Hindu eschatology

Hindu eschatology is linked in the Vaishnavite tradition to the figure of Kalki, or the tenth and last avatar of Vishnu or Shiva names of the Supreme Being in Hinduism and before the age draws to a close, and Harihara simultaneously dissolves and regenerates the universe.

The current period is Kali Yuga, the last of four Yuga that make up the current age. Each period has seen a progressive decline in morality, to the point that in Kali Yuga quarrel and hypocrisy are norm. In Hinduism, time is cyclic, consisting of cycles or "kalpas". Each kalpa lasts 8.64 billion years, which is a period of one full day and night for Brahma, who in turn will live for 311 trillion, 40 billion years. The cycle of birth, growth, decay, and renewal at the individual level finds its echo in the cosmic order, yet is affected by the vagaries of divine intervention in Vaishnavism. Some Shaivites hold the view that he is incessantly destroying and creating the world.

After this larger cycle, all of creation will contract to a singularity and then again will expand from that single point, as the ages continue in a religious fractal pattern.[1]

The Four Yugas

Within the current kalpa, there are four yugas, or epochs, that encompass the evolution of this specific cycle. These ages encompass a beginning of complete purity to a descent into total decay.

Kali Yuga

Kali Yuga, the last of the four ages, is the one in which we currently reside. This epoch has been foretold to be characterized by impiety, violence, and decay. As written in the Vishnu Purana in 100 BCE:

Social status depends not upon your accomplishments, but in the ownership of property; wealth is now the source of virtue; passion and luxury are the sole bonds between spouses; falsity and lying are the conditions of success in life; sexuality is the sole source of human enjoyment; religion, a superficial and empty ritual, is confused with spirituality

— Vishnu Purana[1]

The fourth age is ruled over by Kali, not the goddess Kāli but the demon Kali.[1] Puranas go on to write that kings in the fourth age will be godless, wanting in tranquility, quick to anger, and dishonest. They will inflict death on women, and children, and will rise and fall to power quickly. Undisciplined barbarians will receive the support of rulers.

From the four pillars of dharma—penance, charity, truthfulness, and compassion—charity will be all that remains, although it too will decrease daily. People will commit sin in mind, speech and action. Plague, famine, pestilence and natural calamities will appear. People will not believe one another, falsehoods will win disputes and brothers will become avaricious. As the each age progresses, the human life span decreases, starting from thousands of years in the Krutha Yuga to 100 years in the current Kali Yuga.[1]

Sannyasins will wear red. There will be many false religions, and many will profess false knowledge to earn their livelihood. Life will be short and miserable. Marriage will be for pleasure alone. Being dry of water will be the only definition of land, and any hard to reach water will define a pilgrimage destination. People will hide in valleys between mountains, and suffering from cold and exposure, people will wear clothes of tree bark and leaves. People will live less than twenty-three years and the pretense of greatness will be the proof of it. Ultimately, humankind will be destroyed.[3] [4]

Kalki

Kalki
Kalki leading his white horse

At this time of evil, the final incarnation of Vishnu known as Kalki will appear on a white horse. He will amass an army of those few pious souls remaining. These, together with all the incarnations of the Godhead (avatars) which have appeared throughout human history, will destroy all demons and sins in the world.

As written in the Gita:

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् |

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे |
(
Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānirbhavati bhārata.
Abhyut'thānamadharmasya tadātmānaṁ sr̥jāmyaham.

Paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkr̥tām.
Dharmasansthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yugē yugē.
)

Whenever there is decay of righteousness O! Bharatha
And a rise of unrighteousness then I manifest Myself!

[5]

Aditi is the mother of the eight Adityas or solar deities. At the end of creation these eight suns will shine together in the skies. Kalki will amass an army to "establish righteousness upon the earth" and leave "the minds of the people as pure as crystal." Those left, transformed by virtue, will be the new seeds for a higher form of humanity, and humanity will begin again.[1]

Puranas write:

When the sun and moon, the lunar constellation Pushya, and the planet Jupiter are all in one mansion, the Krita age shall return to the earth.

— Hooper, 1508[1]

At the completion of Kali Yuga, the next epoch will begin, Satya Yuga, in which everyone will be righteous with the reestablishment of dharma and piety. This, in turn, will be followed cyclically by epochs of Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and again another Kali Yuga. This cycle will repeat till the larger cycle of existence under Brahma returns to the singularity and a new universe is born.[3]

Brahma Kumaris

Within Hinduism, there are more distinguishing scenarios in certain sects. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi of the Brahma Kumari has written that their prediction of the imminent end of the world is hidden from non-members.[6] Within their tradition, the majority of the planet is predicted to become submerged beneath the ocean, similar to the Ragnarök of Nordic mythology.[7]

Kalagnanam

Sri Potuluri Virabrahmendra Swami, wrote 400 years ago in his Divya Maha Kala Gnana, or 'Divine Knowledge of the Time,' that Kalki would arrive when the moon, sun, Venus and Jupiter entered the same sign. This is not a rare occurrence and last happened in early 2012, passing without event.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Hooper, Rev. Richard (20 April 2011). End of Days: Predictions of the End From Ancient Sources. Sedona, AZ. p. 156.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b Browne, Sylvia. End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World.
  4. ^ "Vishnu Purana". Astrojyoti.com. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  5. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 6, Bhagavad Gita Chapter IV, Section 7". Sacred-texts.com. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  6. ^ Beit-hallahmi, B. (2004). "Death, Fantasy, and Religious Transformations". The Psychology of Death in Fantasy and History. Retrieved 25 January 2008. A case study of Brahma Kumaris, a contemporary group characterized by an apocalyptic vision (kept hidden from nonmembers).
  7. ^ Varughese, Suma. "An article on the sect of the Brahma Kumaris in Rajasthan, India". Lifepositive.com. Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  8. ^ Santanu Acharya. "Hindu Prophecies: Translations from the Kalki Purana". Ww-iii.tripod.com. Retrieved 20 January 2013.

External links

Apocalyptic literature

Apocalyptic literature is a genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture and was popular among millennialist early Christians.

"Apocalypse" (ἀποκάλυψις) is a Greek word meaning "revelation", "an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling". As a genre, apocalyptic literature details the authors' visions of the end times as revealed by an angel or other heavenly messenger. The apocalyptic literature of Judaism and Christianity embraces a considerable period, from the centuries following the Babylonian exile down to the close of the Middle Ages.

Apocalypticism

Apocalypticism, eschatological (end-time) views and movements that focus on cryptic revelations about a sudden, dramatic, and cataclysmic intervention of God in history; the judgment of all men; the salvation of the faithful elect; and the eventual rule of the elect with God in a renewed heaven and earth. Arising initially in Zoroastrianism apocalypticism was developed more fully in Judaic, Christian, and Islamic eschatological speculation.Apocalypticism is often conjoined with the belief that esoteric knowledge that will likely be revealed in a major confrontation between good and evil forces, destined to change the course of history. Apocalypses can be viewed as good, evil, ambiguous or neutral, depending on the particular religion or belief system promoting them. Although it is not exclusively a religious idea and there are end times or transitional scenarios based in modern science and technology.

Buddhist eschatology

There are two major points of Buddhist eschatology: the appearance of Maitreya and the Sermon of the Seven Suns.

End time

The end time (also called end times, end of time, end of days, last days, final days, doomsday, or eschaton) is a future time-period described variously in the eschatologies of several world religions (both Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic), which teach that world events will reach a final climax.

The Abrahamic faiths maintain a linear cosmology, with end-time scenarios containing themes of transformation and redemption. In Judaism, the term "end of days" makes reference to the Messianic Age and includes an in-gathering of the exiled Jewish diaspora, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous, and the world to come. Some sects of Christianity depict the end time as a period of tribulation that precedes the second coming of Christ, who will face the Antichrist along with his power structure and usher in the Kingdom of God.

In Islam, the Day of Judgement is preceded by the appearance of the al-Masih al-Dajjal, and followed by the descending of Isa (Jesus). Isa will triumph over the false messiah, or the Antichrist, which will lead to a sequence of events that will end with the sun rising from the west and the beginning of the Qiyamah (Judgment day).

Non-Abrahamic faiths tend to have more cyclical world-views, with end-time eschatologies characterized by decay, redemption, and rebirth. In Hinduism, the end time occurs when Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu, descends atop a white horse and brings an end to the current Kali Yuga. In Buddhism, the Buddha predicted that his teachings would be forgotten after 5,000 years, followed by turmoil. A bodhisattva named Maitreya will appear and rediscover the teaching of dharma. The ultimate destruction of the world will then come through seven suns.

Since the development of the concept of deep time in the 18th century and the calculation of the estimated age of the Earth, scientific discourse about end times has centered on the ultimate fate of the universe. Theories have included the Big Rip, Big Crunch, Big Bounce, and Big Freeze (heat death).

Eschatology

Eschatology (listen) is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is commonly referred to as the "end of the world" or "end times".The word arises from the Greek ἔσχατος eschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of", and first appeared in English around 1844. The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as "the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind".In the context of mysticism, the term refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and to reunion with the Divine. Many religions treat eschatology as a future event prophesied in sacred texts or in folklore.

History is often divided by historians into "ages" (aeons), which are time periods each with certain commonalities. One age comes to an end and a new age or world to come, where different realities are present, begins. When such transitions from one age to another are the subject of eschatological discussion, the phrase, "end of the world", is replaced by "end of the age", "end of an era", or "end of life as we know it". Much apocalyptic fiction does not deal with the "end of time" but rather with the end of a certain period, the end of life as it is now, and the beginning of a new period. It is usually a crisis that brings an end to current reality and ushers in a new way of living, thinking, or being. This crisis may take the form of the intervention of a deity in history, a war, a change in the environment, or the reaching of a new level of consciousness.Most modern eschatology and apocalypticism, both religious and secular, involve the violent disruption or destruction of the world; whereas Christian and Jewish eschatologies view the end times as the consummation or perfection of God's creation of the world, albeit with violent overtures, such as the Great Tribulation. For example, according to some ancient Hebrew worldviews, reality unfolds along a linear path (or rather, a spiral path, with cyclical components that nonetheless have a linear trajectory); the world began with God and is ultimately headed toward God's final goal for creation, the world to come.Eschatologies vary as to their degree of optimism or pessimism about the future. In some eschatologies, conditions are better for some and worse for others, e.g. "heaven and hell". They also vary as to time frames. Groups claiming imminent eschatology are also referred to as Doomsday cults.

Hindu mythology

Hindu mythology are narratives found in Hindu texts such as the Vedic literature, epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Puranas, the regional literatures like Periya Puranam. Hindu mythology is also found in widely translated popular texts such as the Panchatantra and Hitopadesha, as well as Southeast Asian texts.Hindu mythology does not often have a consistent, monolithic structure. The same myth typically appears in various versions, and can be represented differently across socio-religious traditions. These myths have also been noted to have been modified by various philosophical schools over time and particularly in the Hindu tradition. These myths are taken to have deeper, often symbolic, meaning, and have been given a complex range of interpretations.

Kali Yuga

Kali Yuga (Sanskrit: कलियुग, romanized: kaliyuga, lit. 'age of Kali') in Hinduism is the last of the four stages (or ages or yugas) the world goes through as part of a 'cycle of yugas' (i.e. Mahayuga) described in the Sanskrit scriptures. The other ages are called Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, and Dvapara Yuga. Kali Yuga is associated with the demon Kali (not to be confused with the goddess Kālī). The "Kali" of Kali Yuga means "strife", "discord", "quarrel" or "contention". According to Puranic sources, Krishna's departure marks the end of Dvapara Yuga and the start of Kali Yuga, which is dated to 17/18 February 3102 BCE.

