Home > The Book > 16. A Vision of the Future

Chapter Sixteen
A Vision of the Future

Now that we are over one hundred years into the ascending Dwapara Yuga of energy, will our future be smoother and brighter? I’d like to think so. Realistically, however, and unfortunately, the signs point to an immediate future, at least, that seems neither smooth nor bright.

The constricting attitudes of Kali Yuga — dogmatic resistance, and even opposition, to new ideas; narrow loyalties; religious persecution; fixed beliefs rather than openness to the demonstrations of experience; authority based on social or institutional position rather than on personal merit; hierarchical, rather than democratic, power; ignorance of, and resistance to, any point of view but one’s own; brute force as the surest way of settling differences of opinion — all these are still present, and militate against the more fluid rays of Dwapara. As nature, according to science, never makes sudden leaps, so also human consciousness moves only gradually to new levels of understanding.

There comes a time, however, as the stresses between two opposing points of view build up, when something snaps. Over the past century, and — more generally — over the past three hundred years, there has also been slowly building up an openness to new possibilities; a broadening of loyalties to include awareness of the rights of people elsewhere in the world, of other nations, races, and those with other interests; a growing outcry against religious fanaticism; an awareness that belief alone cannot guarantee any truth; a growing awareness that true merit is individual, and depends not on rank, social position, or popular acclaim; and a greater dependence on negotiation instead of brute force.

How do things now stand, in the present year, Dwapara 309? We see tension building between monetary greed (avarice) and a Dwapara understanding of increasing respect for the needs of all. A time seems to be approaching for an explosion of some kind; perhaps, first, in the form of a massive, widespread depression.

People sought a bloated supply of money. Very well, they will get it — in the form of a depression that will give them so much money, through hyper-inflation, that money will no longer be worth the paper it is printed on. The resultant misery — since people wouldn’t learn otherwise — will end in a completely new financial system.

People thought mere systems would guarantee them the peace and prosperity they’d always wanted. Very well, Karl Marx was therefore given the inspiration, drawn to him by world karma, to provide humanity with the quintessence of every evil of Kali Yuga, in the form of communism. This model of twisted idealism promises equality to all men, and brotherly love on earth, but instead it has given repression, fear, almost universal spying, a security based on universal control, and the power of a few to suppress everyone in the name of lockstep togetherness. The supreme power is the state, which of course means the few ruthless individuals who run the state and can bully everyone else. The economic fallacies of communism aren’t really the primary issue. The true issue, rather, is individual freedom of conscience as opposed to mental slavery.

Depression will bring many other evils. Paramhansa Yogananda once, in my hearing, after expressing exasperation with “city hall” and its endless regulations, made the frequently heard, but lightly intended, comment, “There ought to be a revolution!” The Master paused a moment, then said more quietly, “There will be one.”

What about global war? When a nation has less than other nations, it not infrequently seeks the “solution” of invading countries that are better off. There are, moreover, intensely conflicting ideologies: communism versus all other systems; Islam versus all other religions. We have already seen Germany seeking “Lebensraum” (living space), and justifying its actions by the pseudo-Darwinian slogan, “survival of the fittest.” Need we look further for more causes of future conflict?

If even one atom bomb is dropped, there will almost certainly be retribution. Soon, atom bombs will be dropping everywhere. Sri D.R. Kaarthikeyan, who once held the same post as J. Edgar Hoover (head of the FBI in America) in a country (India) much more populous than America, told me that there are over thirty thousand known atomic weapons stockpiled in the world. One cannot but wonder: How many unknown weapons of that kind are stored also?

The comforting thought is that any atomic war will be blessedly brief: it cannot be a long-drawn-out affair. The uncomforting thought is that it will be brief because there won’t be enough people left to continue fighting!

I suspect that quite a few billion people will die in such a holocaust, and many more people later on, owing to radioactive pollution. How many, of the more than six billion people on our planet, will be left to carry forward the banner of civilization? My guess is, maybe one, or maybe a few hundred, million. Perhaps even fewer. My Guru once predicted, “Europe will be devastated. Russia will be annihilated!” Civilization itself will undergo a complete overhaul.

When I visited Cambodia in 1958, I was aware of what felt to me like a dark cloud over that country. We know the tragedy Cambodia later suffered. More recently, I have felt a similar cloud over Germany, though it seems to me less dark. Who knows?

Cities have become one of the great curses of mankind. They nurture crime, avarice, cutthroat competition, and indifference to one’s neighbor. In the past, people gravitated to cities because that was where the jobs were. Now, however, especially with the invention of home computers, people are finding that they can conduct even such business as buying and selling from their homes in the country. There will, I believe, be a massive exodus to the country. Cities will be destroyed, either from within by that mass exodus, or from without by atomic weapons. Perhaps cities of the future will contain the much-more-reasonable figure of twenty or thirty thousand residents.

Who will emerge victorious — if anyone can be called victor amid such devastation? Yogananda said America’s karma is such that no one will be able to defeat her.

