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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Kaliyuga

Kaliyuga

or the KALI AGE, is the fourth or last age of the Maha, or great age, (See YUGA), and bears some resemblance to the Iron Age of classical mythology. The Hindus, recognising, like all religionists of antiquity, that man by sin-has fallen from his high estate, have divided the world's existence into four periods, which are marked by successive physical and moral decrements of created beings. They hold that the present period is the last one, that it consists of 432,000 solar sidereal years, and that the Kali Age began B.C. 3102. "In the Krita (or first) age," Manu says, "the (genius of) Truth and Right (in the form of a bull) stands firm on his four feet, nor does any advantage accrue to men from iniquity. But in the following ages, by reason of unjust gains, he is deprived successively of one foot; and even just emoluments, through the prevalence of theft, falsehood, and fraud, are gradually diminished by one foot (i.e. by a fourth part)." The estimate in which Kaliyuga, our present age, is held by the modern Hindus may be gathered from one of their most celebrated Puranas, the Padma-Purana. In the last chapter of one of the books (Kriyayogasara) of this Purana, the following account, which we take from Chambers, Cyclopaedia (s.v. Kaliyuga), is given of it: "In the Kaliyuga (the genius of) Right will have but one foot; every one will delight in evil.

The four castes will be devoted to wickedness, and deprived of the nourishment which is fit for them. The Brahmans will neglect the Vedas, hanker after presents, be lustful and cruel. They will despise the Scriptures, gamble, steal, and desire intercourse with widows... For the sake of a livelihood, some Brahmans will become arrant rogues... The Sudras will endeavor to lead the life of the Brahmans, and, out of friendship, people will bear false witness. they will injure the wives of others, and their speech will be that of falsehood. Greedy of the wealth of others, they will entertain a guest according to the behest of the Scriptures, but afterwards kill him out of covetousness; they are indeed worthy of hell. The twice-born (i.e. the first three castes) will live upon debts, sell the produce of cows, and even their daughters. In this Yuga men will be under the sway of women, and women will be excessively fickle ... In the Kaliyuga the earth will bear but little corn'; the clouds will shed but little rain, and that, too, out of season. The cows will feed on ordure, and give little milk, and the milk will yield no butter'; there is no doubt of that. ... Trees, even, will wither in twelve years, and the age of mankind will not exceed sixteen years; people, moreover, will become grayhaired in their youth; women will bear children in their fifth or sixth year, and men will become troubled with a great number of children. In the Kaliyuga the foreigners will become kings; bent upon evil; and those living in foreign countries will be all of one caste, and out of lust take to themselves many wives. In the first twilight of the Kaliyuga people will disregard Vishnu, and in the middle of it no one will even mention his name." There is a remarkable identity of the Hindu belief with that of the Hebrew as to redemption from this sinful state by a Messiah. See Hardwick, Christ and other Masters, i, 303 sq., 329 sq.; Weber, Indische Studien, ii, 411; Wilson, Asiatic Researches, 10:27 sq.; Alger, History of the Doctrine of a Future Life, p. 111 sq.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Kaliyuga'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/k/kaliyuga.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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