Kalki

Kalki, also called Kalkin or Karki, is the tenth avatar of Hindu god Vishnu to end the Kali Yuga, one of the four periods in the endless cycle of existence (krita) in Vaishnavism cosmology. He is described in the Puranas as the avatar who rejuvenates existence by ending the darkest and destructive period to remove adharma and ushering in the Satya Yuga, while riding a white horse with a fiery sword. The description and details of Kalki are inconsistent among the Puranic texts. He is, for example, only an invisible force destroying evil and chaos in some texts, while an actual person who kills those who persecute others, and some texts portrayed him as someone leading an army of Naga warriors to eliminate adharma from the world. His mythology has been compared to the concepts of Messiah, Apocalypse, Frashokereti and Maitreya in other religions.Kalki is also found in Buddhist texts. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Kalachakra-Tantra describes 25 rulers, each named Kalki who rule from the heavenly Shambhala. The last Kalki of Shambhala destroys a barbarian Muslim army, after which Buddhism flourishes. This text is dated to about 10th-century CE.

Krishna

Shree Krishna or simply Krishna (, Sanskrit pronunciation: [ˈkɽɪʂɳɐ]; Sanskrit: कृष्ण, IAST: Kṛṣṇa) is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu and also as the supreme God in his own right. He is the god of compassion, tenderness and love in Hinduism, and is one of the most popular and widely revered among Indian divinities. Krishna's birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus on Krishna Janmashtami according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, which falls in late August or early September of the Gregorian calendar. Krishna is usually seen with a flute in his hand.

The anecdotes and narratives of Krishna's life are generally titled as Krishna Leela. He is a central character in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad Gita, and is mentioned in many Hindu philosophical, theological, and mythological texts. They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and as the universal supreme being. His iconography reflects these legends, and shows him in different stages of his life, such as an infant eating butter, a young boy playing a flute, a young boy with Radha or surrounded by women devotees, or a friendly charioteer giving counsel to Arjuna.The synonyms of Krishna have been traced to 1st millennium BCE literature. In some sub-traditions, Krishna is worshipped as Svayam Bhagavan, and this is sometimes referred to as Krishnaism. These sub-traditions arose in the context of the medieval era Bhakti movement. Krishna-related literature has inspired numerous performance arts such as Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Odissi, and Manipuri dance. He is a pan-Hindu god, but is particularly revered in some locations such as Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, the Jagannatha aspect in Odisha, Mayapur in West Bengal, Dwarka and Junagadh in Gujarat, in the form of Vithoba in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, Nathdwara in Rajasthan, Udupi Krishna in Karnataka and Guruvayur in Kerala. Since the 1960s, the worship of Krishna has also spread to the Western world and to Africa, largely due to the work of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

List of eschatological topics

The following topics pertain to eschatology, a part of theology, physics, philosophy and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events of history, the ultimate destiny of humanity — commonly referred to as the "end of the world" or "end time".

Messiah

In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (Hebrew: מָשִׁיחַ‎, romanized: māšîaḥ; Greek: μεσσίας, romanized: messías, Arabic: مسيح‎, romanized: masîḥ) is a saviour or liberator of a group of people.

The concepts of moshiach, messianism, and of a Messianic Age originated in Judaism, and in the Hebrew Bible; a moshiach (messiah) is a king or High Priest traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil. Messiahs were not exclusively Jewish: the Book of Isaiah refers to Cyrus the Great, king of the Achaemenid Empire, as a messiah for his decree to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple.

Ha mashiach (המשיח, 'the Messiah', 'the anointed one'), often referred to as melekh mashiach (מלך המשיח 'King Messiah'), is to be a human leader, physically descended from the paternal Davidic line through King David and King Solomon. He is thought to accomplish predetermined things in only one future arrival, including the unification of the tribes of Israel, the gathering of all Jews to Eretz Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, the ushering in of a Messianic Age of global universal peace, and the annunciation of the world to come.In Christianity, the Messiah is called the Christ, from Greek: χριστός, romanized: khristós, translating the Hebrew word of the same meaning. The concept of the Messiah in Christianity originated from the Messiah in Judaism. However, unlike the concept of the Messiah in Judaism, the Messiah in Christianity is the Son of God. Christ became the accepted Christian designation and title of Jesus of Nazareth, because Christians believe that the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled in his mission, death, and resurrection. These specifically include the prophecies of him being descended from the Davidic line, and being declared King of the Jews which happened on the day of his crucifixion.

