samviksya ksullakan martyan
matva kali-yugam praptam
jagama disam uttaram
Seeing that the size of all the human beings, animals, trees and plants was severely reduced, and thus realizing that the Age of Kali was at hand, Mucukunda left for the north.
There are several significant words in this verse. A standard Sanskrit dictionary gives the following English meanings for the word ksullaka: “little, small, low, vile, poor, indigent, wicked, malicious, abandoned, hard, pained, distressed.” These are the symptoms of the Age of Kali, and all these qualities are said here to apply to men, animals, plants and trees in this age. We who are enamored of ourselves and our environment can perhaps imagine the superior beauty and living conditions available to people in former ages.
The last line of this text, jagama disam uttaram — “He went toward the north” — can be understood as follows. By traveling north in India, one comes to the world’s highest mountains, the Himalayan range. There one can still find many beautiful peaks and valleys, where there are quiet hermitages suitable for austerity and meditation. Thus in Vedic culture “going to the north” indicates renouncing the comforts of ordinary society and going to the Himalayan Mountains to practice serious austerities for spiritual advancement.