Characteristics of kaliyuga


Looking at life today, many people might just shrug and say that all negative occurrences have to do with ‘kaliyuga’, the age we find ourselves living in.

Both the Mahabharata and Shrimad Bhagavatam give a vivid description of how things are like in kaliyuga.

Mahabharata and Bhagavatam

The following is a list of selected features (from a total of 53) typical to kaliyuga according to those two shastras:

  1. People will not think twice before cutting down trees or destroying groves.
  2. Everyone will eat the same kind of food (i.e. will lack discrimination in matters of food and food-habits).
  3. Whoever has money will be considered of noble birth and as having good qualities. The one who has power in his hands will be able to steer the course of justice in his favor.
  4. The one who lacks money and cannot bribe will be deprived of justice by the courts.
  5. In ashrams, brahmacharis will indulge in evil conduct and pander to the desires of the world. The ashrams will be full of show-offs who are experts in the art of living off the food of others.
  6. People will sell goods with false weights. There will be a lot of deceit associated with trade.
  7. In kaliyuga, rules about what is to be eaten are transgressed.
  8. Men will rob possessions of others.
  9. Men will happily accept gifts given even by the evil.
  10. When the end of kaliyuga is near, the kshatriyas will be the thorns of the world. They will not protect others.
  11. When kaliyuga is fully advanced, one hand will steal from the other.
  12. People will adorn themselves with the marks of a sadhu, i.e. there will be profusion of fake sadhus.
  13. (Cooked) food will be sold at all major thoroughfares (according to shastras, the selling of cooked food is a sin; this is because everyone has a right to food, whether he has money or not).
  14. When kaliyuga is fully advanced, each will act as he wishes.
  15. Shudras will expound on dharma and the brahmins will listen to their discourses and serve them. Everything in the world will be utterly upside down.
  16. Men will be addicted to meat and liquor and will be weak in dharma.
  17. Rains will shower down at the wrong time.
  18. People will leave their own countries and seek refuge in other countries, directions, regions, etc., and will roam around the world lamenting ‘Alas, father!’, ‘Alas, son.’
  19. Mutual liking between the boy and girl, and not family pedigree or social status etc. will be criterion for selecting a spouse.
  20. Cheating will be the order of the day in business relations.
  21. Sexual skill will be the criterion for excellence in men and women.
  22. The only mark of evil will be poverty.
  23. The one who can make a great display (of his austerities, occult powers, etc.) will be considered the greatest sadhu.
  24. The highest purpose of life will be to fill one’s belly.
  25. There will be no rule in becoming a king. Any brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya or shudra, depending on who is the most powerful at the time, will become the king. At that time, the rulers will be so greedy that there will not be any difference between them and robbers.

Related discourse excerpt by Osho
A new satyuga – a golden age – is possible

Related article
Bees, Light and Shadow and the Kali Yuga – by Sarita

References & Further Reading:
G.P. Bhatt & J. L. Shastri. Tr. The Bhagavata Purana – 5 Volumes: Delhi 2002
Debroy, Bibek. The Mahabharata: Complete and Unabridged (10 Volumes): Penguin India, 2015
Pandey, Pandit Ramnarayandutt Shastri. The Complete Mahabharata (The Only Edition with Sanskrit Text and Hindi Translation) – 6 Volumes: Gita Press, Gorakhpur, 2017
Saraswati, Swami Akhandananda. (Tr. Shrimad Bhagavata Purana – 2 Volumes): Gorakhpur 2004

Thanks to Kaiyum

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