In the last canto of the Bhagavata Purana there is a list of predictions and prophecies about the dark times for the present age of Kali Yuga. The following 15 predictions, written 5,000 years ago by sage Vedavyasa, are amazing because they appear so accurate. Despite the negative tone of these prophecies, there is still one bright spot for all of us, which is mentioned at the end.
Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the age of Kali.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.1
tatas canu-dinam dharmah
satyam saucam ksama daya
kalena balina rajan
nanksyaty ayur balam smrtih
In Kali Yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a man’s good birth, proper behaviour and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on the basis of one’s power.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.2
vittam eva kalau nṝṇāḿ
kāraṇaḿ balam eva hi
Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and success in business will depend on deceit. Womanliness and manliness will be judged according to one’s expertise in sex, and a man will be known as a brahmana just by his wearing a thread.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.3
dāmpatye ‘bhirucir hetur
strītve puḿstve ca hi ratir
vipratve sūtram eva hi
A person’s spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external symbols, and on that same basis people will change from one spiritual order to the next. A person’s propriety will be seriously questioned if he dos not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.4
pāṇḍitye cāpalaḿ vacaḥ
A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be accepted as virtue. Marriage will be arranged simply by verbal agreement, and a person will think he is fit to appear in public if he has merely taken a bath.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.5
sādhutve dambha eva tu
svīkāra eva codvāhe
snānam eva prasādhanam
A sacred place will be taken to consist of no more than a reservoir of water located at a distance, and beauty will be thought to depend on one’s hairstyle. Filling the belly will become the goal of life, and one who is audacious will be accepted as truthful. He who can maintain a family will be regarded as an expert man, and the principles of religion will be observed only for the sake of reputation.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.6
dūre vāry-ayanaḿ tīrthaḿ
satyatve dhārṣṭyam eva hi
yaśo ‘rthe dharma-sevanam
As the earth thus becomes crowded with a corrupt population, whoever among any of ther social classes shows himself to be the strongest will gain political power.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.7
evaḿ prajābhir duṣṭābhir
yo balī bhavitā nṛpaḥ
Harassed by famine and excessive taxes, people will resort to eating leaves, roots, flesh, wild honey, fruits, flowers and seeds. Struck by drought, they will become completely ruined.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.9
The citizens will suffer greatly from cold, wind, heat, rain and snow. They will be further tormented by quarrels, hunger, thirst, disease and severe anxiety.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.10
himair anyonyataḥ prajāḥ
kṣut-tṛḍbhyāḿ vyādhibhiś caiva
santapsyante ca cintayā
The maximum duration of life for human beings in Kali Yuga will become 50 years.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.11
triḿśad viḿśati varṣāṇi
paramāyuḥ kalau nṛṇām
Men will no longer protect their elderly parents.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.42
na rakshishyanti manujah
sthavirau pitarav api
In Kali-yuga men will develop hatred for each other even over a few coins. Giving up all friendly relations, they will be ready to lose their own lives and kill even their own relatives.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.41
kalau kakinike ‘py arthe
tyakshyanti ca priyan pranan
hanishyanti svakan api
Uncultured men will accept charity on behalf of the Lord and will earn their livelihood by making a show of austerity and wearing a mendicant’s dress. Those who know nothing about religion will mount a high seat and presume to speak on religious principles.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.38
dharmam vakshyanty adharma-jna
Servants will abandon a master who has lost his wealth, even if that master is a saintly person of exemplary character. Masters will abandon an incapacitated servant, even if that servant has been in the family for generations. Cows will be abandoned or killed when they stop giving milk.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.36
patim tyakshyanti nirdravyam
bhritya apy akhilottamam
bhrityam vipannam patayah
kaulam gas capayasvinih
Cities will be dominated by thieves, the Vedas will be contaminated by speculative interpretations of atheists, political leaders will virtually consume the citizens, and the so-called priests and intellectuals will be devotees of their bellies and genitals.
Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.32
rajanas ca praja-bhakshah
Despite all of these dark prophecies, there is one good quality in this age of Kali yuga:
kaler dosha-nidhe rajann
asti hy eko maha gunah
kirtanad eva krishnasya
mukta-sangah param vrajet
“Although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: simply by chanting the names of Krishna, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.” (Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.51)
So let us take advantage of this special spiritual gift given during the dark times of Kali yuga to quickly raise ourselves spiritually through chanting of God’s holy names.
The people of Kali yuga are short lived and rich in four serious defects namely mandah (lazy about spiritual life), sumandah mati(misguided), manda bhaagya (unlucky) and upadrutah (always disturbed mentally) and with the above 4 qualities
Bhagavata purana helps them to come out of those defects as follows.
1. bhaati sarveshu vedeshu – Because the purana highlights the meanings of the Vedas in a lucid manner, the people of Kaliyuga (mandah – Lazy) can understand the conclusion of the Vedas without studying them in full which involves great study of Sanskrit grammar and phonetics etc. Bhagavata purana spoon-feeds the knowledge of Supreme Reality to complement our lazy mentality.
2. gatih sarveshaam jantunaam – In Kali yuga, the people are sumandha matayah (misguided without a proper spiritual goal) and hence they cannot ascertain the proper spiritual goal/destination in life. They take wealth acquisition and sense enjoyment as the goal and nothing more. For such people this work gives the actual goal of human life in simple terms.
3. varam sarveshu puraneshu – Even if the people take interest in the scriptures and spiritual life, in Kali yuga they will be confused about the apparent contradictions in the different scriptures and come to wrong conclusions about the Supreme Lord’s Identity and our relation with Him. The result is they adopt spiritual practices that are not suitable for Kali yuga and hence suffer without a proper spiritual shelter (manda bhagya- unlucky). Bhagavatam being the best of the puranas, it points to the Absolute Truth very clearly without any confusion and the process of realizing the Absolute Truth in a practical way. So an unfortunate person who takes shelter of Bhagavatam becomes the most fortunate.
4. taran sarva paapmaanaam – The people of Kali Yuga have great attraction for performing sinful activities and hence they will be physically and mentally always disturbed (upadrutah). For such people, Bhagavatam helps them get rid off this sinful tendency by giving knowledge, devotion and detachment and hence people can become indifferent to all disturbances by taking shelter of this scripture.
Due to the above mentioned qualities, though in Kali yuga people have short lives, they can achieve the same spiritual perfection which was possible for the people of Satya yuga (who lived for many many years) provided they take shelter of the message of the Bhagavata purana.
Thus the unique importance of the Bhagavata purana in the age of Kali is established by great authorities and it is also confirmed in the Bhagavata purana (1.3.43) itself as follows.
krishne svadhaamopagate / dharma jnaanaadhibhih saha
kalau nashta drisham esha / puraanarka adhunodhitah
"This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krishna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana".