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Chapter 189

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, once more asked thegreat Muni Markandeya about the future course of the government of theEarth.

“And Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou foremost of all speakers, O Muni ofBhrigu’s race, that which we have heard from thee about the destructionand re-birth of all things at the end of the Yuga, is, indeed, full ofwonder! I am filled with curiosity, however, in respect of what mayhappen in the Kali age. When morality and virtue will be at an end, whatwill remain there! What will be the prowess of men in that age, whattheir food, and what their amusements? What will be the period of life atthe end of the Yuga? What also is the limit, having attained which theKrita age will begin anew? Tell me all in detail, O Muni, for all thatthou narratest is varied and delightful.’

“Thus addressed, that foremost of Munis began his discourse again,delighting that tiger of the Vrishni race and the sons of Pandu as well.And Markandeya said, ‘Listen, O monarch, to all that hath been seen andheard by me, and to all, O king of kings, that hath been known to me byintuition from the grace of the God of gods! O bull of the Bharata race,listen to me as I narrate the future history of the world during thesinful age. O bull of the Bharata race, in the Krita age, everything wasfree from deceit and guile and avarice and covetousness; and moralitylike a bull was among men, with all the four legs complete. In the Tretaage sin took away one of these legs and morality had three legs. In theDwapara, sin and morality are mixed half and half; and accordinglymorality is said to have two legs only. In the dark age (of Kali), O thoubest of the Bharata race, morality mixed with three parts of sin livethby the side of men. Accordingly morality then is said to wait on men,with only a fourth part of itself remaining. Know, O Yudhishthira, thatthe period of life, the energy, intellect and the physical strength ofmen decrease in every Yuga! O Pandava, the Brahmanas and Kshatriyas andVaisyas and Sudras, (in the Kali age) will practise morality and virtuedeceitfully and men in general will deceive their fellows by spreadingthe net of virtue. And men with false reputation of learning will, bytheir acts, cause Truth to be contracted and concealed. And inconsequence of the shortness of their lives they will not be able toacquire much knowledge. And in consequence of the littleness of theirknowledge, they will have no wisdom. And for this, covetousness andavarice will overwhelm them all. And wedded to avarice and wrath andignorance and lust men will entertain animosities towards one another,desiring to take one another’s lives. And Brahmanas and Kshatriyas andVaisyas with their virtue contracted and divested of asceticism and truthwill all be reduced to an equality with the Sudras. And the lowest ordersof men will rise to the position of the intermediate ones, and those inintermediate stations will, without doubt, descend to the level of thelowest ones. Even such, O Yudhishthira, will become the state of theworld at the end of the Yuga. Of robes those will be regarded the bestthat are made of flax and of grain the Paspalum frumentacea[45] will beregarded the best. Towards this period men will regard their wives astheir (only) friends. And men will live on fish and milk, goats andsheep, for cows will be extinct. And towards that period, even they thatare always observant of vows, will become covetous. And opposed to oneanother, men will, at such a time, seek one another’s lives; and divestedof Yuga, people will become atheists and thieves. And they will even digthe banks of streams with their spades and sow grains thereon. And eventhose places will prove barren for them at such a time. And those men whoare devoted to ceremonial rites in honour of the deceased and of thegods, will be avaricious and will also appropriate and enjoy what belongsto others. The father will enjoy what belongs to the son; and the son,what belongs to the father. And those things will also be enjoyed by menin such times, the enjoyment of which hath been forbidden in thescriptures. And the Brahmanas, speaking disrespectfully of the Vedas,will not practise vows, and their understanding clouded by the science ofdisputation, they will no longer perform sacrifices and the Homa. Anddeceived by the false science of reasons, they will direct their heartstowards everything mean and low. And men will till low lands forcultivation and employ cows and calves that are one year old, in drawingthe plough and carrying burthens. And sons having slain their sires, andsires having slain their sons will incur no opprobrium. And they willfrequently save themselves from anxiety by such deeds, and even glory inthem. And the whole world will be filled with mleccha behaviour andnotions and ceremonies, and sacrifices will cease and joy will be nowhereand general rejoicing will disappear. And men will rob the possession ofhelpless persons of those that are friendless and of wisdoms also. And,possessed of small energy and strength, without knowledge and given toavarice and folly and sinful practices men will accept with joy the giftsmade by wicked people with words of contempt. And, O son of Kunti, thekings of the earth, with hearts wedded to sin without knowledge andalways boastful of their wisdom, will challenge one another from desireof taking one another’s life. And the Kshatriyas also towards the end ofsuch a period will become the thorns of the earth. And filled withavarice and swelling with pride and vanity and, unable and unwilling toprotect (their subjects), they will take pleasure in inflictingpunishments only. And attacking and repeating their attacks upon the goodand the honest, and feeling no pity for the latter, even when they willcry in grief, the Kshatriyas will, O Bharata, rob these of their wivesand wealth. And no one will ask for a girl (for purposes of marriage) andno one will give away a girl (for such purposes), but the girls willthemselves choose their lords, when the end of the Yuga comes. And thekings of the earth with souls steeped in ignorance, and discontented withwhat they have, will at such a time, rob their subjects by every means intheir power. And without doubt the whole world will be mlecchified.[46]And when the end of the Yuga comes, the right hand will deceive the left;and the left, the right. And men with false reputation of learning willcontract Truth and the old will betray the senselessness of the young,and the young will betray the dotage of the old. And cowards will havethe reputation of bravery and the brave will be cheerless like cowards.And towards the end of the Yuga men will cease to trust one another. Andfull of avarice and folly the whole world will have but one kind of food.And sin will increase and prosper, while virtue will fade and cease toflourish. And Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas will disappear,leaving, O king, no remnants of their orders. And all men towards the endof the Yuga will become members of one common order, without distinctionof any kind. And sires will not forgive sons, and sons will not forgivesires. And when the end approaches, wives will not wait upon and servetheir husbands. And at such a time men will seek those countries wherewheat and barley form the staple food. And, O monarch, both men and womenwill become perfectly free in their behaviour and will not tolerate oneanother’s acts. And, O Yudhishthira, the whole world will be mlecchified.And men will cease to gratify the gods by offerings of Sraddhas. And noone will listen to the words of others and no one will be regarded as apreceptor by another. And, O ruler of men, intellectual darkness willenvelop the whole earth, and the life of man will then be measured bysixteen years, on attaining to which age death will ensue. And girls offive or six years of age will bring forth children and boys of seven oreight years of age will become fathers. And, O tiger among kings, whenthe end of the Yuga will come, the wife will never be content with herhusband, nor the husband with his wife. And the possessions of men willnever be much, and people will falsely bear the marks of religion, andjealousy and malice will fill the world. And no one will, at that time,be a giver (of wealth or anything else) in respect to any one else. Andthe inhabited regions of the earth will be afflicted with dearth andfamine, and the highways will be filled with lustful men and women ofevil repute. And, at such a time, the women will also entertain anaversion towards their husbands. And without doubt all men will adopt thebehaviour of the mlecchas, become omnivorous without distinction, andcruel in all their acts, when the end of the Yuga will come. And, O thouforemost of the Bharatas, urged by avarice, men will, at that time,deceive one another when they sell and purchase. And without a knowledgeof the ordinance, men will perform ceremonies and rites, and, indeed,behave as listeth them, when the end of the Yuga comes. And when the endof the Yuga comes, urged by their very dispositions, men will actcruelly, and speak ill of one another. And people will, withoutcompunction, destroy trees and gardens. And men will be filled withanxiety as regards the means of living. And, O king, overwhelmed withcovetousness, men will kill Brahmanas and appropriate and enjoy thepossessions of their victims. And the regenerate ones, oppressed bySudras, and afflicted with fear, and crying Oh and Alas, will wander overthe earth without anybody to protect them. And when men will begin toslay one another, and become wicked and fierce and without any respectfor animal life, then will the Yuga come to an end. And, O king, even theforemost of the regenerate ones, afflicted by robbers, will, like crows,fly in terror and with speed, and seek refuge, O perpetuator of the Kururace, in rivers and mountains and inaccessible regions. And alwaysoppressed by bad rulers with burthens of taxes, the foremost of theregenerate classes, O lord of the earth, will, in those terrible times,take leave of all patience and do improper acts by becoming even theservants of the Sudras. And Sudras will expound the scriptures, andBrahmanas will wait upon and listen to them, and settle their course ofduty accepting such interpretations as their guides. And the low willbecome the high, and the course of things will look contrary. Andrenouncing the gods, men will worship bones and other relics depositedwithin walls. And, at the end of the Yuga, the Sudras will cease to waitupon and serve the Brahmanas. And in the asylums of great Rishis, and theteaching institutions of Brahmanas, and in places sacred to the gods andsacrificial compounds, and in sacred tanks, the earth will be disfiguredwith tombs and pillars containing bony relics and not graced with templesdedicated to the gods. All this will take place at the end of the Yuga,and know that these are the signs of the end of the Yuga. And when menbecome fierce and destitute of virtue and carnivorous and addicted tointoxicating drinks, then doth the Yuga come to an end. And, O monarch,when flowers will be begot within flowers, and fruits within fruits, thenwill the Yuga come to an end. And the clouds will pour rain unseasonablywhen the end of the Yuga approaches. And, at that time, ceremonial ritesof men will not follow one another in due order, and the Sudras willquarrel with the Brahmanas. And the earth will soon be full of mlecchas,and the Brahmanas will fly in all directions for fear of the burthen oftaxes. And all distinctions between men will cease as regards conduct andbehaviour, and afflicted with honorary tasks and offices, people will flyto woody retreats, subsisting on fruits and roots. And the world will beso afflicted, that rectitude of conduct will cease to be exhibitedanywhere. And disciples will set at naught the instructions ofpreceptors, and seek even to injure them. And preceptors impoverishedwill be disregarded by men. And friends and relatives and kinsmen willperform friendly offices for the sake of the wealth only that ispossessed by a person. And when the end of the Yuga comes, everybody willbe in want. And all the points of the horizon will be ablaze, and thestars and stellar groups will be destitute of brilliancy, and the planetsand planetary conjunctions will be inauspicious. And the course of thewinds will be confused and agitated, and innumerable meteors will flashthrough the sky, foreboding evil. And the Sun will appear with six othersof the same kind. And all around there will be din and uproar, andeverywhere there will be conflagrations. And the Sun, from the hour ofhis rising to that of setting, will be enveloped by Rahu. And the deityof a thousand eyes will shower rain unseasonably. And when the end of theYuga comes, crops will not grow in abundance. And the women will alwaysbe sharp in speech and pitiless and fond of weeping. And they will neverabide by the commands of their husbands. And when the end of the Yugacomes, sons will slay fathers and mothers. And women, livinguncontrolled, will slay their husbands and sons. And, O king, when theend of the Yuga comes, Rahu will swallow the Sun unseasonably. And fireswill blaze up on all sides. And travellers unable to obtain food anddrink and shelter even when they ask for these, will lie down on thewayside refraining from urging their solicitations. And when the end ofthe Yuga comes, crows and snakes and vultures and kites and other animalsand birds will utter frightful and dissonant cries. And when the end ofthe Yuga comes, men will cast away and neglect their friends andrelatives and attendants. And, O monarch, when the end of the Yuga comes,men abandoning the countries and directions and towns and cities of theiroccupation, will seek for new ones, one after another. And people willwander over the earth, uttering, ‘O father, O son’, and such otherfrightful and rending cries.

