Kaliyuga

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Kaliyuga literally means ‘the age of Kali’. The concept of time given in the purāṇas is astounding. One year of the human beings is one day of the celestials. Twelve thousand such celestial years form one Caturyuga or the period of four yugas. These yugas are:

  1. Kṛta
  2. Tretā
  3. Dvāpara
  4. Kali

Duration of Kaliyuga

The duration of the Kaliyuga in terms of human years in 4,32,000 years. Kaliyuga is supposed to have started on the 18th February 3102 B. C. There are other dates given by scholars but there is no unanimity among them. Some reckon it from the day of the beginning of the Mahābhārata war and others from the day of the ascension of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Peculiarities of Kaliyuga

At present, the 5101st year of the Kaliyuga has begun from the 15th April 2000. The Kaliyuga has been described as an age of evil and sin. The itihāsas and the purāṇas give a highly graphic but pessimistic account of the Kaliyuga. It can be depicted as below:

  • All men will be liars
  • Brāhmaṇas will give up the sacred way of life prescribed for them
  • Śudras will acquire wealth and will be intent on doing japa
  • Many mleccha kings will rule over the earth. They will be sinful and oppressive
  • People will be short-lived
  • People will be weak, both physically and mentally
  • Kṣattriyas and vaiśyas will oppress the society
  • Ferocious animals will increase in number
  • Women will be of loose character
  • False ascetics will cheat the gullible persons

Though a general decline of moral values is signified by these descriptions, but they are highly exaggerated.

References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore