Since many Vaishnavite Hindus believe in endless cycles of existence, Kalki would more precisely be the final avatar in our current cosmic cycle.
When I last edited this entry from Think Free (2011/02/23) Wikipedia had this description:
Popular images depict him riding a white horse with wings known as Devadatta (God-given.) In these images, Kalki is brandishing a sword in his left hand and is intent on eradicating the corrupt destitution and debauchery of Kali Yuga.¹
Now in 2020, we see somewhat different details and wording:
He is described in the Puranas as the avatar who rejuvenates existence by ending the darkest and destructive period to remove adharma and ushering in the Satya Yuga, while riding a white horse with a fiery sword.²
While updating entries from Think Free I often find subtle shifts and ‘improvements’ within Wikipedia over the span of a few years. For a site that claims to strive for objectivity, it seems some entries are subject to political correctness and reflect the “flavor of the month” when it comes to euphemizing harsh realities.
But to return to the Kalki story, different modern interpreters speak of various prophecies, often linked with their own particular biases and beliefs.
Most likely nobody knows what this essentially Puranic prophecy means (Kalki is only hinted at in the much older Veda). The myth, however, contains grand symbolism that resonates with religious believers who prefer a ‘big story’ instead of observable events and developments.
Several different religious figures have each claimed to be Kalki, most likely victims of what depth psychologists call inflation.
This kind of thinking arguably appeals to those who still have some unglamorous psychological stuff to work out. Instead of taking the time to do the necessary psychoanalytic work, these individuals jump to believing they are special and ‘sent’ to play some great role for humanity.
The situation wouldn’t be so bad if they alone suffered from their delusion but sadly, not a few of their followers (and spouses) also get sucked into the lie.
Sinister variations of this phenomenon abound.
Probably because I have a keen interest in religion and spirituality, I have encountered several individuals over the years who appeared to possess powerful intuitive abilities bordering on psi.
One man, however, stood out. And not in a good way. Instead of becoming humble and helpful, like any real saint or holy person would strive to be, this man seemed to think he could do whatever he pleased because he was ‘special’ and ‘gifted.’
For example, in his jaded mind, it is okay to have sex with young, vulnerable prostitutes because they offer a service.
This perverse, survival of the fittest paradigm is also known as Social Darwinism.
Social Darwinism was a passing intellectual trend around the close of the 19th century but since then, mature and humane thinkers have condemned it as cruel and something to be resisted at all costs.³
¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalki (2011/02/23)
³ The German Nazis of WW-II and fringe groups of contemporary NeoNazis are usually seen as Social Darwinists.
Related » Buddhism