The pancham (fifth) kaal (time) hence the period of time is the one that is actually current now. It is the period of deterioration, characterized by conditions of existence that would slowly become very painful and distressing. It commenced only 2460 years ago, and has still got 18540 years to run. There wiil be wars, famines and pestilences during this period, with the result that men will be halfstarved and will grow stunted in size, till at the end of the period they will be no more than one cubit in height, and twenty years in age.
All this will take place gradually, almost imperceptedly and in some plates there will even appear periodic signs of growth. The arresting of the downward movement will, however, be a temporary affair. The tendency generally everywhere will be for things to go from bad to worse. In respect of religion, Bharatvarsa will become irreligious, and the maleksha countries lying round about it will become enlightened. It may be safely taken then that the intellectual centre of the world is shifting from India to foreign lands ! What is most likely to happen next is the discovery of the soul-nature by European and American peoples, which is likely to be made in the course of the current century, thus fulfilling the Jaina prophecy!
Throughout the pancham Kaal, however, Religion will continue to exist on our globe. The continuity of the sangha (community of the faithful) will be maintained right up to its very end. There will be at least one saint, one nun, one householder, and one pious female follower of the Lord Jinendra in the world.
Kingship, Fire and Religion
When only three moments will be left in the running kaal, raja (kingship), agni (fire) and dharma (religion) will be destroyed, one after the other, in the order mentioned ! The last king, who will be called Kalki, will snatch away the food from the hand of the last Saint, and will be destroyed by devas (heavenly beings) for his extreme impiety. The Saint and the Nun will perform sallekhana death, along with the householder and the pious lay lady. Fire will disappear, instantly and dharma will cease to exist in the next moment.
Thereafter the sixth Kaal, likewise of 21,003 years, will supervene. It will be the worst of all.
People will keep on deteriorating, and the suffering and misery will be intolerable. Cooking will be unknown; for there will be no fire ! People will take to raw meat, which they will bite off from living animals and even men. Law and order will be replaced by lawlessness and disorder. At the end of the sixth Kaal, a great calamity will befall the world for forty-nine days there will
Kalki also figures in Hinduism, but there he is an allegorical figure and in glaring- contrast with Jainism. He is the destroyer of dharma and a wicked persecutor of the pious in the latter, but the establisher of the true dharma and the destroyer of its foes in the former ! This antagonism is, however, only apparent and caused by the employment of acartistic form of allegory which while professing outwardly to differ from the Jaina view in reality, implies no difference at all. For the Hindu Kalki is the destroyer of the soul’s internal enemics-passions and appetites and the likewise will establish the Kingdom of God in the human Heart, while the Jaina Kalki will bean historical enemy of the Faith and of the followers of the Faith who will be a man of flesh and blood in the outer world rain down on it fire and ashes and burning cinders; hot winds will scorch up all the surface of the soil, and it will be ripped open to a great depth.
All living nature will be destroyed, excepting those who are able to hide themselves in deep ravines and caves, or who are accorded protection by some beings of the superhuman type. Thus will end the sixth kaal. The catastrophe however, will not be universal all over the universe.
At the commencement of the new order of things in the next half-cycle of time, the Utsarpini which is the’ reverse of the ascending ark, the course of events will be changed. It will be the period of prosperity, and increase and rise. The forty-nine days’ destruction will be ‘ followed by a “different and opposite kind of phenomena during a similar period of time- Cold winds will blow on the earth cooling things — will rain down on its surface; the signs of destruction will disappear from its face ! Those who have survived will emerge from their hiding places, and inhabit the earth once more. The first Tirthankara of the Utsarpini Kaal will appear’ at the end of 42000 years from its commencement. fie will re-establish Religion in the world !
The above prophecy would seem to admit of a rational explanation. Let us suppose that two huge revolving bodies of contrary natures, but of the comet type are slowly approaching our world and would come the nearest to it at the end of the sixth Kaal of the running half-cycle. Let us further suppose that the first ore of these bodies to draw near to the earth will be the comet with a fiery nature, like that of the sun.
Its approach will then be characterized by all the indications given in the prophecy — the deterioration of vegetation, the disappearance of lire, because of the lack of fuel, ‘ the blowing of hot winds, the showering down of hot cinders, burning dust and the like. The destroyer will remain in the vicinity of the earth for the space of 40 days, which will be full, of calamity for all living, nature. It will then depart and recede further away. The other comet with the nature of the Moon will then draw near, when there will occur the opposite kind of phenomena — the blowing of cold winds, the raining down of cooling thing, curds, milk, ‘ambrosia’, and the like ! Humanity will now reappear on the surface of the earth, and will once more inhabit it.
It will take them about 42,000 years to be restored to a state of civilization which will admit of the advent of a World Teacher to enlighten them on Religious Truth. There is an alternative explanation which would also explain the dire prophecy. Let us suppose the Earth to run amolt from some such cause as the depletion of its hidden strength — petrol, coal, and the like — or the order and regularity of the Solar System to be disturbed from some other unknown cause, so that the Earth is brought scorchingly near to the Sun for the space of 49 days after which it tilts up in the other direction, and is drawn nearer to the Moon for a similar period of time. Then all the terrible phenomena are likely to occur as described in the prophecy.
As regards the snatching away of the morsel of food by the last king from the hand of the last Saint, its explanation map be sought in the fact that cooked food shall have become scarce long long before the end of the pancham kaal. Perhaps the influence of the advancing fiery comet will be reinforced by the drying up of the stamina of the earth in consequence of the constant tapping to which it is being subjected, in one form and another, so that vegetation shall begin to dry up, fuel shall become scarce, and cooked food will become a rare delicacy many hundreds of years before the end of the age; the only- living pious householder shall have procured the last bundle of chips to prepare the last meal for the Saint and the Nun ! Law and order will have virtually disappeared long before this time, and the last king will probably be no more than a mere powerful bully. He will be attracted by the sight of the smoke from the householder’s kitchen and will rush to help him- self to cooked food, the greatest of delicacies at the time. He will arrive just in time to be able to snatch the first morsel from the hand of the Saint. The devas, who do not usually interfere in human affairs, will be unable to tolerate such an insult to Saintship, and will take revenge on the king. Id the next moment the little bundle of faggots shalt have burnt itself out, and fire will became a thing of the past! Dharma (Religion), which cannot live except in the hearts of men, must likewise perish when those who cherish it and put it into practice are gone. This is probably how the king, fire and dharma (religion) shall be destroyed, one after another, in three successive moments of time, at the end of the current age !