In the last canto of the Bhagavata Purana there is a list of predictions and prophecies about the dark times for the present age of Kali Yuga. The following 15 predictions, written 5,000 years ago by sage Vedavyasa, are amazing because they appear so accurate. Despite the negative tone of these prophecies, there is still one bright spot for all of us, which is mentioned at the end.
Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the age of Kali. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.1 – “sri-suka uvaca…tatas canu-dinam dharmah…satyam saucam ksama daya…kalena balina rajan…nanksyaty ayur balam smrtih”
In Kali Yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a man’s good birth, proper behaviour and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on the basis of one’s power. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.2 – “vittam eva kalau nrnãm…janmãcãra-gunodayah…dharma-nyãya-vyavasthãyãm…kãranam balam eva hi”
Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and success in business will depend on deceit. Womanliness and manliness will be judged according to one’s expertise in sex, and a man will be known as a brahmana just by his wearing a thread. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.3 – “dāmpatye ‘bhirucir hetur…māyaiva vyāvahārike…strītve pumstve ca hi ratir…vipratve sūtram eva hi”
A person’s spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external symbols, and on that same basis people will change from one spiritual order to the next. A person’s propriety will be seriously questioned if he does not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.4 – “lińgam evāśrama-khyātāv…anyonyāpatti-kāranam…avrttyā nyāya-daurbalyam…pānditye cāpalam vacah”
A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be accepted as virtue. Marriage will be arranged simply by verbal agreement, and a person will think he is fit to appear in public if he has merely taken a bath. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.5 – anādhyataivāsādhutve…sādhutve dambha eva tu…svīkāra eva codvāhe…snānam eva prasādhanam”
A sacred place will be taken to consist of no more than a reservoir of water located at a distance, and beauty will be thought to depend on one’s hairstyle. Filling the belly will become the goal of life, and one who is audacious will be accepted as truthful. He who can maintain a family will be regarded as an expert man, and the principles of religion will be observed only for the sake of reputation. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.6 – “dūre vāry-ayanam tīrtham…lāvanyam keśa-dhāranam…udaram-bharatā svārthah…satyatve dhārstyam eva hi…dāksyam kutumba-bharanam…yaśo ‘rthe dharma-sevanam”
As the earth thus becomes crowded with a corrupt population, whoever among any of ther social classes shows himself to be the strongest will gain political power. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.7 – “evam prajābhir dustābhir…ākīrne ksiti-mandale…brahma-vit-ksatra-śūdrānām…yo balī bhavitā nrpah”
Harassed by famine and excessive taxes, people will resort to eating leaves, roots, flesh, wild honey, fruits, flowers and seeds. Struck by drought, they will become completely ruined. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.9 – “śāka-mūlāmisa-ksaudra…phala-puspāsti-bhojanāh…anāvrstyā vinańksyanti…durbhiksa-kara-pīditāh”
The citizens will suffer greatly from cold, wind, heat, rain and snow. They will be further tormented by quarrels, hunger, thirst, disease and severe anxiety. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.10 – “śīta-vātātapa-prāvrd…himair anyonyatah prajāh…ksut-trdbhyām vyādhibhiś caiva….santapsyante ca cintayā”
The maximum duration of life for human beings in Kali Yuga will become 50 years. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.11 – trimśad vimśati varsāni….paramāyuh kalau nrnām”
Because of the bad qualities of the age of Kali, human beings will become shortsighted, unfortunate, gluttonous, lustful and poverty-stricken. The women, becoming unchaste, will freely wander from one man to the next. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam – “tasmāt ksudra-dṛśo martyāh….ksudra-bhāgyā mahāśanāh…..kāmino vitta-hīnāś ca….svairinyaś ca striyo ‘satīh”
In Kali-yuga men will develop hatred for each other even over a few coins. Giving up all friendly relations, they will be ready to lose their own lives and kill even their own relatives. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.41 – “kalau kakinike ‘py arthe….vigrihya tyakta-sauhridah….tyakshyanti ca priyan pranan….hanishyanti svakan api”.
Uncultured men will accept charity on behalf of the Lord and will earn their livelihood by making a show of austerity and wearing a mendicant’s dress. Those who know nothing about religion will mount a high seat and presume to speak on religious principles. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.38 – “sudrah pratigrahishyanti….tapo-veshopajivinah….dharmam vakshyanty adharma-jna….adhiruhyottamasanam”
Servants will abandon a master who has lost his wealth, even if that master is a saintly person of exemplary character. Masters will abandon an incapacitated servant, even if that servant has been in the family for generations. Cows will be abandoned or killed when they stop giving milk. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.36 – “patim tyakshyanti nirdravyam….bhritya apy akhilottamam…..bhrityam vipannam patayah…..kaulam gas capayasvinih”
Cities will be dominated by thieves, the Vedas will be contaminated by speculative interpretations of atheists, political leaders will virtually consume the citizens, and the so-called priests and intellectuals will be devotees of their bellies and genitals. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.32 – “dasyutkrishta janapada….vedah pashanda-dushitah….rajanas ca praja-bhakshah….sisnodara-para dvijah”.
Men will no longer protect their elderly parents. Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.42 – “na rakshishyanti manujah….sthavirau pitarav api”
Despite all of these dark prophecies, there is one good quality in this age of Kali yuga: “kaler dosha-nidhe rajann….asti hy eko maha gunah….kirtanad eva krishnasya…..mukta-sangah param vrajet.” Although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: simply by chanting the names of Krishna, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.