I can understand lord Rama and lord Krishna are Avatars of lord Vishnu. But when I listen that, Duryodhana was Avatar of "Kali Yuga" and Shakuni was the Avatar of "Dwaapara Yuga" which I could not understand.

What does it mean by "Avatar of Kali Yuga" and "Avatar of Dwapara Yuga"?

How did they become Avatars of "Kali Yuga" and "Dwapara Yuga"?

2 Answers 2


Scriptures say that there are the personalities of Dharama, Earth and Yugas too. The chapter 1.17 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) describe this in details:

Mahārāja Parīkṣit, who could fight one thousand enemies single-handedly, thus pacified the personality of religion (Dharma) and the earth. Then he took up his sharp sword to kill the personality of Kali, who is the cause of all irreligion.

When the personality of Kali understood that the King was willing to kill him, he at once abandoned the dress of a king and, under pressure of fear, completely surrendered to him, bowing his head.

Mahārāja Parīkṣit, who was qualified to accept surrender and worthy of being sung in history, did not kill the poor surrendered and fallen Kali, but smiled compassionately, for he was kind to the poor.

Sūta Gosvāmī said:

Mahārāja Parīkṣit, thus being petitioned by the personality of Kali, gave him permission to reside in places where gambling, drinking, prostitution and animal slaughter were performed.

So there should not be any doubt on these statements from Mahabharata:

Know that Duryodhana was Kali, and Sakuni was Dwapara. -Asramavasika Parva -> Putradarsana Parva of Mahabharata

Shakuni obtained absorption into Dwapara. -Svargarohanika Parva of Mahabharata



The evil-minded and wicked king Duryodhana, the destroyer of the fair fame of the Kurus, was born of a portion of Kali on earth. He it was who caused all creatures to be slain and the earth to be wasted; and he it was who fanned the flame of hostility that ultimately consumed all.

And the mighty chariot-fighter and king who on earth was known by the name of Sakuni, that crusher of foes, thou shouldst know, O king, was Dwapara himself (the third yuga).

Kali and Dwapara are asuras and also companions who were born on earth. Duryodhana was Kali's portion and Shakuni was Dwapara's portion.

Kali ad Dwapara are demons who are also the reigning lords of their yugas. They are demons whose portion was born as Duryodhana and Shakuni respectively.

After Parashurama vanquished and exerminated the kshatriyas 21 times, there was peace. The Brahamanas revived the kshatriya race and basically, there was peace. People lived long. Kshatriyas performed sacrfices and even Indra was pleased.


. The son of Jamadagni (Parasurama), after twenty-one times making the earth bereft of Kshatriyas wended to that best of mountains Mahendra and there began his ascetic penances. And at that time when the earth was bereft of Kshatriyas, the Kshatriya ladies, desirous of offspring, used to come, O monarch, to the Brahmanas and Brahmanas of rigid vows had connection with them during the womanly season alone, but never, O king, lustfully and out of season. And Kshatriya ladies by thousands conceived from such connection with Brahmanas. Then, O monarch, were born many Kshatriyas of greater energy, boys and girls, so that the Kshatriya race, might thrive. And thus sprang the Kshatriya race from Kshatriya ladies by Brahmanas of ascetic penances. And the new generation, blessed with long life, began to thrive in virtue. And thus were the four orders having Brahmanas at their head re-established.

The earth was ruled by virtuous kshatriyas and hundreds of thousands of creatures were born, all free of sorrow and disease. The Brahmanas were pleased with this.

And, O protector of the earth, hundreds of thousands of creatures were born, and all were virtuous and began to multiply in virtue, all being free from sorrow and disease. And, O thou of the elephant's tread, this wide earth having the ocean for her boundaries, with her mountains and woods and towns, was once more governed by the Kshatriyas. And when the earth began to be again governed virtuously by the Kshatriyas, the other orders having Brahmanas for their first were filled with great joy.

Kings gave up their vices and even Indra was pleased.

And the kings giving up all vices born of lust and anger and justly awarding punishments to those that deserved them protected the earth. And he of a hundred sacrifices, possessed also of a thousand eyes, beholding that the Kshatriya monarchs ruled so virtuously, poured down vivifying showers at proper times and places and blessed all creatures.

Nobody died immaturely. All men were long-lived.

Then, O king, no one of immature years died, and none knew a woman before attaining to age. And thus, O bull of the Bharata race, the earth, to the very coasts of the ocean, became filled with men that were all long-lived.

After the krita yuga set in, there were a lot of men and the earth was filled with numerous creatures. After that, demons were born on earth who were repeatedly defeated in battles by gods.

And, O bull of the Bharata race, when such was the blessed state of the terrestrial world, the Asuras, O lord of men, began to be born in kingly lines. And the sons of Diti (Daityas) being repeatedly defeated in war by the sons of Aditi (celestials) and deprived also of sovereignty and heaven, began to be incarnated on the earth.

They started to oppress even sages and other human beings.

And by their strength they began to oppress Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras and all other creatures also. Terrifying and killing all creatures, they traversed the earth, O king, in bands of hundreds and thousands. Devoid of truth and virtue, proud of their strength, and intoxicated with (the wine of) insolence, they even insulted the great Rishis in their hermitages.

Goddess earth complained about this to Brahma who knew it before hand and appointed gods to incarnate on earth to ease the burden of the earth.

