Chapter Twenty-one




DEVOTEE: What year is this according to the present Hebrew calendar?
RABBI: "The current Hebrew year is 5,758. In this calendar, the year in which Adam was created is counted as year one. If we then count the Biblical genealogies from the time of Adam, we find that over 5,000 years have elapsed since the time he was formed. However, the Kabbalists clearly say that other human beings existed before Adam, and this is even supported in scripture [Drush Or HaChaim] The fifth cycle was the one that brought life, and this took place around two and a half billion years ago. Around 974 generations before Adam, or some 25,000 years ago, man developed all of the physical and mental capabilities that we possess today...but he still lacked the divine soul that would make him a spiritual being. God then created Adam, the first true human being with a soul, 'and He blew in his nostrils a soul of life'. [Genesis 2.7] [Sefer Yetzirah 4.15]
DEVOTEE: The Vedic calendar starts dating from the beginning of this Kali-yuga. Kali-yuga lasts 432,000 years, out of which we have passed about 5,000 years since the Battle of Kurukñetra and the end of the regime of King Parékñit. So there are 427,000 years remaining of this age. At the end of the age of Kali begins another cycle of four ages, namely Satya-yuga, Tretä-yuga, Dväpara-yuga, and Kali-yuga. The universal tendency is that as each age passes from the beginning of Satya-yuga, the world's vices increase and virtue decrease until we again reach another Satya-yuga.
RABBI: In the Torah, Moses spoke to the people, instructing them in various commandments given by God. He told them that if they carefully kept the commandments of the Lord, the Lord would bless them in many ways, but if they failed to do so, the Lord would condemn them in many terrible ways. Everything would be taken away from them and they would be so much in want of food, that even the kindest and most gentle of people would eat their own children. It is stated, "You will then eat the fruit of your womb. When your enemies are besieging you will become so desperate that you will actually eat the flesh of your sons and daughters...." [Torah, Duet, Ki Thavo, 28.53-54] Do the Vedas describe any thing similar to this?
DEVOTEE: The Srimad-Bhagavatam describes that at the end of this age, people will become so degraded, that the Supreme Lord will punish them by taking away many of the necessities of life. At that time, also, out of desperation and in degraded consciousness, they will eat their own children. It seems that although the Torah does not describe a period of destruction and hardship specifically in reference to end of an age, both the calamities described in the Torah and in the Vedas would result from people's unwillingness to follow the laws of God. Whenever mankind does not accept the laws of God, there will be great havoc in human society regardless of which religious faith one may follow. The Vedas describe that at the end of this degraded age of Kali, the Lord will personally come to destroy the miscreant people. Are there any similar descriptions of the coming of God given in the Torah?
RABBI: Yes, and the most famous are: "When the Holy One comes to visit the "Hind" (Israel), He will examine who it is that remains loyal to her at the time, and woe to him who shall not be found worthy..." [Isa.LXII, 23]
It is also stated, "Then the Messiah will arise from the Garden of Eden, from that place which is called 'the Bird's Nest'. He will arise in the land of Galilee, and on that day the whole world shall be shaken and all the children of men shall seek refuge in caves and rocky places. Concerning that time, it is written: 'And they shall go into the holes of the rocks and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.' [Isa. II.19]" [Zohar 7a-7b] Can you explain further about the Vedic version of this period of destruction?
DEVOTEE: Yes. There is a verse in the Srimad-Bhagavatam describing the Kalki incarnation who will come at the end of the Kali-yuga. "Thereafter, at the conjunction of the two yugas (Kali and Satya), the Lord of the creation will take His birth as the Kalki incarnation and become the son of Vishnu Yaçä. At that time the rulers of the earth will have degenerated into plunderers." [Bhag. 1:3:25] Later in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is stated, "Lord Kalki, the Lord of the universe, will mount His swift horse Devadatta and, sword in hand, travel over the earth exhibiting His eight mystic opulences and eight special qualities of Godhead. Displaying His unequaled effulgence and riding with great speed, He will kill by the millions those thieves who have dared dress as kings. After all the impostor kings have been killed, the residents of the cities and towns will feel the breezes carrying the most sacred fragrance of the sandalwood paste and other decorations of Lord Väsudeva, and their minds will thereby become transcendentally pure." [Bhag. 12.2.19-21]

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