In Hinduism, time is said to be a cycle, known as the yugas. Just like four seasons in a year, the full cycle (Mahayuga) is divided into four yugas: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. According to the ancient scriptures, Satya Yuga lasts 5184 years, Treta Yuga lasts 3888 years, Dwapara Yuga lasts 2592 years and Kali Yuga lasts 1296 years, a total combining to 12,960 years of one cycle.
What is Kali Yuga?
Kali Yuga is the last of the cycle and is considered to be the age of darkness and ignorance. People will be on the wrong paths of dishonesty and treachery. There will be less values, unrestrained sexual indulgences, hypocrisies, family bonds get detached and the society is run through manipulation. People will be distant front God.
Connection with Mahabharata
We must understand the context of Mahabharata to understand kali Yuga. When the Kurukshetra War ended in 3102, Lord Krishna left his body. Few months in the aftermath of the war, Kali Yuga began.
Who calculated this date?
It was then genius astronomer and mathematician Aryabhatta who found the calculation of the date in 499CE when he finished his book “Aryabhattiya”. Also, it is written in Surya Siddhanta, an Indian scheme of astronomy, that Kali Yuga began at midnight on 18 February 3102 BCE.
What’s the relationship with the astronomy?
The starting point of Kaliyuga is an extremely rare planetary alignment according to KD Abhyankar. This is depicted in the Mohenjo-Daro seals. But according to Vrddha Garga, the rate of precision is within 30% of what the modern scholars estimate.
Morality is considered as an Indian bull in Hinduism. In the first stage of Satya Yuga, the bull is said to have four legs, and as the Yuga passes by, the bull loses one of the legs. By the age reaches Kali-yuga, the bull of Dharma is reduced to one leg.
In relation to rulers:
- Rules will only focus on themselves
- Rulers will not use logic; will levy heavy taxes in an unfair manner
- Rulers won’t focus on spiritualism or any spiritual dangers to the world
- People will start migrating because of the rulers
- “At the end of Kali-yuga, when there exist no topics on the subject of God, even at the residencies of so-called saints and respectable gentlemen of the three higher varnas (guna or temperament) and when nothing is known of the techniques of sacrifice, even by word, at that time the Lord will appear as the supreme chastiser.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam)
In relation to human relationships:
- Greed will be common. People will even stop looking at other people. Ignorance will prevail.
- Crime and murder will be common without any justification
- Lust will be a socially acceptable thing
- Everyone will become sinners
- Promises will be broken
- Drinks and drugs will be a common habit
- No one will be following the path of gurus
- Brahmans will not be learned, Kshatriyas will not be brave, Vaishyas will not be just
- Men will abandon their parents, brothers, friends, and relatives
- People will have their minds weighed down with constant anxiety and fear
The 10,000 year Golden Age
In the Puranas, it has been mentioned that Golden age of 10,000 years will run since the start of Kali Yuga. During this time, Bhakti yogis will be present. But it will be a time of difficulties for people with principles.
The text in Brahma-aivarta Purana reads:
madbhaktaaH saMti bhu-tale
madbhakteSu gateSu ca
“For 10,000 years of Kali, such devotees of Mine will be present on earth. After the departure of My devotees, there will be only one varna, Outcaste.”
haris tiSThati medinI
devAnAM pratimA pUjyA
sAstrANi ca purANakam
“(Sri Krishna said:) Lord Hari will stay on this earth for the first ten-thousand years of Kali-yuga. Till then gods will be worshiped and the Puranas and scriptures will also be present.”
Relationship with Greek mythology
In Greek mythology, there is a cycle of the age of gold, silver, bronze, and iron just like the Yugas in Hinduism. Phoenix will always rise from the ashes.
The Ultimate question: Are we living in Kali Yuga?
If you calculate it, Krishna’s era ended 5119 years ago as of 2017. We have already completed 2522 years of Dwapara Yoga, and since its total duration is 2592 years, we still have 70 years for its completion. The Dwapar Yuga will complete in 2082. Then, we will move on to Treta Yuga, and the world will go through another upheaval, maybe not in terms of war but in terms of calamities and population explosion. But since as mentioned above, the precision is 30% off, some people still believe that we are currently in the Kali Yuga. Some Vedic scriptures, as Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami and his disciples, believe that we are currently in Kali Yuga and will last another 432,000 years. Some authors think that it will last 6480 years. So, there are different views regarding this.
What can we do?
Vedic scriptures recommend yoga and meditation to start connecting with God again. It is said that if we chant Lord Krishna’s name, then all our sins will be cleansed, and we can sprout and start fresh again.