We've been starting to review the myths of the End Times. They can be found in various traditions, and many actually seem to deal with the cycle now coming to a close. Two weeks ago we looked at Vishnu emerging at the end of one of these times, "whenever there is decay of righteousness". But being the Supreme God, Vishu can manifest in any of a number of ways, which is the reason we often see Him depicted as a multi-headed deity. In the same way we think of the year as a single entity, so any given year can be depicted as having four faces (the seasons), or twelve (the months of the year). Few would have a hard time with either of these concepts. But when it is a deity that has polymorphic capabilities, some will draw the line. Vishnu's overall job is as the preserver and sustainer of life, balancing the processes of creation and destruction.
At the end of the Kali Yuga, the Iron Age that we are leaving behind in the precessional cycle, Vishnu will be said by some to return in the form of Kalki. In this guise Kalki will bring an end to the present age of darkness and destruction. According to believers, He will establish a new era based on truth, righteousness, humanism and goodness. Popular images depict him riding a white horse with wings known as Devadatta (God-given). In these images, Kalki is generally brandishing a sword, (sometimes depicted as a flaming sword) in his left hand, intent on eradicating the corrupt destitution and debauchery of the fading Age.
These images begin to sound a theme reverberating through various traditions. Here's a few glimpses from the texts.
"He will look splendid with bow, arrows, quiver etc.; He will hold the lance and spear and his banners will wave; The Ganas, Yakshas, Nagas, Kinnars and all famous adepts will eulogise Him. . .
"Seeing his powerful beauty and glory, the tyrants will flee like the leaves flying before the strong gust of wind; Wherever He will go, the dharma will increase and the sin will not be seen even on seeking. . ."
Having fulfilled His calling Kalki assumes his four-armed form and returns to heaven as Vishnu, until His services should be called upon again.
Hindu's see the cycle of time as part of an ever repeating series, just as one year follows the next, different from the one before it, but similar too. While many of the traditions we will be studying call upon the Great Year and its (a little short of) 26,000 year cycle, the Hindu Brahmans speak of epochs whose magnitudes leave the others behind in the cosmic dust. Even so, there are different points of view between the Baha'is, Sikhs and others about the length of this cycle, and some do indeed compare it to the length of the Great Year. Another clue, repeated frequently, is that it seems that the town of Sambhal will in particular be greatly honored, because that is where Kalki is to be born.
"All the saints will be redeemed and no one will suffer any agony; the town of Sambhal will be very fortunate, because the Lord will manifest Himself there."
This notion is repeated, of Sambhal being divinely blessed. It's essence is also repeated like a refrain, of a slipping the noose of corruption by cleaning house and learning to love.
On the other side of this epic confrontation lies the New Age, and the road to Shambala.
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