By Swami Harshananda
Kalivarjya literally means ‘what is prohibited in the age of Kali’.
The Smṛtis are the handbooks of social values and conduct regulating the current-day societies. Due to external and internal factors, the rules and regulations defined in the smṛtis have been changed to reflect societal changes.
The Kalivarjya Principle refers to principles that were permitted to change in in earlier ages but are not allowed to change in the age of Kali. This principle appeared mostly in the Purāṇa-s around A. D. 1000.
Brief of Kalivarjya Principle
Scholars have listed 55 items as kalivarjya. Some of these are:
- Giving a larger share of property to the first or eldest son
- Remarriage of widows
- Intercaste marriages
- Re-admission of a brāhmaṇa into the fold even after sea voyage
- Sattra sacrifices
- Killing of a cow in the sacrifice called Gosava
- Vānaprastha stage
- Sale of the soma creeper by a brāhmaṇa
- Allowing a brāhmaṇa to eat the food of persons of lower varṇas (this had been permitted earlier)
- Pilgrimage to distant holy places
- Begging of food by a sanyāsin from all varṇas
- Engaging a śudra for cooking in the house of a brāhmaṇa
- Resorting to sanyāsa
- Observance of Agnihotra
- Performance of Aśvamedha and Rājasuya sacrifices
- Perpetual student-hood
- Animal sacrifices
- Intoxicating drinks
It is difficult to say on what basis these rules or recommendations were made, except a few of them. Educational, economic and cultural upliftment of the society based on the age-old spiritual values as depicted in the Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad Gītā is essential.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore