Hindu Last Days

Hindu Last Days

Question: Do you believe we’re in the ‘last days’?

RADHIKA SEKAR holds a PhD in religious studies and taught Hinduism courses at Carleton and University of Ottawa. An aspiring Vedantin, she is a devotee of the Sri Ramakrishna Mission.

People have been predicting the “end” since the beginning, associating the “last days” to a period of righting the scales of righteousness. “Whenever there is decay of righteousness ... I (the Lord) will come forth to destroy evil and re-establish Order!” (Chapter 4 Bhagavad Gita).

Eastern philosophies view the world as a corporeal organism within which everything — from cells to galaxies to single planets and human beings are subject to continuous and natural cycles of creation, expansion and dissolution.

One such cycle is approximately 4.1 billion years in human time but represents only 12 hours in the day of the Creator Lord Brahma; a full Brahma day (24 hours) is 8.2 billion human years. The lifetime of a single Brahma lasts a thousand years (you do the math), at which point the universe is dissolved and after a suitable period of non-activity (pralaya) is regenerated once more.

Each cycle, is subdivided into four eras (yugas) of varying lengths, beginning with the Satya and ending in the fourth Kali Yuga. They repeat like the seasons, waxing and waning within the greater time-cycle of creation and dissolution.

It is believed that a gradual corrosion of spirituality occurs from the first golden age of Satya to the fourth Kali, which brings increasing discord. Morality is reduced to only a quarter of what it used to be.

We are now believed to be in the Kali Yuga which, according to some, began at midnight on Jan. 23 3102 BCE (Gregorian calendar). The end (Kali lasts about 432,000 years so we have a while yet) will be predicted by the appearance of the tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Kalki.

Kali Yuga may also be interpreted as the final stage in the physical evolution from vigour to decay, or spiritually from innocence to worldly knowledge and ultimately wisdom leading to the destruction of karma.

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