All glories to Kali-yuga, sudras and women!

Here is an interesting account from the Visnu Purana regarding auspiciousness of otherwise inauspicious things.

Kali yuga is considered to be the worst of the four ages (satya, treta, dvapara and kali) for 3/4 of religious principles are abandoned, and there is a decline in all sattvic qualities of men. It is known as the age of quarrel, hypocrisy and misfortune.  “O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men almost always have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.” (SB 1.1.10). But still, in spite of all the bad qualities, by the Lord’s mercy, the process of self realization is so easy. Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta sanga param vrajet, “My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.” (SB 12.3.51)

Similarly the sudras are considered the lowest of four classes (brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras) in Vedic varnasrama system, being conditioned by the mode of ignorance and thus unfit to study Vedas. Nevertheless Lord’s mercy is not out of their reach, moreover, without taking much responsibility, as higher classes do, sudras can attain the very same merit simply by serving them (other higher three classes).

The same is applied for the women class, which is considered less auspicious by birth (papa-yonayah Bg.9.32), and thus were also deprived from the study of the Vedas, which makes it almost impossible to come out of the samsara cakra – here again the Lord’s mercy is the key of success – woman birth is glorified to be superior than that of a man, for simply by following her husband, honoring him, in act, thought, and speech – woman attain the very same destination as their husband, without much struggle and botheration with all the complexity of dharma sastras.

VISNU PURANA, CHAPTER 2

Upon this subject, Maitreya, you shall hear what the wise Vyasa has related, as it is communicated truly by me.

It was once a matter of dispute amongst the sages, at what season the least moral merit obtained the greatest reward, and by whom it was most easily displayed. In order to terminate the discussion, they went to Veda Vyasa to remove their doubts. They found the illustrious Muni, my son, half immersed in the water of the Ganges; and awaiting the close of his ablutions, the sages remained on the banks of the sacred stream, under shelter of a grove of trees. As my son plunged down into the water, and again rose up from it, the Munis heard him exclaim, “Excellent is the Kali age!” Again he dived, and again rising, said in their hearing, “Well done, well done sudra; you are happy!” Again he sank down, and as he once more emerged they heard him say, “Well done, well done, women; they are happy! who are more fortunate than they?” After this, my son finished his bathing, and the sages met him as he approached to welcome them. After he had given them seats, and they had proffered their respects, the son of Satyavati said to them, “On what account have you come to me?” They replied, “We came to you to consult you on a subject on which we entertain some doubt; but that may be at present suspended. Please explained to us something else. We heard you say, ‘Excellent is the Kali age! Well done, sudra! Well done, women!’ Now we are desirous to know why this was said, why you called them repeatedly happy. Tell us the meaning of it, if it be not a mystery. We will then propose to you the question that occupies our thoughts.”

Being thus addressed by the Munis, Vyasa smiled, and said to them, “Hear excellent sages, why I uttered the words ‘Well done, well done.’ The fruit of penance, of continence, of silent prayer, and the like, practised in the Krta age for ten years, in the Treta for one year, in the Dvapara for a month, is obtained in the Kali age in a day and night: therefore did I exclaim, ‘Excellent, excellent, is the Kali age!’ That reward which a man obtains in the Krta by abstract meditation, in the Treta by sacrifice, in the Dvapara by adoration, he receives in the Kali by merely reciting the name of Kesava. In the Kali age a man displays the most exalted virtue by every little exertion; therefore, pious sages, who know what virtue is, I was pleased with the Kali age. Formerly the Vedas were to be acquired by the twice-born through the diligent observances of self-denial; and it was their duty to celebrate sacrifices conformably to the ritual, Then idle prayers, idle feasts, and fruitless ceremonies, were practiced but to mislead the twice-born; for although observed by them devoutly, yet, in consequence of some irregularity in their celebration, sin was incurred in all their works, and what they ate, or what they drank, did not affect the fulfillment of their desires. In all their objects the twice-born enjoyed no independence, and they attained their respective spheres only with exceeding pain. The sudra, on the contrary, more fortunate than they, reaches his assigned station by rendering them service, and performing merely the sacrifice of preparing food, in which no rules determine what may or may not be eaten, what may or may not be drunk. Therefore, most excellent sages, is the sudra fortunate.

“Riches are accumulated by men in modes not incompatible with their peculiar duties, and they are then to be bestowed upon the worthy, and expended in constant sacrifice. There is great trouble in their acquisition; and great grief for their loss. Thus, eminent brahmanas, through these and other sources of anxiety, men attain their allotted spheres of Prajapati and the rest only by exceeding labor and suffering. This is not the case with women: a woman has only to honor her husband, in act, thought, and speech, to reach the same region to which he is elevated; and she thus accomplishes her object without any great exertion. This was the purport of my exclamation, ‘Well done!’ the third time. I have thus related to you what you asked. Now demand the question you came to put to me, in any way you please, and I will make you a distinct reply.”

The Munis then said to Vyasa, “The question we intended to have asked you has been already answered by you in your reply to our subsequent inquiry.” On hearing which Krsna Dvaipayana laughed, and said to the holy persons who had come to see him, whose eyes were wide open with astonishment, “I perceived, with the eye of divine knowledge, the question you intended to ask, and in allusion to it I uttered the expressions, Well done, well done.’ In truth, in the Kali age duty is discharged with very little trouble by mortals, whose faults are all washed away by the water of their individual merits; by sudras, through diligent attendance only upon the twice-born; and by women, through the slight effort of obedience to their husbands. Therefore, brahmanas, did I thrice express my admiration of their happiness; for in the Krta and other ages great were the toils of the regenerate to perform their duty. I waited not for your inquiry, but replied at once to the question you purposed to ask. Now, ye whknow what virtue is, what else do you wish me to tell you?”

The Munis then saluted and praised Vyasa, and, being freed by him from uncertainty, departed as they came. To you also, excellent Maitreya, have I imparted this secret, this one great virtue of the otherwise vicious Kali age. The dissolution of the world, and the aggregation of the elements, I will now describe to you.

***

(Visnu Purana, translated by H.H. Wilson. Edited and revised by K.L.Joshi. Published by PARIMAL PUBLICATIONS,DELHI)

Facebook Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *