Kali-yuga and Sakabda


Kali-yuga | Saka, Sakabda (Saka Era) and Calendar

Kali-yuga - 10,000 years of Golden Age

Ekanath Das:

Predicted in Brahma-vaivarta Purana 4.129.*. The fourth part of the Brahma-vaivarta is called Krsna-janma-khanda. Chapter 129 is called Golokarohanam, because it describes how Krsna returns to His abode. The general dialogue is between Lord Narayana and Narada Muni. This specific dialogue is between Lord Krsna and Mother Ganga. Verse 49 is a question by Ganga, verses 50-60 are Krsna's answer.

Text 49:

bhaagiirathy uvaaca
he naatha ramaNaSreStha
yaasi golokamuttamam
asmaakaM kaa gatiScaatra
bhaviSyati kalau yuge

"Ganges said: O protector, Supreme enjoyer, on your departure for the perfect abode, Goloka, thereafter what will be my situation in the age of Kali?"

Text 50

Srii-bhagavaan uvaaca
kaleH paMcasahasraaNi
varSaaNi tiSTha bhu-tale
paapaani paapino yaani
tubhyaM daasyaMti snaanataH

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: On the earth 5,000 years of Kali will be sinful and sinners will deposit their sins in you by bathing."

Text 51

bhasmibhutaani tatkSaNaat
bhaviSyaMti darSanaacca
snaanaadeva hi jaahnavi

"Thereafter by the sight and touch of those who worship Me by My mantra, all those sins will be burnt."

Text 52

harernaamaani yatraiva
puraaNaani bhavaMti hi
tatra gatvaa saavadhaanam
aabhiH saarddhaM ca SroSyasi

"There will be chanting of the name of Hari and reading of the [Bhagavata] Purana. Reaching such a place, attentively hear.

[note: In Puranic language, when "Purana" is used alone it refers to Bhagavata Purana. Otherwise it will specify Skanda Purana, Visnu Purana, etc.]

Text 53:

puraaNa SravaNaaccaiva
bhasmibhutaani paapaani
brahma-hatyaadikaani ca

"Sinful reactions including the killing of a brahmana can be nullified be hearing the Purana and chanting of the names of Hari in the manner of devotees."

Text 54:

bhasmibhutaani taanyeva
vaiSNavaaliMganena ca
tRNaani SuSkakaaSthaani
dahaMti paavako yathaa

"Just as dry grass is burnt by fire, by the embrace of Vaisnavas all sins are burnt."

Text 55:

tathaapi vaiSNavaa loke
paapaani paapinaamapi
pRthivyaaM yaani tiirthaani
puNyaanyapi ca jaahnavi

"O Ganges, the whole planet will become a pilgrimage sight by the presence of Vaisnavas, even though it had been sinful"

Text 56:

madbhaktaanaaM SariireSu
santi puteSu saMtatam
sadyaH putaa vasundharaa

"In the body of My devotees remains eternally [the purifier]. Mother Earth becomes pure by the dust of the feet of My devotees."

Text 57:

sadyaH putaani tiirthaani
sadyaH putaM jagattathaa
manmaMtropaasakaa vipraa
ye maducchiSRbhojinaH

"It will be the same in the case of pilgrimage sites and the whole world. Those intelligent worshipers of My mantra who partake My remnants will purify everything."

Text 58

maameva nityaM dhyaayaMte
te mat praaNaadhikaaH priyaaH
puto vaayuSca paavakaH

"They are more dear to Me than My life, who everyday meditate only on Me. The air and fire become pure simply even by their indirect touch."

[Note: Sastra says that of all material elements, fire and air are always pure. Even though the air carries some impurities it always remains itself pure. This verse indicates that the Vaisnavas will purify even the pure elements of fire and air, therefore the purifying potency of the Vaisnavas referred to in this verse is not material but completely spiritual. I.e. the air and fire are _already_ materially pure, therefore the Vaisnavas purity is spiritual and not material.]

Text 59:

kaler daSa-sahasraaNi
madbhaktaaH saMti bhu-tale
ekavarNaa bhaviSyaMti
madbhakteSu gateSu ca

"For 10,000 years of Kali such devotees of Mine will fill the whole planet. After the departure of My devotees there will be only one varna [outcaste]."

Text 60:

madbhaktaSunyaa pRthivi
kaligrastaa bhaviSyati
etasminnaMtare tatra

"Devoid of My devotees, the earth will be shackled by Kali. Saying this, Krsna departed."

Situation in Kali-yuga

According to the Vedic scriptures, our current age, known as Kali- yuga, is one of spiritual darkness, violence and hypocrisy. Srimad- Bhagavatam (12.2.31) records Kali-yuga as having begun when the constellation of the seven sages (saptarsi) passed through the lunar mansion of Magha. Hindu astrologers have calculated this to have been 2:27 a.m. on February 20, 3102 BC. This took place some 36 years after Lord Krsna spoke Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna.

The scriptures like SB 12.2 teach that during the 432,000 year age of Kali, humanity deteriorates and falls into barbarism. Humans begin to kill animals for food. They fall under the spell of intoxication. They lose all sexual restraint. Families break up. Women and children are abused and abandoned.

Increasingly degraded generations, conceived accidentally in lust and growing up wild, swarm all over the world. Political leadership falls into the hands of unprincipled rogues, criminals and terrorists, who use their power to exploit the people. Entire populations are enslaved and put to death. The world teems with fanatics, extremists and spiritual artists, who win huge followings among a people completely dazed by hedonism, as well as by cultural and moral relativism. "Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, physical strength and memory diminish with each passing day." (Srimad- Bhagavatam 12.2.1)

The saints and sages of ancient India describe the people of this age as greedy, ill-behaved, and merciless. In this age, says Srimad- Bhagavatam, merely possessing wealth is considered a sign of good birth, proper behavior, and fine qualities. Law and justice are determined by one's prestige and power. Marriage ceases to exist as a holy union - men and women simply live together on the basis of bodily attraction and verbal agreement, and only for sexual pleasure.

Women wander from one man to another. Men no longer look after their parents in their old age, and fail to provide for their own children. One's beauty is thought to depend on one's hairstyle. Filling the belly is said to be the only purpose in life. Cows are killed once their milk production drops. Atheism flourishes. Religious observances are performed solely for the sake of reputation.

The Linga Purana (ch. 40) describes the human race in Kali-yuga as a vain and stupid people "spurred on by the lowest instincts." They prefer false ideas and do not hesitate to persecute sages. They are tormented by bodily desires.

Severe droughts and plagues are everywhere. Slovenliness, illness, hunger and fear spread. Nations are continually at war with one another. The number of princes and farmers decline. Heroes are assassinated. The working classes want to claim regal power and enjoy royal wealth.

Kings become thieves. They take to seizing property, rather than protecting the citizenry. The new leaders emerge from the laborer class and begin to persecute religious people, saints, teachers, intellectuals, and philosophers.

Civilization lacks any kind of divine guidance. The sacred books are no longer revered. False doctrines and misleading religions spread across the globe. Children are killed in the wombs of their mothers. Women who have relations with several men are numerous. Predatory animals are more violent. The number of cows diminishes.

The Linga Purana says that in Kali-yuga, young women freely abandon their virginity. Women, children, and cows - always protected in an enlightened society - are abused and killed during the iron age. Thieves are numerous and rapes are frequent. There are many beggars, and widespread unemployment. Merchants operate corrupt businesses. Diseases, rates, and foul substances plague the populace. Water is lacking, fruits are scarce. Everyone uses vulgar language.

The men of Kali-yuga seek only money. Only the richest have power. People without money are their slaves. The leaders of the state no longer protect the people, but plunder the citizenry through excessive taxation. Farmers abandon living close to nature. They become unskilled laborers in congested cities. Many dress in rags, or are unemployed, and sleep on the streets. Through the fault of the government, infant mortality rates are high. False gods are worshiped in false ashrams, in which pilgrimages, penances, charities and austerities are all concocted.