"And the earth, thus oppressed by the mighty Asuras endued with great strength and energy and possessed of abundant means, began to think of waiting on Brahman. The united strength of the creatures (such as Sesha, the Tortoise, and the huge Elephant), and of many Seshas too, became capable of supporting the earth with her mountains, burdened as she was with the weight of the Danavas. And then, O king, the earth, oppressed with weight and afflicted with fear, sought the protection of the Grandsire of all creatures. And she beheld the divine Brahman--the Creator of the worlds who knoweth no deterioration--surrounded by the gods, Brahmanas, and great Rishis, of exceeding good fortune, and adored by delighted Gandharvas and Apsaras always engaged in the service of the celestials. And the Earth, desirous of protection, then represented everything to him, in the presence, O Bharata, of all the Regents of the worlds. But, O king, the Earth's object had been known beforehand to the Omniscient, Self-create, and Supreme Lord. And, O Bharata, Creator as he is of the universe, why should he not know fully what is in the minds of his creatures including the very gods and the Asuras? O king, the Lord of the Earth, the Creator of all creatures, also called Isa, Sambhu, Prajapati, then spake unto her. And Brahman said, 'O holder of wealth, for the accomplishment of the object for which thou hast approached me, I shall appoint all the dwellers in the heavens.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said so unto the Earth, O king, the divine Brahman bade her farewell. And the Creator then commanded all the gods saying, 'To ease the Earth of her burden, go ye and have your births in her according to your respective parts and seek ye strife (with the Asuras already born there)'. And the Creator of all, summoning also all the tribes of the Gandharvas and the Apsaras, spake unto them these words of deep import, 'Go ye and be born amongst men according to your respective parts in forms that ye like.'

Because demons were born on earth such as Duryodhana, his 99 brothers, Sakuni, and Jarasandha, the gods incarnated on earth such as Bhishma, Krishna, Pandavas, Drupada, Virata, Satyaki and others.

After the Ghoshayatra, when the Pandavas defeat the Gandharvas and liberate Duryodhana, he decides to not take any food.

Alas, they, who have ever been persecuted by me, they unto whom I have ever been a foe released me from captivity, and wretch that I am, I am indebted to them for my life. If, O hero, I had met with my death in that great battle, that would have been far better than that I should have obtained my life in this way. If I had been slain by the Gandharvas, my fame would have spread over the whole earth, and I should have obtained auspicious regions of eternal bliss in the heaven of Indra. Listen to me therefore, ye bulls among men, as to what I intend to do now. I will stay here forgoing all food, while ye all return home. Let all my brothers also go to Hastinapura.

He regrets his act.

Alas, led by folly I have done a highly improper and wicked act, for which, fool that I am, I have fallen into such distress. Therefore, will I perish by starving, life having become insupportable to me. Relieved from distress by the foe, what man of spirit is there who can drag on his existence?

He tells Dussasana to be the king in his place.

Vaisampayana continued, 'While giving way to such reflections Duryodhana spoke unto Dussasana thus: 'O Dussasana, listen to these words of mine, O thou of the Bharata race! Accepting this installation that I offer thee, be thou king in my place.

Karna, Sakuni and others attempted to dissuade Duryodhana but their efforts were in vain.

Vaisampayana continued, "Though addressed in all manner of ways by his friends and counsellors and brothers and relatives, the king wavered not from his purpose. And the son of Dhritarashtra in accordance with his purpose spread Kusa grass on the earth, and purifying himself by touching water, sat down upon that spot. And clad in rags and Kusa grass he set himself to observe the highest vow. And stopping all speech, that tiger among kings, moved by the desire of going to heaven, began to pray and worship internally suspending all external intercourse.

In the meantime, Danavas came knwing that if Duryodhana died, their party would be weakened.

"Meanwhile the fierce Daityas and the Danavas who had been defeated of old by the celestials and had been dwelling in the nether regions having ascertained Duryodhana's purpose and knowing that if the king died their party would be weakened, commenced a sacrifice with fire for summoning Duryodhana to their presence.

A goddess went and took Duryodhana to the world of Danavas.

And after those rites were ended, a strange goddess, O king, with mouth wide open, arose (from the sacrificial fire), saying, 'What am I to do?' And the Daityas with well-pleased hearts, commanded her, saying, 'Bring thou hither the royal son of Dhritarashtra, who is even now observing the vow of starvation for getting rid of his life.' Thus commanded, she went away saying, 'So be it.' And she went in the twinkling of an eye to that spot where Suyodhana was. And taking up the king back to the nether regions, and having brought him thus in a moment, she apprised the Danavas of it.

The Danavas tell the secret of his birth. They tell him that he is not weak but powerful and how

In days of old. O king, we have obtained thee, by ascetic austerities from Maheswara. The upper part of thy body is wholly made of an assemblage of Vajras, and is, therefore, invulnerable to weapons of every description, O sinless one. The lower part of thy body, capable of captivating the female heart by its comeliness was made of flowers by the goddess herself--the wife of Mahadeva. Thy body is thus, O best of kings, the creation of Maheswara himself and his goddess. Therefore, O tiger among kings, thou art of celestial origin, not human. Other brave Kshatriyas of mighty energy headed by Bhagadatta, and all acquainted with celestial weapons, will slay thy foes. Therefore, let this grief of thine cease. Thou hast no cause for fear. For aiding thee, many heroic Danavas have been born on the earth.

They tell him that if he dies, their party is weak.

Do not yield to despondency. Conduct such as this does not suit thee. O thou of the Kuru race, if thou diest, our party becometh weak. Go thou, O hero, and let not thy mind be directed to any other course of action. Thou art ever our refuge as, indeed, the Pandavas are the refuge of the gods.'

According to Mahabharat, Kali is actually a celestial but the vilest amongst the vilest and he is featured in the story of Nala and Damayanti.


Thus answered by Sakra, Kali, that vilest of the celestials, filled with wrath, addressing all those gods spake, 'Since in the presence of the celestials she hath chosen a mortal for her lord, it is meet that she should undergo a heavy doom.'

  • I think Kali and Dwapara are evil Devas (specifically Gandharvas), not Asuras. Oct 18, 2021 at 12:59

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