These two articles should be read together. The first part is “Mother Earth & Sacred Cow” and the second part is “The Cow, The Bull & The False King”

The Four Ages or Epochs of the Universe

There are four ages or epochs in the repeating cycle of universal time. As the earth has her four seasons, the universe has its four seasons — the Golden Age or Satya-yuga, the Silver Age or Treta-yuga, the Bronze Age or Dwapara-yuga, and the Iron Age or Kali-yuga. The Golden Age lasts for 1,728,000 years or four times the duration of the Iron Age. The Silver Age is 1,296,000 years or three times the duration of the Iron Age. The length of the Bronze Age is 864,000 years or twice that of the Iron Age. And the current age, the Iron Age, is 432,000 years in length of which approximately 5,000 years has been passed. We have 427,000 years remaining in Kali-yuga.

The human life span in the Iron Age is supposed to be an optimum 100 years. However, most of us do not live that long. So we are already shortchanging ourselves so early on in this age. The lifespan in the Bronze Age is about a thousand years. In the Silver Age, the lifespan is 10,000 years. And if you are fortunate enough to live during the glorious Golden Era (which many of us have done), your lifespan would be 100,000 years. If we take a single cycle of all four of these ages together, it adds up to a bewildering 4,320,000 years. That is only one small cycle which is repeated over and over. This should give you a slight perspective on the enormity of time and how important any one of us may be in the broad scheme of things.

Bhumi and the Advent of the Iron Age of Kali

In this tragic and thought-provoking story from the Vedas, we will come to understand where we are in the universal cycle. And when we know what our current cycle, the Iron Age, is meant to bring, then many unanswered questions will immediately begin to make sense.


Once, a saintly king named Parikhit, undertook a journey for the purpose of assuring the safety and protection of the residents of his kingdom. On his journey, he saw the personification of Kali-yuga, the Iron Age, a degraded, unevolved man disguised as a king. This impostor was engaged in beating the one good leg of a bull who already had three broken legs. He was also kicking a helpless, emaciated cow. King Parikhit immediately seized him in order to punish him. If this wretched being, Kali, would have thought that this cow and bull had an owner or protector, then he may have had second thoughts about such behavior. But because he thought he could get away with it, unpunished, he seized this opportunity for his nefarious behavior.

The earth often takes the form of a cow, being the mother archetype. In Vedic understanding, the cow is regarded as a sacred symbol for the very reason that it is a symbol of the mother. And symbols have meaning and value and deserve to be respected. If a symbol is disrespected or its meaning altered, it can have disastrous effects. This has already been explained above in relation to killing off the mother symbol in order to eat her.

Another Vedic symbol is the swastika. Svasti means ‘all that is auspicious or beneficial.’ Ka is the Sanskrit verb ‘to make’ or ‘to do.’ A swastika is that which renders auspiciousness or benefit. As you probably know, Hitler adopted this originally sacred symbol as an emblem of the Third Reich in Nazi Germany. So, it became a symbol of death and destruction, the antithesis of auspiciousness. But in using the symbol in a destructive manner to conquer, kill and occupy other countries, the resulting negative effect then became the undoing of Nazi Germany. Destroying the symbol of motherhood in the form of the cow will also eventually become the undoing of our contemporary society as we shall see in time unless we reach a state of greater understanding, compassion and evolution.

If you were to visit the capitol of a foreign country and take down the nation’s flag flying over the capitol building and then burn it in front of the capitol and its people, what do you think might happen? Do you think you might meet with a negative reaction? Why? It’s just a symbol. You didn’t hurt or threaten anybody. However, symbols are invested with energy, meaning and consequence whether we believe it or not.

There were tears in the eyes of the haggard cow and she was distressed and weak. She had been put into this sorry state by this pseudo king, Kali, for she had been separated from her calf. She was yearning to escape this torture and return to her peaceful life in the field eating grass and looking after her calf.

The cow is a symbol for the earth and this circumstance demonstrates how the feminine and the mother will be regarded and treated in the Iron Age, the current age. We’d rather exploit her than protect her. We’d rather demean her than respect her. How is this evident in this age? We see mothers leaving the family because they need to earn income which results in a significant decline in mothering in our society. Subsequently, there is less breast-feeding which means less bonding, nurturing and child care given by mothers. This results in codependency, addictions, obsessive/compulsive behaviors, attention deficit syndrome, acting out in a negative manner, etc. Women are more frequently abandoned by their man while pregnant or after delivery of their children. And what is one of the major trends in our civilization? It is abortion or women being rendered calfless.

The cow wanted to be nurtured by eating grass in the field and she wanted to care for her calf. Should this be too much to ask? We seem to spend less and less time being nurtured and nurturing each other in such a hyper and overly diversionary world. She was being beaten down and oppressed by Kali. In this age, we are beaten down and oppressed by our priorities and goals which have been turned upside down. We want to “have it all.” We live our lives out of balance. Our focus is position, power, politics and economic production. What happened to simplicity, love, nurturing of self and others, spirituality, and human and divine relationships?

King Parikhit, armed with bow and arrows, spoke to this rogue, Kali, with a voice sounding like thunder, saying, ‘Who are you? You appear to be strong, yet you attempt to kill those who are helpless and who are within my protection.” This inferior wretch was dressed like a king. This is an insight into what routinely happens in this age. People will assume a persona, a costume, or a role for which they are not qualified. Where is this more glaringly evident than in government and politics? We elect leaders who come to power without the ability to lead, to administrate or to make decisions. The decisions they make are based upon consulting polls and maintaining popularity and political position. Many are not proactive but simply reactive. Or their first priority is to play politics and preempt or undo any good the opposition party is trying to do, simply because it is the opposition party.

In certain third world countries, people are ruled by political or military dictators. In these circumstances, their lives and their national economy rarely improve. Many of these leaders bilk the people out of hundreds of millions of dollars, such as we have seen in the Philippines, Indonesia and in many African countries. We also have often seen people in the clergy, particularly fundamentalist Christians, who are preaching the gospel and cheating the people out of money or having sex outside of their marriages. All of this is symptomatic of Kali-yuga, the Iron Age.

Parikhit continued, “By your dress you pose as a king but by your deeds you are opposing the principles of those who have gone through the process of spiritual initiation, the twice-born.” His reference to the twice-born here refers to spiritual persons, those who are born physically and then born again spiritually through a process of initiation from a priest, rabbi or spiritual master. These are people who live their lives with a spiritual consciousness and a divine connection to the will of God.

Parikhit continued, “You boldly beat an innocent cow and bull in a secluded place now that Krishna has left the planet. You are a rogue and deserve to be killed.” The incarnation of God who had appeared in the previous age, the Bronze Age, was Krishna. There was a great battle that ended the Bronze Age. Most of those people who made up the dark side of the force, the greedy, the selfish, and the demoniac were killed in that battle. This was done to alleviate the burden of Mother Earth. In the Bhagavad-Gita, spoken by God, Krishna explains that whenever there is a rise in injustice and a decrease in virtue, God incarnates to protect the virtuous souls and destroy the troublemakers. Whenever we see mass destruction, whether it be by Mother Nature, such as earthquakes, fires, floods, storms, volcanoes, disease epidemics or in wars provoked by man, we should understand that something is taking place that is required for the purification or cleansing of the earth. The reasons may not always be obvious. These things are done to relieve the burden of the Earth according to the Vedas.

King Parikhit indicated that now that God is not directly here on the planet to come to the defense of the cow and bull who are the symbols of dharma or virtue, Kali feels free to beat them and take advantage of their vulnerability. The word dharma has many meanings in the English language. One of them is ‘religion’ or ‘religious observance.’ In this context, religion does not mean Catholic religion, or Jewish religion, or Buddhist religion, or Islam. Dharma means that which is good for everybody — religious observance which is universal in nature and which benefits everybody. It is virtue. That universal religion which is the same for all no matter what their dogma or beliefs might be is service to God and humanity.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in his translation of the Bhagavat-Purana sheds light on the Iron Age in this way, “The next symptom of the Age of Kali is that principles of religion, which are all spotlessly white, like the white lotus flower, will be attacked by the uncultured population of the age. They may be descendants of brahmans or kings, but in the Age of Kali, for want of sufficient education and culture of Vedic wisdom, such an unevolved population will defy the principles of religion, and persons who are religiously endowed will be terrified by such men. They will declare themselves as adherents of no religious principles, and many “isms” and cults will spring up in Kali-yuga only to kill the spotless bull of dharma. The state will be declared to be secular, or without any particular principle of religion, and as a result there will be total indifference to the principles of religion. The citizens will be free to act as they like, without respect for realized souls, sacred texts and spiritual teachers. The bull standing on one leg indicates that the principles of religion are gradually diminishing. Even the fragmental existence of religious principles will be embarrassed by so many obstacles as though in the trembling condition of falling down at any time.”


