of development that the world goes through as part of the cycle of Yugas, as described in Indian scriptures, the others being Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga. According to the Surya Siddhanta, an astronomical treatise that forms the basis of all Hindu and Buddhist calendars, Kali Yuga began at midnight (00:00) on 18 February 3102 BCE in the proleptic Julian calendar or 23 January 3102 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar, which is also considered by many Hindus to be the time that Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, died as a result of a freak bow hunting accident. The Kali Yuga is traditionally thought to last 432,000 years. Kali Yuga is also recognized and stated in Sikhism, in the Guru Granth Sahib.

Most interpretations of Hindu scriptures believe that earth is currently in Kali Yuga, though others believe that earth is now at the beginning of Dvapara Yuga. Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually throughout the Kali Yuga: it is mostly referred to as the Dark Age, mainly because people are the furthest possible from God. The description of Kali Yuga given below is an indication of its interpretive relevance in our current worldly existence.

Hinduism generally considers morality to be comparable to a bull known as Dharma. In Satya Yuga, the first stage of development, the bull had four legs, and in each age morality is reduced by a quarter. By the age of Kali, morality will be reduced to only a quarter of that of the golden age. Thus, the bull will only have one leg: morality will wait on men.

Kali Yuga is associated with the apocalypse demon Kali, not be confused with the goddess Kālī, as these are unrelated words in the Sanskrit language. The "Kali" of Kali Yuga means "strife, discord, quarrel, or contention."

Attributes of Kali Yuga

Various Puranas (like Bhagavata 12.2) give lists of Kali Yuga symptoms. Some of them are:

In relation to rulers

Rulers will become unreasonable: they will levy taxes unfairly. Rulers will no longer see it as their duty to promote spirituality, or to protect their subjects: they will become a danger to the world. People will start migrating, seeking countries where wheat and barley form the staple food source.

In relation to people's relationships

Source: Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Section CLXXXIX

Avarice and wrath will be common, men will openly display animosity towards each other. Ignorance of Dharma will occur. Lust will be viewed as being socially acceptable. People will have thoughts of murder for no justification, and they will see nothing wrong with that mind-set.

People will be inclined to follow false sciences. Family murders will also occur. People will see those who are helpless as easy targets and remove everything from them.

Many other unwanted changes will occur. The right hand will deceive the left, and the left the right. Men with false reputation of learning will teach the Truth. The old will betray the innocence of the young, and the young will betray the dotage of the old. Cowards will have a reputation for bravery, and the brave will be enervated cowards. People will not trust anyone in the world, not even their immediate family. Husband and wife will find contempt in each other.

In Kali Yuga, even pre-teenage girls will get pregnant. The primary cause will be the social acceptance of sexual intercourse as being the central requirement of life.

It is believed that sin will increase exponentially, whilst virtue will fade and cease to flourish. People will take vows only to break them soon after.

Death and famine will be everywhere. Men will have lustful thoughts, and so will women. People will without reason destroy trees and gardens. Men will commit murder. There will be no respect for animals, and meat eating will start.

People will become addicted to intoxicating drinks. Men will find their jobs stressful and will go to retreats to escape their work.

Gurus will no longer be respected and their students will attempt to injure them. Their teachings will be insulted and followers of Kama will wrest control of the mind from all human beings.

As the sin increases exponentially, so will the incidence of divine justice and wrath.

Weather and nature conditions in the Kali Yuga

when flowers will be begot within flowers, and fruits within fruits, then will the Yuga comes to an end. And the clouds will pour rain unseasonably when the end of the Yuga approaches.

10,000 years era within Kali yuga

The Brahma Vaivarta Purana mentions a ten thousand years period within the Kali yuga of increased bhakti influence, to start 5,000 years after its beginning, i.e. around 1899 CE, given the traditional dating of the Kali yuga epoch to February 18 3102 BCE.

Personification

Kali (Devanāgari: कलि) is the reigning lord of Kali Yuga, and the nemesis of Sri Kalki, the 10th and final avatar of Lord Vishnu. According to the Vishnu Purana, he is a negative manifestation of Vishnu who, along with his extended evil family, perpetually operates as a cause of the destruction of this world. He serves as an antagonistic force in the Kalki Purana.

Towards the end of this yuga, Kalki will come riding on a white horse to battle Kali and his dark forces. The world will suffer a fiery end which will destroy all evil, and a new age, Satya Yuga, will begin.

Other interpretations of Kali Yuga and the Yuga cycle

Other interpreters of the Hindu scriptures, most notably David Frawley and Sri Yukteswar Giri, hold a different view of the Yuga cycle. In Frawley's opinion, a cycle is much like the four seasons, and the planet moves repeatedly and gradually from one Yuga to the next without any sudden jump from Kali into Satya Yuga. Further, they both state that historical evidence shows that Kali Yuga ended around 1700 CE, changing at that time to Dwapara Yuga. He also points out that that the traditional 432,000 year cycle is questionable. He explains this interpretation in more depth in his book The Astrology of the Seers.

Sri Yukteswar Giri

According to Sri Yukteswar Giri, we are currently in Dwapara Yuga. In his book The Holy Science, he explains that "the astronomers and astrologers who calculate the almanacs have been guided by wrong annotations of certain Sanskrit scholars (such as Kullu Bhatta) [...] and now maintain that the length of Kali Yuga is 432,000 years, of which 4994 have (in 1894 CE) elapsed, leaving 427,006 years still remaining. A dark prospect! And fortunately one not true." The Holy Science includes his astronomical explanation for a shorter Yuga Cycle, in which Kali Yuga lasts only 2,400 years (1,200x2, one descending Kali Yuga cycle, followed by an ascending cycle).

Sri Yukteswar Ji noted that Dwapura Yuga is represented by the introduction of atomic energy and electricity, and we appear to have entered that age during the Renaissance.

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