Situation in Kali-yuga

By editor - 8.6 2017

According to the Vedic scriptures, our current age, known as Kali-yuga, is one of spiritual darkness, violence and hypocrisy. Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.2.31) records Kali-yuga as having begun when the constellation of the seven sages (saptarsi) passed through the lunar mansion of Magha. Hindu astrologers have calculated this to have been 2:27 a.m. on February 18, 3102 BC. This took place some 36 years after Lord Krsna spoke Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna.

The scriptures like SB 12.2 teach that during the 432,000 year age of Kali, humanity deteriorates and falls into barbarism. Humans begin to kill animals for food. They fall under the spell of intoxication. They lose all sexual restraint. Families break up. Women and children are abused and abandoned.

Increasingly degraded generations, conceived accidentally in lust and growing up wild, swarm all over the world. Political leadership falls into the hands of unprincipled rogues, criminals and terrorists, who use their power to exploit the people. Entire populations are enslaved and put to death. The world teems with fanatics, extremists and spiritual artists, who win huge followings among a people completely dazed by hedonism, as well as by cultural and moral relativism. "Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, physical strength and memory diminish with each passing day." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.2.1)

The saints and sages of ancient India describe the people of this age as greedy, ill-behaved, and merciless. In this age, says Srimad-Bhagavatam, merely possessing wealth is considered a sign of good birth, proper behavior, and fine qualities. Law and justice are determined by one's prestige and power. Marriage ceases to exist as a holy union - men and women simply live together on the basis of bodily attraction and verbal agreement, and only for sexual pleasure.

Women wander from one man to another. Men no longer look after their parents in their old age, and fail to provide for their own children. One's beauty is thought to depend on one's hairstyle. Filling the belly is said to be the only purpose in life. Cows are killed once their milk production drops. Atheism flourishes. Religious observances are performed solely for the sake of reputation.

The Linga Purana (ch. 40) describes the human race in Kali-yuga as a vain and stupid people "spurred on by the lowest instincts." They prefer false ideas and do not hesitate to persecute sages. They are tormented by bodily desires.

Severe droughts and plagues are everywhere. Slovenliness, illness, hunger and fear spread. Nations are continually at war with one another. The number of princes and farmers decline. Heroes are assassinated. The working classes want to claim regal power and enjoy royal wealth.

Kings become thieves. They take to seizing property, rather than protecting the citizenry. The new leaders emerge from the laborer class and begin to persecute religious people, saints, teachers, intellectuals, and philosophers.

Civilization lacks any kind of divine guidance. The sacred books are no longer revered. False doctrines and misleading religions spread across the globe. Children are killed in the wombs of their mothers. Women who have relations with several men are numerous. Predatory animals are more violent. The number of cows diminishes.

The Linga Purana says that in Kali-yuga, young women freely abandon their virginity. Women, children, and cows - always protected in an enlightened society - are abused and killed during the iron age. Thieves are numerous and rapes are frequent. There are many beggars, and widespread unemployment. Merchants operate corrupt businesses. Diseases, rates, and foul substances plague the populace. Water is lacking, fruits are scarce. Everyone uses vulgar language.

The men of Kali-yuga seek only money. Only the richest have power. People without money are their slaves. The leaders of the state no longer protect the people, but plunder the citizenry through excessive taxation. Farmers abandon living close to nature. They become unskilled laborers in congested cities. Many dress in rags, or are unemployed, and sleep on the streets. Through the fault of the government, infant mortality rates are high. False gods are worshiped in false ashrams, in which pilgrimages, penances, charities and austerities are all concocted.

People in this age eat their food without washing beforehand. Monks break their vows of celibacy. Cows are kept alive only for their milk. Water is scarce. Many people watch the skies, praying for rain. No rain comes. The fields become barren. Suffering from famine and poverty, many attempt to migrate to countries where food is more readily available. People are without joy and pleasure. Many commit suicide. Men of small intelligence are influenced by atheistic doctrines. Family, clan and caste are all meaningless. Men are without virtues, purity or decency. (Visnu Purana 6.1).

Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda, Srimad Bhagavata-mahatmya, ch. 1:

Sri Narada replied, 'I came here considering the earth to be the best of planets. Although I travelled to Puskara, Prayaga, Kasi, Godavari, Haridvara, Kuruksetra, Sriranga and Setubandha, I could not find peace in any of those holy places. At present, Kali yuga the friend of irreligion, has completely afflicted the whole earth. Now truthfulness, austerity, cleanliness, mercy and charity are nowhere to be seen. The fallen living entities take pleasure in telling lies and are simply engaged in filling their bellies. They are lazy, less intelligent, unfortunate, and always disturbed. Those who are called saintly are actually pretenders. Though they appear renounced, they accumulate wealth, women, and paraphernalia for sense pleasure. Women rule the family and the brother-in-law is the consultant. People sell their daughters out of greed, and husbands and wives always quarrel. The holy places, asramas of saintly people, and rivers are under the control of the yavanas, who are against Vedic religion. They have destroyed many temples and therefore yogis, siddhas, jnanis and religious people are not to be seen. The processes of liberation are completely burnt to ashes in the fire of Kali-yuga. In this age people sell grains in the market, the brahmanas charge fees to teach, and women thrive by prostitution.

"Thus witnessing the defects of Kali-yuga and wandering over the face of the earth, I reached the bank of the Yamuna where Lord Krsna had performed various pastimes. O best of sages, please hear about the wonder I saw there. A beautiful woman was sitting in a dejected mood while two old men lay unconscious in front of her breathing very quickly. While trying to bring them to consciousness, the young woman would sometimes cry. At times she would look around as if searching for her protector, the Supersoul. She was served by hundreds of women who were fanning and trying to console her. I saw this whole scene from afar and out of curiosity went near them. Upon seeing me, the young lady stood up and spoke very piteously. She said: "O saintly person, please stay here for a moment and dispel my distress. Your auspicious vision destroys the sins of materialistic people. By your words I will get relief from misery and become peaceful. Only by great fortune can one get darsana of a person like you."

I inquired, "O virtuous lady, who are you and who are these two men lying here? Who are these ladies serving you? Please explain the cause of your distress in detail."

The lady said, "My name is Bhakti, and these two are my sons Jnana and Vairagya. By the influence of time they have become old and decrepit. These women are the holy rivers, such as the Ganges. They have come here to serve me. Although I am directly being served by these ladies, still I am not peaceful. O sage, whose only wealth is austerity, though it is well known, please hear my story carefully and grant me solace. I was born in the land of Dravida, in South India, and I grew up in Karnataka. I was respected in the state of Maharastra, but when I came to Gujarata, I lost my youth. Rogues influenced by Kali-yuga broke my limbs and for a long time I remained in that condition and thus, along with my sons, I have become very weak and impotent. Upon coming to Vrndavana, I regained my youth and beauty, but my two sons, who are lying here, are still old and tired. I will leave this place and travel to foreign lands, but I feel sad owing to the plight of my sons. We always remain t ogether, so why is it that I am young and they are old? It should be that the sons are young while the mother is old. I am astonished by this and so I lament. You have mystic power and are most intelligent, therefore, please explain this to me."

Narada said, "O chaste lady, from within my heart I see the cause of your misery, therefore I advise you not to lament. Lord Hari will shower all auspiciousness upon you."

Suta Gosvami said, "The best of sages, Sri Narada, understood the reason in a moment and said, 'O beautiful lady, hear attentively from me. Because of this ruthless age (Kali-yuga), good behaviour, yoga, and austerities have all become lost. People are addicted to cheating, irreligious behaviour, and are like the demon Agha, sin personified. At present, saintly people are unhappy and demonic people are enjoying sense gratification. Under these circumstances, if an intelligent man maintains his fortitude, then he is considered a scholar. By and by the earth is becoming a burden for Lord Sesa. At present it is not even worth seeing, what to speak of touching, and I see no auspiciousness anywhere. Everyone neglects you and your two sons. Because of worldly attachment to sense gratification, people are blind. Owing to their negligence,, you have become decrepit. It is only due to the glory of Vrndavana that you have become young again. This land is very auspicious because devo tion always dances here. However, your two sons are being neglected and thus their health is failing, but by the touch of Vrndavana they remain asleep and breathing."

Bhakti said, "Why is it that King Pariksita did not kill this sinful Kali-yuga? Because of Kali-yuga all objects have lost their essence. Why does the most merciful Lord Hari tolerate irreligion? O sage, please remove this doubt. I feel pacified by hearing your sweet words."

Narada said, "O auspicious young lady, now that you have asked, please hear me with attention as I explain everything and thus relieve your misery. Kali-yuga took control and started obstructing auspiciousness the day Lord Krsna left this planet for His abode. When King Pariksita travelled on earth, conquering all the kings, he met Kali, who fell at his feet and took shelter of him. The king, who understood the essence of things just like the bumble bee, decided not to kill him because that goal which is not attainable by penance, yoga meditation, or samadhi, is easily attained in Kali-yuga simply by performing hari-kirtana. Although the king knew that Kali-yuga was useless, he spotted this one essential good quality, and understanding that this would make the living beings happy, he spared him. Because humanity is engaged in irreligious and immoral acts, everything has lost its essence. All objects, including the seeds of the earth, are ineffective. The brahmanas, being gre edy for wealth, are performing Bhagavata-katha in peoples houses and therefore the essence of katha is lost. Immoral, atheistic, and sinful people have begun to reside in the holy places, causing the influence of those places to be lost. Those people whose hearts are always filled with lust, greed and anger make a show of performing austerities, thereby causing the essence of penance to be lost. Because people are unable to control their mind, they have taken shelter of greed, pretence, and immorality, and have given up the study of scriptures, causing the influence of jnana-yoga to be lost. Moreover, the pandits, or scholars, are only expert in producing children and enjoying sex like buffaloes. They are no longer expert in the process of liberation. Furthermore, there are hardly any Vaisnavas coming in bonafide sampradayas and there, everywhere all objects have become ineffective. This indeed, is due to the influence of Kali and is not the defect of anyone else. Therefore, a lthough the lotus-eyed Lord resides near by, He tolerates this."

Suta Gosvami said, "O Saunaka, hearing these revealing words of Sri Narada Muni, Bhakti was very surprised. She replied, 'O saintly person, you are very glorious and it is my good fortune to have met you. Within this material world, association with a saintly person is indeed the cause of all perfection. Just by once meeting you, Sri Prahlada, the son of Kayadhu, conquered Maya, and by your mercy Dhruva Maharaja gained the Dhruva planet. You are the personification of all auspiciousness. I offer my obeisances unto you, the direct son of Lord Brahma.'"

Narada purana on kali yuga:
samudra yatra svikarah kamandalu vidharanam
dvijanam asa varnasu kanya supa yamas tatha
devarac ca sutotpattir madhuparke pazorvadhah
mamsa danam tatha zraddhe vanaprastha azramas tatha
dattaksatayah kanyayah punar danam varaya ca
naisthikam brahmacaryam ca naramedhaz ca medhakau
mahaprasthana gamanam gomedhaz ca tatha makhah
etan dharman kaliyuke varjyanahur manisinah
Undertaking a sea voyage, carrying a (wooden or earthen) jar of water (by a householder, i.e. renunciation of that stage of life), the marriage of the twice-borns with girls not belonging to their caste, begetting of sons through (dead) husband's brother, the slaughtering of animals in madhuparka (respectful offering to a guest), offering flesh in Sraddhas, the stage of life called VAnaprastha, remarriage of a married girl when the marriage was not consummated, naiSThika brahmacarya (lifelong celibacy), human sacrifice, horse sacrifice, mahAprasthAna gamana (undertaking a long journey to end in death), gomedha (cow sacrifice) as well as makhas (sacrifices). These activities, though righteous in other yugas, are declared as fit to be avoided in the Kali yuga. (1.24.13-16)

tamasam yugam asadya harih krsnatvam eti ca
yah kazcid api dharmatma yajjacaran karoti ca
yah kazcid api punyatma kriya yoga rato bhavet
naram dharma ratam drstva sarve 'suyam prakurvate
Entering the tamasic yuga (i.e. Kali yuga) Hari assumes blackness of complexion. Some righteous soul performs yajnas and conventional religious routines. Some meritorious soul may be engaged in the path of holy rites. On seeing a man absorbed in dharma, all people are afflicted with jealousy. (1.41.22-23)

Parasara-smriti (ch. 1) on Kali yuga:

2. Expound, son of Satyavati, the law, which is for the good of mankind, in the present Kali age; and the practice of purification, such as it ought to be.

