Tag Archives: Kali-Yuga

No Time for Jibber Jabber!!!

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.16.1

Sūta said:

Then, guided by the best of the twice-born, Parīkṣit governed the earth as a great devotee. Indeed, he developed all the great qualities foreseen by the astrologers when he was born.

“Twice-born” refers to a person with excellent education. The first birth is for the body, the second is for the mind. The word for “great devotee” is mahā-bhāgavata. This could be more elaborately translated as, “Great All-Attracted.” The word for “astrologers” is abhijāta-kovida, which could be more elaborately translated as, “experts in extrapolating the birth.”

2

He married Uttara’s daughter, Irāvatī. They had four children: Janamejaya, etc.

3

He held three horse sacrifices [aśvamedhā] by the Ganges. At these he gave abundant charity. He made Śaradvan’s son [Kṛpā] the master. There, the gods could came within the range of the senses.

4

Once, while victoriously travelling the world, he heroically used his power to arrest Kali, a low class man in the form of a king who was destroying the legs of a cow-couple.

Here, Kali refers to the personified kali-yuga. Pretention and fakery is his primary character trait. The cow-couple refers to the cow of Mother Earth and the bull of dharma. Dharma has four “legs” – pillars that hold up morality: truthfulness, simplicity, compassion, and cleanliness. In each age another leg is broken. The only leg that remains in Kali Yuga is truthfulness. The age itself pummels away at this leg so that it crumbles and is completely destroyed as the age progresses.

5

Śaunaka said:

During this victory travels, why did he arrest Kali, a low class man in a king’s costume beating the leg of a cow? O blessed one, please tell us about this if it is a part of what you wish to tell us about Kṛṣṇa.

Śaunaka is surprised that Parīkṣit merely arrested and did not kill such a dangerous person. But this verse is very special because it clearly shows the standard by which the Bhāgavatam was composed, and by which we must also present it. There are all sorts of topics covered in Bhāgavatam, but all of them have explicit and direct relevance to devotional discussion of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Vasudeva’s son.

6

Those who drink the real nectar from his lotus-like feet have no interest in wasting their life on unreal jabbering.

7

My boy, short-lived human mortals who desire immortality should befriend the lord of death, who suspends his activities when invited to devotional discussions.

8

No one dies so long as the death-lord is present. That is why the great sages invited him here. Ho! Let us humans now drink the immortal nectar of words about the activities of Hari!

Śaunaka tells Sūta he would like to hear more details about Parīkṣit’s arrest of Kali, if and only insofar as such discussion involves Kṛṣṇa. He wants to drink the delicious nectar from the lotus-like feet of Kṛṣṇa, so he has no interest at all in wasting his life by jibber jabbering about illusions and unreal details. When one discusses Kṛṣṇa the lord of death, Yāma, himself comes to hear the delightful narrations suspending his normal activities. Thus one who submerges himself in Kṛṣṇa-kathā never dies, but goes on and on relishing the ever-new deliciousness of the All-Attractive. This is the poetic metaphor Śaunaka spontaneously composed.

9

Small, small-minded, and certainly with small lifespan; the people of this age sleep away their nights and work away their days for nothing.

Without the immortal nectar of Hari-kathā our short lives are wasted on nothing of importance; we become stunted in every way.


Transcending Death

41-42

He sacrificed his words and everything into his mind, and that into his life breath. He pressed that breath downward into death and sacrificed that into his five elements.  The five he wisely sacrificed to the triplicate, and that into the singular. All of these together as one self he sacrificed into the spiritual self, which is inexhaustible.

For a bear, the first part of hibernation is to withdraw into a cave. For a turtle, the first part of winter’s sleep is to withdraw its head and limbs into its shell. For a human, the first part of absolute renunciation is to mentally and emotionally withdraw oneself from the world step by step.

The self extends into the world step by step, and we can withdraw it along the same route in reverse. The withdrawal begins with all of the physical activities we perform with our senses. “Sacrificing these into the mind” means stopping all those activities and giving their energy to the mind. Next, we take all the contemplations, opinions, and desires of the mind and grind them all to a halt. The energy released by halting the ever-wandering mind is then placed into our life’s breath. Then we push the life’s breath downward, allowing death to begin taking claim of our body. When death claims the body, it recycles it by breaking it down into the chemical components that form it. There are five categories of components: called earth (solids), water (liquids), fire (energies), air (gasses), and ether (space).

The five elemental components are products of a “triplicate:” three types of energy that produces material phenomena. These three are sattva, rajas, and tamas. To fully relinquish ownership of our body, and go beyond an ordinary death we must consciously give the five components of our body back to the three energies that produced them. These three energies come from a singular substance, called mahat, which more or less is identical to the singularity that the majority of modern astronomers present as being the original source of everything in the universe. To transcend death we must further give the three energies back to the source from which we obtained them: the singularity.

Beyond the singularity is consciousness!

Thus the next phase of mental preparation for transcendence is to end the singularity by giving it back to the conscious self. The conscious self is not the ultimate root of being. There root of the conscious self is the All-Conscious Self. The final stage of dedication to transcendence is to give every energy that has been amalgamated into the conscious self and dedicate all of it fully to the All-Conscious Self, which is avyaye (inexhaustible) and therefore the original root of emanations.

Yudhiṣṭhira performed this mental dedication after fulfilling all his worldly responsibilities and duties and before taking any external dress or behavior of a renunciate.

43

Dressed in rags, not eating, binding his words, unbinding his hair, he began to see his spiritual form. Like an uncultured insane demon, he waited for and relied on no one and nothing. He listened to no one, as if he was deaf.

44

He went north, following the great souls who had gone before him for the same reasons. With no concept of time he went forward rapt in meditation upon the supreme spirit within his heart.

45-46

All his brothers decisively followed him, having seen that the immorality of Kali-yuga had embraced the relations of all the people of earth. They had done everything saintly and accomplished everything worldly. They knew the ultimate destination and origin of the soul. So, their minds always embraced the lotus-like feet of The Tranquil.

The chances of succeeding in premature absolute renunciation are exceedingly slim. That narrow margin is navigated only by those whose past lives are exceptional and rare. For the vast, vast majority of us, renunciation cannot be truly embraced without first fulfilling all our worldly responsibilities and thus exercise all our worldly desires in a way that simultaneously exorcises them.

The purpose of renunciation is to dedicate the soul into the all-soul, as explained previously in describing how Yudhiṣṭhira prepared himself for renunciation. The result of such dedication is that the soul is always rapt in loving embrace with the all-soul. Thus Sūta describes Yudhiṣṭhira as being rapt in such embrace in the core of his being, and here describes the contemplations of his brothers as constantly rapt in an embrace with vaikuṇṭha-caraṇāmbuja, the lotus-like feet of The Tranquil.

The Tranquil is a name for the spiritual Viṣṇu, Nārāyaṇa – who generates an atmosphere which is absolutely devoid of worry and anxiety.

47-48

That meditation of divine love liberated them into completely pure transcendental consciousness. This singular contemplation took them to the destination: Nārāyaṇa’s feet. They attained what is unattainable. Cleansed of the pollution of temporary, unreal, exploitive self-concepts, they went to the place beyond the Viraja River without changing their identities.

The world of Nārāyana is a place of absolute spiritual consciousness beyond the river “Viraja” (a flow of “passions” which contaminate consciousness towards selfishness). Yudhiṣṭhira and his brothers had already cleansed themselves of all such selfish conceptions, therefore they crossed the river without further transformations. They entered the spiritual sky with their same pure identities as Yudhiṣṭhira, etc.

49

Vidura also completely renounced his material self, in a place called Prabhāsa. His thoughts like clothes wrapped around Kṛṣṇa, he went to his own station surrounded by the Pitṛ.

