Kalki, Kalkī: 19 definitions



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

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)

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

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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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

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.

Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

Kalki (कल्कि).—The tenth avatāra (incarnation) of Mahāviṣṇu. The ten avatāras are called Daśāvatāras. Kalki is the last of them. Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 16 says as follows about the incarnation of Kalki:—

Towards the end of Kaliyuga, all people will lose their faith in God and become irreligious. They will accept presents from the wicked. At that time, there will be intermixture of castes. People will become thieves and evil doers. Fifteen divisions of the Veda Vājasaneya alone will become the authoritative document. People, wearing the garb of righteousness, will indulge in unrighteousness. Mlecchas (lowest class of people) assuming the form of Kings will begin feeding upon human beings. At that time Lord Viṣṇu will incarnate as Kalki, the son of Viṣṇuyaśas and the priest of Yājñavalkya and exterminate all mlecchas. He will restore people to cāturvarṇya and the four āśramas and maintain proper standards of conduct. Afterwards the Lord will renounce the form of Kalki and ascend Heaven. Then Kṛtayuga will begin again.

Chapter 190 of Bhāṣā Bhārata supports almost all the above statements. In the light of them, we can gather certain features of Kalki’s incarnation when Kaliyuga reaches its zenith. Mahāviṣṇu will be born as a Brāhmaṇa with the name Viṣṇuyaśas, in the village called Śāmbhala. Viṣṇuyaśaṣ will become famous under the name Kalki. He will be the priest of Yājñavalkya. He will create arms and soldiers by his will itself and destroy the wicked. With that Kṛtayuga will commence.

There is difference of opinion as to whether Kalki’s incarnation has passed or is yet to come. But in the light of the statements in the Purāṇas, Kalki has not yet come. Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, says that Kaliyuga extends over a period of 4, 32, 000 years. It is now only a little over 5,000 years since it began. Still, more than 4, 26, 900 years have to pass before the end of Kaliyuga. Therefore lakhs of years have still to pass before the incarnation of Kalki.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

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.
Purana book cover
context information

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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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Source: archive.org: Isvara Samhita Vol 5

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 (e.g., 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.

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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Kalki (कल्कि) or Kalkyavatāra refers to one the “ten incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu”, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The hand gestures for the daśāvatāra in dancing and iconography are similar in some cases and dissimilar in most of the cases. The Kalki-avatāra is formed when the right hand assumes patāka-hasta and the left hand assumes tripatāka-hasta and the image is depicted standing on one leg. There are other ways of representing the Kalki-avatāra. Standing on one leg as if on a horse or denoting the galloping of a horse, Kalki is represented with patāka-hasta held on the left shoulder and muṣṭi-hasta on the right shoulder. Standing in the normal posture, if the dola-hastas are assumed on the sides, then also it is kalki-hasta in dance.

In images, this [Kalki] form of Viṣṇu as a giant is represented with a horse’s head and four hands. The upper left and right hands hold a conch and a discus respectively and the lower right and left hands hold a sword and a shield. This posture is completely different in dancing from iconography.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Wisdom Library: 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: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

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: WikiPedia: Hinduism

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

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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

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

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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical 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: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kalki (कल्कि).—m.

(-lkiḥ) A name of Vishnu, in his future capacity of destroyer of the world, the tenth and last Avatara of descent of the deity, in the four ages of Kalpa. E. kal to count, ki aff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kalki (कल्कि).— (Mbh. 3, 13111), and kalkin kalkin (Mbh. 3, 13101), m. A name of Viṣṇu in his tenth or future avatāra.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kalki (कल्कि).—[masculine] [Name] of a future liberator of the world.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kalki (कल्कि):—[from kalka] m. Name of the tenth incarnation of Viṣṇu when he is to appear mounted on a white horse and wielding a drawn sword as destroyer of the wicked (this is to take place at the end of the four Yugas or ages), [Mahābhārata etc.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kalki (कल्कि):—(lkiḥ) 1. m. An incarnation yet to come to destroy the world.

[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch

Kalki (कल्कि):—und kalkin m. Nomen proprium eines künftigen Befreiers der Welt von ruchlosen Feinden, des 10ten Avatāra von Viṣṇu: kalkiścariṣyati mahīṃ sadā dasyuvadhe rataḥ [Mahābhārata 3, 13111. 12, 12968.] janitā viṣṇuyaśaso nāmnā kalkirjagatpatiḥ [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 1, 3, 25. 6, 8, 17.] [Viṣṇupurāṇa 484.] keśava dhṛtakalkiśarīra [Gītagovinda 1, 14.] kalkī viṣṇuyaśā (also kein Sohn desselben wie in den [PURĀṆA]) nāma dvijaḥ kālapracoditaḥ .. utpatsyate mahāvīryo mahāparākramaḥ . saṃbhūtaḥ sambhalagrāme brāhmaṇāvasathe śubhe .. [Mahābhārata 3, 13101. fg.] [Harivaṃśa 2367.] [Vopadeva’s Grammatik 25, 1.] [Lassen’s Indische Alterthumskunde II, 1110.] [Weber’s Indische Studien 2, 411.] kalkipurāṇa [BURN.] in [Bhāgavatapurāṇa I, Pāṇini’s acht Bücher XXVI. fg.] [Weber’s Indische Studien 1, 469.] — Nach [Wilson’s Wörterbuch] ist kalkin (von kalka) auch adj. foul, turbid, having sediment; dirty; wicked.

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Kalki (कल्कि):—[Oxforder Handschriften 23,b,18. fgg. 83,a,28.] kalkyavatāra [129,a,22.] dvādaśīvrata [58,a,32.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Sanskrit-Wörterbuch in kürzerer Fassung

Kalki (कल्कि):—m. Nomen proprium eines künftigen Befreiers der Welt , der als 10ter Avatāra Viṣṇu’s gilt.

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Kalkī (कल्की):—Adv. mit kar zu einem Teige verarbeiten.

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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