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THE WORST CONDITIONS AT THE END OF KALI-YUGA
The Vedic literature describes (Bhag.2.132>) a world at the very end of Kali-yuga in which there is a complete absence of spiritual knowledge. People will not discuss topics of God, and nothing will remain of any true spiritual process. Also, the power of government will be in the hands of those who are lowborn, uncultured, and godless. The Vayu Pur ana (Chapter 97.116-124) explains that people will become unreasonable, angry, and deluded; causing destruction for everyone. They will engage in war and kill one another. They will be extremely distressed and have no confidence in anyone. They will have no belongings, will leave their cities and villages, and live in forests or near rivers and mountains. All dharma [religious and meritorious activities] will be lost. People will be short, like dwarves, and short-lived. Leaves, roots and fruits will be their diet. They will wear leaves, barks of trees, or hides. They will have no means of sustenance and will be overwhelmed by adversities. They will undergo all kinds of suffering. Only when the Kali Age lapses and the Satya or Krita-yuga starts again will all things regain their original forms and conditions in a natural sequence.
At the end of a long description of the ruling families and kings of the future, the Vayu Purana (Chapter 98.382-390) elaborates further on the conditions of the world near the end of Kali-yuga. Much of what it says is similar to descriptions found in other Puranas, so I will include only those that are not repetitive. It explains that during the end of Kali-yuga, mleccha [low-born and wicked] kings will enjoy the earth. They will not be duly crowned but will take their position by force and will commit evil actions. They will not hesitate to kill women and children, or destroy each other. The reign of such kings will flourish and perish in rapid succession. They will be without piety, true love, or real wealth. The common people will follow similar habits. All accepted traditions will be lost. The kings will destroy their subjects, and will be greedy and devoted to malicious behavior.During this time women will outnumber men. People will become increasingly deficient in learning, strength, and duration of life. Finally, the ruling kings will be ruined by time, and then there will be no more kings. Only after the appearance of Lord Kalki will all the mlecchas, heretics, and unrighteous be destroyed.
The Vayu Purana (98.391-407) goes on to describe that at the end of Kali-yuga, only a very few people will survive. They will be helpless and destitute without possessions. They will have no one to help them, and will be afflicted by disease and sorrows. They will be ruined by drought and will slaughter each other [out of anger and due to hunger]. All feelings of affection will be lost, even between the closest of friends. People will live on mountains and riverbanks as scavengers roaming the earth. At the end of Kali-yuga the subjects will be annihilated. A similar description is found in the Brahmanda Purana (22.214.171.124-225). It describes people who try to find edible things from under the ground, digging with wooden spikes. With great effort they try to keep goats, sheep, donkeys, and camels. This infers that such husbandry will be mostly unsuccessful. People will think highly of themselves, yet produce no or little progeny. They will not maintain cleanliness or good habits, and engage only in sinful activities. The people will be forced to obey mean and base leaders of evil conduct and depressed condition. No one will live past 23 years. The Brahmanda Purana (126.96.36.199-58) further describes the end of Kali-yuga as a time when no one will return help to another. No one will be straightforward and honest. Everyone will speak harshly and think nothing of injuring others. There will be no wealth, and everyone will live in poverty and fear. Rulers will be useless and take away the possessions of others and molest wives of other men. People will be evil-minded, unsympathetic, and addicted to wicked and criminal acts.
The Vishnu Purana (Book Four, Chapter 38) describes that near the end of the age of Kali, due to the disappearance of any true spiritual knowledge, especially that of the Vedas, men will sink into heresy and iniquity, and the duration of life will decrease. Because of all of their bad habits, poor and little food, and a totally polluted environment, men will possess little intelligence, virtue, and energy, and, therefore, will die after a very brief life. Girls will bear children when they are only five, six, or seven years old, and boys will become fathers when they are eight, nine, or ten. A man will get gray hair when he is twelve years old, and no one will live past twenty years of life. Boys, having little sense, will daily commit a life of sin and will be subjected to all the infirmities of mind, body, and speech. All that which is known to do harm or cause injury—be impure, vicious, and wretched—will manifest itself in the age of Kali. Therefore, wise men take note that as more of these symptoms appear, that is how far the age of Kali has elapsed. The Narada Purana (1.41.64-65) also agrees that at the end of Kali-yuga five year old girls will give birth, but the maximum age of life will be only sixteen years. They will call boys up to seven or eight years youths, and old age will be anything beyond that. The Padma Purana (7.26.32-34) also states that it is because of their wicked deeds that people will completely perish within ten to twelve years. People will lose all their strength in the age of Kali. [This indicates that as the age of Kali reaches its end and becomes increasingly troublesome and difficult, and because of people's wicked activities, the maximum age of life continues to decrease.]