People in this age eat their food without washing beforehand. Monks break their vows of celibacy. Cows are kept alive only for their milk. Water is scarce. Many people watch the skies, praying for rain. No rain comes. The fields become barren. Suffering from famine and poverty, many attempt to migrate to countries where food is more readily available. People are without joy and pleasure. Many commit suicide. Men of small intelligence are influenced by atheistic doctrines. Family, clan and caste are all meaningless. Men are without virtues, purity or decency. (Visnu Purana 6.1).

Spiritual Process

punsam ekaha vai sadhya hari bhaktih kalau yuge
yuga antarena dharma hi sevitavya narena hi

(Padma Purana, Svarga Khanda 61.5)

In Kali-yuga, a person should accept only one process, that is devotional service. According to what process is decided for a particular yuga, that should be followed by everyone without fail.

Saka, Sakabda (Saka Era) and Calendar

The most prominent of several eras used in India beginning at the start of the rule of king Salivahana (78 or 79 AD).

Bhanu Swami:

It is interesting to note in this connection that there is an old theory (evidently held by the great Kasmiri historian Kalyana in early 12th century AD) that considered the Saka era to have begun with the victory of the great king Vikramaditya of Ujjain over the Sakas (see M. A. Stein's notes in his translation of Kalyana's Rajatarangini 2.6-7 and 3.125-128). While this theory appears to be a mistaken result of mixing up the Vikrama and Saka eras, which were 135 years apart, it is evident that even by the 12th century there was the need to find some "significant event" associated with the beginning of what became this most popular calendar (later adopted by the Government of India after independence from British rule).

Shyamasundara Das:

The problem that exists between the Vaisnava calendar and the Christian calendar is that the Vaisnava calendar is luni-solar, whereas the Christian calendar is strictly solar.

What does this mean? Well, the solar year is 365.25 days long whereas the lunar year is about 10 to 11 days shorter. This means that after 3 years the lunar calendar will be 1 solar month out of phase with the solar calendar. The Muslims follow a strictly lunar calendar and thus their months have no relation to the seasons which is a solar event. In the course of 36 years the Muslim month of Ramadan will go through each of the Christian months and then come to its starting point again.

The Vaisnava calendar is luni-solar in that the lunar months are always calibrated to correspond with the solar months and fall in the same season every year (not taking into account precessional differences). To achieve this a leap month is added about every third year (there are certain astronomical rules involved so it may not be every third year). That is why you will notice that a big festival like Gaura Purnima will fall on one date this year, then next year about 10 days earlier, and the next year 10 days earlier still then all of a sudden it shoots back up about 30 days and continues the cycle.

There are no simple rules to convert a Christian date into a Vaisnava date and vice versa. May I suggest that if someone would like to really understand how to do this that he request Markandeya Rsi Prabhu for a copy of the report to the GBC that he prepared on behalf of the Vaisnava Calendar committee.

According to Hari Bhakti Vilasa (Bhanu Swami's translation), if an appearance day falls on Ekadasi, i.e. if you were born on Ekadasi, then you celebrate on the following date. Disciples of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami should take note of this. Also in calculating your own birth tithi it is the tithi prevalent at the time of birth that is important, not the tithi at sunrise. Thus Jayapataka Swami's actual birth tithi is Dvadasi, not Ekadasi. Why the time of sunrise is always mentioned is because the Vedic day begins at sunrise. The Christian day begins at midnight and the Jewish and Muslim day begins at sunset.

The standard Vedic calendar starts the month with the first tithi after the new moon, that is the instant after the exact conjunction of the Sun and Moon. This system is called mukhya candra. For example the new year according to the Siddhantas (i.e. classical astronomical texts such as Surya-siddhanta, Siddhanta-siromani, Vasista- siddhanta, etc.) begins with the sukla pratipat of Caitra masa. Meaning the first lunar day after the new moon after the Sun has entered into Mesa (Aries). It is called Caitra masa because often the Moon would be in Citra naksatra on the full moon of that month. Anyway it is the Vedic standard to consider the month (and the year) to begin on a sukla pratipat, first tithi after the new moon.

However it is also acceptable to have months based on the full moon, thus the month and year would start on krsna pratipat, the first tithi after the full moon. If you were to examine the chronological systems in vogue in India you will find that almost every state has its own system with various differing rules. There will also be variations within the regions.

For example in 1989 according to the National Indian calendar the New Year began on Mar 22 (which no one observes). In Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu the New Year started on April 14 while in Punjab and Orissa it started on April 13 and in Kerala it started on Aug 17! Other states followed some of these or independent systems. (I wonder why they say that Divali is the Hindu New Year? Must be in Gujarat or parts of UP and Rajasthan. [I found out that it is.])

It should be noted that while the rest of India observes candra masa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu observe saura masa, lunar and solar months respectively. By this I mean that a candra masa is measured from a new or full moon, whereas a saura masa is measure from sankranti to sankranti, solar ingress from sign to sign, but still measured in lunar days.

If this were not interesting enough having months and years beginning at different times, they also follow different epochs or eras. We are familiar with the Christian Era, which is now being secularized as the Common Era, CE or BCE, as opposed to AD or BC. In India there is a large welter of eras that are used, for example: 1989 AD is equivalent to Vikram Samvat 2046, Saka era 1911, Bengali San 1396, Kollam era 1165, Hejira 1410, Buddha Nirvana 2533 (this is wrong however), Mahavira Nirvana 2516, Kali Yuga 5090, and Yudhisthira Saka 5126. There is also Saptarsi Saka which is some years different from that of Yudhisthira Saka (I would have to look it up), plus Brhaspati Samvatsara (60 year cycle) which was #17, Subhana in N India and #3, sukla in S India and last but not least 1989 was 5 Idavatsara in the Vedanga Jyotisa year system beginning on Feb 7. I have not exhausted all the eras current in India. There are many such as Gupta Saka, Vallabhi Saka, and Mallava Gana Saka which are no longer current but of interest only to historians, epigraphists, antiquarians and the like (and me of course).

The point of all this is that in India there is a lot of lee way about calendars and different communities have different calendars. Smartas calculate Ekadasi differently from Vaisnavas.

Anyway, our calendar is gauna candra, calculated from the krsna pratipat of Phalguna masa, i.e. the first day of the waning mooning (the first tithi after the full moon) of the month of Phalguna. In other words Lord Caitanya's birthday is the last day of the year for us. It is because Lord Caitanya was born on a full moon day that the Gaudiyas follow gauna candra masa. However the standard to measure by is always the mukhya candra masa of the Vedic calendar. And our calendar is tied to that. Did you ever wonder why it is, that when we have a leap month it falls in the middle of a regular month and the regular month gets split in two? That is because the deciding factor that determines whether or not a year will have a leap month is based on the new moon months of the Vedic calendar.

The Vedic month begins with the sukla pratipat of the new moon after the Sun's ingress into a sign. Usually there is only one new moon for each sign that the Sun is in. But occasionally the new moon will occur right after the Sun enters a sign and another takes place just before it leaves. Thus you will have two new moons in the same sign. Even rarer (in a weird cycle of 151 years, then 19, then back to 151 years [I think it is 151, it is in that area]) when you have one solar month with no new moon and two solar months with two new moons. This really causes a big mess and confusion. The last time this happened was in 1983 and it was a big cause of concern all over India.

Anyway all these points are covered in the special report to the GBC entitled "Everything You Wanted To Know About The Vaisnava Calendar But Were Afraid To Ask." (Just kidding.) Get it from Markandeya Rsi Prabhu.

(c) VEDA 2001 - 2002 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, authors and Jan Mares


Hindu calendar giving similar information:

Not Blind Belief   (HinduDharma: Jyotisa)

"Hindu sastras are all nonsensical, " exclaim critics of our religion. "They say that north of the earth is the Meru mountain, that our one year is one day for the celestials residing there, and that the sun revolves round it. They believe that, besides the ocean of salt, there are oceans of sugarcane juice and milk, in fact several kinds of oceans. They describe the earth with its five continents as consisting of seven islands. It is all prattle. "

Why should the ocean be salty? Who put the salt in it? Why should not there have been an ocean tasting sweet or of milk? Is the talk about the seven islands and the seven oceans absurd? What to the sastras say about the position of the earth, the same sastras that speak about the seven ocean, and so on? "Meru is situated on the northern tip of the earth, " they state. "Directly opposite to it is the Pole star(Dhruva). "

The northern tip of the earth is the North pole. Is the Pole star directly opposite to it? No. "Eons ago, " scientists explain, "it was so. But later big changes took place and the earth tilted a bit. " The sastras refer to a time when the Pole star was directly opposite the North Pole and at that time the seven islands and the seven oceans must have existed. When the rotating earth tilted a bit the oceans must have got mixed and become salty and in the process the seven islands must have become the five continents.

If there is a place above the North Pole it must be Meru where we have our svarga or paradise. Let us imagine that this earth is a lemon. A spot on its top is the Meru peak. In relation to that spot any other part of the fruit is south. Where can you go from there, east or west? You can go only south. You will learn this if you mark a point on the top of the lemon. For all countries of the earth, for all "varsas", north is Meru. "Sarvesamapi varsanam Meruruttaratahsthitah. "

On the North pole it is six months day and six months night. We must have been taught this in our primary classes. It means our one year is one day on the North pole. This is what is meant by saying that our one year is one day for the celestials.

When the earth rotates, the northernmost and southernmost points are not affected. In some places there will be sun for 18 hours and in other places only for six hours. There are many differences in the durations of day and night with regard to different places on earth. Only on some days does the sun rise directly in the east and is overhead without departing even by one degree. On other days it rises from other angles(from north-east to south-east). Such is not the case on the North pole. There the sun shines six months and the other six months it is darkness. And, again, during the sunny months it would seem as if the sun were revolving round this place(the North pole).

The six-month period when there is sun in the North Pole is called uttarayana and the similar sunny period on the South Pole is daksinayana.

The North Pole is called " Sumeru" and the South Pole "Kumeru". ("Sumeria" is from Sumeru. In that land, it is said, the Vedic gods were worshipped. ) Just as the North pole is the abode of the gods, the South pole is the abode of the fathers (pitrs) and hell. To see the gods and the pitrs who are in the form of spirits and the denizens of hell one must obtain divine sight through yoga. Merely because we do not possess such sight we cannot deny their existence. There was Blavatsky who was born in Russia, lived in America and later came to India. She speaks about the worlds of the gods and of the spirits. A great scientist of our times, Sir Oliver Lodge, affirmed the existence of spirits and deities and stated that mankind could benefit from them. If you ask why Jyotisa, after dealing with the science of astronomy, should turn to spiritualism, the answer is that there is no contradiction between the two as supported by the example of a scientist like Sir Oliver who too turned to spiritualism.

Our sastras came into existence at a time when mortals mixed with the gods. We would be able to appreciate this fact if we tried to understand the samkalpa we make at the time of performing any religious function. The samkalpa traces the present from the time of creation itself. From Jyotisa we learn the position of the grahas at the commencement of the yuga:then they were all in a line.

Some calculations with regard to heavenly bodies today are different from those of the past. And, if the findings at present are not the same as seen in the sastras, it does not mean that the latter are all false. The sastras have existed from the time the grahas were in a line and the North pole was directly opposite the Pole star. Since then vast changes have taken place in nature. Valleys have become mountains, mountains have become oceans, oceans have become deserts and so on. Geologists speak about such cataclysmic changes, and astronomers tell us about the change in the courses of the heavenly bodies. So what we see today of the earth and the heavenly bodies is different from what is mentioned in the sastras.

The date of creation according to Jyotisa agrees more or less with the view of modern science.

Kali yuga--the age of Kali--has a span of 432, 000 years. Dvapara yuga is twice as long, 864, 000 years, Treta yuga is 1, 296, 000 years and Krta yuga 1, 728, 000 years. The four yugas together, called maha yuga, are 4, 320, 000 years long. A thousand mahayugas add up to the period of 14 Manus. The regnal period of a Manu is a manvantara. There are royal and republican rulers on earth, but God has appointed Manu as ruler of all the worlds. There are fourteen Manus ruling the world successively from the creation of man. The word "manusya" and " manuja" are derived from Manu. So too the English word "man". In the samkalpa for any ritual we perform we mention the year of the seventh Manu, Vaivasvata. If we go back to the first Manu, Svayambhuva, we arrive at a date for the origin of the human species which agrees with the view of modern science.

The Sanskrit word, "man", means to think. Manu was the first of the human race with its power of thinking. There is a saying in English :" Man is a thinking animal. " "Since man's distinctive characteristic is his capacity to think the descendants of Manu came to be called "manusyas. "

The life-span of the fourteen Manus put together make one day(daytime) of Brahma, that is 4, 320, 000, 000 years. His night has the same length. While one day of Brahma is thus 8, 640, 000, 000 years his one year is 365 such days and his life-span is 100 such years. The life of his cosmos is the same. When Brahma's life comes to an end the Brahman alone will remain and there will be no cosmos. Then another Brahma will start creation all over again. It is believed that Hanuman will be the next Brahma.

Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka, Suvarloka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka comprise the seven worlds. The gods, mortals and so on live in these worlds. Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka and Suvarloka form one group. "Bhurbhuvassuvaha, " we pronounce this so often while performing rituals. The remaining four belong to higher planes. When Brahma goes to sleep at night the first three worlds will be dissolved in the pralaya (deluge). This is called "avantara-pralaya"("intermediate deluge"). All other worlds will perish when his life-span ends.

Scientists say that the heat of the sun is decreasing imperceptibly. Without the warmth of the sun there will be no life on earth. Scientists have calculated the time when the sun's heat will be reduced so much that life on earth cannot be sustained. Then this world itself will perish. The date on which this will occur agrees with that given by our sastras for the next "avantara-pralaya".

Half of Brahma's allotted life-span is over. This life-span is divided into seven "kalpas". Now we have come more than half way of the fourth kalpa, "Svetavaraha". We mention in samkalpa how old Brahma is at the time we perform a rite, which year we are in of the saka era, also the year according to the 60-year cycle beginning with Prabhava--all details of the almanac including the day, the asterism and the lagna. The date of Brahma's appearance, according to this calculation is said to agree with the view of modern science of when this cosmos came into being.

Brahma is called "Parardha-dvaya-jivin". It means he lives for two "parardhas". A "paradha" is half the number meant by "para". When Brahma is called "Paradha-dvaya-jivin" it means he lives as many years as is meant by 2*1/2 paras. Two half paras are the same as one para. Then why say "parardha-dvaya" instead of just one "para". The reason for this is that Brahma has already completed half of one para and is going on 51. So it is meaningful to use the term "half of para"[two half-paras].

Fourteen Manus reign successively during one daytime of Brahma which lasts a thousand caturyugas. So one manvantara is 71 caturyugas. Now running is the 28th caturyuga, the Vaivasvata manvantara. And of it, it is Kali yuga now. In our samkalpa we mention all this and, in addition, the day according to the moon, the Lagna, etc. We also mention how we are situated in the space, from the Brahmanda down to the locality where we are performing the function (for which the samkalpa is made). It is all similar to writing the date and address on a letter.

Empirical Proof  (HinduDharma: Jyotisa)


A ray of light pouring through an opening in the roof of a building falls on a particular spot. Normally, we shall not be able to tell where the same ray of light will fall next year. But a prediction can be made with the help of Jyotisa. This is how it was done in the olden days. A pearl attached to a thread was hung from the roof. If a man was able to indicate correctly in advance where its shadow would fall on a particular day, he received a reward from the king. One's competence in other sastras is established through argument, but in Jyotisa it has to be proved by actual demonstration. You cannot deceive anyone by employing the methods taught by this science. The sun and the moon are witness to what you do. "Pratyaksam Jyotisam sastram. "

Hand of the Vedapurusa  (HinduDharma: Kalpa)


The sixth limb or Anga of the Vedapurusa is Kalpa, his hand. The hand is called "kara" since it does work (or since we work with it). In Telugu it is called " sey ". Kalpa is the sastra that involves you in "work". A man learns to chant the Vedas, studies Siksa, Vyakarana, Chandas, Nirukta and Jyotisa. What does he do next? He has to apply these sastras to the rites he is enjoined to perform. He has to wash away his sins, the sins earned by acting according to his whims. This he does by the performance of good works. For this he must know the appropriate mantras and how to enunciate them correctly, understanding their meaning. Also certain materials are needed and a house that is architecturally suited to the conduct of the rituals. The fruits yielded by these must be offered to the Isvara. Kalpa concerns itself with these matters.

Why does a man learn the vedas? Why does he make efforts to gain perfection with regard to the purity and tone of their sound by learning Siksa, grammar and prosody? And why does he learn Jyotisa to find out the right time to perform rituals? The answer is to carry out the injunctions of Kalpa.

How is a rite to be performed, what are the rituals imposed upon the four castes and on people belonging to the four asramas (celibate students, house-holders, forest recluses and ascetics )? What are the mantras to be chanted during these various rites and what are the materials to be gathered? What kind of vessels are to be used, and how many rtviks (priests) are needed for the different rituals? All these come under the province of Kalpa.

A number of sages have contributed to the Kalpa sastra. Six sages have composed Kalpasutras for the Krsna-Yajurveda which is predominantly followed in the South - Apastamba, Baudhayana, Vaikhanasa, Satyasadha, Bharadhvaja, Agnivesa, Asvalayana and Sankhayana have written Kalpasutras for the Rigveda but the former's is most widely followed. For Sukla-Yajurveda there is the Kalpasutra by Katyayana. For the Kauthuma, Ranayaniya and Talavakara Sakhas of the Samaveda, Latyayana, Drahyayana and Jaimini respectively have composed Kalpasutras.

Kalpa contains Grhyasutras and Srautasutras for each recension. Both deal with the 40 samskaras to be performed from conception to death. The cremation of the body is also a sacrifice, the final offering: it is called "antyesti" and it is also to be performed with the chanting of mantras. "Isti" means a sacrifice and in antyesti the body is offered in the sacred fire as a "dravya" or material.

A Brahmin has to perform 21 sacrifices: seven "haviryajnas" based on agnihotra; seven pakayajnas and seven somayajnas. Of them the seven haviryajnas and the seven somayajnas are not included in the Grhyasutras. They belong to the Srautasutras. Together with these there are forty rites for a Brahmin -- they are called samskaras. A samskara is that which refines and purifies the performer.

Agnihotra is performed at home and yajnas [of a bigger type] in specially constructed halls. While the srautasutras contain instructions for the conduct of big sacrifices, the Grhyasutras are concerned with domestic rites. The names given before are of the authors of Srautasutras.

The Kalpasutras deal with the forty samskaras and with the eight "Atmagunas" [qualities to be cultivated by individuals]. Apart from the seven haviryajnas and seven somayajnas (together 14) the remaining 26 belong to the category of Grhyasutras. Among them are garbhadhana, pumsavana, simanta, jatakarma, namakarana, annaprasana, caula, upanayana and vivaha. I shall be dealing with them later.

The eight Atmagunas are compassion, patience, freedom from jealousy, purity or cleanliness, not being obstinate, keeping a cool mind, non-covetousness and desirelessness. These are among the ":samanya- dharmas", universal virtues, to be cultivated by all jatis.

When we do " abhivadhana" [as we prostrate ourselves before the fire or before a preceptor or any elder], we mention, among other things, the sutra that we follow. To illustrate: Samavedins mention Drahyayana-sutra. Drahyayana has authored only Srautasutra. Another, Gobhila, has written a Grhyasutra. In the old days when it was a common practice to conduct big sacrifices the Srautasutras which deal with them were mentioned in the abhivadhana. This practice continues though we no longer perform srauta sacrifices and go through only such functions as marriage which are dealt with by Grhyasutras.

In the past even poor people performed srauta rituals. They got all the materials required by begging. Brahmins who were called "prati-vasanthasomayajins" conducted soma sacrifices every year during the spring [that is what the term means]. If a man had enough income to meet three years' expenses (of his family) he conducted the soma sacrifice during every season of spring.

Now there is a decay in all fields. Things have turned topsyturvy. People spend three times their annaul income but, ironically enough, owing to changes in trade and commercial practices all, including the rich, suffer from proverty and hardship. There must be moderation in everything. All the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our times have led only to indigence even in in the midst of plenty. The rich man has brought himself to a position of not being able to afford all his expenses. With moderation alone will there be the means to do good works.

The sikha, the pundra and the religious rites vary from sutra to sutra. Some wear "urdhva-sikha" [lock of hair on the crown of the head], some "purva-sikha" [lock of hair on the forepart of the head]. Similarly there are differences in wearing the marks on the forehead: some wear vertical marks (urdhva-pundra) and some horizontal (tripundra). These are according to the tradition one follows.

Cayana is an important feature of sacrifices. There are two types of sulba-sutras in Kalpa: "samanya" (ordinary or common) and "visesa" (special). There are sulba-sutras by Katyayana, Baudhayana, Hiranyakesin and so on. In the south there is what is called "Andapillai-prayoga". "Andapillai" belong to Tiruppanantal and was named after the deity Ganesa ( "pillayar ") of Tiruvidaimarudur (Tanjavur district). It is according to his method that srauta works are performed. The srauta sacrifices are large-scale sacraments not conducted in the home but in a "yagasala". Rites that are not so big are "grhya" and performed at home. Since big sacrifices have become rare, the Grhyasutras have gained greater importance. Besides, alien sastras, alien practices, are becoming more and more popular.

All our sastras have one goal, that of holding the lotus-feet of Isvara. Whatever we read must be in the form of an offering to the Lord and it must be capable of bringing us Atmic merit. Our sastras belong to such a category. It is a matter for regret that the conduct of srauta works (havir and soma sacrifices), which are of the utmost importance to the Vedic religion, has become very rare.

Among those who have authored Kalpasutras, but for Drahyayana and Katyayana, all the rest, like Apastamba, Baudhayana and Asvalayana, have written both Srauta and Grhya sutras.

Apart from the above two types of sutras, we have the "Dharmasutras". These deal with a man's individual, domestic and social life. The Dharmasastra is based on them. What we understand by the English term "law" is derived from them. They are also the basis of the moral and legal sastras of Manu, Mitaksara and so on. (The following Dharmasutras have been handed down to us: those of Vasistha and Visnu for the Rgveda; those of Manu, Baudhayana, Apastamba and Hiranyakesin for the Krsna- Yajurveda; and those of Gautama for the Samaveda). Since the Atharvaveda has hardly any following its Kalpasutras are not in observance.

Kalpa deals with rites in their minutest detail. All the actions of a Brahmin have a Vedic connection. Through each and every breath he takes in, with each step he takes, he will be able to grasp the divine powers for the well-being of the world because of this Vedic connection and only because of it. The Kalpasutras contain rules with regard to how a Brahmin must sit, eat, wear his clothes and so on.

This "limb" of the vedas also deals with the construction of houses. Why? The design -- or architecture -- of a Brahmin's dwelling must be such as to help him in the performance of his duties according to the scriptures. If, say, there is a rule about the doorway where he should offer the " vaisvadeva-bali ", should not the doorway be constructed in the required sastric manner? Is the modern "flat" suitable for such rites? The character of the place where the " aupasana " is to be performed is described in Kalpa. A class-room where children are taught has to meet certain requirements: it must have a desk, benches, etc. The laboratory has to be different from it. Similarly, the architecture of a house and the design of a class-room differ functionally.

