In 2020 I gave a talk about the Kali Yuga. I still had no idea what was coming….
But first to back track to 2016…
As I said, this is a very personal story: In 2016 a couple of friends started posting about a protest in North Dakota, USA asking for donations. At first my gut reaction was: “What’s this got to do with me?” but reading the material they shared, somehow I was drawn in: what was happening on the other side of the world felt, in some unfathomable way, relevant to me personally.
Standing Rock is the name of the site that was earmarked for drilling an oil pipeline due to run under the Missouri river. As I understand it, this was the first time that all the Native American tribes had come together as one to draw a line in the sand.
Something about the frequency of that gathering was so powerful that it was felt across the globe and reached me across the ocean, both touching me and galvanising me. A friend designed T shirts to help raise money for the cause, and here I am on New Year’s Day 2017
Something in me was energised through the connection. I felt as though I had gone onto turbo charge; but it also felt global, this was not just a personal experience: it was universal: whether others were aware of it or not, it was happening to us all.
During that time some words came to me like messages from the deepest part of me…
“The time for gurus is done: I am my own guru.”
and “There is no individual healing without social healing.”
So what does all this have to do with the Kali Yuga?
The Vedic tradition describes four ages in which the cosmos itself is created and destroyed, in an endless cycle, beginning with a Golden Age (Satya Yuga) and ending in a final, Iron Age. This Iron Age is our age: the age of ignorance, known as the Kali Yuga.
Kali Yuga means the Age of Kali, the goddess of death; who brings not physical death, but the death of the ego: our self-centred view of reality, which is of course an illusion, because we are not separate.
The Kali Yuga is characterized by the loss of traditions and spiritual practices, which are instead replaced by the valuing of everything through materialism and money. In this final cycle there is an escalation of degradation and conflict, culminating in cataclysmic events, such as earthquakes and the spread of diseases.
Here are some of the main characteristics of the Kali Yuga:
- Many fake ideologies will spread throughout the world.
- People will believe things easily, they will be easily led.
- Those with power will dominate the poor.
- Rulers will become unreasonable: they will tax unfairly.
- Rulers will become a danger to the world.
- People will start migrating, seeking countries where people eat wheat.
- Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, physical strength and memory will diminish with each passing day.
- Greed and anger will be common.
- People will have thoughts of murder with no justification and will see nothing wrong in that.
- People will no longer get married and live with each other just for sexual pleasure.
- Sexual intercourse will be seen as the central requirement of life.
- People will become addicted to intoxicating drinks and drugs.
- Ready-made food will be sold
- Water will become scarce, polluted and must be bought
- People will declare themselves as gurus and make spirituality a business.
- Weather and the environment will degrade with time and frequent and unpredictable rainfalls will happen.
- Earthquakes will be common.
- Many diseases will spread.
And lastly, it is foretold that Kali Yuga will be full of extreme hardships for people with ideals and values.
Does any of that sound familiar?
One reason I find the Kali Yuga a useful metaphor is because it helps me to orient myself. It helps me to know that some of the things that are happening in the world are not normal, not inevitable and will not go on forever.
There are differing opinions and complex arguments amongst Vedic scholars as to when the Kali Yuga actually ends – some people believe it has already ended, others that it is about to end imminently; personally I think we may be in the 300 year transition period after the end; as these periods are categorised by the greatest upheaval.
According to the Yuga Cycle doctrine, the transitional periods between Yugas are always associated with a worldwide collapse of civilizations and severe environmental catastrophes, which wipe out virtually every trace of any human civilization. The new civilization that emerges in the new Yuga is guided by a few survivors of the cataclysm, who carry with them the technical and spiritual knowledge of the previous epoch and so the new cycle begins: the seed of the new Golden Age emerges like a phoenix rising out of the ashes of the Kali Yuga.
Are you aware of this new civilisation yet? What if it is already here? What if it is what could be felt palpably in the coming together of more than a hundred Native American tribes?
And if it is not being written about in the newspapers and is not being shown on TV, how would you know that it is already present?
Many things have changed since 2020: A lot more people have started growing vegetables, often coming together in groups, buying land collectively, even living off-grid. Even amongst those who are on the fringes of what is emerging, we see moves to work less hours: down-sizing and prioritising quality of life over income and status. In my local village there is a lovely example of a different way of self-organising: a repair café has sprung up where you can get pretty much anything fixed for no money by a team of volunteers.
I could give you so many more examples, happening across the globe; but even better – I can point you to a website that lists many of these, put together by two women who are an example in themselves: tirelessly researching these beautiful projects for no money and with no shop or monetising of their website. Just click on the image to have a look at what they have found…
Modern science says time is relative and is also considered an illusion. One person can live in Kali Yuga while others live in Satya Yuga or any other Yuga. It is up to us choose at each moment which age we associate ourselves with by our words, thoughts and actions: We can be part of the fake news and consumerism that run rife in the Kali Yuga, where man believes he can triumph over nature, where fear and greed drive our actions; or we can be part of the new world which is now emerging: a world that is aligned with nature and heart-centred; operating out of love itself.
Most of the information on the Kali Yuga is from “Journeys in the Kali Yuga” by Aki Cederberg