Duty over Desire
The age of Kali is predominated with qualities of cheating, lying, sloth, sleepiness, violence, depression, lamentation, bewilderment, fear and poverty [SB 12.3.30]. Being disturbed by these effects, a person naturally wishes that Kali personified was dealt with and thus we don’t have to succumb to these effects. Truth be told, the advent of the age of Kali is an arrangement of the Lord. Lord Caitanya teaches Sanatana Goswami about the yuga-cycles, its nature and prescribed process for each age [CC Adi 20.329].
Thus the appearance and subsequent effects of Kali are unavoidable. Srila Prabhupada gives and analogy of just like a person prepares during the rainy season, although rain is predestined, similarly, we should prepare ourselves in this predestined age of Kali [SB 1.16.10p]. He says further how it’s our just duty to prepare. Therefore, better than wishful thinking, we should take practical and wholesome steps to deal with Kali.
Shifting the Blame
The miseries of this world, whatever the age, are unavoidable. Krishna declares that this world is dukhalayam [BG 8.15]. So, instead of blaming our surroundings, let us analyze ourselves first. Parikshit Maharaj being compassionate and righteous did not kill Kali because he had surrendered to him. Yet still, he did not allow Kali to reside in his kingdom [SB 1.17.29-31]. He intelligently bestowed four (plus one) places for Kali to reside in; which are gambling, intoxication, illicit sex, meat eating and gold – all activities of irreligion [SB1.17.38-39]. Therefore, one who is intelligent, seeking for his well-being will not contact with these items of adharma [SB1.17.41]. Unfortunately, people are lazy and less intelligent – spending their nights in sleeping and days in economic development [SB1.16.9].
Such people themselves willingly contact with Kali but then fear its effects. Such dual standard behavior was found in the personality of Kali himself! Parikshit Maharaj witnessed Kali, dressed as a king but was beating a cow and bull. He thus said, “You are dressed as a naradevah but your acting like an advijah! [SB 1.17.5]” Such persons, even in a hellish state like Kali, become satisfied with their status quo and seek no solution, naraka stho ‘pi deham vai [SB3.30.5]. Instead of shifting the blame to the ‘age’, let’s try to see the positive side of the yuga. Being Lord’s will, there must be a saving grace in this age.
Seeing the Good
Although Krishna had said that this world is temporary and miserable, His pure devotee Prabodhananda Sarasvati said that for a devotee, visvam purna sukhayate [Caitanya-candramrta 5]. Such is the vision of a pure devotee, who due to contact with Krishna Consciousness, sees even the material world as Vaikuntha. Everyone perceives the world around him based on his own sense perception, atmavan manyate jagat. Therefore it is imperative to change our vision, and see the good in others and in everything.
Parikshit Maharaj saw the good even in Kali. He saw how in this age, one can gain piety just by thinking of a good act, while only encounters sin after having performed the immoral action [SB1.18.7]. Similarly, Yudhisthira Maharaj, although was unjustly treated by the Kauravas, headed by Dhrtarashtra, he never felt malice towards the blind king but remembered the good that the kind had done to the Pandavas [SB 1.13.34]. It is further said that although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, it still has one most important quality – that just by chanting the Holy Names, one can achieve the highest perfection [SB12.3.51]. Thus this brings us to the next section – how to deal with Kali-yuga.
Unavoidable but Counteractable
It is impossible to avoid Kali-yuga or its present effects, but we can counteract its influences and not allot it to contaminate us. Suta Goswami describes how only those less intelligent see Kali as powerful, while others who are self-controlled have nothing to fear [SB1.18.8]. The Bhagavatam therefore advises repeatedly to take shelter of Krishna Katha by hearing [SB1.16.7-8], this is the sure path to eternal life. For those seeking a more so-called practical, hands-on solution – Srila Prabhupada has delineated that by maintaining cow protection and revival of brahmanical culture – one can develop God consciousness [SB1.19.3p].
The third option, as already discussed in earlier sections, is to take to the chanting of the Holy Names. Kali can’t be present wherever the Lord is present [SB 1.17.33-34] and in Kali-yuga, the Lord comes as His Holy Names, kali kale nama rupe [CC Adi 17.22]. Thus by regular chanting we cleanse our hearts of unwanted desires, anarthas. Kali is born of anger and envy [SB 4.8.3] and by continuous practice of the prescribed method of deliverance in this age – we can get salvation [SB 12.3.52].
The following article is an answer to the Open Book Exam (Canto 1.10-19), by Hemarupa Caitanya Dasa, to the question:“If Parikshit Maharaj had killed Kali instead of forgiving him, we wouldn’t be suffering the effects of Kali now.” If someone raises this argument, how could we comprehensively answer him based on Srimad Bhagavatam.