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kali


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A die (akṣa), or side of a die, marked with a single spot, representing the lowest scoring throw. The term is used metaphorically to designate the last in sequence, and most degenerate, of the four world ages or yugas (the ‘kaliyuga’), commonly, and anciently, supposed to be the age through which human beings are currently living. It is characterized by a shorter lifespan and a general moral and spiritual incapacity: what was possible in other ages is not possible now; there is an extreme imbalance between dharma and adharma in favour of the latter. The length of the kaliyuga has been variously calculated. It is generally supposed to have started either with the Mahābhārata war or, slightly later, with the death of Kṛṣṇa. The imminence of its end (and so the cataclysmic conclusion of the current world age) was, however, increasingly postponed as the Purāṇic literature struggled to synchronize differing chronologies.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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