The bull is a regarded as a symbol of dharma in Vedic thought since the bull is used to pull the plow in order to plow the field for the planting and cultivation of crops. That is something that needs to be done faithfully, regularly and responsibly. In many countries, the bull is still used for this purpose. Therefore, duty is another meaning for the word, dharma. In the Iron Age, bulls are unfairly killed for sport in the bullfight or they are cinched up so tightly and painfully that it makes them buck like mad around a rodeo ring while some cowboy rides on their back just for sport. This powerful symbol of virtue is subsequently degraded and reduced to a novelty for entertainment purposes by the lower class of people who are posing as warriors and protectors, namely cowboys and matadors.

Speaking of which, psychologist Robert Johnson points out that one of the greatest symbols of virility in our society is the cowboy. If you analyze that word, it translates to female adolescent. If this is truly a symbol of virility and machismo, then shouldn’t he be more properly called a bullman? Or in the context of this story, perhaps he should be called Kali. However, the bulls do enjoy a little payback in the event known as the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, where the people do the running and the bulls do the trampling.

King Parikhit tells Kali that he deserves to be punished. It is the king’s duty, first and foremost, to protect the citizens which includes the animals. If the king becomes lax in meting out punishment toward the perpetrators of crime, then crime spreads. As is stated in The Way of Kings, ”If a king does not vigilantly punish the deserving, the strong will roast the weak, like fish on a spit.” Today, in the present Iron Age, the law is gradually being altered in favor of the perpetrators, the criminals. Those who are victimized receive little justice, if any. This is truly a symptom of the Iron Age. If you have cancer that is spreading in your body, what do you do? Do you wish it well and send it loving thoughts? Or do you request the surgeon to cut it out and get rid of it completely? Why not just remove some of the cancer so it can return with a vengeance later on? In this allegory, Kali must be destroyed. King Parikhit could not afford to be lenient with him as we shall see.

The king’s duty is to protect the residents of his country or kingdom from the enemy within and the enemy without. This is understood on two levels. Domestically, it means protecting them from disease and ill health which is the enemy within, and protecting them from crime and its perpetrators, the enemy without. The second interpretation is the enemy within the kingdom are the criminals and the enemy outside the kingdom are foreigners who wish to attack the kingdom or its people. The king’s duty is to provide whatever is needed to protect the citizens from disease, crime and foreign attack so that they can live their lives peacefully. If the king cannot do this successfully, then he has no right to tax the citizens and should step down and allow a real king or queen to take his place.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami continues, “The true king, or the man who is qualified to protect the sufferers, is meant to rule the state. Untrained unevolved men, or men without ambition to protect the sufferers, cannot be placed on the seat of an administrator. Unfortunately, in the Age of Kali the unevolved men, without training, occupy the post of a ruler by strength of popular votes, and instead of protecting the sufferers, such men create a situation quite intolerable for everyone. Such rulers illegally gratify themselves at the cost of all comforts of the citizens, and thus the chaste Mother Earth cries to see the pitiable condition of her sons and daughters, both people and animals. That is the future of the world in the age of Kali, when irreligion prevails most prominently.”

The beautiful bull was as white as a white lotus flower because he was actually the god of virtue or dharma who had taken the form of a bull. He was so afraid of this wretch, Kali, who was beating him that he was standing on one leg, trembling and urinating. King Parikhit wondered about the real identity of such an unusual looking bull. He correctly thought that perhaps he was a god come down from the heavenly planets who had taken the form of a beautiful bull to see how the residents of the kingdom were being treated under his rule. King Parikhit acknowledged that the bull’s distress was a source of sorrow to him. Parikhit confirmed that this was the first time he had ever witnessed such a thing taking place in his kingdom.

The king explained that up until then, no one in his kingdom had ever shed tears due to royal negligence. The metaphor is that the two principles of religion and righteousness, the bull as virtue and the cow as mother, had always been well regarded and protected. King Parikhit consoled them, vowing to perform his duty as protector and free them from the oppression of Kali, this backward, lowlife knave who was their tormentor.

