Kali Purush – Personification of Adharma

Pariskshit and Kali

Every Yuga Lord Vishnu decides to incarnate in some mystical form, there is some being who cannot be defeated by any being on Earth. The 10th avatar of Lord Vishnu, Kalki is yet to be born and his nemesis of this Kali Yuga is the ‘Kali Purusha’. ‘Kali’, this word in Sanskrit symbolizes suffering, hurt, or confusion and these are the same thing Kali Purush will be initiating in Kali Yuga.

Kali Yuga potray
Portray of Kali Yuga

Family Tree of Kali Purush

Kali is the great-grandson of Adharma (Impropriety) and Mithya (Falsehood), his wife. Lord Brahma created Adharma himself as something very sinful object. Adharma gave birth to Dambha (Vanity) who married Maya (Illusion). From them, a very cruel boy was born Krodha (Anger). Krodha married Himsa (Violence) and later gave birth to Kali Purush.

Brahma’s sinful creation = Adharma

Adharma (Impropriety) + Mithya (Falsehood) = Dambha

Dambha (Vanity) + Maya (Illusion) = Krodha

Krodha (Anger) + Himsa (Violence) = Kali

Kali’s wife is Alakshmi, who is the twin sister of Goddess Lakshmi and when she enters the house, family members will fight and be each other’s enemy.

He is even associated with Anrita (Falsehood), Nikriti (immortality), Bhaya (Fear), Naraka (Hell), Vedana (Grief), Mrityu (Death), Dukha (pain), Vyadhi (disease), Jara (decay), Soka (sorrow), Durukti (Evil speech), Yatana (Torture) and Trishna (greediness).

All of these are somehow relatives of Kali as mentioned in various Puranas. Kali Purush will be the harshest being that mankind will have ever seen. Even the worst humans will look like a saint in front of Kali.

Iconography of Kali

Kalki Purana describes Kali Purush as a huge demon with the color of fumes of black carbon. His large tough is always out and the terrible stench is always there. His abodes consist of prostitution, gambling, gold, and slaughters. That is why some Puranas describe him as dog faced Asura with pointy ears and fangs in a red cloth and gold ornaments.

Who is Kali?

There are four Yugas of time: Satya, Tetra, Dwapar, and Kali. Each Yuga has its different traits and they are in the cycle. Satya is the best Yuga where the work is pure and penance is highly regarded.

The essence of Satya degrades as time flows slowly comes to Tetra, Dwapara, and finally Kali, where humans perceive evilness on a daily basis. Kali Purush is the representation of that supreme evilness in Kali Yuga.

Kali as Gandharva

Kali was a Gandharva who considered himself one of the supreme. When the daughter of Bhima (not Pandava), Damayanti, chose Nala as her consort over him and other deities like Indra, Agni, and Yama, he became furious.

Kali took 12 years to strike and recruited his friend Dwapara (personification of Dvapara Yuga) to throw Nala out of Nishadhas’ kingdom tricking him into a dice game. Nala and his wife Damayanti were exiled to the forest and Nala’s brother Pushkara became the new king.

Kali’s anger made him drive Nala away from Damayanti even in an exiled life. Fate proceeded as Damayanti became the maiden of Princess of Chedi and Nala (with Kali inside him) became the ugly dwarf Bahuka. 

Bahuka was appointed as Charioteer of Ayodhya King Rituparna, who freed Bahuka from the control of Kali. Nala vomited Kali as the spirit into a Vibhitaka tree. Nala in his true form went to find his wife and Kali also returned to his original form.

Kali as Duryodhana

Bhima and duryodhana
Bhima and Duryodhana in the battle of Kurukshestra

Duryodhana was in fact the incarnation of Kali and his companion Dwapara became his Mama Sakuni. The scream of the donkey on his born day, Vidura (the royal advisor and minister of King Dhritarashtra) advised his King not to keep the baby but a father’s love did not let that happen. 

The story of Duryodhana then proceeded to be one of the biggest epics of Sanatani, Mahabharata. Here too Duryadhana’s jealousy broke a huge war between Kauravas and Pandavas. Many supreme warriors gave their lives and in the end, Sahadeva killed Sakuni and Duryodhana acquired fatality from Bhima.

King Parikshit and Kali

King Parikshit and Kali Purush
King Parikshit and Kali Purush

Once King Parikshit went hunting in the forest, the Kali appeared before him and asked permission to enter his kingdom, which the king denied. King knew that Kali will spread pain and suffering to the Earth and in his presence even the Earth was scared.

He was ready to kill Kali, but he begged Parikshit not to kill him as he have a very good trait. He explained on his wrath, attaining god or the supreme’s blessing is very easy. Just a mantra or taking the name of the god will provide you with blessings equal to a thousand years of meditation on previous Yugas.

Parikshit, not able to kill him and not able to set him free, allowed him five places to reside: where there is gambling, alcohol consumption, prostitution, animal slaughter, and gold. Kali smartly entered Parikshit’s golden crown and spoiled his thoughts.

Since Kali had entered the gold and thus created man’s desire for gold. Parikshit on the influence of Kali disturbed sage Shamika on his meditation. He cursed Parikshit to die of snakebite on the seven days. As the curse, King Takshaka, the naga king, kills him in the dispute regarding the same crown. After the King was dead he spread and began to exhibit his presence.

Kali Purush in Kali Yuga

Kalki Avatar of Lord Vishnu
Lord Kalki in the battle with Kali Purush’s army

The tale of King Parikshit was in the abode of Kali Yuga and now Kali has escaped and the symptoms of Kali Yuga are being reflected. There is the full article on Kali Yuga in the link that explains all the symptoms mentioned in Srimad Bhagwad. 

One of the symptoms is: In Kali-yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a man’s good birth, proper behavior, and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only based on one’s power. Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and business success will depend on deceit.

The peak of Kali, Lord Kalki, the tenth avatar of Vishnu will be born to the Earth. At a young age, Kalki is taught about dharma, karma, Artha, and jnana, and receives social and military training from the immortal Parashurama. 

Kalki fights in many wars, putting an end to evil, including Kali Purush and his entire family bloodline, with the help of his generals. Kali-Yuga Kali was wounded in the battle with Dharma and Satya Yuga and fled away on his donkey. No matter how far he fled and hide, his foul stench made the Devas trace him. Finally, at his Kingdom Vishasha’s capital, he accepted death.

The features of Kali Purush might make him sound like the evil one. But actually, he was ordered by Lord Brahma to perform such a task. In Kali Yuga, people become more and more sinful and Kali Purush’s task is to make those sinful people commit crimes. Kali Purush dwells inside bad people who are sunk into a world of materialistic happiness. Those who chant the name of gods, follow the righteous path, and do good deeds, Kali Purush will never harm them.