The Vedic literature has prophesised about this present age of quarrel and hypocrisy or the Kali-yuga. The Kali-yuga means the fourth age. There are four different kinds of ages in the vedic timeline: Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga, Ova para-yuga, and Kali-yuga. Just like there are six seasons, or four seasons in a year, similarly, in one day of Brahma there are one hundred cycles of four yugas. Four yugas means forty-three hundred thousands of years. It is a very long period. That is the duration of four yugas. When one thousand yugas pass, then one day of Brahma-twelve hours are finished. It is a big calculation. Anyway, there are four yugas-Satya-yuga, Dvapara-yuga, Treta-yuga, and Kali-yuga.
In Satya-yuga, the religious principles are followed strictly, cent percent. That is called Satya-yuga. And in Treta-yuga, twenty-five percent reduced. That means seventy-five percent religious principles and twenty-five percent irreligious. And in the Dvapara-yuga, fifty-fifty: fifty percent religious and fifty percent irreligious. And the Kali-yuga, seventy-five percent irreligious and twenty-five percent religious, gradually reducing to nil-no more religion. Then finished. Then there will be devastation. Again Satya-yuga will begin. This is the way of change of Satya-yuga-Satya, Trete, Dvapara, Kali. The duration of Satya-yuga is about eighteen hundred thousand of years. Eighteen hundred thousands of years. Similarly, Treta-yuga, about twelve hundred thousands of years. Similarly, Dvapara-yuga, eight hundred thousands of years. And Kali-yuga four hundred thousands of years. This is the beginning of Kali-yuga. Out of about four hundred thousands of years, we have passed only 5,000 years. Kali-yuga has begun just after the Battle of Kuruksetra. So we have passed only about 5,000 years of this Kali-yuga and 4,27,000 years are still in balance.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam, which was written five thousand years ago by Veda Vyasa , an incarnation of the Lord Himself, pre-dicted the symptoms of the current age of quarrel and hypocrisy or Kali-Yuga. A few of these symptoms are described as:
"With the progress of this age, Kali-yuga, dharma, religious principles; satyam, truthfulness; Saucam, cleanliness; ksama, forgiveness; daya, mercifulness; ayuh, duration of life; balam, bodily strength and smrtih, memory will gradually reduce to nil, almost nil."
"vittam eva kalau nrnam. If you get money somehow or other, then everything is there. You may be a third-class, fourth-class, tenth-class man, but if you get money some way or other, then you are very respectable. There is no question of your culture or aristocracy or education or knowledge. This is Kali-yuga."
"dharma-nyaya-vyavasthayam karanam balam eva hi. And if you have got some influence, strength, then in your favour everything will be decided. You are the most irreligious person, but if you can bribe the priestly order, he will certify, Yes, you are religious.' So money, not actual qualification."
"avrttya nyaya-daurbalyam panditye capalam vacah. If you have no money, then you will never get justice in the court. If a man talks expertly, it doesn't matter what he talks. Even if nobody understands him, he is pandita or scholar."
"anadhyataivasadhutve sadhutve dambha eva tu, svikara eva codvahe snAnam eva prasadhanam Anadhyata. If you are poor man, then you are dishonest. People will understand that `This man is actually not honest because he does not know how to earn money by hook or crook."'
"satyatve dhAratyam eve hi. And one who will simply play jugglery of words, he will be considered as very truthful."
"daksyam kutumba-bharanam. One shall be considered very expert if he can maintain his family-wife and children. That means this will be difficult. It has already become difficult. To maintain wife and a few children, that is also a great burden at the present moment. Therefore nobody wants to marry."
Human society, at the present moment, is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has made rapid progress in the field of material com-forts, education and economic development throughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the social body at large, and therefore there are large-scale quarrels, even over less important issues. There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship and prosperity with a common cause.
The gross materialists, who cannot see beyond materialistic activities, find it impossible to believe that besides our material universe, a spiritual universe exists. Completely identifying with the body, such materialists are like animals, simply eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. They are so captivated by these four animalistic propensities that they lose the power to discriminate between sinful and pious activities. They tirelessly endeavour for a little sense gratification, but all their efforts end in futility. Many modern scientists have taken up the role of priests facilitating such gross activities, which are unbeneficial and fatal. These scientists have made available a variety of products meant simply to titillate the senses, thus creating a deadly competitive mood among the materialists, which has in turn caused an obnoxious atmosphere in society. People think they become free and independent through such sensual activities, but factually they become more tightly bound up in chains. The greater their accumulated wealth, the greater their anxiety and depravity. As much as they try to usurp the Supreme Lord's position of being the only enjoyer, that much and more are they drawn into the jaws of a horrible death. And these activities make a Herculean task out of such a simple and basic activity as sustaining the body, which needs a little nourishment only.
The endeavours human beings have made to establish a close and harmonious relationship with one another have culminated in the United Nations. This organization is based on the concept of the family unit. The gradual expansion of the family unit to a large community, to a village, to a state, to a country, and finally to a continent has given the clue for the formation of the United Nations. The thing to be noted, however, is its center. What is the central attraction? If the process of expansion were reversed, we would end up with the human body as the basic unit. The senses are of prime importance in the body; more important than the senses is the mind, then intelligence, and finally the false ego. And more important than the false ego is the real self, a pure spiritual being that is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, Visnu. Therefore the conclusion is that the fountainhead of everything is Lord Visnu. For this reason Prahlada Maharaja said,
"Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Visnu."
Those who lose sight of the center and become attracted to the externals are shallow and misguided. These misguided per-sons are in a sense blind; hence the world cannot expect them to give any guidance toward enlightenment. However much these blind people may pretend to guide and benefit other blind people, factually they are fully controlled by the will of providence.
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