Jay (my husband) and I got in a fight the other night. One of those fights where I think, This is it. He’s going to leave me one day. With all that frustration and anger in his voice, how could he not?
It was one of those fights that comes out of nowhere. The kind that starts as a kernel of a conversation then rolls and gathers and builds, slamming into some switch, some sore spot, some seeping pool of resentment. All of this, I thought, because of the f*cking coronavirus.
According to Jay, the fight wasn’t just about the coronavirus. It was about everything. You’re so sensitive, he said. It’s exhausting. The words were sliding out of his mouth, my mom sitting next to me, awkwardly finishing her dinner. He must be really mad, I thought. Mad enough to do this now, here, in front of her. Can we not do this here, I half hissed, half pleaded.
No, we’re doing this here, he said. Because I’m exhausted. It’s exhausting. I want to be with a mature adult and you act like a child. You can’t turn down the conversation just because it makes you ‘depressed’, you can’t just shut down and avoid everything because it’s not convenient for you. You can’t ignore reality and expect the rest of us to just tiptoe around you because you can’t handle it.
It was pouring out of him. Years worth of rage. I had no defense. I knew this wasn’t about fighting him. This was about hearing him. Everything he was saying was right. I am weak. Pathetically so.
I’ve been watching myself, as if from the other side of the glass. Sometimes after going out with friends, I can’t help but wonder who it is I’ve become. I don’t recognize myself. So wound up, so tight, so coiled. I didn’t used to be like this. I used to be fun, easy going, natural.
But for the last few years it feels as if I’m walking a thin wire, hovering over a black hole of despair. To keep myself going, I barricade myself with golden, puffy dreams and lamps with scarves over them. I burrow into my books and my quotes and my foreign films and thoughts of cafes and Paris and anytime anyone tries to bring me out of it I snap.
I find myself carrying around this heavy load of apathy and disdain for the masses. I’m judgmental. I harbor hatred for people I’ve never met. And then I’m depressed. Depressed at how wrong everything feels. How it shouldn’t be fifty-nine degrees in March. How every time I take someone’s business card or an extra square of toilet paper it feels like I’m stabbing the earth. Everyone is terrible. Everything is terrible. I don’t want to confront reality because reality sucks.
And this, herein, lies the problem. My husband wants to be with someone he can face reality with. Someone who will take his hand and walk into the unknown. Someone he can converse about news and politics with, because that’s his way of coping. And I want to avoid.
As we went to bed, our backs against each other, I started thinking about why I have such an adverse reaction to the world. Why I can’t handle the reality I’m in. There must be a way to accept reality without succumbing to it. Then, as if a sign from the Google gods, an article appeared on my timeline about Kali Yuga and everything, all my hate, all my fears, the world, made sense.
To explain Kali Yuga, I first have to explain Surya Siddhanta.
Suyra Siddhantha is one of the first known books on astronomy published by the Hindu’s in the 4th or 5th century CE. The book describes rules to calculate the motions of planets, the moon and various distances between planets. This book, written thousands of years ago, made alarmingly accurate predictions, including the earth being a spherical shape; treating the earth as stationary globe around which sun orbits; calculating the earth’s diameter to be 8,000 miles (which today was know is 7,928 miles). Calculating the diameter of moon as 2,400 miles (actual diameter is 2,160) and the distance between moon and earth to be 258,000 miles (actual number is 238,000).
According to the Surya Siddhanta, time is not linear, but a circle. Within this circle, the earth goes through four stages, known as the yugas. Like the four seasons in the year, there are four yugas in the full cycle. Each cycle has distinct themes and spiritual lessons for humanity. Kali Yuga is the last stage, before heading into the golden one.
Its essential quality is emphatically said to be a climate of dissolution, in which all the forces-individual and collective, material, psychic, and spiritual-that were previously held in check by a higher law and by influences of a superior order pass into a state of freedom and chaos. – Julius Evola,
According to the Suyra Siddhantha, Kali Yuga began at midnight on 18 February 3102 BCE. During this time it was predicted the world would display the following characteristics:
- Humans will openly display animosity towards each other.
- People will have thoughts of murder with no justification and will see nothing wrong in that.
- Sin will increase exponentially, whilst virtue will fade and cease to flourish.
- People will take vows and break them soon after.
- People will become addicted to intoxicating drinks and drugs.
- Many diseases will spread.
- Weather and environment will degrade with time and frequent and unpredictable rainfalls will happen.
The same way God is the basis of multiple Christian faiths, the concept of Kali Yuga is the basis of different Hindu religions, all of them interpreting it in their own way. Some believe Kali Yuga ends in 2025. The Hindu guru Swami Sri Yukteswar believes that the Kali Yuga has already ended, and that we are now in an ascending Dvapara Yuga. Other texts believe it doesn’t end for a thousand more years. And others, the ones I’m choosing to follow, believe that it ends when humans become enlightened enough to push themselves out of it.
It is the nature of the Kali Yuga that most human beings are now held back from spiritual liberation due to the gravity of inertia, apathy and laziness, [known in Sanskrit as the quality of tamas] that overwhelms this age. Despite this seemingly gloomy prognosis, there is a way out of this predicament for those with the will and stamina to awaken from the rampant lethargy, within and outside of themselves, to take action. – Zeena Schreck
The more I read about it, the more I understood that all parts of life – misery, darkness, recession along with beauty, compassion and wealth-are periods that will arrive, again and again, like points on a wheel. Human history is proof of the constant turning, the light and the dark.
I think back to our grandparents. How they probably thought the end of the world was World War II. When eleven million people died for no reason other than ego and greed. I think back to their parents, who must have thought World War I was the end. And before them, when the bubonic plague and famine and slavery swept through the world like an evil virus. Every generation must have thought, this is it. The world can’t go on like this.
But it does. It readjusts itself. And now I understand why Jay was so frustrated with me. If every generation, every person, acted as scared and depressed and pissed off about the state of the world as I have, there’d never be change. We’d never ascend out of Kali Yuga and into the next stage.
I know that now is not a time to be weak and depressed. Now is the time to find compassion and hope and try and push the wheel forward. To uphold the values that have been lost. To find the light in the dark and work towards making the world better, instead of sinking down in the mud. And I’m not just talking about volunteering and donating, though those things are always important, I’m talking about starting even smaller. In finding the good in the world again. In finding your own joie de vivre. Finding the good in all the bad and rising up to meet each day with hope and excitement and the possibility of change.