THE KALI YUGA
May 21, 2019
“The Kali Yuga, the fourth and last age in the cycle of ages, characterised by strife and degeneration.”
The world is changing before my eyes and not for the good. Every terrible thing I see makes me weep inside.
On a week where it looks like many right wing parties will win votes in the European elections; I wanted to take a look at the darker side of life.
This blog post is purely subjective and open to interpretation but I don’t think any of us can deny, the world is currently in a strange and dark place.
Lets imagine a not so distant future where the world is dying, and falling into decay. Many parts of the world are suffering horrendous drought whilst in other parts whole civilisations are being washed away by floods, tornadoes and monsoon. Global warming now unstoppable?
An independent England (after the rest of the UK sought independence) is led by president Nigel Farage, leading a right wing, intolerant, fascist government.
America is still under the rule of a tyrant: Donald Trump, who after being re-elected has become even more dictatorial.
Terrorism is on the rise (if that’s even possible), and Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan are on the brink of war with the USA.
Europe is disbanding the EU, as division and isolationism takes over.
None of this is beyond the realm of possibility is it?; the world is in decay and has been sliding into the abyss since the towers came down.
Depressing isn’t it?
But what if, at the eleventh hour, a predestined thing happens; billions rise up and say ‘no more’!
Billions march in the streets all over the world and say NO!
History has shown us: Sometimes things need to get really bad before they can get better again.
Would it then be too late or would the cycle of ages begin again?
About a year ago I wrote a post called: The Star Trek Vision of a Multi-racial Utopia vs the Evolution Pyramid, in which I explored the downward spiral of our society since the year 2000. (see the link below):
It puts this new post in context, so take a look before you read on.
But perhaps there is a different, spiritual way of looking at whats been happening in our tired world;
The Hindu Kali Yuga.
kɑːli ˈyʊg ə – कलियुग
“The recent ascending Kali Yuga lasted 1,200 years from 500 and 1700 AD. The Holy Science described Kali Yuga as an age during which consciousness was limited to gross matter.
During Kali Yuga, most people lost their spiritual abilities, mental clarity, and understanding. The age was characterized by the belief that matter was fixed and absolute.
Most people during the age, such as farmers, herdsman, artisans, soldiers, and slaves, were involved in physical labor. Activity was directed mainly toward physical ends such as food, clothing, and possessions. Even religious activity took the form of rituals and rigid offerings, sacrifices, and prayers. People were ignorant of their ability to change. This ignorance manifested in widespread attempts to destroy knowledge, for example in the third century destruction of ancient Egyptian texts at Alexandria.
Not only ignorance but also lack of willpower hindered the ability of people to chance during Kali Yuga. Societies were divided in terms of castes or hierarchy, notably in India. Slavery was widely practiced around the world, and the Romans even killed their slaves as a brutal form of entertainment. Military conquests in this age were common, and civilizations built in walled cities and fortifications. Human and animal sacrifices, such as in Aztec societies, were attempts to bargain with the divine for material gains. In Kali Yuga, people accepted harsh and cruel conditions as basic to life.
Within the physical realm, Kali Yuga people exhibited ingenuity and skill in engineering. By applying man power and animal power to building materials with an understanding of physical laws, people around the world were able to construct roads, temples, cathedrals, and buildings. Even civilizations far apart from each other has access to similar knowledge and resources. [backref name=yugas]
During Kali Yuga, most people functioned in low consciousness. But higher knowledge existed in monasteries, temples, and ashrams, where people directed themselves toward inward spiritual practice. Other high-minded artists and philosophers during the age were able to attain beauty, moral understanding, and consciousness through their works.”
All though this is a historical piece, steeped in religious ideals many of the things described in the article can easily be translated into what is happening in our society today. Materialism, intolerance and war-mongering just some examples.
We are the ones allowing this to happen, allowing our world to move in this direction and the only way to move out of this cycle is to stand up and take action ourselves.
Ancient Wisdom on the Cycle of Time
“It isn’t hard to recognize that even though we live on a planet that surrounds us with beauty, that there is a lot of darkness happening within humanity. The ancient Sanskrit teachings understood that civilization goes through distinct cycles of creation and destruction. Native traditions have similar stories to describe different ages of humanity as well. It can be easy to lose hope sometimes, but there are many possibilities for spiritual growth and awakening during this time. Let’s look at the bigger picture knowing that the warm glow of dawn always follows the coldest, darkest moments of the night.”
What is a Yuga?
“The ancients understood time as a circle, not linear, and the circle of ages are known as the yugas. Like the four seasons in our year, there are four yugas in the full cycle (Mahayuga). Each cycle has distinct themes and spiritual lessons for humanity. Below are the four yugas in order from beginning to end. It is important to note that the first yuga is the longest with each one getting successively shorter (4:3:2:1) until the cycle starts again.
The ancients understood time as a circle.
- Satya Yuga: First we see the time of truth and perfection, which thankfully lasts four tenths of the cycle. These humans are honest, youthful, vigorous, and virtuous. Everyone is happy, and religions live as one. Disease in non-existent, as is fear. Those living through this part of the cycle are gifted with abundance through the land, along with great weather.
- Treta Yuga: The second Yuga lasts for three tenths of the cycle. Unfortunately, this is where human virtue begins to fall away. Leaders gain more dominance, causing wars to rise. As if to reflect the state of humanity, the weather also moves to more extremes. It is unsurprising that people’s health begins to lessen in this part of the cycle.
