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Hinduism believes that humanity is in the darkest age. This period in time is known as Kaliyuga. Kaliyuga is characterized by sin, corruption, misery and evil all around.
Lord Hanuman once explained the various yugas to Bhima, the third Pandava. He said that Satyayuga or the Kritayuga was the most beautiful time of all. There was no religion and everyone was a saint. They were so pious that they did not have to perform religious rites to attain moksha. No one was poor or rich. No one had to labour as they received everything by will. There was no evil, hatred, sorrow or fear.
In the Tretayuga, piety and righteousness lessened. People performed religious ceremonies and obtained things by doing and giving. In the Dwaparayuga, righteousness further decreased. The Vedas were divided. The people who knew the Vedas were few in number. Desire, disease and calamities overtook humanity.
In the Kaliyuga, as per Lord Krishna, the world loses all its righteousness; people are corrupt and perform evil on a daily basis. Diseases and afflictions plague every human. No one knows the vedas in its entirety and in its true essence. People fight over petty things like religion and land. Even hard work refuses to pay good results and people who perform bad deed sit on the top of the societal ladder.
In Uddhava Gita, there is a story where Lord Sri Krishna teaches the four younger Pandavas what Kaliyuga will be like. Read on to learn more about this story.
• The Question Of The Pandavas
Once, the four younger Pandavas - Arjuna, Bhima, Sahadeva and Nakula approach Lord Krishna (king Yudhishtira was not present). They ask, "O! Lord Krishna, please tell us what the Kaliyuga will be like as it is fast approaching." Lord Krishna replied, " I will tell you all about the upcoming Yuga called the Kaliyuga but before that you must do something. I shall shoot four arrows into the four directions. Each of you go to one direction to retrieve that arrow for me. Tell me what you see at the place that you find the arrow." With these words, Lord Sri Krishna stood up and shot four arrows in quick succession into the four directions. The four Pandavas went in search of an arrow each.
• The First Arrow
Arjuna rode fast behind the first arrow. Soon, he found the arrow. As soon as he picked it up, he heard a sweet song. On searching for the source, he found that the sweet song was that of the cuckoo which is considered an auspicious bird. The voice of the cuckoo was spellblinding but it had a live rabbit under its claws. In between the song, the cuckoo would rip flesh off the rabbit and eat it. The rabbit, still alive was in terrible pain. Arjuna was taken aback at this sight and returned to Lord Krishna.
• The Second Arrow
Bhima went in search of the second arrow. He saw that the arrow was stuck in a place that had five wells. One well was in the middle and the others were surrounding it. The four wells on the outside were overflowing with the sweetest water, but the one in the middle was completely empty. Bhima was puzzled and returned to Lord Krishna with the arrow.
• The Third Arrow
Nakula went in search of the third arrow. When he picked up the arrow, he saw a crowd nearby. When he went to see what the commotion was about, he saw that a cow was licking its newborn calf. The calf was completely clean but the cow kept on licking. The people were trying to get the calf away from the cow but they were not able to do it before the calf was injured extensively and was bleeding. Nakula wondered how a pious and calm animal like a cow could do this to its own newborn. With this in mind, he returned to the Lord.
• The Fourth Arrow
Sahadeva went looking for the last arrow. The arrow had ended up near a mountain. As he looked on, a big boulder was dislodged and began thundering its way down. It crushed huge trees on its way but was stopped by a small, weak plant. This appalled Sahadeva. He rushed back to Lord Krishna to ask about what he had seen.
• Back To Lord Krishna
The four Pandavas returned to Lord Krishna with the arrows. They placed the arrows at Lord Krishna's feet and requested him to explain the meaning of the mysterious sights that each of them had witnessed. Lord Sri Krishna smiled and began explaining.
• The Meaning Of The First Scene
Lord Krishna said, "In Kaliyuga, the pious men and saints will be like the cuckoo. They will all have sweet words but they will exploit and inflict pain on their followers like the cuckoo was doing to the poor rabbit."
• The Meaning Of The Second Scene
Lord Krishna continued, "In Kaliyuga, the poor and the rich will live in the same locality. The rich will be overflowing with fortune, yet they will not spare a single coin to help the poor like the dry well received not a drop of water from the surrounding wells that were overflowing with water."
• The Meaning Of The Third Scene
Lord Krishna looked at Nakula and said, "in Kaliyuga, parents will love their children so intensly that they will end up spoiling them. In the same manner that the cow destroyed its calf by licking, parents will disrupt their children's lives with too much love. The attachment with the children will be so much that the parents will become blind to all other relationships in their lives."
• The Meaning Of The Fourth Scene
To Sahadeva Lord Sri Krishna said, "The people of Kaliyuga will rush to their doom like the boulder you saw. Large trees are symbolic of assets in life like relatives, family, friends and wealth. None of these will help them escape doom. The plant stands for the name of the God. A weak but faithful recalling of the God's name will help him escape his doom."