This is the fourth article in our Yuga series, where we narrate the qualities, timelines, and various other aspects of Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga is the face in which we currently exist according to most interpretations of Hindu scriptures. This is often referred to as the age of darkness because people are as distant from the divine as possible.
1. Overall decline in Kali Yuga
Now the dharma bull has only one leg upon which to stand, as morality has been reduced to only a quarter of that of Satya Yuga. According to the Hindu tradition, most people in this age are materialistic and concerned only with the empirical aspects of reality, and the predominant emphasis on their existence is placed upon physical survival. Dishearteningly most people’s relationships with the spiritual realm are governed by superstition and authority.
The virtue accorded highest in value in this age is Dhan or donation. Various Puranas, such as the Srimad-Bhagavata and Vishnu Purana, give a list of symptoms that characterize the Kali Yuga. For instance, it is said that rulers will become unreasonable, no longer seeing it as their duty to promote spirituality or to protect their subjects, and will only live to levy taxes unfairly.
2. Kali Yuga as Visioned
These same rulers will feud amongst themselves. As a result, people will start migrating seeking countries where wheat and barley form a stable food source. Greed and Wrath will become the most common traits of people and human beings will openly display animosity towards one another. People will no longer follow the science of reason and will instead be led by their emotions.
Gurus will no longer be respected and in their place, disreputable individuals will claim to teach the truth. Lust will become socially acceptable and in their place, disreputable individuals will be recognized as the central purpose of existence. On the whole, the Kali Yuga will be marked by widespread ignorance of dharma, and virtue will fade to be eventually lost entirely as a result of their unrighteousness humans will, throughout this age, become shorter in height and weaker, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
3. Kali Yuga as described in Vishnu Purana
The Vishnu Purana summarizes the turmoil of the Kali Yuga most concisely in the following passage. At that time there will be monarchs reigning over the earth, kings of churlish spirit, violent and even addicted to falsehood and wickedness. Wealth and piety will decrease day by day until the world will be wholly depraved, then property alone will confer rank wealth alone will be the only source of devotion, passion will be the sole bond of union between two sexes and women will become objects merely of sensual gratification.
The Kali Yuga is personified by the demon Kali, the source of evil who oversees the final face of humanity’s chaos by the time the Kali Yuga ends the bodies of all creatures will be greatly reduced in size, and the religious principles of Varnasrama will be ruined. The path of the Vedas will be completely forgotten in human society, and the so-called religion will mostly be atheistic. The kings mostly will be thieves, the occupation of men will be stealing lying, and needless violence and all the social classes will be reduced to the lowest level.
4. Lord Vishnu will appear in Kali Yuga
Cows will be killed, spiritual centers will be no different from a mundane house. Family ties will extend no further than the immediate bonds of marriage. Most plants and herbs will disappear, seasons will go awry, homes will be devoid of pity and there will be no morality at that time. At that time the supreme personality of godhead will appear on earth acting with the power of pure spiritual goodness he will rescue eternal religion. Lord Vishnu will appear in a brahman family as Kalki. The son of Vishnu Vyas and his wife Sumati in the village of Shambhala. Sage Yajnavalkya himself will be the acharya of Kalkideva, as described in the Agni Purana.
It is said that Kalki will marry the Padma the daughter of king Brihadritha of the island of Simhali and his queen Komundi riding a white horse named Devadatta with a drawn sword. Kalki will mow down the evil and corrupt and ensure the rein of dharma, lightning thunder heavy rain, and harsh sun are frequently associated with this avatar.
5. End of Kali Yuga and beginning of Satya Yuga
The main motive of Kalki would be to destroy all barbarians and thieves from the earth and make the earth a peaceful place to live in. Apart from that, it is also said that Lord Kalki would defeat the kings under Kali and hand over the rule to Devapi and Maru. The religious kings of Kali Yuga and Kalki avatar shall establish the principles of eternal religion once again, and the people of the earth will return to the path of righteousness after the earth is rid of all the imposters.
The citizens shall be able to smell the winds, carrying the most sacred fragrance of sandalwood paste and other divine elements associated with lord Vishnu. Thus their body and mind shall be purified. This will mark the beginning of Satya Yuga, an era of virtue, enlightenment, and spirituality, and at that moment the sun, moon, and Jupiter shall collectively be in the constellation of cancer. These three shall together enter the lunar mansion of Pushya Nakshatra.