When Kalki the Destroyer Descends: Greed, Corruption, War, Destruction, and the Apocalypse

When Kalki the Destroyer Descends, the Apocalypse Begins


A harbinger of the apocalypse, it is believed that Kalki will bring about the destruction of the world when mankind has completely abandoned religion, “when nothing is known of the techniques of sacrifice, even by word.”

Kalki is the final incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, who is predicted to come “like a comet and carry a terrifying sword for bringing about the annihilation of the wicked barbarian men at the end of the Kali-yuga” (Sri Dasavatara Stotra, 10th Sloka).

Depiction of Kalki from 1825. ( Public Domain )

The Kali-yuga

According to Hindu belief , universal time is comprised of four great periods, or yugas: Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapara-yuga, and Kali-yuga. Currently, humans are living through the Kali-yuga period, which is roughly 432,000 years long. This period began after the Battle of Kuruksetra during the end of the reign of King Pariksit, some 5,000 years ago. Therefore, there are approximately 427,000 years of the Kali-yuga left before Kalki is said to come.

At the beginning of the Kali-yuga, 3102 BC, the Lord Krishna disappeared from the earth, leaving a golden age for humans in his stead. This era of glory is predicted to last 10,000 years until the shortcomings of man supersede the legacy Krishna left behind. Thereafter, the lesser qualities of human nature , particularly their greed and materialism, will grow in strength. People will lose all interest in spiritual matters and those devotees who still cling to the Gods will be ridiculed and persecuted – “hunted down in the cities for sport like animals” (Knapp, 2016).

Things are then said to go from bad to worse. Governments and police will become rife with corruption, human decency will erode, and there will be neither protection nor solution to crime. Everyone will fight with and against each other - there will be constant war. The world will become terrible. It is said to become a place where people are only born to suffer and chaos will abound.

Kalki Purana Prophecies

The Kalki Purana prophesizes that the materialistic adherents of the Kali-yuga will be Kalki’s main targets:

“All these relatives [agents] of [the personification of the age of] Kali are the destroyers of sacrifice [religious ritual], study of the Vedas, and charity because they transgressed all the Vedic principles of religion. They are the reservoirs of mental distress, disease, old age, destruction of religious principles, sorrow, lamentation, and fear. These descendants of Kali are found wandering everywhere throughout the kingdom of Kali, destroying the people of the world. Such people are misguided by the influence of time, very restless by nature, full of lusty desires, extremely sinful, very proud, and violent even to their own father and mother. [Even] those who are known as twice-born [ spiritually initiated] are devoid of all good behavior, without any observance of proper etiquette, and always engaged in the service of the lowest classes.” (Knapp, 2016)

The Kalki Purana also describes what will happen to the priests - those who were supposed to keep the faith pure and strong:

“These fallen souls are very fond of dry arguments, and they use religion as a means of livelihood, teach Vedic knowledge as a profession, are fallen from the execution of their vows, and sell wine and other abominable things, including meat. They are cruel by nature, and very fond of gratifying their bellies and genitals. For this reason, they lust after the wives of others and are always seen to be intoxicated.” (Knapp, 2016)

Kalki Avatar Punjab Hills, Guler, c. 1765.

Kalki Avatar Punjab Hills, Guler, c. 1765. ( Public Domain )

The Return of Kalki

After 432,000 years, the Kali-yuga is said to be brought to an end by the return of Vishnu/Krishna in the avatar of Kalki, the 22nd incarnation of God. Riding on the Devadatta, his noble white steed, Kalki will come down from heaven brandishing a fiery sword (the Weapon of Parabrahman) to kill the Godless and the wicked.”

Lord Kalki, the Lord of the universe, will mount His swift white horse Devadatta and, sword in hand, travel over the earth exhibiting His eight mystic opulences and eight special qualities of Godhead. Displaying His unequaled effulgence and riding with great speed, He will kill by the millions those thieves who have dared dress as kings.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.2.19-20)

Kalki and his horse.

