Definition - What does Kali Yuga mean?
In Hinduism, Kali Yuga is the fourth and present age of the world cycle of yugas, or "ages." It is also the end of the four ages that comprise a cycle and is often referred to as the dark age. In Hindu belief, the Kali Yuga leads to destruction of the world and then the creation of a new cycle of the four yugas.
As with end-of-world predictions in other traditions and religions, pundits have attempted to calculate the end date of Kali Yuga. Various dates have been given, including 2012 and 2082. It is believed Kali Yuga began with the death of Lord Krishna, estimated as having occurred between 3102 and 3113 B.C.E.
Yogapedia explains Kali Yuga
Also called the Iron Age, the Kali Yuga is filled with war and conflict. Spiritually, civilization degenerates throughout the yuga, as people drift farther and farther from the Divine. At the end of the Kali Yuga, Hindus believe that Lord Shiva will come in the form of Lord Kalki to punish and cleanse the world, which will have devolved to the point of being incapable of enlightenment. The resulting transformation and re-creation of the universe is the start of a new cycle of yugas.
The Sanskrit term, kali, has multiple meanings. It can be defined as "strife," "quarrel," "discord" or "conflict." It is also the name given to the Hindu goddess of time [and destruction thereof].
In chronological order, the yugas are:
- Satya Yuga - Also known as Krita Yuga, this is the age of truth, virtue and righteousness.
- Treta Yuga - This is the age of mankind and represents a one-quarter decline in spirituality.
- Dvapara Yuga - In this age, spirituality continues to decline, and virtue and sin show up in equal measure.
- Kali Yuga - The age of conflict, Kali Yuga is described as one quarter virtue and three quarters sin.