I have just started reading William Dalrymple’s The Age of Kali: Indian Travels & Encounters. He uses the story of Kali as a parallel to what is happening in India as of 1998, when the book was published. I find the following paragraphs from the Introduction an interesting warning for Americans in the age of Trump and rampant Republicanism.
The book’s title [The Age of Kali] is a reference to the concept in ancient Hindu cosmology that time is divided into four great epochs. Each age (or yug) is named after one of four throws, from best to worst, in a traditional Indian game of dice; accordingly, each successive age represents a period of increasing moral and social deterioration. The ancient mythological Golden Age, named after the highest throw of the dice, is known as the Krita Yug, or Age of Perfection. As I was told again and again on my travels around the Subcontinent, India is now in the throes of the Kali Yug, the Age of Kali, the lowest possible throw, an epoch of strife, corruption, darkness and disintegration. In the Age of Kali the great gods Vishnu and Shiva are asleep and do not hear the prayers of their devotees. In such an age, normal conversations fall apart: anything is possible. As the seventh-century Vishnu Purana puts it:
The kings of the Kali Yug will be addicted to corruption and will seize the property of their subjects, but will, for the most part, be of limited power, rising and falling rapidly. Then property and wealth alone will confer rank; falsehood will be the only means of success in litigation. Corruption will be the universal means of subsistence. At the end, unable to support their avaricious kings, the people of the Kali Age will take refuge in the chasms between mountains, they will wear ragged garments, and they will have too many children. Thus in the Kali Age shall strife and decay constantly proceed, until the human race approaches annihilation.