The Brahma Purana

by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words

This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...

Chapter 122-123 - Foretelling future

Foretelling future (part 1):

The sages said:

1. What has been narrated by you, O Vyāsa, regarding the inscrutable Māyā of Viṣṇu, has been heard by us.

2. From you, O great sage, we wish to hear the precise process of annihilation at the end of a Kalpa, called Mahāpralaya.

Vyāsa said:

3. Let it be heard precisely, O excellent sages, how the process of annihilation takes place at the end of a Kalpa as well as at the time of Prākṛta Pralaya.

4. O excellent brahmins, the human month is a day unto the Pitṛs (Manes), the human year is a day unto the heaven-dwellers and a thousand sets of four Yugas constitute a day of Brahmā.

5. Kṛta, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali constitute a set of four Yugas containing twelve thousand Divine years.

6. The four Yugas are similar in form. Kṛta is the Yuga first. O sages, Kaliyuga is the last.

7. That is because creation is carried out by Brahmā in the first Kṛta yuga and similarly annihilation is carried out in the end in the Kaliyuga.

The sages said:

8. O holy Sir, it beloves you to describe in detail the nature of Kaliyuga when the four-footed sacred Dharma undergoes deficiency.

Vyāsa said:

9. Understand the form of Kali, O sinless brahmins, about which you have asked me. It is extensive but understand it briefly.

10. In the age of Kali the actions of men are not based on the conduct prescribed for Varṇas and Āśramas. Nor do they follow the specific injunctions of the Sāma, Ṛk and Yajus Vedas as their guide.

11. In Kaliyuga marriages are not sacred ties, students are not under the control of preceptors, sons are not righteous, there are no orderly holy rites in the sacred fire.

12. In Kaliyuga the strongest man, whoever he may be and in whichever family he is born, becomes the lord of all. Man maintains himself through girls taken from all the castes.

13. A brahmin is initiated in the Kali age by any expedient and, O leading brahmins, anything can be considered a mode of atonement.

14. Everything is considered a sacred text in the Kali age, O brahmins. Whoever utters whatever thing is taken to be a holy scripture. Deities are on the same footing in the Kali age. Everything is everyone’s Āśrama (stage in life).

15. Fast, exertion and charity constitute pious activities in Kali age and rites are performed as one pleases.

16. In Kali age men become haughty and arrogant even with a little wealth. Pride of beauty in women will be on the basis of their tresses of hair.

17. As gold, jewels, diamonds as well as garments dwindle in the Kali age, women will be embellished by their tresses.

18. Women will forsake their husbands having no wealth. In Kali age it is the moneyed man who becomes the lord of damsels.

19. Whoever gives the maximum amount is considered their lord. Nobility in men is based on this lordship.

20. Hoarded wealth is exhausted in the maintenance of a home; intellect has the one end of hoarding wealth; riches come to an end in the enjoyment of pleasures in Kali age.

21. Women in Kali age will be harlots desirous of luxury. They covet men who have earned much by illegal means.

22. At that time, O brahmins, no man will brook a loss to his vested interest even to the extent of a fourth of a Paṇa (the smallest coin) even when he is entreated by his own friend.

23. O brahmins, in the Kali age, the mind will always be manly and courageous. Cows will be solemnly honoured as long as they yield milk.

24. Fearing a drought the subjects will be afraid of hunger. They will then have their eyes riveted to the sky.

25. Like the sages of yore men will have roots, leaves and fruits for their food. They will think of killing themselves in their misery due to the absence of rain.

26. They will have perpetual famine and pain. They will he incapable of mastering things. By virtue of their lapses their happiness will be spoiled.

27. At the advent of Kali age people will take food without taking bath. They will not honour and worship fire, gods, and guests. They will not offer libations and oblations with water and balls of rice.

28. In Kali age women will be greedy and lecherous. They will have puny bodies but they will be gluttonous. They will have little good fortune but plenty of offsprings.

29. Scratching their heads with hands, women will disobey their elders and husbands. They will be unrestrained.

30. Women will be furious. They will be more interested in sustaining themselves; they will be wanting in the purity of bodies. They will habitually speak harsh and untruthful words.

31. Even the women of noble families will be ill-behaved. They will yearn for men of bad conduct. They will be unchaste and disloyal to their husbands.

32. Men of no holy rites will study the Vedas. Householders will not perform homas nor will they give appropriate things in charity.

33. Forest-dwellers will take to the diet pertaining to the villagers. Mendicants will be influenced by filial affection and other contacts towards sons.

34. At the advent of Kali age kings will no longer protect their subjects. They will take the wealth of common man under the pretext of taxes and fees.

35. Whoever happens to possess horses, chariots and elephants will become the king. In the Kali age, those who happen to be weak will be servants.

36. Vaiśyas will forsake their traditional duty such as agriculture, trade etc., and take to the Śūdra activities. They will sustain themselves by means of crafts etc.

37. Śūdras will take up the holy rite of begging for alms. Base men will display their signs of renunciation. Unconsecrated men will resort to heretic activities.

38. Harassed by the burden of taxes and famine, people will become miserable. They will migrate to those lands where wheat and barley abound.

39. As the Vedic path falls into disuse, as the people become more and more heretic, sins will increase and the span of life of the people will shrink.

40. When men begin to undertake austerities not prescribed by sacred texts there will be infantile mortality due to the fault of kings.

41. Girls will give birth to children at the ages of five, six and seven years begotten by men of the ages of eight, nine and ten.

42. Hairs will begin to turn grey at the twelfth year. No one will live upto the twentieth year.

43. Men will be destroyed in a short time because their wisdom and intelligence will be mediocre and their kings will be wicked. They will wear false marks.

44. The increase in the severity of the Kali age should be inferred by wise persons as the heretic activities are observed more and more.

45. Whenever there is destruction and loss of good people following the Vedic path the increase in the severity of Kali age should be inferred by wise persons.

46. When the undertakings of men of virtuous activities do not flourish, O brahmins, the prominence of Kali age should be inferred by wise persons.

47. When persons cease to perform sacrifices in the worship of Puruṣottama, lord of sacrifices, the influence of Kali age should be inferred.

48. The increase in the severity of Kali should be inferred by wise and intelligent persons when there is no interest in Vedic discussions and heretical doctrines are entertained.

49. In the Kali age, O brahmins, men overpowered by heresy will never worship Viṣṇu, the lord of the Universe, the Supreme lord, the Creator of everything.

50. Men influenced by heresy will prattle thus: of what avail are Devas? Of what use are the brahmins and the Vedas? Of what avail is the purificatory wash with water?”.

51. At the advent of Kali age, O brahmins, clouds will shower less rain, plants will produce less, and fruits will have less nutritional value.

52. In Kali age clothes will come down only upto the knees, the trees will be like the Śamī tree, the castes will exhibit the characteristics of Śūdras.

53. When the Kali age approaches and advances food-grains will turn into atoms; cow milk will be mostly that got from goats and the unguent will be Uśita grass.

54. In the Kali age, O excellent sages, mothers- and fathers-in-law will be mainly considered elders. Men and women shall take food in open buildings (Eating Houses) along with their friends (?).

55. Men following their fathers-in-law will say: “Whose mother? Whose father? A man is the product of his own Karman.”

56. Men of insignificant intellect will be afflicted again and again by verbal, mental and physical faults and they will commit sins everyday.

57. O brahmins, everything that is conducive to misery in respect of persons without truth, cleanliness and honourable shyness will take place in the Kali age.

58. At that time when there is no self-study of the Vedas, when there is no utterance of the Mantra Vaṣaṭ, when there is no utterance of Svadhā and Svāhā, there will rarely be a brahmin in the world.

59. In a short time he will perform an excellent meritorious rite which in the Kṛta yuga is done by hard penance.

The sages said:

60. At what time does a simple act of piety yield a great benefit? It behoves you to mention it entirely. We have a keen desire to hear.

