Saturday, 28 January 2012

Kali Yuga as explained in Mahabharata (part I)

The Mahabharata is one of the two major epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of history.Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" . The latter are enumerated as right action ,purpose ,pleasure  liberation.

                                                         

"'The reading of  Mahâbhârata destroys all sin and produces virtue; so much so, that the pronunciation of a single shloka is sufficient to wipe away much guilt. This Mahâbhârata contains the history of the gods, of the Rishis in heaven and those on earth, of the Gandharvas and the Rákshasas. It also contains the life and actions of the one God, holy, immutable, and true,-who is Krishna, who is the creator and the ruler of this universe; who is seeking the welfare of his creation by means of his incomparable and indestructible power; whose actions are celebrated by all sages; who has bound human beings in a chain, of which one end is life and the other death; on whom the Rishis meditate, and a knowledge of whom imparts unalloyed happiness to their hearts, and for whose gratification and favor all the daily devotions are performed by all worshippers. If a man reads the Mahâbhârata and has faith in its doctrines, he is free from all sin, and ascends to heaven after his death "excerpts from   iliad and odessy of India

Following are the excerpts of a conversation between the Yudhishthira( the eldest son of Pandu) and  Muni Markandeya

 Yudhishthira-     'O thou foremost of all speakers, O Muni of Brigu’s race, that which we have heard from thee about the destruction and re-birth of all things at the end of the Yuga, is, indeed, full of wonder. I am filled with curiosity, however, in respect of what may happen in the Kali age. When morality and virtue will be at an end, what will remain there! What will be prowess of men in that age, what their food, and what their amusements? What will be the period of life at the end of the Yuga? What also is the limit, having attained which the Krita age will begin anew? Tell me all in detail, O Muni, for all that thou narratest is varied and delightful."

 Markandeya  --  Listen, O monarch, to all that has been seen and heard by me, and to all, O king of kings, that hath been known to me by intuition from the grace of the God of gods! O bull of the Bharata race, listen to me as I narrate the future history of the world during the sinful age. O bull of the Bharata race, in the Krita age, everything was free from deceit and guile and avarice and covetousness; and morality like a bull was among men, with all the four legs complete. In the Treta age sin took away one of these legs and morality had three legs. In the Dwapara, sin and morality are mixed half and half, and accordingly morality is said to have two legs only. In the dark age (of Kali), O thou best of the Bharata race, morality mixed with three parts of sin liveth by the side of men. Accordingly morality then is said to wait on men, with only a fourth part of itself remaining. Know, O Yudhishthira that the period of life, the energy, intellect and the physical strength of men decrease in every Yuga!
Wedded to avarice and wrath and ignorance and lust, men will entertain animosities towards one another, desiring to take one another’s lives.
O Pandava, the Brahmanas (Brahmins ) and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras, (in the Kali age) will practise morality and virtue deceitfully and men in general will deceive their fellows by spreading the net of virtue. And men with false reputation of learning will, by their acts, cause Truth to be contracted and concealed. And in consequence of the shortness of their lives, they will not be able to acquire much knowledge. And in consequence of the littleness of their knowledge, they will have no wisdom. And for this, covetousness and avarice will overwhelm them all. And wedded to avarice and wrath and ignorance and lust, men will entertain animosities towards one another, desiring to take one another’s lives.
And Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas with their virtue contracted and divested of asceticism and truth will all be reduced to an equality with the Sudras. And the lowest orders of men will rise to the position of the intermediate ones, and those in intermediate stations will without doubt, descend to the level of the lowest ones. Even such, O Yudhishthira, will become the state of the world at the end of the Yuga.
Excerpts from Mahabharta translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguly