Apocalypse or Myth? The Fate of the World at the End of Kali Yuga

· 10 min read

In Hinduism, the concept of time is cyclical and not linear, with the universe going through endless cycles of creation and dissolution. These cycles are divided into four distinct ages or Yugas: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga. Each Yuga represents a different stage in the spiritual and moral development of humanity, with Kali Yuga being the final and most challenging age. In this post, we will explore the concept of Kali Yuga, its duration, and the events that are believed to unfold at its conclusion, including the arrival of Kalki Avatar and the beginning of a new cycle.

What Are the Yugas in Hinduism?

According to Hindu scriptures, the Yugas are four distinct epochs that follow one another in a recurring cycle. Each Yuga has its unique characteristics, moral climate, and duration. The four Yugas are part of a larger time cycle known as the Chatur Yuga or Maha Yuga. The duration of each Yuga is determined by the divine years, with one divine year equaling 360 human years.

The total duration of a Yuga cycle is 24,000 divine years or 8,640,000 human years (12,000 divine years for each ascending and descending phase). This corresponds to one precession of the equinox. It is believed that we are currently in the Kali Yuga, which began approximately 5,000 years ago, following the end of the Dvapara Yuga marked by Lord Krishna’s departure from the Earth. At the end of this grand cycle, it is believed that the cycle restarts with Satya Yuga.

The four Yugas and their durations are as follows:

Satya Yuga (Age of Truth)

Also known as the Golden Age, Satya Yuga represents the pinnacle of human virtue and spirituality.

It lasts for 4800 divine years, equivalent to approximately 1,728,000 human years.

During this age, truth, righteousness, and purity prevail. People possess heightened consciousness and live in harmony with nature.

Human stature was 21 cubits and the average human lifespan was 100,000 years, with minimal disease and suffering.

Treta Yuga

The Treta Yuga follows Satya Yuga and is characterized by a gradual decline in virtue.

It lasts for 3600 divine years, approximately 1,296,000 human years.

Sacrifices and rituals become more elaborate, and people start experiencing some moral challenges.

Righteousness diminishes slightly, and desires and ambitions begin to arise.

Normal human stature was 14 cubits and the average human lifespan was 10,000 years.

Dvapara Yuga

Dvapara Yuga continues the descent from higher consciousness.

It spans 2400 divine years, around 864,000 human years.

People become more materialistic, and spirituality wanes. Rituals and ceremonies dominate.

Dharma (righteous living) is upheld with half its original strength.

Normal human stature was 7 cubits and the average human lifespan was 1,000 years.

Kali Yuga (Age of Darkness)

We are currently in Kali Yuga, the Dark Age where Dharma is said to be at its weakest.

It lasts for 1200 divine years, approximately 432,000 human years.

Kali Yuga is marked by strife, ignorance, and moral degradation. Materialism, greed, and selfishness prevail.

Normal human stature is 3.5 cubits and the average human lifespan will be 100 years. Towards the end of the Yuga, this will come down to 20 years.

The Calculation of Yuga Durations

Right now, we are in the Kali Yuga, which started in 3102 BCE, just after the Mahabharata war ended. Many Hindus also believe that this was the day when Krishna left Earth. The time periods of the Yugas are:

  • Satya (Krita) Yuga: 17,28,000 human years
  • Treta Yuga: 12,96,000 human years
  • Dwapara Yuga: 8,64,000 human years
  • Kali Yuga: 4,32,000 human years (About 5100 years have already passed)

1 cycle of 4 yugas = 1 Mahayuga (Chatur Yuga)

1 Mahayuga = 43,20,000 years

1000 Mahayuga = 1 Kalpa

1 kalpa = 4.32 billion years

1 Kalpa = 14 Manvantara

1 Manvatara = 71 Mahayugas

1 Manvatara = 306,720,000 years

1 Kalpa = 1 day of Brahma

1 Kalpa = 1 night of Brahma

1 Maha Kalpa = Full life of Brahma - 100 years (311.04 trillion years or 36,000 kalpa + 36,000 pralaya)

1 full day of Brahma = 864,00,00,000 human years

1 second of Brahma = 1,00,000 human years on earth

1 life of brahma = 1 breath of Sri Maha Vishnu

Juncture between manvantara = 1 sandhya (as long as satya yuga - 1728000 years)

1 month of brahma = 30 days and nights (259.2 billion years)

12 months of Brahma = 360 days of brahma

When Sri Maha Vishnu breathes out, the whole world is created (100 years of Brahma).

When Sri Maha Vishnu breathes in, the whole world is destroyed (100 years of Brahma).

Current Kali Yuga = 28th

Current age of Brahma = 1st Kalpa of 51st year of Brahma

Name of the present Kalpa = Shwetavaraha Kalpa

Name of the present Manvantara = Vaivasvata Manvantara

Current Manvantara = 7th manvantara of Shwetavaraha Kalpa

Current Mahayuga = 28th mahayuga (chaturyuga) of the vaivasvata manvantara

Full break down of the Yuga duration

  • Satya Yuga: 4000 divine (devas) years
  • Treta Yuga: 3000 divine (devas) years
  • Dvapara Yuga: 2000 divine (devas) years
  • Kali Yuga: 1000 divine (devas) years

Yuga Sandhi
  • Satya Yuga: 400 divine years
  • Treta Yuga: 300 divine (devas) years
  • Dvapara Yuga: 200 divine (devas) years
  • Kali Yuga: 100 divine (devas) years

In all cases Yuga Sandhi = Yugaamsaka

Sandhyamsa = quarter of (Yuga Sandhi + Yugaamsaka)

1 year of Devas = 360 human years

Yuga Sankya (total number of divine years in all four yugas) = 12,000 divine years.

So Yuga Sankya = Krita Yuga + Krita’s (Yuga Sandhi + Yugaamsaka) + Treta Yuga + Treta Yuga’s (Yuga Sandhi + Yugaamsaka) + Dvapara Yuga + Dvapara Yuga’s (Yuga Sandhi + Yugaamsaka) + Kali Yuga+ Kali Yuga’s (YugaSandhi + Yugaamsaka)

Yuga Sankya = (4000 + (400 + 400)) + (300 + (300 + 300)) + (2000 + (200+200)) + (1000 + (100 + 100)) = 4800 + 3600 + 2400 + 1200 = 12,000

So, Kali Yuga lasts for a total of 1200 years, which includes a transition time of 200 divine years. These 200 divine years are equal to 200 * 360 = 72,000 human years.

Sandhyamsa = 50 divine years (These 50 years are the last quarter of the 200 years)

Sandhyamsa = 50 * 360 = 18,000 human years.

The End of Kali Yuga

According to Hindu scriptures, Kali Yuga is characterized by a decline in moral values, spirituality, and the overall well-being of humanity. It is an age where negativity, ignorance, and materialism prevail. Despite its challenges, Kali Yuga is also seen as a time of opportunity — a period for individuals to achieve spiritual growth through devotion and righteousness in the face of adversity. The Puranas describe the signs that indicate the end of Kali Yuga, such as:

  1. Widespread corruption, greed, and selfishness
  2. Breakdown of social order and the caste system
  3. Decline in religious practices and the rise of false prophets
  4. Increased violence, wars, and natural calamities
  5. Deterioration of the environment and the depletion of natural resources

As Kali Yuga reaches its final stages, it is believed that the world will witness unprecedented chaos and destruction. The Bhagavata Purana mentions that at the end of Kali Yuga, Lord Vishnu will incarnate as Kalki Avatar, a powerful warrior riding a white horse, and wielding a fiery sword.

The Arrival of Kalki Avatar

Kalki Avatar is described as the tenth and final incarnation of Lord Vishnu. His purpose is to restore order, destroy evil, and pave the way for the beginning of a new Satya Yuga. The Kalki Purana provides a detailed account of Kalki Avatar’s life and mission. It is said that he will be born in the village of Shambhala to a Brahmin family. Kalki will grow up to be a skilled warrior and a spiritual leader, attracting a large following. This event is not merely an end but a necessary renewal, purifying the world of its decadence and restoring the principles of truth, righteousness, and divine order.

As the chaos and destruction of Kali Yuga reach their peak, Kalki Avatar will engage in a great battle against the forces of evil. He will defeat the corrupt rulers, false prophets, and those who have strayed from the path of righteousness. After the battle, Kalki will perform a great sacrifice, initiating the process of renewal and purification.

The Beginning of a New Cycle

With the defeat of evil and the purification of the world, Kali Yuga will come to an end, and a new Satya Yuga will begin. The Earth will be restored to its pristine state, and humanity will once again live in harmony with nature and the divine. The cycle of Yugas will continue, with each age bringing its own challenges and opportunities for spiritual growth.

It is said that massive natural disasters like floods and earthquakes might also cleanse the Earth and pave the way for a fresh start.

Open Questions

When we dive into Hindu texts, there are some puzzling aspects due to different ways people interpret them. Let’s look at a couple of questions that I often wonder about:

  1. Are the number of years assigned to each Yuga accurate? There are different interpretations of Hindu texts regarding the exact length of each Yuga. Some sources suggest a shorter timeframe than the commonly accepted calculations.
  2. Is the order of Yugas a straight path or a loop? Does the cycle progress directly from Kali Yuga to Satya Yuga, bypassing Dwapara and Treta Yugas? Or does the sequence follow the traditional order of Kali Yuga to Dwapara Yuga, then Treta Yuga, and finally Satya Yuga?
  3. What changes can we expect in the world after Kali Yuga? Will we keep all the technology and progress we have now, or will we go back to a time without today’s tech advancements?

When does the actual destruction happen?

A Kalpa is just one day for Brahma, the creator god. After the day ends, Brahma goes to sleep, and then the Pralaya, or night of Brahma, begins.

The Pralaya, which is as long as a Kalpa, is when the entire three worlds (the physical universe, Devaloka, and Asuraloka) are destroyed by fire coming from the mouth of Vishnu’s serpent, Adiseshan.

At the end of Brahma’s day, everything combines into darkness. Time stops, and all creatures and things sort of go into a deep sleep or dissolve. It becomes very quiet, and even the sun and moon don’t shine. Imagine it like the calm of a very dark, ordinary night. The destruction happens because of the fire coming from Ananta’s mouth. This destruction is fierce. It starts with fires and leads to overflowing seas and extremely strong hurricanes. Soon, the entire world is covered in water.

After Pralaya ends and Brahma wakes up, he starts creating everything again, starting a new Kalpa. The destruction that happens at the end of Brahma’s daytime is called naimittika, which means occasional. Even though everything gets destroyed to the point where no one can live there, the souls of all living beings survive to be reborn when Brahma starts creating again.

When Brahma’s entire lifespan ends, a much bigger destruction called Mahapralaya happens. It lasts a really long time, just like Brahma’s life, and then Brahma is reborn, and everything starts over.

The Vishnu Purana says that at the end of Brahma’s daytime, a terrible drought will happen for 100 years, and all the waters will dry up. The Sun will turn into seven Suns, and the three worlds (Bhurloka or Earth, Bhuvarloka or the lowest heaven, and Svargloka or the next higher heaven) and the underworlds will be burned, leaving no life. The people living in Bhuvarloka and Svargloka will run away to the next higher heaven, Mahaloka, to escape the heat, and then to the even higher heaven, Janaloka.

Then, huge clouds will form, and the three worlds will be completely flooded with water. Lord Vishnu will rest on the waters in meditation for another whole kalpa (4.32 billion years) before creating everything again.


The end of Kali Yuga and the arrival of Kalki Avatar are significant events in the Hindu understanding of the cyclical nature of time. While the exact timing and details of these events may be subject to interpretation, the underlying message is one of hope, transformation, and the ultimate triumph of righteousness.

As we live in the Kali Yuga, it is essential to focus on our personal spiritual growth, cultivate virtues, and strive for the betterment of ourselves and society as a whole. By doing so, we can contribute to the positive transformation of the world and prepare ourselves for the transition into the next Yuga, where the values of truth, compassion, and spiritual wisdom will once again prevail.

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