Vyāsa said:

61. In the blessed Kali age, O brahmins, there shall be a great benefit through less strain. Women and Śūdras shall become blessed. Understand one thing more.

62-63. In regard to penance, practice of celibacy, performance of Japa, O brahmins, what is achieved in the Kṛtayuga in ten years is achieved in a year in the Tretāyuga. It is achieved in a month in the Dvāparayuga and in a day and night in the Kaliyuga. Hence we can say a person achieves good things in the Kali age easily.

64. By singing songs in praise of Keśava in the Kali age one obtains what one obtains in the Kṛta yuga by meditation, in the Tretā yuga by performing sacrifices and in the Dvāpara by conducting worship.

65. In the Kali age, a person attains increased virtue by means of a simple effort. People become well-versed in piety with a little strain. Hence I am pleased with Kali age.

66-69. Formerly, the twice-born grasped the Vedas by observing the holy rites. Thereafter, they performed sacrifices by means of wealth acquired by pious means. Meaningless talk, eating unconsecrated food (Vrata Bhojana) and aimless squandering of money (Vrata Svam) shall lead to the downfall of the twice-born along with their attendants. Improper performance of everything leads to faults. O brahmins, the twice-born cannot take in food and drink as they wish because they are bound by certain conventions in every activity. They are endowed with humility and they attain other worlds with great stress and strain.

70. But a Śūdra achieves salvation merely by serving the twice-born. He is authorized in Pākayajña (mere cooking of his food is no less than a Yajña). Hence a Śūdra is more blessed.

71. In the Kaliyuga, there is no restriction on what should be eaten or what should not be eaten. There is no restraining law in regard to sins. O leading sages, hence this has been mentioned as something good.

72. Wealth should be acquired by men without a conflict with their duties; wealth should be distributed among deserving persons; sacrifices should be duly performed.

73. In its acquisition and maintenance there is great strain and pain, O excellent brahmins. Similarly, in the matter of utilising it properly too there is great effort; wealth should be known as something very difficult to deal with.

74. By means of these and other strenuous efforts, O excellent brahmins, people attain Prājāpatya and other worlds in due order.

75. A women attains other worlds by duly serving her husband by thoughts, words and deeds. That is because, O brahmins, she attains the same world as he.

76. Thus she attains those worlds without much effort like the man.

For the third time it has been mentioned by me that women are good.

77. Thus has been mentioned, O brahmins, what you have come here for. Hence, ask as you please. I shall explain everything clearly to you.

78-80. In the Kali age, virtue is achieved with very little effort by men who wash off their sins by means of water in the form of qualities of the soul. O excellent sages, the same is achieved by Śūdras devoted to the service of the twice-born. Similarly, it is achieved by women without strain merely by serving their husbands. Hence, all these three are considered by me highly blessed.

In the Kṛta and other yugas the twice-born have to undergo great strain in accomplishing piety.

81-82. But O excellent sages, in Kaliyuga, men attain Siddhi (spiritual achievement) by means of simple austerities. Blessed people act virtually. O sages, conversant with virtue, what has been desired by you has been described by me even without being asked. What else shall be done, O brahmins?

Foretelling future (part 2):

The sages said:

1-3. We do not know whether the advent of Kali is imminent or far off. Therefore, we wish for final Yuga and the end of Dvāpara age. For the present we have come here for the acquisition of Dharma. We shall take up the greatest virtue and happiness with the smallest effort. The final Yuga that causes terror and heartburn has approached. It has destroyed Dharma. O sage, conversant with Dharma! it beloves you to describe it along with the symptoms in detail.

Vyāsa said:

4. In the final Yuga will come up those kings who will cease to be protectors and take away the portion of oblations. They will be interested only in saving themselves.

5. In the final Yuga, non-Kṣatriyas will become kings, brahmins will resort to Śūdras for sustenance and Śūdras will maintain the conduct and way of life of the brahmins.

6. In the final Yuga, O excellent sages, brahmins well-versed in the Vedas as well as fallen evil ones will take food sitting in the same row. Havis offerings will be devoid of usual holy rites.