Kalki and his horse. ( Public Domain )

Things will be so bad at this point, that his arrival will be seen as a blessing for the few remaining holy people who persevered and survive in caves and in the wilderness. Kalki (whose name can be translated to be ‘destroyer of foulness,’ ‘destroyer of darkness,’ or ‘destroyer of ignorance’) will then usher in another Satya-yuga. This will be an age of truth and righteousness.

The Second Coming of Christ

The mythos surrounding Kalki has clear parallels to the eschatology of other major religions, notably the Christian beliefs surrounding the second coming of Christ. As Revelations 19 reads:

“Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself… From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty…Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against the rider on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed in its presence the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were killed by the sword of the rider on the horse, the sword that came from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (Rev 19:11-21)

Kalki avatar of Vishnu. Panjabi manuscript. (Wellcome Images/ CC BY 4.0 )

Theories about how the world will come to an end can be found in belief systems all around the world. Much like they hold theories on the beginnings of humanity, so to do religions have ideas on its demise.

Top image: Kalki the Destroyer by José-Patricio Aguirre , traditional and digital artist

By Kerry Sullivan


Gurudev Shri. Lahari Krishna. "Who Is Kalki Maha Avatar?"Narayana Consciousness. Praise & Meditation Centre, 2016. Web.

"Kalki Avatar The Apocalyptic Horse Rider." Kalki Avatar The Apocalyptic Horse Rider. Yoga-philosophy, 2003. Web. 20 Aug. 2016.

Knapp, Stephen. "Kalki The Next Avatar of God." Kalki The Next Avatar of God. Sri Nandanandana Dasa, 2016. Web. 20 Aug. 2016.


These writings refer to the visions saints receive from God- the Avatar in question, they have nothing whatsoever to do with us , as long as we remain in the mortal realms of spiritual ignorance-of ignorance of God. They are absolutely amazing and fantastical reminders of His presence on earth and an invitation to the right-minded to get their act together and go through the necessary steps to be able to say hello to the Lord IN PERSON, in order to get the real benefits and rewards for bothering to do so.
Atheism is OK, does God either have or need faith in Himself? So you dont need it either.

Once this is accepted the vast pile of nonsenses known as "theology" and "religious observances" etcetera crumbles into dust, removing the obstacles created by anybody wanting to make money out of religion, because their entrapment into ignorance and a "normal life" (i.e. breeding people to congregate their congregations!) of work, marriage etc , prevents us achieving the goal of life through Yoga- which is union WITH God at ALL levels , and in EVERY way, muppets!!

Something for us to make the appropriate efforts towards? Oh Yeah!!

Carl Johan Calleman's picture

It seems to me that most people discussing the yugas have forgotten that their purpose is to describe the rise and fall of civilizations. If they are unable to do so we may wonder what it is that we are discussing. Essentially what is discussed at the current time is a modern and an ancient system. Sri Yukteswar has developed a modern system, which is not based on the ancient Indian system of time-keeping but on the Gregorian calendar. Hence, he defines the shift points in the Yuga system based on Century shifts. He has also changed the beginning of the Kali Yuga from the traditional at 3102 BC to 700BC as far as I can tell without giving an explanation. The resulting system is unable to describe the rise and fall of civilizations with the kind of precision that the Mayan calendar (see for instance fig 1 in my blog article about Brexit and Trump on, which just an example perfectly describes the rise and fall of the British Empire. Moreover, Sri Yukteswars system places Buddha, Jesus, Pythagoras, Zoroaster, Bhagavad Gita, Lao-Tse and Confucius in a dark age, which seems like looking at these religions from a very modern mind set.

The ancient Yuga system on the other hand took its beginning in 3102 BC, which is very close to the beginning of the Mayan Long Count in 3114 (or 3115 BC) when we know that civilization in a real sense with cities and written languages actually started on our planet. Since we can see that the Mayan calendar provides an accurate description of the rise and fall of civlizations, it seems that the best explanation to the origin of the later Yuga system is that it started out as a good approximation to the waves that drive evolution, but was later derailed by materialist (read astronomical) thinking like much of the rest of the world. The myth of Krishna leaving the Earth and being replaced by the demon Kali of discord and quarrel also has a direct correspondance to the Mayan description of the Long Count as beginning with the eight-partitioning of the Earth and the Duality (read inequality and discord) this created. The language may be different but the beginning of the Kali Yuga and the Long Count in fact meant a shift from unity consciousness to duality. Regardless, the only meaningful way of approaching the question of the validity of ancient calendar system is to assess to what extent they actually match the rise and fall of civilizations. If this is not the case, what is it that we are discussing?