- Dvapara Yuga:The third Yuga lasts for two tenths of the cycle. During this time, people become more sluggish and slow, many aren’t as strong as their ancestors, and the number of diseases increases. Becoming discontent with their lives, humans fight each other. This could possibly be because maturity decreases, with some people still possessing characteristics of youth in old age.
- Kali Yuga:The final age lasts only one tenth of the cycle, however, that is certainly long enough as it is the age of darkness and ignorance. People slide further down the path of dishonesty, with virtue being of little value. Passions become uncontrollable as unrestrained sexual indulgences and manipulations run through society. Liars and hypocrites rise. Important knowledge is lost and scriptures become less and less common. The human diet is now ‘dirty’, and people are not even close to being as powerful as their ancestors in the Satya Yuga. Likewise, the once pristine environment is now polluted. Water and food become scarce, as do family bonds.
What Should We Do?
It could be that we are currently in the Kali Yuga stage of the cycle. If that is true, what can we do to move back into the the first, much more pleasant phase?
The Vedic Scriptures, of course, recommend meditation, yoga, and various spiritual practices as the natural antidote to the strife of the Kali Yuga. And while some scholars have attempted to tie dates of these cycles to the calendar, yet few agree on when the Kali Yuga will end. For this reason, we must not fall into fatalism (thinking that we are all doomed and there’s nothing we can do about it) or hopelessness, but instead must strengthen our personal practice and act as a light in dark times for those around us that are lost. To find peace in peaceful times is no accomplishment, to find peace in the most unpeaceful times is true spiritual attainment!
This is one of many stories that illustrate what each of us observe when we pay close attention to nature. Life goes in natural cycles of gestation, birth, growth, decay, death, and rebirth. We see it in the plants, the seasons, in the rise and fall of nations, as well as in our own personal lives. When something is pure, it can be maintained as pure but cannot become more pure, it can only become less pure. In that same regard, when things are polluted or corrupted, they can be returned to purity. The Kali Yuga is as good a time for spiritual discipline and evolution as any”
“Something pure can be maintained but cannot become more pure, it can only become less pure.
A Universal Story
The ancient Greeks called these four ages of human civilization the Age of Gold, Silver, Bronze, and the Age of Iron. The Phoenix always rises from the ashes of its predecessor. The Hopi tribe believe that a cycle when humans head and heart are disconnected (Fourth World of Separation) is followed by an era when they are in harmony (Fifth World of Peace). The Lakota believe that the birth of a White Buffalo in 1994 signified a time of great healing and unification around the world. The Pan-American prophecy of the Eagle and Condor speaks of the re-uniting of the tribes through sacred wisdom and power. For as much darkness as one might see in the world, there are endless stories of rebirth to explore. These are roadmaps for us from the darkness into the light.
Once a king asked his wise men to give him something that would make him happy when he is sad, and sad when he is happy. The wise men spent days thinking about it in silence and watching the clouds go by. On the fourth day, they wrote on a piece of paper and handed it to the king. When the king read it, he thanked them. What did it say?
“This, too, shall pass.”
“The Phoenix always rises from the ashes of its predecessor.
The Big Picture
Whether you take this information as literal or metaphorical, you can gain much value from considering it. Destruction is part of creation, we live in a world of endless cycles. Sometimes things have to fall apart in order to come back together stronger than before.
If we are actually living in the Kali Yuga now, then any and all behaviour that is wholesome, honest, generous, virtuous, happy, authentic, is emulating behaviors that bring us closer to the Satya Yuga. Satya Yuga is the next phase in the cycle, a golden age of abundance. Knowing that the Kali Yuga can end abruptly at any moment, observe what is happening around you, grow your compassion, and learn what you can from this precious time!”
So you see, there is hope for humanity and if we can learn to be more tolerant, more accepting of other cultures, more loving and recognise the importance of togetherness, things will improve.
If we can realise the importance of spirituality, music, travel, friendship and festivals (places full of love and togetherness), things will improve.
If we can only try to understand each other, work hard at saving the environment and think about what we eat and the effect that has on the planet…
Then we have a chance of saving our world and moving on from the Kali Yuga cycle.
“Karma is the Hindu view of causality in which good deeds, words, thoughts, and commands lead to beneficial effects for a person, and bad deeds, words, thoughts, and commands lead to harmful effects. These effects are not necessarily immediate but can be visited upon a soul in future lives through reincarnation; additionally, good or bad fortune experienced in life may be the result of good or bad actions performed in a past life. One’s karmic state affects the reincarnation of the soul: good karma may lead to reincarnation as a human while bad karma can lead to reincarnation as an animal or other forms of non-human life. Many Hindus hold a theistic view of karma in which a personal god—such as Vishnu in Vaishnavism and Shiva in Shaivism—is responsible for administering karma according to a soul’s actions. Non-theistic strands of Hinduism believe that karma is a matter of basic cause-and-effect without the need of a deity to mediate the effects.
Karma is a core concept in the Indian religions, including Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, although their specific views on karma vary. In Hinduism, karma is the force of retributive justice that compels believers to behave righteously according to Dharma—the moral order of the universe. As such, karma is a central component of the Hindu ethical worldview. Further, because Hindu religious ordinances govern not just the individual believer but society as a whole, belief in karma enforces and perpetuates systems of social organization prescribed in Hindu scriptures. Karma also bolsters active worship on the part of believers, as many Hindus hold that bad karma can be counteracted through ritual activity including religious pilgrimages, temple worship, and making offerings to the gods.”