Book IV, chapter xxiv

translated from the Sanskrit with Notes by H. H. Wilson.

There will be contemporary monarchs, reigning over the earth; kings of churlish spirit, violent temper, and ever addicted to falsehood and wickedness. They will inflict death on women, children, and cows; they will seize upon the property of their subjects; they will be of limited power, and will, for the most part, rapidly rise and fall: their lives will be short, their desires insatiable; and they will display but little piety. The people of the various countries intermingling with them will follow their example; and, the barbarians being powerful in the patronage of the princes, whilst purer tribes are neglected, the people will perish. Wealth and piety will decrease day by day, until the world will be wholly depraved. Then property alone will confer rank; wealth will be the only source of devotion; passion will be the sole bond of union between the sexes; falsehood will be the only means of success in litigation; and women will be objects merely of sensual gratification. Earth will be venerated but for its mineral treasures that is, there will be no Tirthas — places held sacred, and objects of pilgrimage; no particular spot of earth will have any especial sanctity; the Brahmanical thread will constitute a Brahman; external types (as the staff and red garb) will be the only distinctions of the several orders of life; dishonesty will be the (universal) means of subsistence; weakness will be the cause of dependence; menace and presumption will be substituted for learning; liberality will be devotion — simple ablution will be purification; mutual assent will be marriage; fine clothes will be dignity; and water afar off will be esteemed a holy spring. Amidst all castes, he who is the strongest will reign over a principality [Bhu-mandala, “the earth”] thus vitiated by many faults. The people, unable to bear the heavy burthens [the original has kara-bhara, “load of taxes”] imposed upon them by their avaricious sovereigns, will take refuge amongst the valleys of the mountains, and will be glad to feed upon (wild) honey, herbs, roots, fruits, leaves, and flowers: their only covering will be the bark of trees; and they will be exposed to the cold, and wind, and sun, and rain. No man’s life will exceed three and twenty years. Thus, in the Kali age, shall decay constantly proceed, until the human race approaches its annihilation. [We read in the Bhagavata-Purana, XII, ii: “When the splendor of Vishnu, named Krishna, departed for heaven, then did the Kali age, during which men delight in sin, invade the world. So long as he continued to touch the earth with his holy feet, so long the Kali age was unable to subdue the world.”]

When the practices taught by the Vedas and the institutes of law shall nearly have ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, a portion of that divine being who exists, of his own spiritual nature, in the character of Brahma, and who is the beginning and the end, and who comprehends all things, shall descend upon earth: he will be born in the family of Vishnuyasas — an eminent Brahman of Sambhala village — as Kalki, endowed with the eight superhuman faculties. By his irresistible might he will destroy all the Mlechchhas [foreigners] and thieves, and all whose minds are devoted to iniquity. He will, then, reestablish righteousness upon earth; and the minds of those who live at the end of the Kali age shall be awakened, and shall be as pellucid as crystal. The men who are, thus, changed by virtue of that peculiar time shall be as the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita age (or age of purity). As it is said: “When the sun and moon, and (the lunar asterism) Tishya, and the planet Jupiter are in one mansion, the Krita age shall return.” [The Bhagavata agrees with the text in these particulars. The chief star of Tishya, also called Pushya, is in the constellation Cancer.]