I perform puja. The place where I do it must have a certain special character. All rooms are similar in a bungalow. If a puja is performed in such a place, rules regarding ritual purity and difference based on varna and asrama cannot be properly maintained since people will come crowding together. The bungalow is built according to the white man's way of life. There must be separateness and at the same time togetherness; there must be a place for everybody. Even if we wish to have a place according to our customs and traditions, the new type of house does not help in this way. Our architecture has developed according to our traditions and needs. A cement floor cannot be maintained clean after eating. When washed or scrubbed with water, the " eccil " will spread. Westerners living in bungalows (or flats) eat at table.

We must build our houses according to our architectural science. The term "grhastha" itself is from "grha" (house). Those who observe ritual purity in matters like eating, living and clothing, must build their houses according to our architectural concepts. But we are now accustomed to living in houses built in an alien style. At first we may feel some qualms about the difficulty in practising our customs and traditions. Eventually, however, we are likely to get used to style of living and become careless about our religious observances. Instead of abandoning such houses, we abandon the religious and other practices which are part of our dharma.

I shall be speaking to you in some detail about the 40 samakaras included in Kalpa when I deal with Dharmasastra.

We have discussed ten of the caturdasa-vidya, the fourteen branches of vedic lore - the four vedas, Siksa, Vyakarana, Chandas, Niruktha, Jyotisa, and Kalpa. Four remain.

According to the slave/scribes, the traditional date in India for the beginning of the Kali-yuga was February 18, 31O2 B.C. This date is mentioned in various Persian, Islamic, and European writings in connection with the Biblical Flood. There are numerous evidences of several cataclysmic floods having occurred during Earth's ancient past, however there is absolutely no geological evidence showing any such global cataclysm or even a local Bible lands flood occurring in or around 31O2 B.C. Therefore, Kali-yuga absolutely did NOT begin in 3102 B.C., but much longer ago in "time" than anyone can remember.
     In Vedic literature, "time" is regarded as a manifestation of the Supreme Being. There are periods of "history" written about in the Vedas containing multiples of 432,OOO years. According to the Vedic system 1OOO Yuga cycles equals One Day of Brahma. The lengths of "time" in the Satya, Treta, Dvapura and "Kali"yugas are 4, 3, 2, and 1 times an interval of 432,OOO years. Within these immense periods of time the human life spandecreases from 1OO,OOO years in the Satya-yuga, to 1O,OOO years in the Treta-yuga, 1,OOO years in the Dvapura-yuga, and finally 1OO years in the Kali-yuga. A Yuga cycle consists of the passing of the four yugas, or 4,32O,OOO years, with a thousand yuga cycles making One Day of Brahma equal to 4,32O,OOO,OOO years.
     If humans were to have successive linear reincarnations in these Yugas, they would have 17 (1OO,OOO year old) "lifetimes" in Satya-yuga which lasts 1,728,OOO years, 129 (1O,OOO year old) "lifetimes" in Treta-yuga which lasts 1,296,OOO years, 864 (1OOO year old) "lifetimes" in Dvapura-yuga which lasts 864,OOO years, and 4,32O (1OO year old) "lifetimes" in Kali-yuga which lasts 432,OOO years.

I think there was SOME beginning of importance  at  about 4004 B.C.  According to the Bible, there was a  flood  roughly after 1000 years of the creation (4004 BC) . That means the Biblical flood is around  3000 BC, after which, the  life on earth started again out of Noah's effort. This time is comparable to  beginning of Kali Yuga ( 3102 BC). Perhaps it is  more than a coincidence that this time matches with the  the Biblical time  for post Noah world. In other words, Bible belongs pretty much to the Kaliyuga, and  when some Christians say that the age of Earth is around 6000 years, they are probably referring to age of the present  Kali Yuga.  In other words, what we  call the  Kali yuga, they believe as the beginning of creation it self!
The flood episode is to be seen in the anceint books of many a people of our world (Babylonian, assyrian etc as referred to by Will and Ariel durant in their "Our oriental Heritage" part of the story of Civilization), and  our own belief that after every Yuga there will be a (minor) flood. Thus the Biblical and other cultures flood may coincide with  the flood after the Dwapara Yuga (which engulfed besides  other things, Dwaraka). End of Dwapara Yuga was 34 years after the Mahabharatha war. We also know that Parikshit maharaja (the successor of Yudhistira) witnessed the arrival of Kali. It would also appear that the flood in the Bharatha Varsha was not as severe as in the Biblical lands and we lost only few coastal places and retained all our previous culture.  In other words, peoplewere around to tell of th eprevious Yugas. Thus we don't believe that time athe beginning of world!
I am pointing this out so as to reconcile between the numerous flood stories of th eworld and coincidence with the  beginning of Kali Yuga and the Christian belief about the age of Earth.

About the Calendars


The calendars supported by this conversion facility are generally more-or-less historic calendars, though in some features they may behave anhistorically. I'm planning to add some other "invented" calendars as well (there's a calendar that isn't invented??), including ones from various works of fiction... if anyone has any that seem fun.

The sketches presented here are not intended to give you much information about the calendars used. For that, there are plenty of resources on the net. Good places to start include Yahoo's list of Calendar references and CalendarLand. This is just some quick info mostly to explain some the behavior of the converter.


The Gregorian calendar is the standard one used in most of the Western world today. It is derived from a 16th century modification to the pre-existing Julian calendar (see below), needed to correct some inaccuracies due to too many leap years. Because of the changeover, historical Western calendars show a discontinuity days when the changeover occured, as days ten-odd days were removed from the calendar in order to correct the error. The exact time of the changeover varies by country; in the Holy Roman Empire it happened in 1582, in England and its colonies it happened in 1752 (type "cal 1752" on a UNIX system and look at September), and in other countries at other times.

The calendar used here is an "proleptic" Gregorian calendar, which means it's the Gregorian calendar projected back (and forth) in time, even to dates when it didn't historically exist. So there is no such discontinuity in this Gregorian calendar: the dates simply march backwards through time uninterrupted, but at some point part company with historical reality. So there is a perfectly sensible 1 January 1, even though there was no year 1 in the Gregorian calendar (in fact, it falls on January 3 of the Julian calendar).

Similarly, since the Gregorian dates before 1582 (or whenever) are fictitious, we can invent fiction any way we like. So not only are there Gregorian dates that never happened, but this includes the year-numbering. There never was a year 0, but I'm making this up anyway, so by fiat the year that precedes 1 on the Gregorian calendar is designated Year 0. And before that came Year -1. I'm following the convention used in Reingold & Dershowitz of designating Gregorian years with positive and negative numbers and zero (but see below for Julian dates).


The Julian calendar is very similar to the Gregorian calendar (which it predates), differing only in the leap-year structure. As with the Gregorian calendar, the one used here is projected forward and backward in time without regard for history. However, since Julian year numbers have been used (and are used) in discussing history before the year 1 C.E., the usual conventions for that are followed. Namely, there is no Year 0; the year before 1 C.E. is 1 B.C.E. and so on. Thus, if you ask for a date in Year 0, it's the same as if you asked for Year 1 B.C.E. (i.e., 0 is a synonym for -1).

Modified French Revolutionary

The French Revolutionary calendar was in use between 1793 and 1805, and again briefly in 1871. It was invented as an attempt to "rationalize" the calendar and regularize it, and also divorce it from mythological underpinnings. In its original form, it used precise astronomical calculations, so its leap year structure was not fixed, but simply happened whenever consecutive Autumnal Equinoxes (the first day of the year) happened 366 days apart. Since that's a lot trickier to code, I've implemented the "modified" form of the calendar, using modifications proposed Gilbert Romme in 1795. The calendar was abandoned before the modifications were ever accepted, but it gives us a nice simple arithmetical system for computing the calendar.

