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The Coming Changes During Kali-yuga
The ancient Vedic texts describe many future changes that will take place in society, some of which we can already see and many others that will happen thousands of years from now. It is described that as Kali-yuga progresses things will begin to deteriorate, social values will regress, and food becomes scarce. Due to pollution and lack of food and good nutrition, mankind will gradually lose brain power. People will get smaller and have a shorter life expectancy. As society begins to have less brain power or thinking ability, there is the tendency to become less civilized and more barbaric, losing the skills needed to maintain technological advancement. This is predicted to continue over the course of many years to the point where people will go back to using the simplest of stone tools for lack of better facilities and ingenuity. Thus, technology gradually fades and disappears, or even destroys itself. Then, with the display of such social and mental retardation, humankind takes on the physical characteristics of those beings who are less capable intellectually. Thus, the relics we find today of ancient man may simply be the remnants of a previous age of Kali millions of years ago. The Srimad-Bhagavatam specifically states:
In the age of Kali, people's minds will always be agitated. They will become emaciated by famine and taxation, and will always be disturbed by fear and drought. They will lack adequate clothing, food and drink, will be unable to rest properly, have sex or bathe themselves, and will have no ornaments to decorate their bodies. In fact, the people of Kali-yuga will gradually come to appear like ghostly haunted creatures. (Bhag. 12.3.39-40)
This indicates that the way people will treat themselves, engaging in all kinds °f detrimental acts in their attempt to squeeze whatever pleasure they can out of their bodies, along with their bad habits and the natural disasters of the day and the high taxation of government, much of their energy for life will be exhausted. Combine that with being forced to work hard for little return, along with wars, industrial pollution, drought, and famine, they will have little strength or energy left to live~or even to have sex. Thus, they will look ghostly.It may be hard for some people to visualize a time when the world has little food and water, even for growing crops or for bathing. Nevertheless, we can see that it is already happening in various parts of the world, and the Vedic literature predicts a time in the future when this condition will gradually spread everywhere. Finding a place to rest also will be difficult because society will be so disturbed day and night, crime will be rampant, poverty will be pervasive, business and work so demanding, that few people will have homes or dependable shelters. Everyone will be worried about losing what they have. Thus, getting proper rest may also seem like a luxury. And there will be no facility or money for acquiring ornaments for the body, not to mention the casual pleasures that people take for granted, such as having music to listen to, drinking water from the faucet, or nice shoes and clothes. In the distant future all this will become difficult or impossible to acquire. The above verse also means that Kali-yuga is an age when some people are subjected to the influence of entities that exist in the lower subtle realm, such as disembodied spirits or ghostly creatures. Such beings were not prevalent in the Satya or Treta-yugas. The Garuda Purana (11.20.17) points out that Kali-yuga is an age in which ghostly creatures become more prevalent. It says that he who does not observe rites for spiritual purification, has no faith in the sanctity of the Vedas, hates righteous acts, and indulges in falsehood, may be tormented by ghosts. Thus, through wicked deeds, or if one is influenced too much by ghostly entities, he becomes a candidate for being apreta, ghostly being, in the Kali Age. This is also confirmed in the Garuda Purana, in the Dharma (Preta) Kanda (20.7).
Such ghostly beings who are earthbound and without physical bodies look for ways to satisfy their material desires. This usually involves an attempt to enter or control someone else's material body, thus giving the victim much trouble that he or she may not understand. Such subtle beings usually bother those people who are nonspiritual, unclean, and weak-minded. They are the easiest to control. Such victims may, indeed, hear voices or do things they normally would not do. Even people in high positions-kings, presidents, even religious leaders-may be influenced by such subtle beings. The influence of such beings may cause serious mood swings in the victim or even pave the way for disastrous calamities, wars, and injustice within that person's sphere of activity, especially if the victim is in a position of power. The Padma Purana relates that some ghostly beings may also take birth. It states (1.76.123) that in the Kali-yuga, there are gods, demons, and the rest are human beings. The evil spirits will be born and will [be recognized by their habit of) eating corpses and dead animals. The Vayu Purana also confirms this in the verse rakshasah kalim ashritya jayante brahma-yonishu, which explains that demons take advantage of the age of Kali to appear even in the families of brahmanas [not to mention the families of others].
There are many other basic symptoms of the age of Kali described in the Puranas that we can presently observe. For example, the Brahmanda Purana (22.214.171.124-35) describes that the characteristic features of Kali-yuga are based on violence, jealousy, falsehood, and maya (deception and cheating). The decline of religious and moral standards, ridicule and murder of ascetics, sages, and devotees, fatal diseases, hunger, and fear, also increase during Kali-yuga. The subjects will die at various ages, some as infants, youth, in old age, or even while in the womb. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.10) explains: "O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed."
The Vayu Purana (58.31-68 & 59.5-9) states similar characteristics with further elaborations on how things will decline in the future. These include that livelihoods will be difficult to achieve despite hard endeavor, and people will not accept the authority of the Vedic texts and will produce misleading religious scriptures unmindful of rules of conduct. People will be quick to get angry and violent, and be deficient in power. People will continuously lie, and kings and rulers will be low-class and propagate heretical ideas. People will not hesitate to kill a child in the womb. Thus, longevity, intellect, strength, beauty, and family prestige will all decline. Men will use harsh words, steal the gems and wealth of others, and rape other men's wives. Their passion will be released through a wicked heart and will revel in violent, sinful activities. Sickness, delusion, dejection, unhappiness, and all activities in the mode of ignorance prevail in the Kali Age. Saintly men will withdraw from society and stay aloof, unknown to the rest of the world. Due to the spread of this misery, people will have short lives, and societies and whole countries will be exterminated. In the age of Kali beasts of prey become more numerous and powerful, while useful animals like cows will dwindle and die. As Kali-yuga progresses, gradually the height of human beings will be reduced by seven times from that of what it was.
The Narada Purana (1.41.29) sums it up to say that Kali-yuga is extremely terrible, a mixture of all sins. This means that not only are all kinds of sins done, but society is forced to experience all of the reactions of such activities. The above symptoms of the age of Kali may not seem rampant around the world as of yet, but many of them can easily be recognized in various countries today, even in the most developed countries, and are predicted to get worse.