Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, famines, widespread hunger, deadly viruses; these are some of the scary and blood-curdling images often talked about nowadays through radios, TV, social media and newspapers. Roland Emmerich’s movie “2012” sparked some debates about the Mayan prediction of the end of the world in the year 2012, illuminating the intricacies of what old-age scriptures contain. Such intricacy is also found in Sanskrit scriptures explaining several ‘yugas’ the world goes through as part of a lifecycle and spiritual transcendence. People believe that today we are going through ‘Kali Yuga’, literally meaning the age of Kali, a demon. Are we really?
In Hinduism, there are said to be 4 yugas: Satya Yuga, the age of wisdom and truth; Treta Yuga, the silver age; Dvapara Yuga, the copper age and lastly the Kali Yuga, the dark age. Hindus believe that Kali Yuga is a period of utter despair, wars, and the age of degeneration of humans in a spiritual sense. It is described as a period when humans are removed as far as possible from God and morality and human values reach their lowest and the darkest point. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the duration of Kali Yuga, with some believing that we are living through it and others claiming that we are already past it.
The popularly accepted start of Kali Yuga is said to be 3102 BCE, 35 years after the end of Mahabharata. Alternatively, it is believed that Kali Yuga commenced after Lord Krishna left his mortal body. The total duration of this age is shrouded in ambiguity too. Some believe that it spans a total of 12,000 years, while some say it lasts for 4,320,000 years! There is no confirmed astrological evidence relating to these dates, however, it is widely believed that this age will end in the year 2025. According to the Yuga Cycle Doctrine, loss of civilizations and widespread terror and catastrophes occur during the transition periods of the Yugas.
For the past hundreds or probably thousands of years, we have been going through the ascending phase of Kali Yuga, as can be observed around us every day. With an increasing number of natural calamities all over the world, widespread deadly diseases plaguing humans, wars between countries, world hunger, to name a few catastrophes, there’s a threat looming over all of our lives constantly. Spiritually too, Man has become corrupted and evil in his quest for power and money. Leaving no stone unturned to boost his ego, there is a dearth of humanity left in this world as could be seen through global warming, political instabilities in most countries, harmful lifestyles, the threat of security to women and children all over the world, animal abuse, and whatnot. The media reports tragedies every day and it has reached a point where we’ve all somehow become desensitized to it. From Australian bushfires nearly killing half the population of koalas, ongoing protests against governments in various countries, violations of human rights to the recent deadly Coronavirus affecting around 8,000 citizens, each day that dawns bears news of a new cataclysm. Where are we heading towards?
This is not to say that the turmoil happening all around is justified since our scriptures say so but these are merely some real-world parallels of devastation and destruction which the Kali Yuga is believed to comprise of. It is jarring to watch how we are transcending to our own doom with our ego, hedonism, selfishness, and short-sightedness. The end of the world might be near or far as is debatable, but surely the end of humanity has long begun. Poet Pablo Neruda in his poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ conveys the importance of self-introspection in light of the terror and demolition that man has unleashed through his conceit and obsession. He asks us all to keep quiet and think about what we have done and the harm we are meting out to the world through our actions.
I personally believe that fear-mongering would do more harm than good and while it is tremendously difficult to believe so, hope is always stronger than fear. Death of humanity is still not final and it is in our hands to prevent it or let the demise happen. Accountability and responsibility are the keys to reviving the destroyed pillars of humanity and each one of us has a role to play in it. Every new beginning comes from an end and maybe this could be a beginning to an even better world than before. Perspective is everything.