What Will Happen When Kalki Appears on Earth?
Of all the religions on Earth, Hinduism perhaps features some of the most elaborate and intriguing myths and legends about the world we live in. There are of course a number of different Hindu gods, but one of the most widely known is Vishnu, who it’s said appears on Earth as one of multiple possible avatars. According to Hinduism, Vishnu will one day take the form of Kalki, the final avatar, and usher in a period of peace and prosperity. But were you to be on Earth at the moment when Kalki arrives, then that means you will have experienced the toughest of times until that point… and peace and prosperity may well feel like a far off dream.
So, this is Unveiled, and today we’re answering the extraordinary question: what will happen when Kalki appears on Earth?
Before we dive into the specifics here, there are some general, crucial ideas in Hinduism to highlight first. For one, time is cyclical in Hinduism, and it’s believed that we perpetually cycle through four distinct ages - known as the yugas - each with its own characteristics. The first of these is the Satya Yuga, the longest and most virtuous period of all. During Satya Yuga, the motivations of humanity are said to be governed by all the best things: truth, knowledge, and peace. After Satya Yuga, however, we begin to digress into the three more degenerate ages. First the Treta Yuga, then the Dvapara Yuga, and finally the Kali Yuga. At each successive level, it’s said that humanity becomes more corrupt, more self-centred, more blasphemous… more of everything that, ideally, it wouldn’t want to be.
Kali Yuga, the final stage, is known as an era of sin, with murder, addiction, and power to the rich all featuring heavily. During this stage, one’s social standing is seemingly determined by their wealth, religion itself is sometimes used to achieve power and influence, and across the world disease runs rampant and natural disasters are frequent. What’s concerning, then, is that according to the Hindu timeline, the Kali Yuga is the stage we’re currently in… and it’s only just begun.
The myths state that the transition between Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga is marked by the Kurukshetra War, a conflict described in the Indian epic poem, the Mahabharata. This war is then believed to have occurred about 5,000 years ago on Earth, so it’s thought that humankind has lived in the worst of times for at least five millennia. But the Kali Yuga also lasts for 432,000 years in total, so if the myths are true, we have another 427,000 years or so of rampant and increasing degeneration left… before we’re finally freed from this age of corruption and suffering. And how will we be freed? By the coming of Kalki in all his destructive glory.
It’s said that the move from the corrupt Kali Yuga back to the pure Satya Yuga will occur in two stages. First, Kalki, the final avatar of Vishnu, will arrive near the end of the current age and destroy all the corruption that’s been plaguing mankind. There aren’t too many fine details to go on here, but it’s believed that Kalki will be born in human form, in a virtuous family. Then, when the time comes to end Kali Yuga, Kalki will mount a white horse, wield a fiery sword, and hunt down all the wicked and unvirtuous humans - and by now, there will be many of them. Initially, then, the coming of Kalki is far-reaching chaos and ruin, with a literal god ransacking the world in a bid to rid it of sin.
After the conclusion of this destructive phase, however, the humans that remain - the ones that will’ve best resisted the sins and vices of the Kali age - will be inspired by Kalki. He is, after all, the ultimate good, he’s a god, and they will attempt to replicate him. In doing so, those humans will also be ushering in the Satya Yuga, and a joyous return to those best of times centred again on truth, knowledge, and peace. Good deeds and selflessness will become the new normal. Meditation and the pursuit of knowledge will be popular. We’ll become more spiritual as a species, we’ll be in better harmony with nature, the life span of the average human will increase significantly, and during our elongated lives we’ll live with more strength and vitality. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Well, this legend is a key belief in Hindu mythology. It stands as a prediction, but it’s also a story, and one that’s been passed down for generations. Regardless of whether you believe the future really will play out like this, however, we can see how it might be argued that the conditions for the coming of Kalki have been made to mirror the modern world. If the Yuga cycle is accurate and we are currently in the Kali Yuga, then we’d expect to be living in an age filled with disease, murder, and corruption… which recent history offers a lot of support for.
The twentieth century goes down as one of the darkest centuries ever seen, hosting both the first and second world wars, the detonation of two nuclear bombs during war, and genocides across the world map. We witnessed the rise of fascism, the problems with communism, and corruption from the very top of world governments. There were epidemics, too, many major disasters, and even outside of wartime the world teetered on the brink of nuclear conflict during the Cold War. Go back a little farther in time, and we’re confronted with slavery, European conquests, the Opium Wars, and the list goes on. Over the years, we’ve seen religion used in various ways to gain power, as well, and loss of faith in God on Earth is certainly rising… with atheism and agnosticism climbing. You might assume that Kalki should be ready and waiting to make his entrance, then. But no. Because, if the Hindu beliefs are true, then remember we’re still only at the very beginning of Kali Yuga… which means we can expect everything to get much worse into the dim and distant future.
Given the current state of the world, and the current conditions of human society, then, does the idea that things are getting worse really seem accurate? Well, there’s certainly some cause for concern. We’ve perhaps never been as capable as we are today of destroying ourselves and the planet, for one thing. Although many nuclear weapons are being dismantled, there remain many thousands of them in the world… so mutually assured destruction is still a possibility. Especially given the countless other weapons that have been developed in the years since the first nukes. But, away from the battleground, we’ve got many other major issues, too. Financial crises, global pandemics, and we’re becoming more and more aware of the effects of our own actions on Earth itself. In fact, if the predictions of our many climate change experts are correct, then ultimately there may not even be a world to save by the time Kalki is prophesied to appear. Or at least not a human society that’s still living on it.
If we know anything in this fast-changing world of ours, however, it’s how difficult it is to say what will and won’t happen. It’s tough to predict what the next hundred years are going to look like, let alone the next 400,000 years… so the coming of Kalki is really and truly an unknowable point for us in the future. We’re living in an age of exponential change and each century will likely look drastically different to the century that came before it, from here on out. This perhaps shows itself best in our attempts toward space travel. The technology is shifting and improving so that humans increasingly believe and expect that we’ll be able to leave Earth for a different planet in the coming decades… and eventually that we’ll be able to leave Earth for good, if we wanted or needed to. But, alongside all of that, the risks of war, disease and climate change continue, and society is going to need to make some major adjustments if it hopes to lessen them.
Because, what happens to the Kalki prophecy if Earth has been destroyed by war or by climate change before Kalki’s time comes? And what if humans are living elsewhere in the universe by the time Vishnu’s final avatar arrives to save us? Would the legend still apply under those circumstances? These are unanswerable questions, but perhaps the best that we can do is to try to withstand all the worst parts of the Kali Yuga until then. We’ve got a long time of it left to run, after all. And that’s what will happen when Kalki appears on Earth.