“And when those terrible times will be over, the creation will beginanew. And men will again be created and distributed into the four ordersbeginning with Brahmanas. And about that time, in order that men mayincrease, Providence, according to its pleasure, will once more becomepropitious. And then when the Sun, the Moon, and Vrihaspati will, withthe constellation Pushya[47], enter the same sign, the Krita age willbegin again. And the clouds will commence to shower seasonably, and thestars and stellar conjunctions will become auspicious. And the planets,duly revolving in their orbits, will become exceedingly propitious. Andall around, there will be prosperity and abundance and health and peace.And commissioned by Time, a Brahmana of the name of Kalki will take hisbirth. And he will glorify Vishnu and possess great energy, greatintelligence, and great prowess. And he will take his birth in a town ofthe name of Sambhala in an auspicious Brahmana family. And vehicles andweapons, and warriors and arms, and coats of mail will be at his disposalas soon as he will think of them. And he will be the king of kings, andever victorious with the strength of virtue. And he will restore orderand peace in this world crowded with creatures and contradictory in itscourse. And that blazing Brahmana of mighty intellect, having appeared,will destroy all things. And he will be the Destroyer of all, and willinaugurate a new Yuga. And surrounded by the Brahmanas, that Brahmanawill exterminate all the mlecchas wherever those low and despicablepersons may take refuge.”

Chapter 188
Chapter 190


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