The Theosophical Forum – August 1938

ORIENTAL STUDIES: V — Judith Tyberg

Possibilities of the Kali-yuga

The Kali-yuga is an age "black with horrors," and yet it is a golden age of spiritual opportunity!

The evolutionary period of each one of the Seven Great Root-Races of our earth is divided into four divisions known as Yugas or Ages. The first of these Yugas is the Satya-yuga or Age of Truth, of Purity and Innocence, the age in which Dharma or Truth, which is often represented as a bull, stands on all its four feet. All forces of opposition and resistance are held in check by the action of Sattva-guna, the quality of Truth. Hence spirituality reigns supreme in this age which lasts 1,728,000 years.

The second Yuga is the Treta-yuga, the Age of three parts of Truth, the age in which the Dharma-bull loses one of its feet. Opposing material forces are stirred by the action of Rajo-guna, the quality of passion and activity. Hence spiritual powers experience a certain amount of frustration. This age lasts 1,296,000 years.

The third Yuga is the Dwapara-yuga or Age of two parts of Truth, the age in which the Dharma-bull loses two of its four feet. The Rajo-guna acting with Tamo-guna, the quality of darkness and illusion, brings about in this age the fatal quality of spiritual inertia and darkness and produces the corresponding decline in the manifestation of divine powers. This age lasts 864,000 years.

The fourth and last Yuga is the Kali-yuga, the Dark Age, sometimes called the Iron-Age, the age in which only one part of Truth prevails and the Dharma-bull with only one foot left has little power to act. Tamo-guna reigns supreme and darkness and materiality and ignorance and evil are rampant in the world. This age lasts 432,000 years. Adharma, the God of Untruth, and all his relations: selfishness, deceit, arrogance, unrighteousness, trickery, greed, baseness, wrath, and injury hold sway over the hearts of men.

As each age succeeds the other its time period and its spiritual condition decline at the fixed ratio of 25 per-cent. Our Kali-yuga commenced at the death of Krishna, 3102 b. c. So mankind has now lived through 5,040 years of this dark age. A very discouraging aspect indeed! But, this is only one side of the picture. There is also a marvelous note of hope and stimulus to higher action, if one understands the law of the increasing power of spiritual effort which acts at the same time as the law of decreasing spirituality. These two laws work as harmoniously together as do the simultaneous laws of involution and evolution. If, during our Kali-yuga, spiritual energies are invoked from within, the results are most remarkable, for they produce far greater results and with greater speed than in any other Yuga.

The Vishnu-Purana, as well as other Puranas, tell us that what takes ten years to accomplish spiritually in Satya-yuga, takes six months to accomplish in Treta-yuga, one month in Dwapara-yuga, and only one day in Kali-yuga, our present age. So as the Yugas succeed one another the effect of spiritual effort increases and gains until in the Kali-yuga its results are truly miraculous in comparison. The pace of human evolution or involution is greatly accelerated in the Kali-yuga and its swift momentum enables a man to do more with his energies, either good or bad, in a shorter time than in any other age. What took 3600 days to bring about in the Satya-yuga takes only one day to accomplish in our present age. What encouragement for spiritual aspiration, for study, for being our highest, for seeking light from within when the time is so ripe and so productive!

True, there are some 416,000 more years of the Kali-yuga in which to continue our upward climbing! But we spend a greater part of that in the spiritual realms between earth lives; for the general rule is that a man spends a hundred times as many years in the invisible realms as he lives on the earth. It is only while we are here on earth, manifesting as a complete man, that we can win the conquests that release untold spiritual splendor. Now, is the magic word that will make nature help us to win our highest treasures. Nature is indeed bounteous in her gifts to those who work in harmony with her.

Not only is time more valuable in the Kali-yuga, but so is also the quality of spiritual endeavor. The Vishnu-Purana also states that that which is obtained in Satya-yuga by Dhyana or spiritual meditation on the Divinity within, is attained in Treta-yuga by Yajna or sacrifice to the Divinity within, and in Dwapara-yuga by Archana or honoring of the Divinity within, and in our Kali-yuga is accomplished by Kirtana or the repeating of the name of Divinity. If the mere power of the sound or mantra of a spiritual name by a true aspirant can bear in our present cycle the same fruit that only the highest spiritual meditation could produce in Satya-yuga, imagine what wonderful inner growth is possible now by practising spiritual meditation in our daily lives!

Dr. de Purucker tells us:

But the best form of meditation is the constant thought, yearning, aspiration, to be your best, to live your noblest, and to keep this thought with you by day and night. If the yearning to be one's best and to live one's noblest is derivative from the spirit of Compassion, welling up in the heart like a holy river of energy, it will lead one quickly to the Gates of Gold. — Golden Precepts of Esotericism, 136

And again:

Aspiration is real prayer; it is a constant raising of ourselves from day to day, trying each day to go a little higher towards the god within. This means harmony, inner harmony, peace. — Op. cit.,134

So even though the Dharma-bull stands on only one leg in our present Kali-yuga there is great spiritual hope for those who aspire.


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