Dates are given by "weekday," decade, month, and year. The decade is not a cycle of ten years but of ten days, the equivalent of a week (using the more "rational" number ten rather than the seven-day week whose origins were considered steeped in superstition). The days of the decade are named Primidi, Duodi, Tridi, Quartidi, Quintidi, Sextidi, Septidi, Octidi, Nonidi, and Decadi. So Duodi of Decade I is the 2nd of the month, and Sextidi of Decade III is the 26th. At the end of the year, after twelve months of thirty days each, came a 5-day period (six in leap years) of days which had no week or month, only a name. These are named appropriately in the calendar converter. Since there was no convention for listing years before the start of the calendar (in 1792), I adopt the same convention as for the Gregorian calendar, of decreeing the year before Year 1 to be Year 0, preceded by Year -1 and so on.

French Revolutionary

The original form of the above, computing new year using the true Autumnal Equinox (apparent time in Paris). The leap-year structure is no longer obvious; just whenever equinoxes happen to fall out 366 days apart. It will generally be very close to the Modified version, of course.


The Hebrew calendar is a fairly complex approximation that attempts to keep its months aligned with the moon but its years aligned with the sun. Since there is not a whole number of moon-cycles in a solar year, this gets interesting. It is currently still used by Jews all over the world to fix holidays and other dates of importance.

There is more than one way to number the months in the Hebrew calendar; in some circumstances Tishri is considered the first month, in others it is Nisan. The convention used here follows Reingold & Dershowitz in counting Nisan as the first month. Because of this, we have the slightly odd feature of the year number changing mid-year, since Tishri, the start of the secular year, is when the year-number advances, but it is the seventh month.

Because of its lunisolar nature, a leap year in the Hebrew calendar entails adding not a day, but an entire month to the calendar. This month, Adar II, is added before Nisan (choosing Nisan as the first month makes this easier.) Technically, it's the month before Adar II that is added (namely Adar I) and Adar II is really the ordinary month of Adar, but that affects observance more than math, so in order to keep the math simpler we consider Adar II to be the added month. It is legal, in the converter, to ask for a date in Adar II in a year which had no such date. Since that's just asking for the 13th month, the program has no problem: the 13th month of a year is defined as the month twelve months after the first. If that happens to be Adar II, fine. If not, it winds up being the next Nisan. Similarly, as mentioned above, you can ask for the 30th of a month that has only 29 days (for that matter, you can ask for the 97th of a month). The same sort of computation is used, giving you a reasonably sensible answer even if the question isn't sensible. In common years, the twelfth month is labeled Adar, while in leap years it is labeled Adar I and the next month Adar II, in accordance with usual practice. Although in the Jewish calendar it makes no sense to talk about negative years (since the year number is considered to be the number of years since the world was created. Hence, the year is given as "A.M.", or anno mundi, year of the world), I adopt the same practice as above in case you do: years go from -1 to 0 to 1 and so on.


The Islamic calendar is a purely lunar calendar, so its dates tend to slide around the year from the perspective of the Gregorian calendar. It has leap years, but these do not keep it aligned to the sun (no months are added, only days). It is still used by Muslims around the world to fix holidays and important dates, but it should be borne in mind that the calendar given here is only an approximation. There are many different Muslim authorities and different opinions on details of the calendar. Moreover, strictly speaking the calendar is fixed based on actual astronomical observations and official religious declarations (as the Hebrew calendar once was), and not the simple approximations used here. So the dates you see here may be off a day or so from any given "official" Islamic calendar.

As with other calendars that don't otherwise address it, years before Year 1 progress in the usual artificially mathematical way. The years are labeled "A.H." for anno hegiræ: year of (after) [Mohammed's] emigration (to Medina). All year labelings in this and other calendars follow the Dershowitz & Reingold book.


The Persian calendar is an extremely accurate solar calendar, adopted in 1925. It has six months of 31 days, five of 30, and one of 29 (or 30 in leap years). Its leap- year structure is dizzyingly complex, involving cycles and subcycles and subsubcycles of years, but the result is very close the astronomically-observed mean year.

The Persian calendar, for a change, actually does have existing conventions for dealing with years before Year 1. As with the Julian calendar, there is no year zero. Rather than invent clever notation, I simply have the year before Year 1 as Year -1. If you ask for a date in Year 0, you will get the answer exactly as if you had asked for the same date in Year 1 (i.e., the fictitious Year 0 is a synonym for Year 1. Compare this with the Julian calendar). Persian years are labeled with "A.P." for anno persico, "Persian Year."

Coptic and Ethiopic

These two calendars are almost identical, differing only in the starting epoch and the names of the months. They have the same leap-year cycle as the Julian calendar, and consist of twelve months of thirty days each, followed by a period of five days (six in leap years). So far as I know both are still in use by their respective groups, but I'm not well-versed on either culture. As usual, years follow the artificial mathematical progression.


This calendar is (so far as I know) used by Bahá'ís around the world. It is based on a 19-year cycle, with 19 months of 19 days each, plus some intercalenary days after the eighteenth month. Each year in a cycle has a name, as does each day in a month, and each month in a year (and weekdays). Also, each cycle has a name within the greater 361-year cycle (19 cycles of 19 years). The representation of the date needs a little work, I think. I probably should put weekdays for all calendars (or all that have them) and maybe make a month-day-year input interface for it (since even with the cycles it can be viewed as simply month-day-year). For negative years (before 1844), the negatives all go into the major cycle (the Kull-i-Shay), and the major cycle before Kull-i-Shay 1 was Kull-i-Shay 0 (preceded by Kull-i- Shay -1), as with my usual convention for years. The numbers in parentheses at the end of the date are the major cycle number, the cycle number, the month number, the day number, and the year number, which I put there so I could check the results against a known table without having to look everything up. It'll probably go away as I refine the presentation of the calendar.


These calendars are reconstructed from ones that were used by the Mayan culture. There is some disagreement as to the starting date of the Mayan calendars (which would affect all subsequent dates); the calendar currently uses (I think) Julian Day 584284.5 as day zero; most scholars accept either this or Julian Day 584282.5, I understand.

There are really three calendars represented here: the "long count" of days and cycles of days (20 days, 18 cycles of 20 days, 20 cycles of the previous sort, and 20 cycles of that kind, reading from right to left), the civil calendar of 18 months of 20 days each (numbered 0 to 19) plus a few intercalenary days, and the sacred calendar of thirteen numbers and twenty names, cycled simultaneously.

Old Hindu Solar

This calendar is not in use any more, replaced by a more complicated system of approximating astronomical phenomena (which I may someday implement, if my head ever stops spinning from reading about it). It uses rational approximations to the length of the year and the month, so there are no leap years per se, but the length of each month is not fixed, but depends on how the remainders of days and months and all happen to add up. There's a Jovian cycle that I can compute, but haven't yet worked into the interface of the converter yet. There's also an old lunisolar calendar which I'll probably implement soon.

Old Hindu Lunar

Another archaic calendar not used in this form. It's related to the Old Hindu Solar calendar, uses rational approximations in the same way, etc. Leap months are not fixed, but just happen when needed, like month lengths in the Solar calendar: if a lunar month begins and ends entirely within the same solar month (solar months are longer), it is a leap month, and the real one of the same name starts after it. There are also "lunar days", equal to 1/30 of a lunar month. Since that's shorter than a civil day, and a day is named for the lunar day in effect at its sunrise, you can have lunar days that are "excised" if they begin and end between one sunrise and the next. These are "lost" days; the calendar will raise an exception and catch the problem if you ask for one. It will also catch it if you ask for a leap month that isn't actually leap that year.

Both old Hindu calendars get their years labeled with "K.Y." for "Kali Yuga (expired)." The "expired" (used in all Hindu calendars here) means that it measures the number of years that have ended since the beginning of the age in question (here, the Kali age). So with these, it is correct to talk of Year 0 preceding Year 1; I'm not so sure about the sense of Year -1 (though I use it anyway).

Modern Hindu Lunar and Solar

More up-to-date versions of the above; they use more advanced approximations for the astronomical calculations, which are traditional Hindu astronomy, using epicycles and the like. Like the "old" versions, these properly should be done using rational numbers rather than floating point. However, the calculations involved can result in numbers with numerators and denominators more than 400 digits long. I actually made a special class to let me do just that, and implemented the calendars using it. Eventually it even worked, but wow, was it S-L-O-W! I'm talking order of a minute or longer to recompute some of these things. I couldn't put that here on the page. So I re-implemented them using double-precision, and the results should be just fine (certainly the error should be less than a day, and this is a calendar, not a clock). Like the Old Lunar calendar, the Modern one can also have leap months and excised days, but it also can have leap days as well. So you can have two consecutive days with the same date. Therefore it needs a different kind of input interface. Similarly, whole months can actually be excised in the Modern calendar (which couldn't happen with the Old one). Not sure if those are checked for properly yet; I think they are.

For the Modern Hindu Solar Calendar, I label the years "S.E." for "Saka Era (expired)," which differs from the Kali Yuga used to label the Old Hindu calendars by 3179 years. For the Modern Hindu Lunar Calendar, I label the years "V.E." for "Vikrama Era (expired)." This is 3044 years off from the Kali Yuga used to label the Old Hindu calendars.


A very complex calendar, based on scientific calculations for astronomical events. There is a 60-year cycle of names (including five iterations of twelve animal totems for the years), and within each cycle there are of course sixty years; each year has twelve or thirteen months, and each month twenty-nine or thirty days. All the variation is entirely up to the stars: when no major solar "term" occurs in a given lunar month, a leap month is inserted. New months happen on new moons (Beijing standard time after 1929, Beijing local mean time before 1929).

Predictions of the Age of Kali

What follows are predictions of the age of Kali (quarrel) as found in the Vedic scriptures written many thousands of years ago. Kali-yuga (the age of quarrel) started 5,000 years ago (3,102 B.C.) and is scheduled to last a total of 432,000 years, leaving 427,000 years to go. At the end of Kali-yuga (i.e., in 427,000 years) the yuga-cycle will start over with Satya-yuga, the Age of Truth. We should all note the Srimad Bhagavatam's mentioning that in Kali-yuga many cheaters will claim themselves to be God, as we can very practically see this happening today.
Description of the Age of Kali:

In the fourteenth chapter of the last canto of the "Paramahamsa Samhita" portion of the Vayu Purana, named "Sri Gauranga Candra Udaya", Lord Brahma prays to the Supreme Lord Sri Hari thus:

"In the age of Kali, people are spontaneously attracted to sinful activities and are devoid of the regulations of the scriptures. The so-called "twice-born" are degraded by their low-class activities and those who are born in low-class families are always hostile to brahminical culture. The twice-born are low-class by quality and do business by selling mantras. These so-called learned men are absorbed in their intestines and genitals and their only identification is the thread they wear. Indulging in over eating, absorbed in bodily consciousness, lazy, intellectually dull and greedy for others properties, they are consistently against God-consciousness. Due to being overly inclined towards false paths without essence, they manufacture their own processes for self-realization. Neglecting their actual duties they are expert in blaspheming You (the Supreme Personality of Godhead) and the saintly persons; hence again Mother Earth is in tears due to this burden. Therefore, Oh Lord of the Universe, destroyer of the miseries of the destitute, please mercifully do what is befitting for the protection of the Earth and the living entities."

"The very day and moment the Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, left this earth, the personality of Kali, who promotes all kinds of irreligious activities, came into this world."

- Srimad Bhagavatam 1.18.6

"O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed."

- Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.10

Foreseeing the incompetence of the people in this age of Kali, or the iron age of quarrel, great sages and saintly people throughout the ages have sought to benefit the general mass of people by revealing to them the knowledge contained in the scriptures, whereby they may attain relief from the inflictions of this most degraded and dangerous of all ages.

Elaborate description of the anomalies of Kali-yuga and the plight of the living entities is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam. Therein it is described how as the sun rose and after taking his morning ablutions in the waters of the Sarasvati, Vyasadeva sat alone to concentrate.

"The great sage Vyasadeva saw anomalies in the duties of the millennium. This happens on the earth in different ages, due to unseen forces in the course of time. The great sage, who was fully equipped in knowledge, could see, through his transcendental vision, the deterioration of everything material, due to the influence of the age. He could also see that the faithless people in general would be reduced in duration of life and would be impatient due to lack of goodness. Thus he contemplated for the welfare of men in all statuses and orders of life."

- Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.16-18

In the purport to these verses Srila Prabhupada describes Kali-yuga in this way: "The unmanifested forces of time are so powerful that they can reduce all matter to oblivion in due course. In Kali-yuga, the last millennium of a round of four millenniums , the power of all material objects deteriorates by the influence of time. In this age the material body of the people in general is reduced, and so is the memory. The action of matter has also not so much incentive. The land does not produce food grains in the same proportions as it did in other ages. The cow does not give as much milk as it did formerly. The production of vegetables and fruits is less than before. As such, all living beings, both men and animals, do not have sumptuous, nourishing food. Due to want of so many necessities of life, naturally the duration of life is reduced, the memory is short, intelligence is meager, mutual dealings are full of hypocrisy and so on."

"The great sage Vyasadeva could see this by his transcendental vision. As an astrologer can see the future fate of a man, or an astronomer can foretell the solar and lunar eclipses, those liberated souls who can see through the scriptures can foretell the future of mankind. They can see this due to their sharp vision of spiritual attainment."

"And all such transcendentalists, who are naturally devotees of the Lord, are always eager to render welfare service to the people in general. They are the real friends of the people in general, not the so-called public leaders who are unable to see what is going to happen five minutes ahead. In this age the people in general as well as their so-called leaders are all unlucky fellows, faithless in spiritual knowledge and influenced by the age of Kali. They are always disturbed by various diseases. For example, in the present age there are so many TB patients and TB hospitals, but formerly this was not so because the time was not so unfavorable."

Elsewhere in the Srimad Bhagavatam Srila Prabhupada further reveals the degradation of human society. "In the Kali-yuga the population is just a royal edition of the animals. They have nothing to do with spiritual knowledge or godly religious life. They are so blind that they cannot see anything beyond the jurisdiction of the subtle mind, intelligence or ego, but they are very much proud of their advancement in knowledge, science and material prosperity. They can risk their lives to become a dog or hog just after leaving the present body, for they have completely lost sight of the ultimate aim of life."

- Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.43

"The people of the world in this age of Kali are always full of anxieties. Everyone is diseased with some kind of ailment. From the very faces of the people of this age, one can find out the index of the mind. Everyone feels the absence of his relative who is away from home. The particular symptom of the age of Kali is that no family is now blessed to live together. To earn a livelihood, the father lives at a place far away from the son, or the wife lives far away from the husband and so on. There are sufferings from internal diseases, separation from those near and dear, and anxieties for maintaining the status quo. These are but some important factors which make the people of this age always unhappy."

"With the progress of the age of Kali, four things particularly, namely the duration of life, mercy, the power of recollection, and moral or religious principles will gradually diminish. Since Dharma, or the principles of religion, would be lost in the proportion of three out of four, the symbolic bull is standing on one leg only. When three fourths of the whole world become irreligious, the situation is converted into hell for the animals. In the age of Kali, godless civilizations will create so many so -called religious societies in which the Personality of Godhead will be directly or indirectly defied. And thus faithless societies of men will make the world uninhabitable for the saner section of people."

"Beef is forbidden in the scriptures, and the bull and cows are offered special protection by the followers of the Vedas. But in this age of Kali, people will exploit the body of the bull and the cow as they like, and thus they will invite sufferings of various types."

"The people of this age will not perform any sacrifice. The mleccha population will care very little for performances of sacrifices, although performance of sacrifice is essential for persons who are materially engaged in sense enjoyment. The mlecchas, however, make plans to install slaughterhouses for killing bulls and cows along with other animals, thinking that they will prosper by increasing the number of factories and live on animal food without caring for performance of sacrifices and production of grains."

"In this age of Kali, the women and the children, along with the brahmanas and cows, will be grossly neglected and left unprotected. In this age illicit connection with women will render many women and children uncared for. Circumstantially, the women will try to become independent of the protection of men, and marriage will be performed as a matter of formal agreement between man and woman. In most cases the children will not be taken care of properly. The brahmanas are traditionally intelligent men, and thus they will be able to pick up modern education to the topmost rank, but as far as moral and religious principles are concerned, they shall be the most fallen. Education and bad character go ill together, but such things will run parallel. The administrative heads as a class will condemn the tenets of Vedic wisdom and will prefer to conduct a so-called secular state, and the so-called educated brahmanas will be purchased by such unscrupulous administrators. Even a philosopher and writer of many books on religious principles may also accept an exalted post in a government which denies all the moral codes of the sastras. The brahmanas are specifically restricted from accepting such service. But in this age they will not only accept service, but they wil l do so even if it is of the meanest quality. These are some of the symptoms of the Kali age which are harmful to the general welfare of human society."

"In this age, people are indulging in the necessities of life, eating, sleeping, defending and mating, without following the rules and regulations, and this deterioration of social and moral rules is certainly lamentable because of the harmful effects of such beastly behavior. In this age, the fathers and the guardians are not happy with the behavior of their wards. They should know that so many innocent children are victims of bad association awarded by the influence of this age of Kali. In this age of Kali the poor innocent students are daily victims of cinemas which attract men only for sex indulgence."

"Nowadays, men without proper training by culture and tradition are promoted to exalted posts by the votes of the people who are themselves fallen in the rules and regulations of life. How can such people select a proper man when they are themselves fallen in the standard of life? Therefore, by the influence of the age of Kali, everywhere, politically, socially or religiously, everything is topsy-turvy, and therefore for the sane man it is most regrettable."

- Srimad Bhagavatam 1.16.19-22

In the twelth canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam Srila Sukadeva Goswami relates how after the thorough degradation of the brahminical and administrative classes these and other symptoms of Kali-yuga increase to an intolerable level.

"Sukadeva Goswami said: Then, O King, religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the age of Kali. In Kali-yuga, wealth alone will be considered a sign of a man's good birth, proper behavior and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on the basis of one's power. Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and success in business will depend on deceit. Womanliness and manliness will be judged according to one's expertise in sex, and a man will be known as a brahmana just by his wearing a thread. A person's spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external symbols, and on the same basis people will change from one spiritual order to the next. A person's propriety will be seriously questioned if he does not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar. A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be accepted as virtue. Marriage will be arranged simply by verbal agreement, and a person will think he is fit to appear in public if he has merely taken a bath. A sacred place will be taken to consist of no more than a reservoir of water located at a distance, and beauty will be thought to depend on one's hairstyle. Filling the belly will become the goal of life, and one who is audacious will be accepted as truthful. He who can maintain a family will be regarded as an expert man, and the principles of religion will be observed only for the sake of reputation."

"As the earth becomes crowded with a corrupt population, whoever among any of the social classes shows himself to be the strongest will gain political power. Losing their wives and properties to such avaricious and merciless rulers, who will behave no better than ordinary theives, the citizens will flee to the mountains and forests. Harassed by famine and excessive taxes, people will resort to eating leaves, roots, flesh, wild honey, fruits, flowers and seeds. Struck by drought, they will become completely ruined. The citizens will suffer greatly from cold, wind, heat, rain and snow. They will be further tormented by quarrels, hunger, thirst, disease and severe anxiety. The maximum duration of life for human beings in Kali-yuga will become fifty years.

By the time the age of Kali ends, the bodies of all creatures will be greatly reduced in size, and the religious principles of followers of varnasrama will be ruined. The path of the Vedas will be completely forgotten in human society, and so-called religion will be mostly atheistic. The kings will mostly be thieves, the occupations of men will be stealing, lying and needless violence, and all the social classes will be reduced to the lowest level of sudras. Cows will be like goats, spiritual hermitages will be no different from mundane houses, and family ties will extend no further than the immediate bonds of marriage. Most plants and herbs will be tiny, and all trees will appear like dwarf sami trees. Clouds will be full of lightning, homes will be devoid of piety, and all human beings will have become like asses. At that time, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will appear on the earth. Acting with the power of pure spiritual goodness, He will rescue eternal religion."

- Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.1-16


"In the age of Kali only one fourth of the religious principles remains. That last remnant will continuously be decreased by the ever-increasing principles of irreligion and will finally be destroyed."

"In the age of Kali people tend to be greedy, ill-behaved and merciless, and they fight one another without good reason. Unfortunate and obsessed with material desires, the people of Kali-yuga are almost all sudras and barbarians. When there is a predominance of cheating, lying, sloth, sleepiness, violence, depression, lamentation, bewilderment, fear and poverty, that age is Kali, the age of the mode of ignorance. Because of the bad qualities of the age of Kali, human beings will become shortsighted, unfortunate, gluttonous, lustful and poverty-stricken. The women, becoming unchaste, will freely wander from one man to the next. Cities will be dominated by theives, the Vedas will be contaminated by speculative interpretations of atheists, political leaders will virtually consume the citizens, and the so-called priests and intellectualls will be devotees of their bellies and genitals. The brahmacaris will fail to execute their vows and become generally unclean, the householders will become beggars, the vanaprasthas will live in the villages, and the sannyasis will become greedy for wealth."

"Women become much smaller in size, and they will eat too much, have more children than they can properly take care of, and lose all shyness. They will speak harshly and will exhibit qualities of thievery, deceit and unrestrained audacity."

"Businessmen will engage in petty commerce and earn their money by cheating. Even when there is no emergency, people will consider any degraded occupation quite acceptable. Servants will abandon a master who has lost his wealth, even if that master is a s aintly person of exemplary character. Masters will abandon an incapacitated servant, even if that servant has been in the family for generations. Cows will be abandoned or killed when they stop giving milk."

"In Kali-yuga men will be wretched and controlled by women. They will reject their fathers, brothers, other relatives and friends and will instead associate with the sisters and brothers of their wives. Thus their conception of friendship will be based exclusively on sexual ties. Uncultured men will accept charity on behalf of the Lord and will earn their livelihood by making a show of austerity and wearing a mendicant's dress. Those who know nothing about religion will mount a high seat and presume to speak on religious principles."

"In the age of Kali, people's minds will always be agitated. They will become emaciated by famine and taxation, my dear King, and will always be disturbed by fear of drought. They will lack adequate clothing, food and drink, will be unable to properly re st, 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."

"In Kali-yuga men will develop hatred for each other even over a few coins. Giving up friendly relations, they will be ready to lose their own lives and kill even their own relatives. Men will no longer protect their elderly parents, their children or the ir respectable wives. Thoroughly degraded, they will care only to satisfy their own bellies and genitals."


"O King, in the age of Kali people's intelligence will be diverted by atheism, and they will almost never offer sacrifice to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the supreme spiritual master of the universe. Although the great personalities who control the three worlds all bow down to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, the petty and miserable human beings of this age will not do so."


"Terrified, about to die, a man collapses on his bed. Although his voice is faltering and he is hardly conscious of what he is saying, if he utters the holy name of the Supreme Lord he can be freed from the reaction of his fruitive work and achieve the supreme destination. But still people in the age of Kali will not worship the Supreme Lord."

- Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.24-44