Hindus appear to blame the Kali Yuga, the dark or materialistic age,
for the poor condition of the society and simply abandoned the
social sphere as hopeless. After all if the problem is caused by the
times no one can do anything about it. The idea arose that the
spiritual life depended upon or was made easier by an abandonment of
society even to injustice and destruction. Defeat was just a Divine
message to the soul to seek liberation through renunciation.
An image of the highest spiritual type arose of the yogi in
seclusion in the Himalayas who remained undisturbed in Samadhi,
regarding the entire world as Maya, even if his own kinsmen were
being slaughtered. While such
examples as Swami Vidyaranya or Samartha Ramdas shows that this
image was a distortion, it has come to dominate the minds of people
and maintains a powerful impact on the behavior of Hindus. This is quite different
Vedic and Mahabharata view that the spiritual life can only flourish
in a Dharmic society governed by strong but compassionate warriors
and administered by affluent but charitable merchants.
It has become
the Western view of Hinduism and Westerners would be shocked to know
how important the role of the Kshatriya was at an earlier period in
factor that may be responsible for the decline of the Kshatriya was
rigidity in the caste system, which in the beginning was only a
convenient division of labor, not a line that no one could cross.
Originally all four castes worked together for the benefit of the
entire society. However the idea arose in time that the roles of
these classes were entirely distinct and they began working for the
benefit of their particular caste only.