“When the time for the destruction of living entities arrives, people are seen to perform activities that endanger themselves due to the influence of that all-devouring time.” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 56.16)
यदा विनाशो भूतानां दृश्यते कालचोदितः।
तदा कार्ये प्रमाद्यन्ति नराः कालवशं गताः।।
yadā vināśo bhūtānāṃ dṛśyate kālacoditaḥ।
tadā kārye pramādyanti narāḥ kālavaśaṃ gatāḥ।।
“I guess every generation has had this complaint. They think the new crop of people doesn’t cut it. They feel as if things were better before, while they were growing up. Safer neighborhoods. Nicer people. Meaningful social interaction. Caring for thy neighbor.
“But I don’t know. I think we really are heading into total madness territory today. You take any point in the vast timeline of recorded history, and entire communities were never forced into their homes due to a mysterious illness. No one was ever considered diseased unless they actually showed symptoms. No one was foolish enough to think someone had the case of a specific disease, while they were otherwise walking around and fully functional.
“Today, it looks like the leaders are the absolute worst. It doesn’t matter the political party. Forget national boundaries. Any institution wielding significant power – you will see that the leaders are corrupt. They have complete and utter disdain for the dependents. They have no problem torturing young children, even.
“How did we get to this situation? I understand there is a loss of connection with God and godly principles, but how is it this bad? You would think there is some decency left, that people would have compassion for their fellow man.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains the situation in terms of the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi Devi, and her proper place. The Vedic tradition presents a clear and identifiable picture of God. Not one based on speculation. No need to imagine what is beyond the sky above, in the heavens.
There is the source of men, Narayana. His eternal consort is Lakshmi Devi. She is the goddess of fortune, and their relationship is stronger than any that can be described by a formal ritual ceremony like a marriage. Lakshmi’s dharma is service to Narayana. There is no other way for her.
The issue is that fortune is highly desirable, especially in the material world. Therefore, the tendency of the asura class is to enjoy Lakshmi, but without Narayana. In other words, they want the fortune for themselves, and they want nothing to do with service to God.
The acharya explains that when this tendency continues, the only guaranteed result is total destruction. There are historical examples to support the prediction. The classic case is the Rakshasa named Ravana, who is described in the Ramayana and Puranas.
Ravana literally stole the goddess of fortune, who manifest on earth as Sita Devi. She was the daughter of King Janaka, and true to her nature she remained loyal and dedicated to Narayana, who synchronously appeared as the avatara named Rama, the prince of Ayodhya.
Sita informed Ravana that he was headed down the wrong path. People who are already destined for destruction tend to follow actions that fulfill that destiny. In other words, Ravana was headed for a bad end, and so he followed the horrible decision of trying to take Sita Devi for himself.
The end result was nuclear-weapon-like arrows fired at his body. These were targeted strikes, delivered by Sita’s husband. Ravana came crashing down to earth, along with his power and prestige. These were in illusion the entire time, as no one can actually steal the goddess of fortune.
In the same way, to enjoy without God’s association, to defiantly continue in that direction, is to invite total madness and chaos. Yet, just as Ravana’s younger brother Vibhishana was protected, so those who volunteer to serve Narayana in earnest will survive. They will thrive in any situation, for they understand God’s power to control the universes that are ultimately sourced in Him.
When coming near the end,
Improper behavior to send.
Such that destiny to fulfill,
Like Ravana keeping Sita still.
Arrows arriving soon there,
Of God’s potency to become aware.
If entire world spiraling down,
Devotees still on solid ground.