Kalki, aka: Kalkī; 11 Definition(s)


Kalki means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism


Kalki (कल्कि).—The 21st (10th) avatār of Hari, in kaliyuga and emperor of the world by name Pārāśraya with Yājñavalkya as Purohita. Born of a Brāhmaṇa Viṣṇuyaśas in Śambalagrāma. His horse would be known as Devadatta. Riding on it, Kalki would rid the earth of the unrighteous and implant dharma again.1 Invoked;2 destroyer of Kṣatriyas who became mlecchas by character.3 State of the world then.4 According to the br. purāṇa, his name is viṣnuyāśas, and son of Parāśara: the tenth incarnation of Hari, with Purohita Yājñavalkya. After rooting out adharma with Brāhmaṇa warriors he gives up his ghost at the confluence of the Gaṅgā and the Yamunā; in the previous birth was Pramiti; would bring round all tribes and wander the world unseen; except vegetation; his life of 25 years' duration and of Parāśara gotra; then again adharma, disease, etc., at the end of kali and commencement of the kṛta yuga.5 Purify the Śūdras, cross the ocean and destroy sinners. Then will follow civil strife and the disorder of the world.6

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 3. 25; XII. 2. 18-23; Matsya-purāṇa 273. 27; 285. 7; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 24. 98-101.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 8. 19.
  • 3) Ib. X. 40. 22.
  • 4) Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 390-411; 424-29.
  • 5) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 73. 104-24; 74. 206; IV. 29. 133; Matsya-purāṇa 47. 248-62; Vāyu-purāṇa 98. 104-17.
  • 6) Matsya-purāṇa 54. 19.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

One of the Daśāvatāra (Hands of the Ten Avatars of Vishnu).—Kalki: left hand–Tripatāka, right hand–Patāka.

Source: archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Kalki (कल्कि) refers to one of the various Vibhava manifestations according to the Īśvarasaṃhitā 24.349-355.—Accordingly, “He [Kalki] shall be meditated upon, who will ride on a fine horse, whose body would be having an armour who will have white turban in His forehead wearing matted hair which will be not very long, whose colour will be like molten gold with two quivers attached. The Lord of the world rises in the region of their lotus-like hearts. Mounting the horse of their minds and taking the weapons of the qualities of the soul, He will protect surely the cluster of impressions of the objects (of the world) which has rising in the several births to establish pure knowledge. To the middle part (of the body) whose hand is busy with the bow and arrows, who bears the sword, spear and axe, who protects the sacrifice, study of the Vedas, charity and others and destroying those who do not belong to any caste and are bent upon doing adharma”.

These Vibhavas (eg., Kalki) represent the third of the five-fold manifestation of the Supreme Consciousness the Pāñcarātrins believe in. Note: Kṛṣṇa is represented here more as a guide and instructor of people than as a child in Gokula.

Source: archive.org: Isvara Samhita Vol 5
Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Kalki (कल्कि) is a Sanskrit word referring to one of the ten incarnations of Viṣṇu. This incarnation appeared in the dvāparayuga. Viṣṇu is the name of a major Hindu deity and forms part of the trinity of supreme divinity (trimūrti) together with Brahmā and Śiva. They are seen as the cosmic personifications of creation (brahmā), maintenance (viṣṇu), and destruction (śiva).

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

At the end of the current great cycle (we are in the fourth and final phase of the great cycle), there will be so much sin in the world, that virtue will not be found anywhere. There is nothing left to do but to destroy this world completely, to make way for the new world that shall begin the next great cycle. Vishnu will incarnate as Kalki, the terrible one, who will come riding on a snow-white horse, carrying a flaming sword as his weapon. He shall seek out the evil-doers everywhere and burn them to flames. He shall then destroy the world completely, and the cycle of creation will begin again.

This is the only incarnation of Vishnu, that is yet to take place in the current great cycle.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

1. Avatar of Viṣnu. Buddha: Kalki ("Eternity", or "White Horse", or "Destroyer of Filth"), is the final incarnation of Vishnu, foretold to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, our present epoch. He will be atop a white horse and his sword will be drawn, blazing like a comet. He is the harbinger of end time in Hindu eschatology, and will destroy all unrighteousness and evil at the end of Kali Yuga.

2. In Hinduism, Kalki (Devanagari: कल्कि; meaning 'Eternity,' 'White Horse,' or 'Destroyer of Filth') is the final incarnation of Vishnu in the current Mahayuga, foretold to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the current epoch. Religious texts called the Puranas foretell that Kalki will be atop a white horse with a drawn blazing sword. He is the harbinger of the end time in Hindu eschatology, after which he will usher in Satya Yuga.

The name Kalki is a metaphor for eternity or time. Its origins may lie in the Sanskrit word kalka which means foulness or filth. Hence, the name translates to the 'destroyer of foulness,' 'destroyer of darkness," or 'destroyer of ignorance.' Another etymology from Sanskrit is 'white horse.'

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Kalki (कल्कि).—He is the tenth incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu. He arrives on a white horse at the end of Kali-yuga to annihilate all the remaining atheists.

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

Kalkī (कल्की) refers to the last of ten avatars (daśāvatāra) of Lord Viṣṇu as described by Vāsudeva in his Vṛttagajendramokṣa verse 113. All the incarnations have been described with their respective contexts in 10 different verses in 10 different metres; Kalkī has been described in the Prabhā or Pramuditavadanā metre.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature (h)

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

kalkī (कल्की).—m (S) A name of viṣṇu in his future capacity of destroyer of the world; the tenth and last Avatar.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kalki (कल्कि).—The tenth and last incarnation of Viṣṇu in his capacity of the destroyer of the wicked and liberator of the world from its enemies; (Jayadeva, while referring to the several axatāras of Viṣṇu, thus refers to the last or Kalki avatāra :-mlecchanivahanidhane kalayasi karavālaṃ dhūmaketumiva kimapi karālam | keśavadhṛtakalkiśarīraṃ jaya jaga- dīśa hare || Gīt.1.1.)

-purāṇam Name of a Purāna.

Derivable forms: kalkiḥ (कल्किः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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