They believe that Christ will fulfill the rest of the messianic prophecies, specifically that he will usher in a Messianic Age and the world to come at his Second Coming.

In Islam, Jesus was a prophet and the Masîḥ (مسيح), the Messiah sent to the Israelites, and he will return to Earth at the end of times, along with the Mahdi, and defeat al-Masih ad-Dajjal, the false Messiah.

In Ahmadiyya theology, these prophecies concerning the Mahdi and the second coming of Jesus have been fulfilled in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908), the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, and the terms 'Messiah' and 'Mahdi' are synonyms for one and the same person.In Chabad messianism, Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (r. 1920–1950), sixth Rebbe (spiritual leader) of Chabad Lubavitch, and Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902–1994), seventh Rebbe of Chabad, are Messiah claimants. Resembling early Christianity, the deceased Schneerson is believed to be the Messiah among some adherents of the Chabad movement; his second coming is believed to be imminent.

Sathya Sai Baba movement

The Sathya Sai Baba movement is inspired by South Indian Hindu guru Sathya Sai Baba who taught the unity of all religions. Some of his followers have faith in his claim to be a purna Avatar (full divine incarnation) of Shiva and Shakti, who is believed to have been predicted in the Bhagavad Gita. This means that some of his followers see him as a God. Devotees engage in singing devotional songs called "bhajans" and selfless service (seva). Its official organization is the Sathya Sai Organization. However the Sathya Sai Baba movement extends beyond the organization. An important aspect of the faith of adherents is the miracles attributed to Sathya Sai Baba. The number of adherents is estimated between 6 and 100 million.

Satya Yuga

The Satya Yuga (Sanskrit: सत्य युग), also called Satyug, or Kṛta Yuga (Sanskrit: कृत युग) in Hinduism, is the first of the four Yugas, the "Yuga (Age or Era) of Truth", when humanity is governed by gods, and every manifestation or work is close to the purest ideal and humanity will allow intrinsic goodness to rule supreme. It is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age". The Satya Yuga lasts 1,728,000 years. The goddess Dharma (depicted in the form of a cow), which symbolises morality, stood on all four legs during this period. Later on in the Treta Yuga, it would become three, followed by two in the Dvapara Yuga. Currently, in the immoral age of Kali, it stands on one leg.

Shiva

Shiva (; Sanskrit: शिव, Śiva, lit. the auspicious one) also known as Mahadeva ( lit. the great god) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is one of the supreme beings within Shaivism, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism.Shiva is known as "The Destroyer" within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity that includes Brahma and Vishnu. In Shaivism tradition, Shiva is one of the supreme beings who creates, protects and transforms the universe. In the tradition of Hinduism called Shaktism, the Goddess, or Devi, is described as one of the supreme, yet Shiva is revered along with Vishnu and Brahma. A goddess is stated to be the energy and creative power (Shakti) of each, with Parvati (Sati) the equal complementary partner of Shiva. He is one of the five equivalent deities in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta tradition of Hinduism.According to the Shaivism sect, the highest form of Ishvar is formless, limitless, transcendent and unchanging absolute Brahman, and the primal Atman (soul, self) of the universe. There are many both benevolent and fearsome depictions of Shiva. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya. In his fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts.The iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead, the trishula or trident, as his weapon, and the damaru drum. He is usually worshipped in the aniconic form of Lingam. Shiva is a pan-Hindu deity, revered widely by Hindus, in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

World to come

The world to come, age to come, and heaven on Earth are eschatological phrases reflecting the belief that the current world or current age is flawed or cursed and will be replaced in the future by a better world, age, or paradise. The concept is related to but differs from the concepts of heaven, the afterlife, and the Kingdom of God in that heaven is another place or state generally seen as above the world, the afterlife is generally an individual's life after death, and the Kingdom of God could be in the present (such as realized eschatology) or the future.

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