The Vayu Purana (58.42, 52, 54, 55, 61-62) goes on to explain that near the end of the age of Kali, government administrators will be merely thieves and robbers. Society will be full of foul conduct. Men will be a minority and there will be many women. People will be sickly, have little strength, and will not hesitate to engage in activities that cause their ruin. The earth will be desolate, have few good men, with only scattered groups of people in the cities [obviously living among the ruins]. Abundance and good health will be rare. Spiritual knowledge and holy rites will have disappeared. Worms, mice, and serpents will gain strength and size and attack men. [Can you imagine a return to the stone age when men are fleeing for their lives from the overgrown and mutated serpents and lizards, which could resemble the dinosaurs? This is what is being described.] The Kurma Purana (1.30.26) also agrees that when spiritual knowledge is lost [or when men are no better than animals], insects, mice, and serpents will harass humans.
The Linga Purana (40.19-25) also describes how the number of men decreases while the population of women increases. The number of cows will decline and good men will disappear from all areas of society. [This may mean that such men will live outside society, underground, or in mountain caves, or will be living in a higher consciousness and on a higher vibratory level by which they simply disappear from the view of ordinary men.] The Linga Purana (40.26-73) also points out that beasts of prey will become violent, and germs, mice, and serpents will torment men. At the close of Kali-yuga, rain will be sparse, and the earth will have a short supply of useful water and few fruits. The earth will have no kings, riches, or food grains. Countries and cities will have groups of conspirators robbing others of their belongings, stealing food, and violating others' wives. Everyone will be lustful, base, wicked, and foolhardy. It will be difficult to attain any prosperity, health, longevity, or strength. The spiritual or Vedic texts will no longer exist. People will be afflicted with fear as anarchy spreads. They will always be suspicious of each other, not hesitating to attack and kill one another. People will be shameless and unloving, without good conduct. Due to a lack of rain, nothing will grow and they will give up agriculture. They will be forced to live near rivers and oceans. In their misery they will live on whatever meat, roots, and fruits they can find. They will be stunted in growth and will be forced to wear tree barks, leaves, and skins. Thus, the few remaining subjects who live during the concluding years of Kali-yuga will be involved in many calamities and live in miserable circumstances.
The above descriptions are further corroborated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.2.12-16), which relates that all true religious principles will have been destroyed or will have disappeared near the end of Kali-yuga. The Vedic literature will have been forgotten and will no longer exist. Religion will be atheistic. The physical size of all creatures will be much smaller, even the plants and herbs will be tiny. The trees will be dwarfed, thus providing no fruit or shade. What few cows are left will be like goats. Kings will be no different than thieves. Lying, stealing, and senseless violence will be the occupation of men. There will no longer be holy places. Spiritual hermitages will be the same as mundane households without piety. Family ties will go no further than the bonds of marriage, for however long such arrangements last. Lightning will constantly appear in the clouds. There will be continuous darkness, bad weather, earthquakes, and disasters. All human beings will be no better than asses.
When the above verses describes how cows and animals will be reduced in size, this suggests that horses and other useful animals will also have shrunk considerably in size. Does this mean that the small horse skeletons that have been found in prehistoric archeological digs are simply remnants from the previous age of Kali nearly 4,000,000 years ago? This description in the Srimad-Bhagavatam concludes that when the above conditions are present at the very end of Kali-yuga, that is the time when the Supreme Being, as Lord Kalki, will come to earth again and rescue the planet from all of these difficulties and reestablish the Golden Age~Satya-yuga. This will be the next coming of the Supreme. However, when this condition occurs at the end of a kalpa, or the end of a day of Brahma as described in Chapter Three, Lord Kalki will not appear again, and the earth will simply slide into total annihilation, which is described more fully in Chapter Seven. Such are the changes predicted in the Vedic literature that we can expect in the future of this age of Kali. However, there are a few things we can do to hold them off or help prevent them from being so overwhelming, which we will discuss in the next chapter.