King Parikhit addressed the cow, “Oh spotless one, a king’s good name, his duration of life, and the possibility of a good birth in his next life vanish when living beings under his care are tormented within his kingdom. It is certainly the prime duty of the king to alleviate the sufferings of the residents of the kingdom. Therefore, I must put to death this most wretched man because he is violently attacking other living beings.”

It is interesting that Parikhit thought that the appropriate course of action was to execute Kali who hadn’t actually killed these animals. Nowadays, murderers of humans are not even executed but are often given reduced sentences or life in prison. Again, this is symptomatic of the Iron Age or Dark Age. The value and importance of removing the cancer completely from society is not understood. In some circles, the death penalty is considered barbaric. When the laws of karma and reincarnation are properly understood and applied, then one comes to realize that the death penalty actually removes the negative karmic reaction of murder from that soul in one fell swoop. And since one gets as many births or incarnations as one needs to become a spiritually evolved being, then the next birth is assured without the stigma or karmic reaction of murder still hanging like a dark cloud over the head of this soul. It is stated in the Vishnu Purana, “The act of destroying a malignant being is considered virtuous when the security and happiness of many others is achieved by that destructive act.”

“The king questioned the bull, “You have lost three of your legs and are now moving about on only one. Though you are honest by nature and have done nothing wrong, still someone has disfigured you. Who has broken your three legs? In the Golden Age, your four legs were established with the four principles of sacrifice, purity, compassion, and truth. Those are the four spiritual principles of dharma. But it appears that three of your legs have been broken due to rampant disregard for virtue. You are now standing on one leg only, which is your truthfulness, and you are somehow hobbling along. But Kali, who thrives on deceit, is bent on destroying that last leg.”

In the Golden Age, all four of these virtues were present among the people, namely, sacrifice, purity, compassion, and truth. In other words, the dharma bull was standing on all four legs. Let’s look at their significance.

Sacrifice comes from the Latin roots, sacer and facere, which means ‘to make sacred.’ Sacrifice means the performance of spiritual practices which connect one with God, the cause of all causes. Sacrifice may also mean ‘to forego or to do without something in favor of doing something else which is considered more virtuous.’ One may give up mundane interests in order to pursue spiritual interests. One may forego the entertainment of television or the movies and instead, commune with God in prayer or meditation. It can also mean making your life sacred or including something sacred or holy in your life. It is necessary to have something that is sacred or holy in your life. If you don’t have anything that is sacred or spiritual, then you lose respect for life. All life is then reduced to the same thing. It’s all mundane or material. Nothing is divine.

With such a belief, one is more easily prone to criticism and condemnation due to identifying with human imperfection and fallibility. Take rap music for example. The lyrics are often critical, derogatory, motivated by anger and rage. It regards life cheaply. It promotes flagrant violence and wasting or killing people. It promotes misogyny and the exploitation of women. Any attitude of anger and destruction promotes further anger and destruction. That’s why some of these young rap stars are now dead — shot and killed.

We all need something in our lives that we regard as sacred and that we keep sacred and nurture, something that connects us with the divine principle pervading everything. For example, the practice of yoga, prayer, meditation, going to a church or temple, or performing some kind of sacred ritual — whatever connects you to God, the sacred, the divine. You have to spend the time and energy to offer sacrifice. If you go to church on Sunday and you don’t truly participate — you may stand up, sit down, and mindlessly repeat prayers but your thoughts are far away. If you’re more concerned about how you look and how everyone else looks and how they look compared to you, then you’re also missing the point. Your big screen television, your BMW or your stock portfolio — those things are not sacred. Sacred means that which has eternal value, not temporal value.

The burden of the earth was certainly diminished when Krishna was on the planet. But now, Bhumi lamented her future with tears in her eyes because she would be ruled and enjoyed by men of diminished awareness and sensitivity who would pose as rulers. If you wish to gauge whether someone is a true king or genuine public servant, his first priority will be the protection of Mother Earth. This event took place about five thousand years ago and it appears that Mother Earth knew what she was in for even back then. For example, remember what Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi President, did when his forces retreated from Kuwait which they had invaded during the Gulf War in 1991? He set all of the oil fields ablaze. It was an environmental disaster.

