No. We are not talking of Nostradamus. History has seen many clairvoyants. Especially famous among them is Nostradamus. He did have visions of what might happen in the future and had to write it down in cryptic language in order to save his life. However he had no solutions for the calamities that were about to befall on humanity. Unlike Nostradamus and his ilk, Srila Vyasadeva deeply meditated on what could mitigate the suffering of humanity in the dark days of Kali-yuga.
The story opens one sunrise, fifty centuries ago in the Himalayas, where the sage Krsna-Dvaipayana Vyasa sits in trance on the bank of the river Sarasvati. In his meditation, Vyasa sees a future of unrelieved horror unfold before him. He sees Kali-yuga, the age of iron, begin and bring with it universal deterioration. The decay is so deep-rooted that matter itself diminishes in potency, and all our food progressively decreases in quality as well as in quantity. Vyasa sees the effects of chronic malnutrition on generation after generation; he watches it gradually diminish their life span along with their brain power; no one can escape the progressive drop in intelligence and ability to remember.
The harassment of hard times upon an increasingly witless populace hastens its moral and spiritual decline. People begin to slaughter animals for food; they become more and more enslaved by drugs; they lose all sexual restraint. These habits further their physical and mental deterioration. Vyasa watches them sink deeper and deeper into sensuality and ignorance. Families break up, and women and children are abandoned. Increasingly degraded generations, conceived accidentally in lust and growing up wild, swarm over the earth. Leadership falls into the hands of unprincipled criminals who use their power to loot the people. The world teems with ideologues, fanatics, and bogus teachers who win huge followings among a people dazed by social and moral anarchy. Unspeakable depravities and atrocities flourish under a rhetoric of high ideals.
Vyasa sees horror piled upon horror; he sees the end of everything human; he sees the gathering darkness engulf the world.
This is Vyasa's prophetic vision on the eve of Kali-yuga, five thousand years ago. It spurs him into action. For Vyasa's appearance on the brink of this temporal decline is not fortuitous. Vyasa is an avatdra, the empowered literary incarnation of God, sent by Krsna specifically to prepare the knowledge of Vedic civilization for transmission through the coming millennia of darkness.
Without such an undertaking, the erosion of human intelligence by the force of time would insure that all future generations would be completely cut off from their own cultural heritage and the matchless spiritual attainment of their fore bears. Once the iron age would begin, they would not even realize that at one time the whole world had been governed by a single, supremely enlightened civilization: the Vedic culture.
In that Vedic culture, everything was organized to further self-realization. Self-real ization marks the ultimate development of human potential, in which a person knows himself directly as an eternal spiritual being, connected to the supreme spiritual being, and without intrinsic relation to a temporarily inhabited material body. By cultivating self-realization, the Vedic c ivilization brought off this unparalleled achievement: it was able to eliminate completely the evils of birth, old age, disease, and death, securing for its members an eternal existence of knowledge and ever-increasing bliss. The Vedic culture recognized that not all souls who took human birth after transmigrating up through the animal forms would be able to make direct progress toward the supreme goal. Owing to different histories, people are born with different qualities and abilities. Nevertheless, Vedic culture enabled everyone to make some advancement, and there were many arrangements for the gradual elevation of materialistic people. In any case, Vedic culture organized life so that everyone could satisfy the basic necessities in the simplest and most sensible way, leaving most of human energy free for the higher task.
Vyasa saw that all this would disappear in Kali-yuga, since the focus of civilization would shift from self- realization to sense gratification. Yet even though Kali -yuga could not be stopped, he would be able to mitigate its effects and keep alive the tradition of spiritual culture, in the way that emissaries of a higher civilization can preserve their heritage among barbarians, or that a well-provisioned village can survive any natural disaster.
Vyasa had mastered all the knowledge of Vedic culture – social, scientific, economic, political, ethical, aesthetic, and spiritual. This knowledge was gathered in a comprehensive canon called the Veda, a word that means, simply, "knowledge." Until the time of Vyasa, the Veda was not written, because writing had been unnecessary. Far from being a sign of intellectual advancement, the appearance of writing is a testimony of decline, a device seized upon to compensate for that mental deterioration which includes the loss of the ability to remember.
To give us access to an alternative, Vyasa divided the Veda into four and wrote it down. Yet he knew that we would still be unable to understand the Vedas, and so he composed a number of supplementary works in which he spelled out the intentions of Vedic thought explicitly.
Finally, he gave a summary of the entire Vedanta-sutras in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam- The Beautiful Story of these Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna.
(Syamananda Dasa)