7. Men will become ill-mannered. They will be devoted to the hoarding of wealth. They will be fond of liquor and meat. Base men will carnally approach the wives of their friends.

8. In the final Yuga, thieves will carry out the activities of kings. Kings will practise thieving, servants will take food and enjoy without taking permission first.

9. In the final Yuga, wealth and assets will become important. The conduct and activities of the good will not be honoured. The fallen ones will not be rebuked and treated with contempt.

10. Men will be ugly with the noses missing and the hairs in disarray. Girls less than sixteen in age will give birth to children.

11. In the final yuga, cooked food will be sold in the open places; brahmins will sell the Vedas; women will sell their honour.

12. Everyone will discuss and expound the supreme Brahman and the Vedas. Brahmins will follow the Vājasaneya texts. The propounders will resemble the Śūdras and the brahmins will become the disciples (of Śūdras).

13. Śūdras will begin to expound Dharma. Their teeth will be white. They will conquer their sense-organs. They will wear ocher robes. They will sustain themselves with knavishness and crooked intellect.

14. In the final Yuga beasts of prey will increase in number and cows will dwindle in number. Good men will decrease.

15. The base ones will stay in the end. The subjects will lose bashfulness. They are doomed in that final age.

16. Even the excellent brahmins sell fruits of their austerities and sacrifices. The seasons will become adverse during that ultimate age.

17. Similarly, steers under training will be yoked to the plough even when they are two years old. When the yuga comes to a close, the clouds will begin to shower in a quaint way.

18. Those who are born in the family of heroes will become kings as the lower subjects become baser and baser at the close of the age.

19. Charitable gifts will be obligatory on the parts of parents while the sons will never perform sacred rites as the age comes to a close.

20. When the age comes to a close, the Earth will be mostly barren arid soil; the highways will be infested with robbers; almost all the people will become merchants.

21. Sons will eagerly share the hereditary assets and charitable gifts. Urged by greed and other bad qualities they will be antagonistic to one another and will even attempt to take away other’s shares.

22. At the close of the Yuga when tenderness, beauty and jewellery cease to exist women will be decked by means of their tresses.

23. A householder devoid of stamina and virility will attempt to have sexual pleasure. When the Yuga comes to a close no sexual indulgence will be on a par with that with one’s own wife.

24. The following is the characteristic feature of the close of the Yuga. Most of the men will be base in character and ignoble; their handsomeness will be futile; men will be in a minority; there will be more women.

25. Population will consist mostly of beggars; people will never give anything to one another. They will perish on being harassed by kings and robbers or destroyed by fire or fighting.

26. When the Yuga comes to a close, plants will cease to bear fruits; young men will exhibit the characteristics of old men and men of no good conduct will be happy in the world.

27. When the Yuga comes to a close rough and low winds showering hailstone will begin to blow in the rainy seasons; the other world will become of doubtful existence.

28. Kings like the Vaiśyas will maintain themselves with wealth and food-grains. When the Yuga passes off, no one will behave like kinsman to anyone.

29. Agreements and promises will cease to function. When the Yuga comes to a close a debt will lose itself along with a sense of propriety and decorum.

30. Delight of men will be fruitless and the anger of men will be fruitful. When the Yuga comes to a close people will begin to rear goats for getting milk.

31. Similarly, sacrifices will be performed not in accordance with the sacred texts. Men who profess to be scholars will be acting in an unauthorized manner.

32-36. There is no doubt that there will not be anyone to expound what is mentioned in the scriptures. Without resorting to elderly persons everyone will come to know everything; when the close of the Yuga is imminent there will be no one who is not a poet; all the stars will be devoid of Yogas; the twice-born people will not abide by their holy rites. When the close of the Yuga is imminent, the kings will be robbers. Bastards, dishonest men and liquor addicts will begin to expound Brahman. At the close of the Yuga, excellent brahmins will perform horse sacrifice. Brahmins will eat forbidden food. They will perform sacrifices on behalf of those who do not deserve them. When the close of the Yuga is imminent brahmins will become greedy of wealth. They will utter the word “Bhoḥ”. No one will learn (the Vedas).

37. Women will have a single conch shell (tied round their necks) which they will tie up with a rope. Stars will be devoid of lustre. The ten quarters will become adverse.

38. At the close of the Yuga the red lustre of twilight will be of a burnt hue. Sons will employ their fathers in their own jobs and the daughters-in-law their mothers-in-law.

39. In the ultimate Yugas women as well as men will live like this. They will take food and enjoy without conducting holy rites. Brahmins will not perform sacrifices in the sacred fires.

40. Without offering alms and oblations men will partake of their meals. Deceiving their husbands who are asleep women will go elsewhere.

41. The husbands may not be sick, nor devoid of handsomeness; they may not be weak, they may not be jealous too. (Still the women are disloyal to them). When the Yuga comes to a close no one will be grateful for helps rendered.

The sages said:

42-43. When virtue is held in abeyance and suspense thus, in which country will those men who are harassed by taxes reside? What will be their diet? What will be their pastimes? What will be their rites? What will be their likes? What will be their magnitude? What will be their span of life? What quarter will they resort to before they reach once again the Kṛta Age?

Vyāsa said:

44. After this, when the virtue falls down the subjects will become devoid of good qualities. After attaining loss of good conduct they will attain deficiency in their longevity.

45. They will incur decline in strength due to deficiency in longevity; pallor and discolouration due to decline in strength, sickness and pain due to pallor; and despondency due to pain of sickness.

46. Due to despondency self-knowledge will be aroused in them; due to self-knowledge inclination towards piety (will be acquired by them). By attaining the highest point thus they will reach the Kṛta Yuga.

47. Some will be practising piety to a certain extent; some will attain a neutral state; some will follow misconceived piety; some will attain jolly temperament.

48. Some will come to the conclusion that only perception and inference constitute true testimony; others will say that nothing can be true testimony.

49. Some will be addicted to atheism and ruin piety; some will become deluded. Brahmins will profess to be great scholars.

50. People will be excluded from the knowledge of scriptures. They will retain faith only in what is current for the nonce. Men devoid of knowledge will become arrogant.

51. When piety becomes unsteady and disarranged, there will still be people honoured by the noble ones who will practise auspicious rites and resort to charitable deeds.

52. When people begin to eat indiscriminately, when they think that they are protected by themselves, when they conceal themselves, when they become devoid of mercy, when they are shameless in their character, these are the signs of Kali age.

53. During the period of the onslaught of Kali that destroys strict adherence to wisdom, even unprepared persons will attain Siddhi in a short while.

54. O brahmins, if the people of lower castes resort to the perpetual course of conduct of the brahmins, it is a feature of Kali.

55. When the Yuga comes to a close there will be great wars, heavy downpour, strong gusts of wind and scorching heat. It is the characteristic feature of Kali.

56. When the close of Yuga is imminent, Rākṣasas and beings who know through the spies enjoy the Earth in the guise of brahmins.

57-60. The following types of evil men will abound in the world: Persons devoid of self-study of the Vedas; persons who do not utter Vaṣaṭ mantras; evil leaders; arrogant ones; those who eat flesh; those who eat indiscriminately; those with futile holy rites; foolish ones greedy of wealth; petty ones; those with insignificant paraphernalia; those who are surrounded by diverse dealings (?); those who have fallen down from perpetual piety; those who take away other’s jewels; those who harass other men’s wives; passionate men; wicked men; deceit-fill persons; and men fond of risky adventures. When these persons abound there will be sages of many forms. They will be men of want and privation (?)

61. Men will honour and worship by means of discourse all those important persons who are born in the Kali Age.

62. There will be persons stealing vegetables, garments, foodstuffs and small baskets and boxes.

63. There will be thieves outwitting other thieves, there will be slayers of murderers. When the thieves are destroyed by other thieves, there will be peace everywhere.