When the personality of Kali understood that the king was actually willing to put him to death, he at once removed his royal garb out of fear for his life and surrendered himself to the king. It is stated in the Vedas that if somebody surrenders, truly surrenders, then you must give him protection. Parikhit showed him compassion. A king must act with a delicate balance of firmness and compassion. As it is said in the Way of Kings, “A king who is mild and easygoing is not respected. A king who is grim and cruel is not loved. A king who is both mild and strong according to circumstance will prosper.”

The king said, “Because you have surrendered yourself with folded hands, you need not fear for your life. However, you cannot remain in my kingdom because you are the friend of adharma or non-virtue.” If the personality of Kali is allowed to assume a position of power, then various vices, such as greed, falsehood, theft, incivility, treachery, misfortune, cheating, quarrel and vanity will abound. The king declared, “You cannot remain in a place where sacrifice, prayer and virtuous deeds are performed with good intent for the satisfaction of God.”

Kali replied that there was nowhere for him to go since the vigilant King Parikhit would be protecting everyone, everywhere from his influence. He begged the king to give him some specific place where he would be allowed to reside under the protection of the government. So, rather than killing Kali and thereby killing off his influence, the king indulged him and the Iron Age was once again established. One way or the other, this was inevitable. If the four seasons are inevitable, then winter must follow autumn. And the Iron Age of Kali must follow the Bronze Age known as Dwapara.

The king gave Kali permission to reside in four places — places of intoxication, places of sexual promiscuity, slaughter houses and gambling dens. Let’s look at how these four pillars of dharma or virtue, the four legs of the bull, are linked to the four vices or places where Kali was allowed to reside.

When people overindulge in intoxication, they lose their motivation to perform sacrifice or service to God and humanity. When people engage in sexual promiscuity, they dilute their purity, both physically and morally. When people slaughter innocent animals to satisfy their taste for flesh, they destroy their finer sentiments of compassion for all beings. When people become obsessed with making, winning or stealing money, their honesty and truthfulness slips away.

The first place King Parikhit allowed Kali to remain in were places of intoxication, With overindulgence in intoxication, one may become confused, bewildered, and out of balance. We should probably mention that there are different types and degrees of intoxication — alcohol and drugs being most prevalent. Overindulgence in any substance may diminish one’s productivity and one’s desire to commune with the divine. It may also inhibit one’s appreciation of the sacred in life.

The second place where King Parikhit allowed Kali to reside was places where sexual promiscuity was taking place. There are different levels of sexual conduct and promiscuous behavior. According to the Vedas, the highest standard is sex within the marriage for the purpose of procreation only. The next level would be sex within the marriage which isn’t restricted to procreation. The next would be sex with one partner outside of marriage and so on down the ladder until you are having sex with as many people as you can.

Sexual continence or abstinence results in purity of body, mind and spirit. Purity is cleanliness and cleanliness is next to godliness. Ideally, a yogi or spiritual aspirant practices celibacy. For men this is more important than for women. Spending or ejaculating the seminal fluid invites the aging process, breaks down immunity, weakens vision and prematurely digs one’s grave. If the life expectancy for humans is 100 years, then why don’t we typically live that long or close to it with health and vigor? Because men spend too much time spilling their life force. Semen is the creative essence of the blood element within the body. It actually has the power to create life. For women, orgasm or multiple orgasms are not such a problem since they do not equate to a loss of life force as they do for men. Yes, ladies, in that sense, you are more fortunate! That is why tantric sexual practice teaches couples to achieve the sensation of a total body orgasm without the ejaculation of semen.

Another example of loss of purity related to sexual behavior is sexually transmitted diseases which have become rampant nowadays. Everything from herpes which is the most widespread, to syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, Hepatitis C and finally, AIDS. The consciousness of people who are too sexual or overly fixated on sex resides primarily in the second chakra area of the body whose focus is sexuality, located near the reproductive organs. There are seven chakras and ultimately, we are meant to focus on the topmost chakra, the crown chakra, located at the top of the head, where complete conscious union with the divine is achieved. Since that is the goal of life for all humans irrespective of their religion, then it behooves us to move our consciousness up the chakra system and not get stuck in the second chakra area, repeatedly dreaming of our next sexual encounter.

As far as homosexuality is concerned, there is little negative physical reaction with sex between two women. However, when it comes to men, yoga philosophy explains that male energy in the form of orgasm, seminal ejaculation, creative power and the male principle of purusha is a force to be reckoned with. That creative power needs a proper feminine receptacle in which to deposit itself. Here we are referring both to the deposit of physical semen and the deposit of subtle creative energy which is also given off at the time of intercourse and orgasm. Without a suitable female receptacle, that energy essentially has no where to go. There is nothing to contain it within the body of another man. Therefore, that energy actually implodes within the man who is receiving it. Consequently, we see many more cases of AIDS within the male homosexual population than we do among lesbians. You may argue that AIDS is a disease transmitted by the blood or through bodily fluids. That is true on the physical level. We have endeavored to explain only one of its potential causes on the energetic level.

The third place where King Parikhit allowed Kali to reside was slaughter houses. In the American Indian tradition, an animal who sacrifices its body for the tribe’s use is always thanked and its soul is wished a good journey onward to its next destination. In other words, they say a prayer thanking the animal for giving up his life so that they can feed and clothe themselves with his flesh and hide. They are killing an animal out of need but they are showing compassion and respect for the animal’s spirit and the sacrifice the animal has made with its life. The Indians did the same thing with the buffalo. It is this great respect for Mother Nature and her bounty that is bred into the indigenous American Indian culture. In a hunter-gatherer culture, hunting and meat-eating is expected and acceptable. Mind you, they ate deer, buffalo, rabbit, etc., not cow.

In the previous ages, the Golden Age, the Silver Age and the Bronze Age, meat-eating was permitted. It was allowed through a ritualized process of sacrifice. If an animal, such as a goat, was to be slain as part of a ritualistic offering to God or the lesser gods, the brahmans (priests) had the ability to chant mantras which would guarantee that the soul within that animal would get a higher birth in its next life by having given itself in sacrifice — perhaps a human birth. The concept is that the animal was offered in sacrifice which had a higher purpose which was the greater welfare of the people. After that flesh offering was made, the remnants or remains of that offering could be cooked and eaten by those who participated in the sacrifice. This would actually have a spiritually purifying effect on those who partook of the sacrificial remnants. Under strict conditions, in accordance with a sacred ritual, animals could be slaughtered and eaten. Then, as the ages regressed and the taste for meat increased, the people more frequently began to say, “Let’s just skip the sacrificial part, slaughter the animal and sit down to dinner.”


Buddha, an incarnation or Vishnu or God, upon whose teachings Buddhism was founded, appeared specifically for the purpose of establishing the doctrine of ahimsa, or non-violence toward all living beings. Nowadays, if you want to eat meat, you just go to a restaurant and order it or to the supermarket and buy it. You don’t have to kill it, skin it or dress it. It certainly makes it easier when you are not forced to look the animal in the eye and then pull the trigger. Recently, a group of innocent children was quizzed about the sources of the meat they eat. When asked where hamburgers came from, some said McDonalds, having no idea that an innocent animal had been slaughtered in the process. How disconnected and convenient is that?

The Old Testament of the Bible says that God gave man dominion over the animals. In the Iron Age, we interpret that to mean we have the right to dominate them in any way we choose. Dominion comes from the Latin dominus. Dominus means God. We are meant to act in a godly manner toward our little brothers and sisters, the animals. Humans do not require animal protein in order to live. Grains and legumes provide plenty of protein. The more we kill and eat animals, the more we lose our sense of compassion. This is a fact. After a while we become callous and we don’t care anymore. We don’t even think about it. It doesn’t matter. Have you ever heard people say, “Oh no, I could never do that.” Whatever it may be. Then they do it once, twice, three times, and then it becomes the norm. They become conditioned to it. And then they say to others, “Oh, we do that all the time. You should try it.” A fourteen year old inner city gang member was asked how he felt about having killed an innocent child in a drive-by shooting. His reply was, “I don’t feel nothing. Who gives a sh--?” It is interesting to note that the United States, the country that slaughters the most animals and manufactures the most weapons is one of the most socially violent countries in the world. Should this be a surprise?

The fourth place where King Parikhit allowed Kali to reside was places where gambling takes place which leads to deceit, greed, envy, enmity and sometimes, madness. Have you been to the great American fun destination, Las Vegas? This is just such a place, Here you are bombarded with images and experiences that encourage you to gamble away your money by appealing to your greed, All you have to do is play the games and you could win thousands or millions of dollars. But statistically, the only real winners are the casinos. Why do you think Las Vegas looks like it does? Why is it so opulent? Why does it have the best of everything? Why is it so beautiful? Look how they light it. How can a city in the middle of the desert that doesn’t even have water be the most opulent and expensive place you can go? Because everybody wins when they go? No, actually most everybody loses, But it can’t be bad because you had such a good time being cheated.

It’s like a guy who meets a beautiful woman and spends a wonderful evening with her and then she steals his wallet, but he thinks, “Well, I lost my wallet but I had such a great time so it was worth it.” Sure, there are a handful of winners among the gamblers. There has to be, otherwise no one would come. It is interesting to note that the Spanish word vegas means urges in the Sanskrit language. So Las Vegas means ‘the urges.’ That’s the place where your urges can be satisfied twenty-four hours a day. But you don’t really have to go to Las Vegas. You can just buy a ticket to play a government sponsored lottery. According to the odds, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the lottery. Yet millions of people are lured and seduced by their own governments, the people who are supposed to be protecting them, into playing the lottery. Gambling amounts to cheating or being cheated because the odds are stacked against you. Does money really have that kind of effect on people? Watch how people react when they don’t get what they believe they deserve at the reading of the will. Or when they seek a settlement in divorce court. When you go to the grocery store and the clerk accidentally gives you an extra $5.00 in change, do you promptly return it or do you put it in your pocket?

From this we can see how Kali has taken hold. First, the king wants to put him to death. Then he decides to banish him from his kingdom. Then he says he can stay in the kingdom but he can only reside in four places as mentioned. Here we are, 5,000 years later. Is Kali alive and well and living among us? What do you think? And is his grip weakening or strengthening? Just read the front page of any newspaper and watch a little MTV and you’ll figure it out. Did King Parikhit make the right decision? He actually had little choice since the Iron Age and all its symptoms were predicted in the Vedas thousands of years ago.


Symptoms of Kali, the Iron Age

In the beginning of the Iron Age, only one quarter of virtue remains in the hearts of the people. Thieves and rogues sprout up like weeds and flourish. Kings retain only a slight degree of virtue. Brahmans and priests have only a smattering of spiritual knowledge. Some people are devout and follow religious vows but most people do as they like. As long as there are holy places, saintly persons, temples, spiritual texts and worship, there will be some remnant of austerity, truthfulness and the virtuous deeds which lead to the higher realms.

Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults. Still, it has one virtue. For simply thinking good thoughts one attains benefit but for thinking evil thoughts, one is not karmically penalized. When holy places and other sacred things perish, then religion, worship of god and spiritual practice will also disappear, like the moon on a new moon night.

The Era of Kali is the frozen winter of the soul. Krishna Himself, along with the great sages, Markandeya and Vyasadeva, predicted thousands of years before what would take place among a degenerated populace during the Iron Age. Under the heavy hand of Kali, truth will be decimated by dishonesty and duplicity. Humans will become gluttonous, lustful and poverty-stricken. People will give in charity and help the dispossessed but their main purpose will be to win the recognition of society. Gripped by the greed of Kali, merchants will sell their souls to cheat their customers, even for the most trifling gain.

For the first few thousand years of Kali, God and the lesser gods will be worshipped and spiritual texts will also be present. For a shorter period of time, the sacred river Ganges, holy places, temples and the Vedas will be present. Bereft of temples, the world will become a frightening place. At the end of Kali-yuga, impiety will reach its fullest state. Marriage purified by sacred mantras and prayers and consecrated in temples will no longer exist. There will be no truthfulness and no forgiveness. People will eat what should not be eaten.

In the Iron Age, evolved souls will find themselves trapped in menial tasks far beneath their refined natures. Those possessed with innate wisdom will set it aside and get caught up in the business of profit and loss. Brahmans born in good families will become thieves, stealing even from the deities in the temples and the collection plates in churches. Disciples will insult their gurus. Celibate priests will forsake their vows and so-called spiritual renunciates will concoct schemes to accumulate wealth. Those who know nothing about spirituality will become recognized as religious authorities. Gurus will reject genuine mantras and teach false mantras. Such gurus will be young and immature, not advanced in age and will insult others.

As Kali progresses, there will be no virtuous women. In home after home, the wife will be unchaste, always running after men. The wife will treat her husband like a servant. She will rebuke him and cause him to tremble in fear. Women will become bold and confrontational and men will become effeminate and controlled by women. Relationships will be made and broken solely based on sexual demand. Women will serve their lovers and neglect their unhappy husbands. Some will kill their husbands in order to be with their lovers. Ladies of the manor will lie with their servants and wives will become prostitutes. Many will sell their vaginas and barter using sexual favors as currency. Women will have more children than they can properly care for and men will no longer protect their children, their deserving wives or their elderly parents. Eventually, women will cease to bear children. Children will insult their parents. Parents will kill their own children — in the womb or outside the womb.

Corrupt individuals bent on self-aggrandizement will hold the posts of kings and officials. Bereft of good kings, the world will suffer from misrule. Instead of gold and jewels, kings will have clay pots and seashells in their treasuries. The citizens will attack the king. Kings and governments will torture the citizens. Princes will kill their fathers and become kings. Servants will kill the king and take his place.

Men will develop hatred for each other or sever friendships over a few coins. They will sacrifice their own lives and even kill their relatives out of greed and economic desperation. Young men will age prematurely due to stress and pressure from all quarters and old men will continue to practice the habits of young men, having totally lost touch with the value of the aging process which, in effect, is the saging process. People who become petty, self-absorbed and miserable will ignore the existence of a Supreme Being and thus abandon religious practices and become avowed atheists.

Men who behave like beasts, leaving darkness and destruction in their wake, will be on the increase. Murder will be found skulking around corners everywhere. People will be in a constant state of agitation and stress and be plagued by fears. Due to drought, they will lack adequate clothing, food and drink. People will be unable to properly rest, have sex or bathe themselves, and will have no ornaments to decorate themselves. In fact, the people of the Iron Age will gradually come to appear like haunted creatures.

People will do whatever they please. Devoted to their stomach and genitals, they will be degraded, tormented by diseases and dressed in rags. The populace will become emaciated either by famine or taxation. Large numbers of people will die of hunger and starvation. Righteous persons will compromise their principles and swindlers will be on the rise. Girls of seven or eight will become pregnant and boys will become fathers. The abundance of fruits and flowers will decline. Crows and such birds of ill omen will be on the increase. Rains and weather patterns will become unusual and out of season. Trees and plants will refuse to grow in many places, and these places will become known as deserts. And what is even more wondrous is that people will actually choose to live in such areas. In the Iron Age, objects, places and even individual personalities will become polluted.

Toward the end of Kali-yuga (432,000 years in duration), people will become miniscule in size. Trees will be the size of vegetables. Coconuts will be the size of mustard seeds. Homes will have no water, cups, plates, grains, clothing or decorations. They will be dark, without lighting and filled with bad odors. People will become sinners living in fear of violent persons. When truth, the last pillar of virtue is destroyed, everyone will speak lies. Women and men will lose their beauty and become undesirable. Rivers, lakes, ponds and oceans will dry up and have neither water nor lotus flowers. Clouds will carry no rain. Banyan trees (the fig tree sacred to Vishnu) will be cut down. Trees will have no fruits or branches until eventually, the earth will become treeless. Grains, fruits and water will lose their flavor. Eventually, the earth will yield no crops and cows will give no milk. Humanity will degenerate toward cruelty and mercilessness. At the end of the Iron Age, the earth will exist in name alone.

As you will attest from these symptoms, the Iron Age is well underway. Most of these predictions have already come to pass and only 5,000 of the 432,000 years have passed. There is another 427,000 years remaining in Kali-yuga. But the good news is that an age of enlightenment is dawning within the current Iron Age. Since the marking of time is always determined by cycles within cycles, such as hours subdivided by minutes and minutes subdivided by seconds, it is a fortunate thing indeed that we are entering a sub cycle of the Golden Age within the major cycle of this merciless Iron Age of Kali. This minor cycle of the Golden Age or Aquarian Age will continue for 17,280 years. It doesn’t necessarily mean then, that the symptoms of Kali will abate, but that there will be a rise in consciousness, which will have a beneficial, and uplifting effect on the planet and the people who willingly participate in this spiritual rebirth. That is what is taking place at this time.

Staving off Kali’s systematic degeneration of our society and our world begins with our honoring the mother in the form of the earth and the cow. These two symbols, in particular, carry within them the essence of the sacred feminine. All those born upon Mother Earth are her children, but not all make her proud. She appreciates most of her children whose footsteps are light, loving and liberating. Those who Bhumi, Mother Earth, holds dear find a place in her heart through the loftiness of their consciousness, the grandeur of their love, and the power of their deeds.