Beginning of the age of Kali

Margaret Dale - April 1, 2007 11:45 pm

In the Bhagavad Gita 4.7 and 4.8, Krishna says, "Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion — at that time I descend Myself. To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium."

Then in Srimad Bhagavatam 1.15.36 - 37, Suta Goswami says, "When the Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, left this earthly planet in His selfsame form, from that very day Kali, who had already partially appeared, became fully manifest to create inauspicious conditions for those who are endowed with a poor fund of knowledge. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was intelligent enough to understand the influence of the age of Kali, characterized by increasing avarice, falsehood, cheating and violence throughout the capital, state, home and among individuals."

I am confused by this because in the first verses, Krsna seems to be fixing things, but then immediately after he leaves, things fall to pieces again. Why would he work to fix things for such a short duration of time? Can anyone help me out here?

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - April 2, 2007 10:56 pm

Krsna was not fixing things, he came for his devotees, to give knowledge which was lost over the years, kill some demons (as Visnu) and perform Vrindavan lila "on the location". He didn’t come to prevent kali-yuga from happening. Yuga cycle must continue, so Lord Kalki will come not to teach, but simply to chastise, punish, and cleanse the planet, before satya-yuga starts. Krsna didn’t do bad work in dwapara-yuga; it’s just how this cycle works.


To put things in perspective:


Satya Yuga = 4 charanas (1,728,000 solar years)

Treta Yuga = 3 charanas(1,296,000 solar years)

Dwapar Yuga = 2 charanas(864,000 solar years)

Kali Yuga = 1 charanas(432,000 solar years)


The cycle repeats itself so altogether there are 1000 cycles of yugas (called mahayuga) in one day of Brahma.


30 days of Brahma = 1 month of Brahma (259,200,000,000 solar years)

12 months of Brahma = 1 year of Brahma (3,110,400,000,000 solar years)

25 years of Brahma = 1 kalpa (77,760,000,000,000 solar years)

2 kalpas = 1 parardha (155,520,000,000,000 solar years) [6]

2 parardhas = 100 years of Brahma, the lifespan of Brahma (311,040,000,000,000 solar years)


After Brahma's "death", it is necessary that another 100 Brahma years pass until he is reborn and the whole creation begins anew. This process is repeated again and again, forever.


So, many years and many Avatars. Lord Chaitanya doesn't come that often though :)

This is your chance to grab a corner of his dhoti!

Margaret Dale - April 3, 2007 12:55 am

I guess the part that seems like the biggest disconnect to me is where BG says he comes to re-establish the principles of religion. Perhaps I am unclear on understanding why he is re-establishing these principles. The first thought I have is that it is to bring people back to practices and thoughts that advance them and helps them approach Krsna prema. Just after this though, it becomes difficult for people to practice religion easily, and it seems that the principles become even more obscured as Kali yuga starts. Sorry to belabor the point, but I am still having trouble understanding.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - April 3, 2007 1:57 am

From what I understand, Avatara comes to re-establish the principles of religion, meaning to refresh peoples memory and give a practice most suited for the psychology of people living at that time: dhyana (meditation) for satya-yuga, yajna (sacrifice) for treta-yuga, etc. So, “bring people back to practices” or giving new practices. For kali-yuga practice is hari-nama-yajna or sankirtan, which is much easier to perform for corrupted minds then dhyana for example. Now about Krsna prema. It’s a goal of our sampradaya, but don’t forget that even Vaisnavas from other sampradayas have different goal, so what to speak of Siva bhaktas? Hari-nama-yajna can be used simply just for attaining mukti for example. Another point is that the principles are not becoming more obscured as kali-yuga starts, but its peoples conditioning is getting worse, they cannot reason, cannot see truth in front of their eyes. So we get very easy practice, a little sraddha and you are moving forward.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - April 3, 2007 3:23 pm

Anybody else would like to comment? My answers definitely are NOT definitive.

Swami - April 7, 2007 7:48 pm

The Dvapara-yuga in which Sri Krsna himself appears is peculiar. Srila Rpabhupada explains,


"There is a chronological order of the four millenniums, namely Satya, Dvapara, Treta and Kali. But sometimes there is overlapping. During the regime of Vaivasvata Manu, there was an overlapping of the twenty-eighth round of the four millenniums, and the third millennium appeared prior to the second. In that particular millennium, Lord Sri Krsna also descends, and because of this there was some particular alteration."


The Bhagavata speaks of the Dvapara-yuga avatara thus:


"In Dvapara-yuga the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears with a dark blue complexion, wearing yellow garments. The Lord's transcendental body is marked in this incarnation with Srivatsa and other distinctive ornaments, and He manifests His personal weapons."


This does not necessarily descibe Krsna, and it does not speak directly of Vamsidhari. The idea is that the flute bearing Sri Krsna, who appears near the end of a peculiar Dvapara-yuga that occurs once in a day of Brahma, is not necessarily the yuga avatara of every Dvapara-yuga. In the Dvapara-yuga that he appears in he does establish dharma through his Vasudeva exapansion who speaks Bhagavad-gita, but more importantly he seeks to taste the highest love and distribute raga-bhakti. However, his attempt to do so meets with ontological problems and thus necessitates an encore appearance as Gaura Krsna.


All of this is very special and not the normal course. Therfore although our acaryas have not to my knoewledge written abou it, it is reasonable to conjectue that in other Dvapara-yugas the yuga avatara did not wait until the end of the yuga to appear. Jiva Goswami does remark that in the previous Dvapara-yuga the mentra of the age was known from the beginning of the age. This is in spite of the fact that Sri Krsna, appearing in the palce of the yuga avatara, came at the end of the yuga.

Margaret Dale - April 8, 2007 7:37 am

Guru Maharaja,

Thank you for presenting this information.

It has exposed my enormous ignorance and has created more questions for me. If Sri Krsna as the Isopanisad appears only in special Dvapara yugas, who then appears in the normal ones? Do the living beings in those days of Brahman then not have access to Krsna lila, either directly or through Srimad Bhagavatam? Is it only after this peculiar Dvarapa yuga that Lord Caitanya appears? In other Kali Yugas, is there a yuga avatar? Is Sri Krsna's appearance in Dvapara yuga dependent on the timing of the cycles, or does he appear at his pleasure?

As a corollary question, and I apologize for probably re-asking a question that has already been presented, why does Krsna need to descend to interact with his devotees if his eternal associates are always with him in Goloka? Is he picking up new jivas that have advanced enough to gain his association?

My head is spinning just a little bit.

Thank you. :Thinking: