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Ancient Wisdom, Modern relevance – Kali Yuga gaining

Kali Yuga Ancient Wisdom, Modern relevance – Kali Yuga gaining

I did not find a more suitable title for this article than the one given.

All this while, I had attempted to present the teachings of Bhagavad Gita in a concise manner so that even a person with no prior knowledge can get interested in the vast literature. I had planned to present the next article on describing the material nature, 3 modes of material nature, how our everyday activities fall under it, how the food we eat is classified and so on. But I somehow did not get satisfied with the reason for writing on the topic at this moment. In the meantime, I wrote one article on the issue of faith that is inherent in modern science. But even that was not satisfying for me since I had given that article to try and put to rest certain types of arguments and doubts. So, this time, I have left my ‘flow’ take over.

Be warned that this article is not as focused as I would have liked it to be, for several reasons which are outside the scope of this discussion. Let’s begin, shall we?

Lord Krishna informs us in the Bhagavad Gita about the cosmic scale of time and the manifestation of creation and annihilation.

BG 8.17: By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the duration of Brahmā’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.

If you read the purport for the above verse, it is explained that Kali Yuga, this age of quarrel, lasts for 432,000 years. Of this, approximately 5000 years have passed. Srimad Bhagavatam, the spotless purana, in the second chapter of its twelfth canto, describes the age of Kali in vivid terms and also declares the descent of the Supreme Lord as Lord Kalki, who will reinstate the eternal religion and the next Satya Yuga will begin.

What is surprising is how the ancient sages could have foreseen the calamity now that is the ‘modern era’. Please do click on the above link and just read through the text part. You will be surprised on how much has already happened as described, and more surprised by the accuracy of certain descriptions.

One can dwell on these topics for days together, but let us take just one symptom which is most prevalent these days.

"So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice."

Sounds familiar? Do you recognize any of the above mindsets? I am sure each and every one of us knows very well that these are the scales by which our current society measures us. Guess what? I did not make up the previous paragraph by myself!!

Read this.

The above text is used by Lord Krishna to describe people with demoniac nature in verses 13 thru 15 of that chapter.

“Whoa! Hold on… are you calling us demons?”

Umm… not exactly, but this is what is termed as demoniac tendency. In fact, read through the entire Chapter 16 of Srimad Bhagavad Gita. It’s a pretty small chapter with just 24 verses, so don’t skip the reading part. One can easily understand the context.

We claim ownership over this world. We identify ourselves, with pride, foolishly, as a Tamilian, Andhraite (Telengaanaite??), Indian, American, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Rich, Poor, Male, Female… everything except what we truly are: Jivatmas. This is called ‘maya’ or illusion. And add to this the tendency to lord over the tiny part of creation we are in, we have just as well branded ourselves to be the Lord of ‘all that we have access to’.

What is the reality here?

The very first verse of Isopanishad establishes the fact that the Supreme Lord is the Lord of everything that is.

īśāvāsyam idam sarvaḿ
yat kiñca jagatyāḿ jagat
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā
mā gṛdhaḥ kasya svid dhanam

Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.

Let us put this in perspective. ‘We’ do not ‘own’ anything in this world per se. Our ‘ownership’ is relative in the proper sense. Someone has placed all what we see and ‘we’ simply experience it. And in the insignificant space of time that we experience in the infinite timeline of creation, we think “This is mine, this is ours, it is our right, and it was meant for us” and so on. In doing so, we create misery for us and everyone around us.

How does this sound relevant in the present scenario? This is very relevant… at least to me. Without recognizing God as the owner of everything, there is no possibility of reconciliation between the warring people who are nowadays taking up arms for even the smallest of disagreements. Replacing Krishna’s position with a man-made authority like how the communists do will simply lead to further chaos or tyrannical regimes, as we already know from the several examples we have seen in this world.

At this juncture, mentioning the prayer of Prahlada to Lord Narasimha is very apt.

Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 7 Chapter 9 Verse 17:

yasmat priyapriya-viyoga-samyoga-janma-
sokagnina sakala-yonishu dahyamanah
duhkhaushadham tad api duhkham atad-dhiyaham
bhuman bhramami vada me tava dasya-yogam

O great one, O Supreme Lord, because of combination with pleasing and displeasing circumstances and because of separation from them, one is placed in a most regrettable position, within heavenly or hellish planets, as if burning in a fire of lamentation. Although there are many remedies by which to get out of miserable life, any such remedies in the material world are more miserable than the miseries themselves. Therefore I think that the only remedy is to engage in Your service. Kindly instruct me in such service.

For a person who is inheriting virtually all the wealth and status from his demoniac father, Prahlada Maharaj’s instruction is shockingly, in a good way, contrasting!

We think we can come over any problem in this material world by virtue of our limited intelligence and creativity, but we do not realize that we are creating more and more trouble for us, since our viewpoint is like that of a frog inside a well.

