Sunday, 15 July 2018

Characteristics of Kaliyuga

We are now Kali Yuga, the age of quarrel, incessant troubles, tribulations, trepidation, calumnies, irreverence, ungodliness, ill-health, pollution, adversities, negativity, un-spirituality, hypocrisy, falsehood and terrorism. Both the Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagavatam give a vivid description of how things are like in Kaliyuga. Many of these things we can see happening around us and we ourselves are also guilty of indulging in many of these actions. The following is a but a short list of features typical of the events in Kaliyuga according to the Ithihaas and purana:

1). People recklessly and mindlessly destroy trees or groves.

2). Everyone will lack discrimination as regards food: they will eat anything and everything.

3). Passing themselves off as saintly, nefarious people will indulge in trade and commercial activity. In the garb of saintliness and spirituality, avaricious people will concentrate on amassing wealth, and find wealth is the mark of a man's worth in society.

4). In Kaliyuga, man finds friendship only in his wife, and he regards his in-laws as true relatives.

5). People with money and wealth will be considered persons of noble birth with good qualities. People in power will steer the course of justice in their favour.

6). Impecunious and penurious people, and those who are not given to bribery will be deprived of justice.

7). People will consider going on pilgrimage to far-off places more important than honouring and serving their parents.

8). Brahmins will do the work of sudras.

9). Brahmins will abstain from sacrifices and the study of Vedas.

10). People will stop making offerings to their ancestors.

11). Brahmins will start to eat anything (i.e., they become indiscriminate in their choices of food).

12). Men will become feeble, and will have shorter life span: They will lack energy and valour.

13). During Kaliyuga, women will use their mouths for copulation.

14). Under the burden of excess taxation, householders will turn into robbers.

15). In ashramas, brahmacharis will indulge in evil conduct and pander to the desires of the world. The ashrams will be full of show-offs who are experts in the art of living off the food of others.

16). When Kaliyuga degenerates even further, Dharmic people will have shorter life span.

17). People will sell goods with false weights. There will be a lot of deceit associated with trade.

18). Towards the end of Kaliyuga, the young ones will act like old people. The conduct that suits the young is seen in the old. The old will think like children, and young people will have the intelligence of the old.

19). In Kaliyuga, people abbreviate the truth; because of this harm done to the truth, lifespans are further shortened.

20). There will be a lot of intermarriages between people from different strata of society, and miscegenation becomes the order of the day. They will behave like sudras who are devoid of austerities and truth.

21). Because of the shortage of cows, people will resort to drinking goat and sheep-milk.

22). In Kaliyuga, rules about what is to be eaten are transgressed.

23). Brahmins will not observe sacred vows but will criticize the Vedas. Deluded by logic they will give up worship and yajnas.

24). At the end of Kaliyuga, the world will be overtaken by mlechha conduct. There will be no rites and sacrifices. There will be unhappiness everywhere and no festivals will be celebrated.

25). Men will rob possessions of others, even that of widows.

26). Men will happily accept gifts given even by the evil.

27). When the end of Kaliyiga is near, the Kshatriyas will be the thorns in the flesh of the world. They will not protect others.

28). No one will ask for a girl's hand in marriage; no one will duly give away a girl in marriage. When Kaliyuga is fully ripe, men and women will choose their spouses themselves.

29). Kings, discontented with what they possess, will use every means possible to steal the property of others.

30). When kaliyuga is fully advanced, one hand will steal from the other.

31). Cowards will take pride in their bravery and the brave will be immersed in depression like cowards.

32). During the final stages of Kaliyuga, there will be no Brahmins, Kshatriyas or Vaishyas left. At the end of Kaliyuga the world will have only one varna.

33). Wives will not tend to their husbands. Men and women will eat whatever they wish.

34). People will adorn themselves with the marks of a sadhu, i.e.. there will be profusion of fake sadhus.

35). (Cooked) food will be sold at all major thoroughfares. Note: According to manusmrti selling of cooked food is a sin; this is because everyone has a right to food, whether he has money or not).

36). When Kaliyuga is fully advanced, each will act as he wishes in the name  of human rights.

37). Brahmins will be oppressed by Sudras and thus tormented by the former will wander all over the earth looking for protection.

38). Sudras will expound on Dharma, and the Brahmins will listen to their discourses and serve them. Everything in the world will be utterly upside down.

39). Discarding the gods, bones set into walls will be worshipped.

40). Men will be addicted to meat and liquor and will be weak in Dharma.

41). Rains will come down at the wrong time.

42). Overcome by the burden of taxation, brahmins will flee in the ten directions.

43). Friends and relatives will act only out of love for wealth.

44). Women will be harsh and cruel in speech and will love to cry. They will not follow the words of their husbands.

45). Travelers in transit (guests) will ask for food and water but will not receive it. They will be refused shelter and will be forced to sleep on the roads.

46). People will leave their own countries and seek refuge in other countries, directions, regions, etc., and will roam around the world lamenting 'Alas, father!', 'Alas, son.'

47). Mutual liking between the boy and girl, and not family pedigree or social status, etc., will be criterion for selecting a spouse.

48). Cheating will be the order of the day in business relations.

49). Sexual skill will be the criterion for excellence in men and women.

50). The only mark of evil will be poverty.

51). The one who can make a great display (of his austerities, occult powers etc.) will be considered the greatest sadhu.

52). Brushing one's hair and dressing up will be considered as substitute for bath.

53). The highest purpose of life will be to fill one's belly.

54). Maintenance of one's family will be looked upon as the highest skill.

55). Dharma will be followed to gain fame.

56). There will be no rule in becoming a king. Any Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya or Sudra, depending on who is the most powerful at the time, will become the king. At that time, the rulers will be so greedy that there will not any difference between them and robbers.

57). Houses will be desolate because of the lack of chanting of Vedas and absence of guests.

58) In Kali-yuga the people will be sinful, short-lived, unfortunate, slow, and unintelligent.

How then to survive the virulence of Kali Yuga?

"In this Kali Yuga, when the physique of the vast majority of persons is not good...Japa is an EASY way to God-realisation... There is no Yoga GREATER than Japa Yoga" (pg. 279, Yoga Samhita). In the Gita, Sri Krsna says, "Among Yagnas, I AM Japa Yagna". Sri Brahma said the same truth to Naradha in Kali-Santarana Upanishad. Vishnu Purana (6:2:17), Brhan Narayana Purana (38:97) have underlined the same fact. Srimad Bhagavatam (12:3:52) asserts, "OTHER processes of worship are NOT possible in THIS yuga". Hence, Japa IS the sadhana for Kali Yuga.

"In this Kali Yuga, God-realisation can be had in a short period. It is the grace of the Lord. You need not do severe Tapas now. You need not stand on one leg for several years, as people did in days of yore. You can realise God through JAPA, Kirtan (=singing) and prayer." pg 128, Japa Yoga by Swami Sivananda.

Srimad Bhagwatam 12:3:52 says
krite yad dhyayato vishnum tretayam yajato makhaihdvapare  
paricaryayam kalau tad dhari-kirtanat
That is, whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Vishnu, in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices, and in Dwapara-yuga by serving the Lord's Lotus feet can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the holy names of God.

Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda 72.25), in support of the above, desclares:
dhyayan krite yajan yajnais, tretayam dvapare ’rcayan;
yad apnoti tad apnoti, kalau sankirtya keshavam.
In sum, Whatever is achieved by meditation in Satya-yuga, by the performance of yajna in Treta-yuga or by the worship of Krishna’s lotus feet in Dvapara-yuga is obtained very easily in the Age of Kali simply by chanting the name of God.

Garuda Purana 1.228.18, "What is obtained by means of contemplation in the Krta-yuga, reciting mantras in the Treta-yuga and worshiping in Dvapara is obtained in Kali-yuga by constantly remembering Lord Kesava."

Garuda Purana 1.230.20, "Evil influence of the Kali age, wicked statements, vile utterances of heretics - none of these affect the mind of the person in whose mind Lord Kesava finds a place".

Garuda Purana 1.230.23, "If Govinda is fixed in the mind, the vile age of Kali is transformed into Krta. If Acyuta is not fixed in the mind even Krta-yuga is transformed into Kali age".

Swami Sivananda: "In this kali Yuga, even if just ONE Ekadashi is observed with DISPASSION, faith and DEVOTION, AND if the mind is WHOLLY fixed on Hari, one is freed from the rounds of birth and death. There is no doubt this. The scriptures give us their assurance on this point." (pg. 152, Hindu Fasts & Festivals).


1. G. P. Bhatt & J. L. Shastri (Tr). The Bhagavata Purana (5 Volumes): Delhi 2002
2. Debroy, Bibek. The Mahabharata: Complete and Unabridged (Ten Volumes): Penguin India, 2015
3. Mahabarath by Kamala Subramaniam,
4. Pandey, Pandit Ramnarayandutt Shastri. The Complete Mahabharata (The Only Edition with Sanskrit Text and Hindi Translation) - Six Volumes: Gita Press, Gorakhpur, 2017
5. Saraswati, Swami Akhandananda (Tr). Shrimad Bhagavata Purana (2 Volumes): Gorakhpur 2004
6. Yoga Samhita by Swami Sivananda
7. Kali-Santarana Upanishad
8. Vishnu Purana (6:2:17)
9. Brhan Narayana Purana (38:97)
10. Srimad Bhagavatam (12:3:52)
11. japa Yoga by Swami Sivananda
12. Śri Sanatkumara-saṃhita Verses 1-25 (Verse 13)
13. Hindu Fasts & Festivals by Swami Sivananda

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