11.-15. Vyasa having said "(All are) well," thus interrogated him: "If thou art aware of my reverence (for thee), or from affection, thou affectionate to persons revering thee! Expound the law to me, for I am, father, an object of kindness to thee. The rules of law expounded by Manu have been heard by me, and those by Vasishtha and by Kasyapa, and by Garga and by Gautama and by Usanas; the laws of Atri and Vishnu and Samvarta and Daksha and Angira and Shatatapa and Harita and Yajnavalkya, and Katyayana and Prachetas and Apastamba; and the laws of Shankha and Likhita,

16. All these (laws) have been heard (by me as they were) expounded by thee; they embody the sense of the Veda; (they) have not been forgotten by me. (They are) the laws for the four ages, the Krita, the Treta, and the rest, forming parts of this Manvantara.

17. All laws arose in the Krita age; all have vanished in the Kali age. Expound a part of the rules of conduct fit for the four castes, such as are common (to all).

22. In conformity to the character of the age, the rules of law (suitable) for men differ from age to age. The rules for the Krita differ from the Treta rules; the Dvapara laws are not identical with the Kali rules.

23. Self-mortification is the rule in the Krita age; knowledge is said (to be the same) in the Treta; in the Dvapara, (they) say sacrifice (to the gods to be) the sole (rule); and charity alone in the Kali age.

24. For the Krita are suited the laws of Manu; for the Treta, those by Gautama (are) prescribed; for the Dvapara those by Shanka and Likhita; for the Kali, those by Parasara are prescribed.

25. In the Krita, one should quit a country itself; one should quit a village in the Treta; in the Dvapara (one should shun) only the particular family; but in the Kali, one should shun the perpetrator alone (of an offence).

26. In the Krita sin is incurred by one who converses (with a sinner); in the Treta by one who touches (the sinful man); in the Dvapara by taking the sinner's food; in the Kali by a (sinful) act (alone).

27. A curse in the Krita takes effect the moment it is uttered; in the Treta (it does so) in ten days' time; in the Dvapara, in the course of a single month; in the Kali, however, it takes a year.

28. In the Krita (the donor himself) comes up to (the donee) and makes the gift; in each succeeding Treta age, (the donee) is invited and the gift is made; in the Dvapara, the gift is made to one who asks for it; in the Kali, however, gifts are made in exchange for service done.

29. Excellent is the gift made on coming to the donee's side; the gift after invitation is of the middling kind; gift to a suitor is of a low character; but gift for service (rendered) is fruitless.

30.-31. Religion has been overthrown by irreligion; and truth indeed by that which is false; kings have been overpowered by thieves; males have been subdued by females; the worship of fire is dying out; respect to superiors is ceasing to be seen; and maidens are becoming mothers: this is what invariably happens in the age of Kali.

32. Life in the Krita has its seat in the bones; in the Treta it has its seat in the flesh; in the Dvapara the blood is the seat of life; in the Kali, however, life is dependent upon food and the like.

33. Special are the rules of conduct for each cyclical age; and the regenerate castes are guided by the rules that govern the age; no censure (therefore) can attach to them; for the regenerates conform to the spirit of the age.

narisu na sati kacit
pumzcali ca grhe grhe
karoti tarjanam kantam
bhrtyu-tulyam ca kampitam

No woman will be chaste. In home after home the wife will be running after men. The wife will treat her husband like her servant. She will always rebuke him and make him tremble in fear. (Brahmavaivarta PurANa 4.90.38)

pitr-deva-dvijatinam
atithinam ca nityazah
puja nasti gurunam ca
pitroz ca pujanam striyah

No one will worship pitAs, devas, brAhmaNas, guests, gurus, or parents. Instead they will worship their wives.

stri-bandhunam gauravam ca
strinam ca satatam pitah
corah sat-kula-jatiz ca
brahmano deva-harakah