Vidura was an incarnation of Yāma, the god of death. After finishing his term as Vidura he returned to his place among the exalted deceased (the Pitṛ) and resumed his responsibilities as Yāma. But as a result of his tenure as Vidura, his consciousness was now completely wrapped around Kṛṣṇa.

50

Draupadī too, fully aware that her husbands would not take care of her, gave her undivided attention to the All-Attractive son of Vasudeva, and went to him.

51

He who is interested in this tale of those who are beloved by the All-Attractive,
The departure of the children of Pāṇḍu for their ultimate destination,
Just hearing it, one gains purifying good fotune,
And gets perfected divine love for Hari.


How to Read Omens

1.14.1

Sūta said:

Jiṣṇu [Arjuna – “The Triumphant”] went to Dvārakā to see his relatives and find out what Kṛṣṇa (whose glories are purifying) was doing.

2

When he had not returned after a few months, the leader of the Kurus [Yudhiṣṭhira] observed many different omens of ill fortune.

3

A terrible fate was foretold in unseasonal weather, and by people adopting cruel ways marked by anger, greed, and deceit.

4

Cheating and duplicity polluted the behavior of protectors: fathers, mothers, well-wishers and brothers. Husbands and wives quarreled.

5

Many very bad omens indicated that the time had come for humanity to drift away. Seeing so many immoral and base deeds driven by greed and the like, the King spoke to his younger brother.

These are not so much “omens” in general, as they are omens specifically that Kali-Yuga had begun, the age in which the glory of humanity fades and drifts away. This in turn indicates that Kṛṣṇa was no longer on Earth.

6

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

Jiṣṇu [Arjuna – “The Triumphant”] went to Dvārakā to see his relatives and find out what Kṛṣṇa (whose glories are purifying) was doing.

7

Bhīmasena, it is now seven months since he went. I have no information about why he has not returned.

8

Maybe it is what the Sage of Gods [Nārada] told us: The time has come for the All-Attractive to dissolve the manifestation of himself and his expansions?

9

By his kindness we got our wealth, power, wives and our very lives, and our kingdom and subjects; vanquishing our enemies.

10

O Lion of Men, look at the ill signs in the sky, on the earth, and in ourselves. These are signs of imminent danger, fear, and bewilderment.

11

My left thigh, eye, and arm quiver again and again. My heart palpitates fearsomely. These are signs of ill fortune.

Repeated twitching on the left side of the male body portends ill fortune. I have heard that for women it is the right side which is inauspicious. The opposite sides for each gender portend good fortune.

12

This she-jackal howls at the rising sun, with fire in her mouth. Brother, this dog barks and growls at me without fear!

When things happen out of order, or opposite of their normal behavior, it portends ill-fortune. By this general template, all sorts of events in the world can be interpreted. Wolves and the like are supposed to howl at the moon, not the sun. While so doing the rising sun appeared like flames coming from the jackal’s mouth – making it more pronounced as an ill omen. A dog should be submissive to powerful humans, but here a dog was fearlessly growling angrily and barking in the face of the powerful King.

13

Auspicious and less auspicious animals pass me with their left side. O Lion of Men, my horses weep when they see me.

This “passing” means to encircle. It is auspicious to be encircled in a clockwise motion. To be circled counterclockwise (which occurs when the encircling person keeps you on their left) is inauspicious.

14

There is a dead dove like a messenger of death. Owls and their rivals, the crows, shriek disturbingly as if they are trying to dissolve the entire world.

Auspicious (gentle) birds fell to ill, and inauspicious (harsh) birds prospered.

15

Thick fog and smoke encircles all directions. The earth and her hills tremble. Thunder and lightning comes without clouds.

These are more serious and rare omens.

16

The blasting wind cuts us. The dust raised creates darkness. Blood rains from the clouds making everything look like a disaster-area.

“Blood rain” arises when red dust mixes with the falling rain. It is a terrible and rare omen.

17

Look! The Sun has lost its glow. The planets war with one another in the sky. Ghosts possess people, who howl as if they were on fire!

The Sun loses its glow during an eclipse. The planets war with one another when they occupy the same location in the sky (currently we measure it as the same zodiac degree).

18

Streams, rivers and ponds are polluted, as are our minds. Oil will not catch fire. What fate is about to befall us!?

19

Calves do not suck the teat, and their mothers do not give milk. The bulls do not play in the fields. They simply stand with tears streaming down their face.

20

Deities seem to cry and perspire like they want to leave their temples. The beauty and happiness of these cities, villages, towns, gardens, hills, and cottages is ruined. What horrors will we see!?

21

I believe that these terrible upheavals are omens that the Earth, who bore the beautiful footprints of the All-Attractive, is now dispossessed and her fortune destroyed.

Yudhiṣṭhira now gives a dire interpretation of these severe omens: “The earth was blessed with the greatest fortune. She bore the beautiful footprints of the All-Attractive. All these horrible signs can only indicate that the earth has been cast into the deepest despair over the loss and destruction of her greatest treasure. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is no longer on Earth.”


Facing Death with Integrity

1.13.12-13

To answer the moral King’s questions, Vidura fully described all his experiences, one after another, leaving out the destruction of the Yadu dynasty. “Disturbing, painful things find us on their own, I need not tell him.” Compassionate Vidura could not bear to see their grief.

14

With the intention of benefiting his elder brother and bringing happiness to all, he stayed with them for some time, and was well treated with all amenities like a god.

15

While Yama was cursed to spend one hundred years in the body of a śūdra, Aryamā administered his duties of appropriately punishing the sinful.

Possibly this verse was directed by Sūta towards a question from the audience of sages, “Since Vidura is the incarnation of Yama, why was there no disturbance in the process of death, as there usually is whenever Yama leaves his post?”

16

Vidura saw that Yudhiṣṭhira’s kingdom was regained, there was a grandson to carry on the dynasty, and all the brothers were taking good care of the citizens, enjoying life with paramount opulence.

17

Those who are attached to these sorts of enjoyment become intoxicated and lost in them. Unseen, time’s supremely powerful doom creeps up on them.

Vidura thought of his brother, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, in this way.

18

Recognizing this, Vidura went to Dhṛtarāṣṭra and said, “King! Get out right now! Look! What you fear most is on the threshold!

Shocked, Dhṛtarāṣṭra asks, “What is it!?! What horrible doom approaches!?”

19

“There is no escape for anyone at any time! O Powerful One, it is the doom of the all-powerful that comes to all of us.

20

“It will overtake you and steal from your clinging grasp the thing you most adore: your very life! What else!? What of your wealth and so on!?

21

“Your father, brother, protectors and sons are all dead. Your own life is spent, and you are in the grip of old age. Yet you live on in someone else’s home?

22

“From the beginning you were blind. Now your hearing and memory are crippled, too. Your teeth rattle and your stomach limps. Cacophonously you cough up phlegm.

23

“Aho! How people desperately cling to their hopes for life!!! Like a groveling dog you now eat the scraps left to you by Bhīma.

24

“You set fire to their home, gave them poison, and degraded their wife! You stole their lands and wealth! …Now you must live on their charity?

Will we sink to any humiliation to cling to the rotting, decrepit old body? Our will we proudly and bravely cast it off when it is worn out?

25

“Your body clings to life like a pitiful miser; yet still dwindles against your will, like old clothing.

26

“If you really want what is good for you, free yourself entirely from all these bonds. Go someplace unknown and cast off your body. Such a man is called wise.

27

“The best person is he who becomes detached from this world and gives up his possessions and life with his very self wholeheartedly fixed upon Hari. It doesn’t matter if it is due to his own inspiration or the inspiration given by someone else.

28

“Therefore go northward. Tell no one where. Very soon the time is coming when humanity will diminish.”

Even if the old man could live on, all he would see is the decrepitude of Kali-Yuga, which was on the verge of beginning.