Carl J Calleman

Yes, scholars finally seem to be recognizing the misinterpretation of the yuga cycle that took place during the Dark Ages. The correction, to a much shorter time period, which is also consistent with the words in Manu's texts (12,000 years up, 12,000 years down), and can be traced through an observable astronomical phenomenon, the precession of the equinox, shows the wisdom of Sri Yukteswar. Understanding, the yugas are not some ridiculously long period with no basis in astronomy, puts the ancient knowledge of India in its rightful place. It also appears that Mike Brown at Caltech and other astrophysicists are now recognizing our solar system is being tugged by a large gravitational force, one that just might be found to produce the observed cycle. Slowly but surely mankind is awakening to a higher knowledge as we move out of the Dark Ages (Kali) through, and into, an expanding renaissance period (Dwapara). Lifespans have doubled, plagues have stopped, most dictators have fallen, democracies now make up the majority of world governments, etc.. There are still many problems and imperfections but the clear trend is away from a dark age mentality towards innovation, the widespread use of electrons, and expanding capabilities.

Addressing Saralina Fonseca's comment (Shri Yukteshwara's interpretation of the yugas):

The lengths of the yugas, according to ancient and medieval Indian astronomy, reveal an interwoven link of time/space concepts, an ancient system of mathematics linking measurements of time to things such as distances to other celestial objects, etc. Perhaps it would be better first to study ancient Indian astronomy texts before accepting a modern speculative interpretation, e.g. Jyotish Shastras, puranic cosmology, Surya-Siddhanta, Siddhanta-Shiromani, etc.

Another problem with Shri Yukteshwara's speculations, is the fact that the world is hardly looking like it's headed toward a higher state of awareness. Instead, the world seems to be degrading to a state of barbarity, in accordance with the puranic accounts of the devolving yugas. As there is no evidence whatsoever that a scribe made a mistake, why should we accept these imaginings? Are you saying that the modern world is enlightened and that the ancient world was inhabited by primitive, intellectually stunted beings?

Then there is this counter. In the introduction of The Holy Science, Swami Sri Yukteswar neatly dispels the widely accepted Hindu macro-cosmology paradigm of yugas of very long duration (432,000 years) and corrects the current concept of the time periods involved in the different ages on earth. He states that this erroneous understanding of the yuga cycle was the result of a scribe's mistake when people could not easily grasp the knowledge of much more enlightened times. In Swami Yukteswar’s reinterpretation, there is a 24,000-year cycle of 12,000 ascending years and 12,000 years descending comprised of 1200 years in Kali (iron age), 2400 years in Dwapara Yuga (bronze age), 3600 years in Treta Yuga (Silver age), and 4800 years in the Satya Yuga (Golden age). The Golden Age is the longest continuing cycle as when it reaches its pinnacle in the ascending age, the round begins anew with 4800 years in the descending cycle. The Iron Age is the shortest with 2400 years in the descending and ascending phases. According to him, the Kali Yuga in our current ascending cycle ended in 1899 (the book was published five years earlier) and the solar system entered the much more conducive Dwapara Yuga. He maintains that the advent of the Dwapara Yuga was characterized by man’s increasing awareness and ability to understand and utilize the finer energies of the universe, such as electricity and magnetism which were virtually unknown in the previous age. Sri Yukteshwar states that all humans will reach higher forms of spiritual self-realization as the yugas continue to ascend, despite any current perceptions. Therefore, people may despair hearing that the darkest time, the Kali Yuga, has another four hundred thousand years or so to go but this more illuminating version of events appears to be more reliable and in sync with human time and scale.


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