Degradation in the Age of Kali - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

Sometimes it is difficult to believe that this age is an age of degradation, especially when we have great modern concepts such as nano technology, paperless offices, i-phones, cryogenic engines, Supernets etc., which are direct proofs of a technological revolution. We are really forced to question the scriptures, "Are they speaking the truth? Are we really degrading?". The following sloka from Bhagavatam gives a sample to explain how the scriptural statements are true though they don't fit into our limited intellects. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse, 3.21.15 Kardama Muni prays to Lord Vishnu as follows:

tathā sa cāhaṁ parivoḍhu-kāmaḥ
samāna-śīlāṁ gṛhamedha-dhenum
upeyivān mūlam aśeṣa-mūlaṁ
durāśayaḥ kāma-dughāṅghripasya

Therefore, desiring to marry a girl of like disposition who may prove to be a veritable cow of plenty in my married life, to satisfy my lustful desire I too have sought the shelter of Your lotus feet, which are the source of everything, for You are like a desire tree.

In the commentary Srila Prabhupada writes, "The phrase "like disposition" is very significant. Formerly, boys and girls of similar dispositions were married; the similar natures of the boy and girl were united in order to make them happy. Not more than twenty-five years ago, and perhaps it is still current, parents in India used to consult the horoscope of the boy and girl to see whether there would be factual union in their psychological conditions. These considerations are very important. Nowadays marriage takes place without such consultation, and therefore, soon after the marriage, there is divorce and separation. Formerly husband and wife used to live together peacefully throughout their whole lives, but nowadays it is a very difficult task."

In the Mahabharata we find an interesting story in relation to a great sage called Svetaketu. A great sage had a daughter named Suvatsala. When her father started looking for a boy to marry her, she put one condition for marriage. She said, "I will marry a man whose both eyes are working in normal condition, but still is blind". The sage invited many other sages for marriage proposal and when they heard this condition, they were very much offended by this condition and left. Finally the sage Svetaketu arrived and said to the girl, "Suvatsala, I have both my eyes working in normal condition and still blind. So I'm qualified to marry you". The girl asked, "Can you please explain how you're qualified?". The sage replied, "I have my two physical eyes working and so I can see all the objects of this world. However, I'm spiritually blind because I have not so far visualized Lord Vishnu, who permeates all the worlds and who is all powerful". Suvatsala was very happy to hear this and agreed to marry Svetaketu. And after marriage, they had many discussion on spiritual subjects which are revealed in the Mahabharata. This was the standard of marriage 5000 years ago. Due to the influence of Kali, the spiritual stand of the couple was slowly discarded in marriage discussions and only other aspects of compatibility such as age, psychological natures, family tradition, financial status were considered. However, at least this was done in a pious way by matching of horoscopes and discussion between elders as Srila Prabhupada explains above. So marriage was at least materially successful where there was no separation and divorce was a very rare occurrence.

Nowadays, even that is not happening and hence boy and girl put forward funny conditions for marriage, due to their limited knowledge and experience. One girl is demanding that her husband must smoke and also share the cigar with her. Then only he is considered as a suitable husband, a MAN in the strict sense of the term. One boy I came across, is putting a condition that the wife should drink all kinds of alchoholic beverages with him every Saturday evening and give company to his friends also in drinking. This is a clear proof of degradation in the age of Kali as clearly predicted in Bhagavata purana 5000 years ago. With the result, failures in marriage is very high. Even a few years ago, all the application forms had only three columns in a marital status, 'Single', Married and Widow. Now we have additional columns such as 'Divorced', 'Civil partner', 'Unmarried partner', Dissolved Partnership', 'Separated'. Understanding the meaning of these terms is more difficult than understanding the mystical text of the Upanishads. According to Bhagavatam, as Kali progresses marriage will not have any consideration except that the boy is a boy and girl is a girl. We're now getting a glimpse of it by this funny conditions. No other easier proof is required to believe the scriptures. Also Bhagatavam gives the other glorious happenings in Kali with respect to cheating in economy and social dealings etc., This can be verified very easily by reading the newspapers where ample real life incidents are available.

So, I pray at the lotus feet of Gurdeva, Srila Prabhupada and Lord Narasimha to get some taste in chanting the mahamantra,

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

and escape from the evil effects of Kali and attain shelter of Lord Narasimha deva in the spiritual world.

Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das,
UK