This can be a good exercise for the readers to do: Think and describe in brief a situation where a solution by humans for a problem has become a greater problem for mankind.

Let me conclude this article by saying this: We have dug ourselves a bottomless hole of quicksand called ‘construction-destruction paradox’. In the name of progress, we have ignored the teachings of the Vedas and ancient sages and are literally squeezing the life force out of our mother-like Earth, endangering our survival and a rare opportunity for eternal liberation.

Kali Yuga may be meant to be this way. That does not mean we don’t have any choice but to suffer. There is always a choice. It is up to us to take to the teachings of the Vedas seriously and live a purposeful life. Or ignore the instructions meant for our well-being (material and spiritual) and continue to suffer, thinking it is enjoyment.

Next topic: Purpose of Life.

Article written by Ambi.

0 28 December, 2009 Bhagavad Gita-as i learned December 28, 2009

About the author

A techie by profession but spiritual by nature. Ambi writes about the ancient wisdom of our Indian culture in a way the modern generation can easily understand. Oh ya, his comments are as interesting as his posts and his posts always trigger healthy debates.

View all articles by Ambi


  1. David

    When Krishna says “By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the duration of Brahmā’s one day” Who is Brahma?

  2. Ambi

    I encourage the readers to share their realization on this point: How a solution by humans for a problem has become a greater problem for mankind

    1. David

      Research into nuclear fission : That gave us nuclear energy for peaceful existence and nuclear weapon that can exterminate mankind.

  3. Alka

    Ambi, I would say for example on the grave issue we face : The solution put forward by US to fight terrorism has spawned a bigger headache coz of the way it chose fight. (I am not sure this example fits the bill for your question)

    On another plane, I would say the solution provided by scientist in the name of chemical fertilizers to tackle pests I feel have resulted in various complications that we face knowingly or unknowingly by eating the food coated with chemicals. (again am not sure if this example fits the bill 🙂 )

    1. Ambi

      For the sake of discussion, can you please elaborate on the fight against terrorism example? Like… what is the ‘root cause’ of this terrorist problem? What did we do wrong in addressing it? How should we attempt to tackle it?

      Hint: this is closely tied to the point raised by Mani Padma below.

  4. Mani

    All scientific inventions are double edged sword, but here specifically I would like to mention Invention of Dynamite by Sir Alfred Nobel. The irony- I find it quite humorous.
    BTW in context of the above article I have a question , May I if you permit?

      1. Mani

        So as to gain time to phrase my question.
        Well. You have depicted to us the demoniac tendency, the tendency -to lord over whatever he or she surveys. Is this same as the feeling -of searching for a sense of belonging in a pack or herd or group which again leads to the thought of Us Ours ?
        Secondly. Ok humantends to think and behave in this manner, can a reason be given for such behaviour? We know and are also imparted this knowledge that all beings are equal but still we have this tendency of thinking we are the best in our subconscious, why even after knowing and conditioning ourselves does this feeling creep up? Is this a reason of some deepseated fear or insecurities. What is your opinion on it.
        And yeah you didn’t say anything about mine and Alka’s examples.
        Gosh I feel like a school kid

        1. Ambi

          I am not sure if I understand you fully but anyway, here goes.

          It is not just humans that tend to have this feeling of ‘belonging’ to a certain group or herd. But this is not the same as trying to think, and believe, oneself as the controller of everything within one’s reach or even beyond.

          Do we actually ‘know’ all beings are equal? If we do, are we acting like it?

          The feeling of ‘I am the best’ creeps up because of false ego. We are put in this place where we can think we are free to do what we want and can consider ourselves as masters… but in reality, we are subjected to the unfailing rules of material nature, isn’t it?

          Btw, the reason I requested the readers to share their realizations is that they will also get a chance to think and see the truth in the sastric statements for themselves. Who am I to judge? 🙂

          But yes, your statement is right. Now, if you can take a specific example and share your realization in detail, it would be an enriching experience.

  5. Mani

    Ok you understood me all right and yes you do have answered my first query . But regarding the second I do have to reread some more times because there is a kind of gnawing doubt related to “i am the best” o feeling and the issue of pursuit of excellence. I know I am not being clear on it and if i myself am not clear on what is eating me then how will be able to explain about it. so I need to think about it.
    About the specific example Sir Nobel was an industrialist and engineer who used to build bridges and he invented dynamite to blast rocks. he meant well but see where we are today

      1. Mani

        I will but for that I have to frame it in my mind first and i need to think deeply for some time which with around 10 odd jobs at a time, i cant do

  6. Muralidharan

    I think the concept of “I am the best” or “Striving to be the best” is really etched in our lives right from the time when a 1st std kid gets a report card. I also think in a way we are already strangled in this miserable world, the day we were born, mainly due to the situations here.

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