In Hinduism, Kalki (Devanagari: कल्कि; meaning 'Eternity,' 'White Horse,' or 'Destroyer of Filth') is the final incarnation of Vishnu in the current Mahayuga, foretold to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the current epoch. Religious texts called the Puranas foretell that Kalki will be atop a white horse with a drawn blazing sword. He is the harbinger of end time in Hindu eschatology, after which he will usher in Satya Yuga.
The name Kalki is a metaphor for eternity or time. Its origins may lie in the Sanskrit word kalka which means foulness or filth. Hence, the name translates to the 'destroyer of foulness,' 'destroyer of darkness," or 'destroyer of ignorance'.
Another etymology from Sanskrit is 'white horse'.
In Buddhist Kalachakra tradition, 25 rulers of the Shambhala Kingdom held the title of Kalki, Kulika or Kalki-king. During Vaishakha, the first fortnight in Shukla Paksha is dedicated to fifteen deities, with each day for a different god. In this tradition, the twelfth day is Vaishakha Dwadashi and is dedicated to Madhava, another name for Kalki.
There are numerous interpretations of Vedic tradition. Avatara means "descent" and refers to a descent of the divine into mundane form. The Garuda Purana lists ten avatars, with Kalki being the tenth. The Bhagavata Purana initially lists twenty-two avatars, but mentions an additional three for a total of twenty-five. He is presented as the twenty-second avatar on that list. Popular images depict him riding a white horse with wings, known as 'Devadatta' or God given. In these images, Kalki is brandishing a brilliant sword in his left hand, eradicating the decadence of Kali Yuga. Lord Kalki will remove darkness of kali yuga and establish new yuga (age) called satya yuga on the earth. Satya yuga is also known as Krita yuga, same way, as per the characteristics of the next cycle of four yuga, next satya yuga will be known as Panchorath Yuga.
One of the earliest mentions of Kalki is in the Vishnu Purana, dated to after the Gupta Empire. The Agni Purana, one of the earliest Puranas to describe Buddha as an avatar, also describes Kalki and the end time. It draws heavily upon the Vishnu Purana in content. The Kalki Purana, a minor scripture by comparison, has the most detailed descriptions of Kalki.
The Kalki Purana combines elements of earlier scripture to describe Kalki. He will have the power to change the course of the stream of time and restore the path of the righteous. The evil demon Kali will spring from the back of Brahma and descend to earth and cause dharma to be forgotten and society to decay. When man stops offering yagna, Vishnu will then descend a final time to save the steadfast. He will be reborn as Kalki
There is also a tradition of Kalki, the final Hindu avatar who would appear from the west mounted on a white horse. Kalki is also known as conqueror of dualities and of darkness. The texts describe the advent of Kalki:
When the practices taught by the Vedas and the institutes of law shall nearly have ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, a portion of that divine being who exists of his own spiritual nature in the character of Brahma, and who is the beginning and the end, and who comprehends all things, shall descend upon the earth. He will be born as Kalki in the family of an eminent brahmin of Sambhala village, endowed with the eight superhuman faculties. By his irresistible might he will destroy all the barbarians and thieves, and all whose minds are devoted to iniquity. He will then reestablish righteousness upon earth; and the minds of those who live at the end of the Kali age shall be awakened, and shall be as pellucid as crystal. The men who are thus changed by virtue of that peculiar time shall be as the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita age, the Age of Purity. As it is said, "When the sun and moon, and the luner asterism Tishya, and the planet Jupiter, are in one mansion, the Krita age shall return."
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