O father, men will give all honor to their wives and their wives' relatives. BrAhmaNas born in good families will become thieves, stealing even from the deities in the temples. (Brahmavaivarta PurANa 4.90.50-51)

Now the sinful Kali Age is upon them, when Dharma is destroyed, an Age full of evil customs and deceit. Men pursue evil ways. The Vedas have lost their power, the Smritis are forgotten, and many of the Puranas, which contain stories of the past, and show the many ways (which lead to liberation), will, O Lord! be destroyed. Men will become averse from religious rites, without restraint, maddened with pride, ever given over to sinful acts, lustful, gluttonous, cruel, heartless, harsh of speech, deceitful, short-lived, poverty-stricken, harassed by sickness and sorrow, ugly, feeble, low, stupid, mean, and addicted to mean habits, companions of the base, thievish, calumnious, malicious, quarrelsome, depraved, cowards, and ever-ailing, devoid of all sense of shame and sin and of fear to seduce the wives of others. Vipras will live like the Shudras, and whilst neglecting their own Sandhya will yet officiate at the sacrifices of the low. They will be greedy, given over to wicked and sinful acts, liars, insolent, ignorant, deceitful, mere hangers-on of others, the sellers of their daughters, degraded, averse to all tapas and vrata. They will be heretics, impostors, and think themselves wise. They will be without faith or devotion, and will do japa and puja with no other end than to dupe the people. They will eat unclean food and follow evil customs, they will serve and eat the food of the Shudras and lust after low women, and will be wicked and ready to barter for money even their own wives to the low. In short, the only sign that they are Brahmanas will be the thread they wear. Observing no rule in eating or drinking or in other matters, scoffing at the Dharma Scriptures, no thought of pious speech ever so much as entering their minds, they will be but bent upon the injury of the good. (Mahanirvana tantra 1.37-50)

But since the men of the Kali Age are full of greed, lust, gluttony, they will on that account neglect sadhana and will fall into sin, and having drunk much wine for the sake of the pleasure of the senses, will become mad with intoxication, and bereft of all notion of right and wrong (61). Some will violate the wives of others, others will become rogues, and some, in the indiscriminating rage of lust, will go (whoever she be) with any woman (62). Over eating and drinking will disease many and deprive them of strength and sense. Disordered by madness, they will meet death, falling into lakes, pits, or in impenetrable forests, or from hills or house-tops (63-64). While some will be as mute as corpses, others will be for ever on the chatter, and yet others will quarrel with their kinsmen and elders. They will be evil-doers, cruel, and the destroyers of Dharma (65-66). I fear, O Lord! that even that which Thou hast ordained for the good of men will through them turn out for evil (67). O Lord of the World! who will practise Yoga or Nyasa, who will sing the hymns and draw the Yantra and make Purashcharana? (68). Under the influences of the Kali Age man will of his nature become indeed wicked and bound to all manner of sin (69). (Mahanirvana tantra 1.61-69)

O Vararohe! know that when Vedic and Puranic initiations cease then the Kali Age has become strong (47). O Shive! 0 Peaceful One! when virtue and vice are no longer judged by the Vedic rules, then know that the Kali Age has become strong (48). O Sovereign Mistress of Kaula doctrine! when the Heavenly Stream is at some places broken, and at others diverted from its course, then know that the Kali Age has become strong (49). O Wise One! when kings of the Mlechchha race become excessively covetous, then know that the Kali Age has become strong (50). When women become difficult of control, heartless and quarrelsome, and calumniators of their husbands, then know that the Kali Age has become strong (51). When men become subject to women and slaves of lust, oppressors of their friends and Gurus, then know that the Kali Age has become strong (52). When the fertility of the earth has gone and yields a poor harvest, when the clouds yield scanty rain, and trees give meagre fruit, then know tha t the Kali Age has become strong (53). When brothers, kinsmen, and companions, prompted by the desire for some trifle, will strike one another, then know that the Kali Age has become strong (54). When the open partaking of flesh and liquor will pass without condemnation and punishment, when secret drinking will prevail, then know that the Kali Age has become strong (55). (Mahanirvana tantra 4.47-55)