64. When a time characterized by worthlessness and full of disturbances comes and there are no holy rites, men who are afflicted by the burden of taxes, will resort to the forest,

65. When the holy rites of sacrifices cease to be performed, demons, beasts of prey, worms, mice and serpents will attack men.

66. At the close of the Age some excellent men in certain places will enjoy prosperity, abundance of food, of good health and self-sufficiency in the kinsmen.

67. In the different regions there will be separate groups of persons equipped with rafts and requisites. They will be protected by themselves as well as robbed by themselves.

68. As time passes on, men will be dislodged from their countries; they will lose valuable things along with their kinsmen.

69. They will be afflicted by starvation and they will run away in great fright taking their children with them. They will cross the river Kauśikī.

70. They will resort to the lands of Aṅga, Vaṅga, Kaliṅga, Kāśmīra and Kośala. They will occupy valleys and chasms between the mountains abounding in sages.

71-72. They will occupy the entire ridge of the Himalayas and the coasts of the briny sea. They will use rotting leaves, barks of trees and skins of deer and stay there when the Age comes to a close. The men will stay in the forests along with the alien barbarous groups of Mlecchas.

73. The Earth will be neither void nor full of forests. Kings will be both protectors and non-protectors.

74. Men will sustain themselves by means of deer, fish, birds, beasts of prey, serpents, insects, worms, honey, vegetables, green fruits and roots.

75. Like sages men will use barks of trees, skins of deer and will have for their food the rotting and decaying leaves and fruits.

76. The people will not be able to extract oil from seeds. They will be assailed and struck by darts fixed to wooden pieces. They will always rear goats, sheep, asses, mules and camels.

77. They will resort to the banks of rivers and for the sake of diverting the course of water they will restrain the flow of currents. They will be engaged in mutual petty trade and deal in cooked food.

78-79. The hairs growing from their bodies will remain so and dirt will get accumulated in between. Some of them will have many children, and others will be devoid of progeny. They will be devoid of nobility of birth and good conduct. Some will sustain themselves by evil means. The base and vile subjects will follow a base moral code.

80-82. The maximum expectation of life of those men will be thirty. The people will be weak and emaciated due to the enjoyment of worldly pleasures. They will be overwhelmed by the sadness of old age. Due to sickness their virility becomes reduced. Since the reliance on life expectation is restrained people desist from indulgence. They are desirous of meeting and serving pious men. As business dealings become rarer, they will resort to truthfulness.

83. Due to the non-fulfilment of their desires they will be pious in their conduct. Themselves afflicted by destruction they will perform consecratory rites.

84. Thus the people, desirous of serving, will adhere to the good practice of charitable gifts, truthfulness and protection of living beings. Then Dharma (virtue) will function to the extent of one-fourth and the people will attain welfare.

85. As people gradually change for the better and their capacity to infer improves they will enquire, “What is the tasty thing?” They will see that it is Dharma (virtue).

86. The people, who had incurred loss and damage once, will attain prosperity when they take to virtue. They will then see the Kṛta Yuga.

87-88. People are of good conduct in the Kṛta Yuga and it is said that there is loss in the Kali Age. The time “is but one even as the moon is but one”. When the moon is enveloped in darkness it does not shine. It is then like the Kali Age. When the moon is released by darkness, it shines. It is then like the Kṛta Yuga.

89-93. This classification of Ages is mere secondary assertion. But the supreme Brahman is the real meaning of the Vedas. It is non-disjointed, it is not realized; it is held as hereditary legacy.

Penance is assertion of what is desired. It is made fixed and steady. Holy rites are achieved by means of good qualities and good qualities are purified by means of holy rites.

Benediction is in consonance with place and time on viewing the person (who is the recipient of the same). In every Age it has been cited by sages at the proper time.

The auspicious and meritorious benedictions are but the reaction of virtue, wealth, love, salvation and gods. So also is longevity in the different ages.

The changes of the Ages have begun to function long since due to the nature of the creator. The world of living beings is always undergoing change by fall and rise. It does not remain still even for a moment.

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