Birth of Kalki Avatar
The earliest reference to the Kalki Avatar is found in the India’s great epic, the Mahabharata. The epic, Mahabharata specifically depicts the descent of Vishnu as the Kalki Avatar. The pious sage, Markandeya, illuminated Yudhisthir, the first of the Pandavas, on this precious knowledge. Markandeya informed that in a certain village called Sambhala, Kalki would evolve. He will be born as a son to a virtuous Brahmin couple called Vishnuyasha and Sumati, on a bright fortnight of the lunar month of Baisakh, on the 12th lunar tithi or occasion of (Dvadashi).
According to the Kalki Purana, Kalki takes birth in the family of Kushma and Madan, in a village named Shambala, specifically on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon fortnight. During his early years, he receives education on sacred scriptures, including Dharma, Karma, Artha, and Jñana.
Etymology of Kalki
The term "Kalki" is rooted in the word "Kal," signifying "time" (Kali Yuga). It is believed that the original term might have been "Kalki," derived from the horse's white color. Over time, this term transformed into "Kalki." This theory finds support in two discovered versions of the Mahabharata manuscripts, wherein the Sanskrit verses refer to the incarnation as "karki."
Iconography of Kalki Avatar
Kalki Avatar is described in the Vishudharmottara Purana as a robust young man, riding on his white horse, ‘Devadutta’ and with a shiny sword raised in his hand. While some sketch him as being four-armed, most of the records focus on him as two-armed. The scriptures portray emergence of Kalki as a blazing Light when he descends from heaven.
In Kalki Purana, Kaliki is described as a mighty warrior set out to protect the virtuous soul. He also undergoes military training under the guidance of Parashurama, the sixth immortal incarnation of Vishnu. In due course, Kalki worships Shiva, whose pleased by his devotion, grants him divine gifts. These include a celestial white horse named Devadatta (a manifestation of Garuda), a powerful sword adorned with precious jewels as its handle, and a parrot named Shuka, possessing knowledge of the past, present, and future. Additionally, various Devas, Devis, saints, and righteous kings bestow upon him other divine accessories. Kalki engages in numerous battles against an evil army, bringing an end to wickedness but not to existence itself. He eventually returns to Shambala, ushers in a new era of goodness, and then departs for Vaikuntha.
According to the Agni Purana, Kalki is depicted as the son of Madan, with Vishnu serving as the priest. Endowed with divine weapons, he would annihilate the evil and establish a righteous social order based on the four-fold var?as. Under his rule, the people would follow the path of righteousness at every stage of life.
In the Devi Bhagavata Purana, the devas extol Vishnu and invoke his Kalki avatara. It is prophesied that in the future, when a majority of individuals in the world become Mleccas (non-Aryans) and wicked kings oppress them relentlessly, Lord Vishnu will manifest himself as Kalki to rectify all grievances. As he does so, the world will bow to him in reverence and gratefulness.
Symbolism of Kalki Avatar
The portraiture of Kalki is imbued with symbolic overtones. Kalki would ride on the horse of purity and might, and ward off and destroy the prevalent evil with his lashing sword of Dharma or righteousness. Therefore his name is endowed with deeper meaning. The name Kalki, literally communicates the meaning, ‘Annhilator of Ignorance’.
Concept of Kalki Avatara in Buddhism
In the Kalachakra Tantra, a Buddhist text, there is a mention of righteous kings known as Kalki residing in Sammu. Within this text, multiple Kalkis emerge, each engaged in battles against barbarism, persecution, and chaos. The final Kalki, referred to as "Rudra Cakrin," is prophesied to bring an end to the prevailing disorder and degeneration by assembling a formidable army to eradicate a barbarian force. According to the text, this grand conflict will involve both Hindu and Buddhist armies, ultimately leading to the destruction of the barbaric forces. This incorporation of Kalki into Buddhism is believed to have been influenced by the historical arrival of Islamic kingdoms from the west, particularly their settlements in West Tibet, Central Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent.
Concept of Kalki Avatara in Sikkhism
The presence of the Kalki incarnation can be found within the rich Sikh Texts, particularly in the renowned Dasam Granth. This sacred text is traditionally attributed to Guru Gobind Singh, a revered figure in Sikhism. Within the Dasam Granth, there is a section known as the Chaubis Avatar, which highlights the twenty-four incarnations of Vishnu. Sage Matsyanra describes these incarnations as embodiments of divine intervention, emerging to combat evil, greed, violence, and ignorance in the world. Notably, Kalki is acknowledged as the twenty-fourth incarnation, destined to lead a significant war between the forces of righteousness and unrighteousness. This portrayal of Kalki within the Sikh Texts adds to the multifaceted spiritual tapestry that exists within the Sikh tradition, emphasizing the eternal struggle between good and evil, and the ultimate triumph of righteousness.
Predictions of Kalki Avatar
Kalki will be endowed with the gifts of intelligence, strength and valour. He will assemble other Brahmins into a formidable army to eradicate evil totally. He will be identified by two of the Nine Immortals or Chiranjeevis from the Mahabharata, Parashurama and Ashwatthama. Parashurama is the 6th Avatar of Vishnu, who replanted the flag of Dharma, by wiping off the oppressive Kshatriya clan from the face of the earth. Parashurama will appear to be the spiritual guide of Kalki, by educating him to undergo penance. Parashurama himself meditated with utmost devotion for 1000 years. Lord Shiva then blessed him with a divine weapon for cleansing vice, as a reward of such penance. He would help Kalki to march forward, following the same path, achieve the Ratna Maru sword and the heavenly parrot, Shuka from Shiva and accomplish his task.
Kalki will marry Padma, the Avatar of Vishnu’s consort, Devi Lakshmi and have two children, sons Jaya and Vijaya. Kalki will also perform the grand Ashwamedha Sacrifice to abolish all vitiated kings and false prophets, before embarking on the mighty assignment of the final obliteration of evil and misery in the Kali Yuga. After the completion of his work, the human shape of Kalki will expose itself in the four-armed cast of Maha Vishnu and return to his celestial abode of Vaikunth.
Kalki Avatar will be that redemptive force that will eliminate the formation of the disgraceful burden of sins. The arrival of Kalki Avatar will cleanse the world from all its sorrows and evils and therefore the world awaits it with a lot of expectation and eagerness. His arrival will mark the end of the Kali Yuga and the start of the Krita Yuga.