Narada Discusses Qualities of Kali Yuga

story of narada muni and bhakti devi

60,000 rishis clustered around the perfectly enlightened sage Suta Goswami to understand his exposition on the Shrimad Bhagavatham.

In the city of Vishala, many thousand rishis assembled to perform a “Satra Yajna” (सत्र यज्ञ), a fire sacrifice for the general well-being of all its citizens.

Sage Narada’s worry

The great sage Devarishi Narada was passing by the city, looking extremely worried.

Usually, the sage is a calm figure with no worries, always chanting the name “Narayana Narayana”.

Indeed, whoever chants the holy name has no cause for worry.

Then why does this sage look worried, so thought the people of this city.

When approached and asked the reason for his worry, the great sage said-

“I have been wandering the length and breadth of the earth to locate a place where there is calmness of Bhakti.

Sadly, I have been quite unsuccessful in my attempt”, said the sage.

The people said-

“Why don’t you visit the already recognized pilgrimages on the planet. There must definitely be at least a few good devotees.”

narada-reveals-qualities-of-lord-rama

The sage replied-

“I will mention the places that I have already visited.

You decide whether I have been looking at the right places.

I went to Pushkaram, Kashi, the banks of Godavari, Hari Kshetra, Kurukshetra, Srirangam, and Rameswaram.

I checked these places to see if they have Vairagya, Bhakti or Tapas.

However, I could only see the dark shadow of Kaliyuga engulfing these places.”

The sage said that no merit of the spiritual kind existed in these locales even. 

Rishis Blame Sage Narada

The rishis in the city of Vishala interposed-

“Probably you have not investigated these places properly.

Probably it is a defect in your vision.”

They further said- “What did you observe as you surveyed these areas?”

7 Characteristics of Kali Yuga

To this, Narada said-

1)  Nobody speaks the Truth

avoiding-someone

People are not transparent or pure.

They think in a certain way but talk about it in the exact opposite way.

After saying something, their actions do not match their thoughts or words.

Even after having so much discrepancy in thought, word and action, no one has the guilt of having behaved in such an incongruent manner.

2)  Lack of sense control

No one has Tapas or Vairagya in their persona having lost the ability to control the senses in any manner.

Nobody has the power to control even one sense organ.

Prasadam

In those days, while offering bhoga, it was custom to draw a curtain to give privacy to the Lord while he accepted the offerings.

Likewise, Lord Krishna ordered his people to draw a curtain while offering food to the great mountain, Goverdhana (the mountain form of Lord Vishnu).

The innocent people of Gokula and Goverdhana immediately shut their eyes, following His instructions.

This was the level of obedience and sense control they possessed.

However such straightforwardness and simplicity is not found today, said sage Narada.

In the old days of Satya Yuga and Tretayuga the mind itself was the guard, the torch-bearer.

But in Yugas like Dwapara and Kaliyuga, the mind is the first one to be off-guard and even the rule breaker.

3) Tendency to show off

Wealth, House and Success

Even blood relatives such as brothers, sisters try to show off amongst each other and speak lies.

People lie for every small thing even if there is no need to lie about something.

One tries to make the other envious by projecting a false and exaggerated image of one’s accomplishments. Thus the entire world operates on fallacy.

4) Blunt Intelligence

People go to any level of meanness in order to beat hunger and accumulate wealth.

Their intelligence has become extremely blunt and their ability to grasp something appropriate has dramatically degraded.

People’s attention span, owing to their evil propensities, has also degraded alarmingly.

Even cleverness is being attributed to the cheating mentality in Kaliyuga.

5) Bogus gurus

People dress like devotees but their talks reveal that they do not have faith in God.

Bogus sadhus make their own interpretations of dharma and delude the common man.

6) Considerations for marriage

dandvati-process-for-marriage

While fixing marriage proposals, instead of looking at the girl’s ability to care for the family according to Dharmic principles; more emphasis is given on her beauty and educational qualifications, her sense of independence, leading to turmoil in every household.

Marriage has now been reduced to a wealthy transaction rather than an adherence to Dharma.

7) Downfall of Pilgrimages

There appear to be many temples but tapas, austerity, or renunciation, seems to be non-existent.

Although there are many spots of pilgrimage, no Vairagya or detachment exists.

There are many sources of wealth but there is no love and mutual understanding.

There appear too many things but things that ought to be existent are non-existent.

Story of Bhakti Devi

Sage Narada continued-

“Then finally I reached the banks of the river Yamuna.

There I saw a young maiden seated alongside two very old men.

She revealed her identity saying-

‘I am Bhakti and these two old men are my sons.’

Indeed, this was astonishing. How could a young maiden have two aged sons?

The young maiden was continuously trying to wake up the two old men, who appeared to be lying down out of advanced age and tiredness.”

When the sage inquired into the matter, then Bhakti Devi replied-

‘These are my 2 sons- Jnana and Vairagya.

Earlier, I was as old as them, but when we reached Vrindavana, I got back my youth but my sons did not recover from their old age.

I was born in the Dravida Desam in the South of India.

In the region, currently known as Karnataka, I grew up.

Then , I started getting old as I approached Maharashtra and became very old, as I reached the state of Gujarat.

Thus my sons and I reached a ripe age as we passed through Gujarat.

However, on reaching the banks of Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh, I regained my youth but my sons did not.’

After hearing the tale of Bhakti Devi, Sage Narada closed his eyes in deep contemplation.

The Greatest Benefit of Kaliyuga

Then Sage Narada said-

“Bhakti Devi, this is the gory Kaliyuga. You have descended to the earthly platform from Vaikuntha way back in Satya Yuga. Jnana and Mukti were your two associates.”

The process was that through Bhakti (devotion) one would ultimately attain Jnana (knowledge) and then Mukti (liberation).

Till the end of Treta Yuga, Bhakti, Mukti and Jnana went hand-in-hand.

However, in Dwapara Yuga, the attitude of people changed. No one aspired for Mukti.

Therefore, Mukti returned to Vaikuntha.

From there, Mukti Devi informed Bhakti that she would descend to the earth whenever called and again return to Vaikuntha at once.

In Dwapara yuga itself Mukti was rare and now it is Kaliyuga.

Indeed, attaining Mukti in Kaliyuga has become very rare.”

Bhakti Devi asked the sage “Then why does the Lord not dissolve Kali Yuga?”

To this the great sage replied-

“Although Kaliyuga is full of faults, it opens an easy means to get rid of all afflictions.

This path was closed in the three previous Yugas but it is the greatest merit of this fallen age.

sankirtana-the-way-out-of-darkness

You can simply attain God by doing Harinama Sankeerthanam (हरिनाम संकीर्तन- chanting the name of the Lord).

Simply chanting the names of the Lord can free you of all worldly woes with minimum effort, relaying maximum benefit.

Such a facility was never available directly in the prior three Yugas.

Therefore, Kaliyuga may have the maximum defects but it has the greatest benefit of delivering Liberation (Mukti) through the simplest means of Harinama.

This is a point that supersedes all the other times put together.

Thanks for reading!