According to ancient Vedic scriptures we are in the age of the Kali Yuga, the last of the four stages the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas. Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually during the Kali Yuga, which is referred to as the Dark Age because in it people are as far away as possible from God.
A discourse by Markandeya in the Mahabharata identifies some of the attributes of Kali Yuga. In relation to rulers, it lists: Rulers will become unreasonable: they will levy taxes unfairly. Rulers will no longer see it as their duty to promote spirituality, or to protect their subjects: they will become a danger to the world.
With regard to human relationships, Markandeya’s discourse says: Avarice and wrath will be common. Humans will openly display animosity towards each other. Ignorance of dharma will occur. People will have thoughts of murder with no justification and will see nothing wrong in that. People will become addicted to intoxicating drinks and drugs.
According to Indian researcher Bibhu Dev Misra, who posted a major examination of the subject online in 2012, the start and end dates of the Kali Yuga remain shrouded in mystery. The popularly accepted date for the beginning of the Kali Yuga is 3102 BC, thirty-five years after the conclusion of the great battle of the Mahabharata.
He quotes 19th century Vedic astrologer Sri Yukteswar, who in the book The Holy Science (1894), notes that a complete Yuga Cycle takes 24,000 years, and is comprised of an ascending cycle of 12,000 years when virtue gradually increases and a descending cycle of another 12,000 years, in which virtue gradually decreases. (Sri Yukteswar suggests in the The Holy Science that the earth is now in the age of Dwapara Yuga, not the Kali Yuga).
Bibhu Dev Misra writes: The (Yuga) timeline indicates that the ascending Kali Yuga, which is the current epoch in which we are living, will end in 2025. Krishna says that after 5,000 years of Kali Yuga there will be a dawn of a new Golden Age which will last for 10,000 years.
The following all comes from Misra’s work. According to the Yuga Cycle doctrine, the transitional periods between Yugas are always associated with a worldwide collapse of civilizations and severe environmental catastrophes, which wipe out virtually every trace of any human civilization. The new civilization that emerges in the new Yuga is guided by a few survivors of the cataclysm, who carry with them the technical and spiritual knowledge of the previous epoch.
The transitional period between the Dwapara Yuga and Kali Yuga, from 3976 BC – 3676 BC was marked by a series of environmental cataclysms, whose exact nature remains a mystery. It is referred to in geology as the 5.9 kiloyear event, and it is considered as one of the most intense aridification events during the Holocene period.
When the ascending Kali Yuga began in 676 BC, much of the knowledge, traditions and skills from the descending Kali Yuga were lost. In Greece, the construction of monumental architecture ceased. The cavalry was replaced by foot soldiers. Pottery styles were simplified. In India, the use of Sanskrit as the means of communication was replaced by the language of the common masses – Pali and Prakrit. Knowledge of the ancient scriptures, sciences and arts had been all but forgotten. Possibly in response to this grave social crisis, a number of philosophers and prophets appeared at this time, trying to re-discover the lost wisdom, and spread it amongst the ignorant masses. Among them were Buddha (623 BC), Pythagoras (570 BC), Zoroaster (600 BC), and Mahavir Jain (599 BC).
He continues: In recent years, many independent historians and researchers have realized that the concept of a Yuga Cycle is a far better descriptor of ancient history, than the model of linear progress favored by mainstream historians. Egyptologist John Anthony West, whose seminal work on the dating of the Sphinx has won him worldwide acclaim, mentions in his article “Consider the Kali Yuga” that: “Since Egypt’s Old Kingdom, up until very recently…civilization has been going down, not up; simple as that. We can follow that degenerative process physically in Egypt; it is written into the stones and it is unmistakable. The same tale is told in the mythologies and legends of virtually all other societies and civilizations the world over.”
He concludes: For the past 2,700 years we have been evolving through the ascending Kali Yuga, and this Yuga is coming to an end in 2025. The end of the Yuga will inevitably be followed by cataclysmic earth changes and civilization collapses, as is characteristic of the transitional periods. The Dwapara Yuga is fundamentally different from the Kali in its spiritual and material dimensions, as can be gleaned from the ancient texts. Hence, we may anticipate far-reaching changes in our environment, and possibly in our cosmic neighborhood, as we transition to this period of enhanced consciousness. The current upswing in tectonic activities and the increased incidence of extreme weather phenomena may be indicative of the fact that we are slowly entering into a period of volatile earth changes. We need to be aware of these greater cycles of time that govern human civilization, and the changes that are looming in the horizon.
Bibhu Dev Misra points out two of the most respected astronomers of ancient India, Aryabhatta and Paulisa, believed in a Yuga Cycle that comprised of four Yugas of equal duration of 3,000 divine-years each.
Sadhguru explains the science behind the cycle of four yugas, The precession (caused by gradual rotation of the Earth’s axis) of the equinoxes is the period of time that it takes the Earth’s axis to pass through one complete cycle of the zodiac. It takes the planet 72 years to pass through one degree of the zodiac and 25,920 years to complete one full circle of 360 degrees. One half of the journey takes 12,960 years and covers the four yugas. Satya Yuga lasts 5184 years. Treta Yuga lasts 3888 years. Dwapara Yuga lasts 2592 years. Kali Yuga lasts 1296 years. These four yugas taken together come to a total of 12,960 years.
The solar system with the Sun and the planets around it is moving in the galaxy. It takes 25,920 years for our solar system to complete one cycle around a larger star. From the effects upon the planet, we believe this big star or big system that our system is going around is not located in the center of the orbit but somewhere to the side. Whenever our solar system comes closer to this big system, all the creatures living in our system rise to greater possibilities. Whenever our system moves away from it, the creatures living in our system come to the lowest level of possibility – we say this is Kali Yuga.
There are many things one can do to enhance the ether or create etheric content. This is why Krishna said, in Kali Yuga, which is down there, far away from the Super Sun, the ether will be so low that there is no point in trying to teach them yoga, meditation, mantras, or yantras – they will not get it. Just teach them devotion. If they are devout, they will generate their own ether. And because of this etheric content in the atmosphere, they will perceive. Devotion is not for the dumb – but even if you are the dumbest, you can still get it.
Thousands of years ago, they said that as the solar system moves closer to the Super Sun, human intelligence will blossom. As the solar system moves closer, the realization that the whole body and the whole universe are electric structures will come naturally. Right now, we are moving towards Treta Yuga, which is the second best time that can happen in a cycle of yugas.