People always like to point the finger of blame, especially against those who are more successful than themselves. Yogananda said that America has some bad karma also — for its treatment of the American Indians; for dropping the first atom bomb. On the other hand, there has been no other nation in history that, after being attacked, has gone on to beat its enemy, and then stooped to help the attacking country to regain its former prosperity. Cynics have sneered, “Yes, but America, too, gained by this ‘generosity.’” True. This is a description of enlightened selfishness, so why fault it?

My Guru didn’t mention the treatment, in the southern states, of black slaves from Africa. The fact that he didn’t do so, at least at that time, leads me to wonder whether he didn’t see that human atrocity in a positive light also. For it has provided a segment of the black population with the sophistication to lift their brothers and sisters elsewhere out of the karma that led their continent to be called “the dark continent.”

The races of man are not validly defined by such superficial differences as skin coloring. Yogananda said that the true races are defined by the basic differences in human temperament — that is to say, by human nature’s progressive levels of refinement, anciently described by the caste system. Those differences are not hereditary, but indicate rather the stages individuals have reached in the evolution of their spiritual consciousness. Yogananda once said, “I don’t see why people talk about whites and blacks. Under the skin, they are all red!”

During the descending cycle of yugas, I think Africa as a whole, including Egypt, must have fallen spiritually, through the widespread practice of black magic. Even today, this practice exists everywhere on that continent. A black friend of mine, an American, visited Nigeria several years ago and commented later, “It showed me the positive aspect of slavery!” For blacks in America will, I also feel, become a liberating force for blacks everywhere — not politically, but spiritually. They will inspire a very great upliftment among black people throughout the world.

However, I think that the “dark continent” may also need the purifying fires of a great destruction. I once read a book in which the author, a psychiatrist, instead of regressing his patients to former lives, tried to take them forward into the future. Whether or not his findings were valid it is impossible to say, but I was struck by the statements of some people that Africa and the Near East will become uninhabitable for a long time as a result of atomic radiation.

Paramhansa predicted, “Someday, America and India will join hands and lead the world on a peaceful path of balanced spiritual and material efficiency.” Swami Rama Tirtha, a saint from India who came to America early in the twentieth century, predicted also, “Someday you Americans will take our Indian teachings, make them practical, and bring them back to my people.”

Depression, world war, widespread devastation: these seem sufficient causes for alarm. However, there is a likelihood of even greater trouble on our horizon!

Heretofore, man has been accustomed to think of this planet as complete in itself, unaffected by outside influences. Our knowledge of the physical universe is still very young indeed. In my own lifetime even, when I was a schoolboy in England during the late 1930s, one of the teachers said to me, “Do you realize that all the stars we see at night belong to only one star system? It was recently discovered that the so-called nebula in Andromeda is another entire star system. So far, one — and perhaps even two — other such systems have been found!” Those systems were dubbed, “island universes.” Since then they’ve been named galaxies, and astronomers claim that there are over a hundred billion of them in the universe.

This vast universe is not the mere mechanism that present-day astronomers think it. It might be called, rather, a great, living organism. Indeed, it is not only alive: it is conscious. And when there is either harmony or disharmony in the consciousness of a large number of beings on one planet, they attract to it commensurate blessings or punishment.

Padre Pio, a great saint of the last century in Italy, predicted there would descend on our earth, in the future, three days of darkness. He warned people to stay indoors at that time, for the atmosphere would be, at that time, dangerously polluted.

Someone told me he had read of a similar prediction made by Paramhansa Yogananda in one of his writings. I have not read those words myself, but I was present in church one Sunday when he spoke of the coming depression. He interrupted that discussion for a moment to cry loudly, “You don’t know what a terrible cataclysm is coming!”

The visionary children at Garabandal were told by the Virgin Mary, also, that there would be three days of darkness.

And during her much-heralded appearances at Medjugorje she has also warned of the coming three days of darkness.

What could be the cause of such an event? It couldn’t be due to a severe volcanic eruption, for the effect of any such occurrence would last for years, not merely for three days.

Could it be some heavenly body striking the earth with such violence that the earth’s spinning would be temporarily stopped — until a natural inner impetus sets it spinning again? If so, the other side of the earth will suffer an equally punishing three days of sunlight. But in this case, one wonders how to account for that polluted atmosphere. I confess it is beyond my comprehension, but I am convinced something terrible will happen. I have also read theories that the predicted impact would be caused by a large body striking the moon when it is new, thus throwing a cloud of dust that would cease to come between us and the sun only as the moon in its orbit moved out of the sun’s way.

Yogananda (and also Padre Pio) said that those who love God will be protected. I don’t suppose, however, that protection means that none of them will die. In a hundred years, nearly everyone on this planet will be gone from here anyway. This world might be described (though ignorantly) as a giant concentration camp, in which only a few die peacefully in their beds. The horror is dissipated by the fact that people “check out” one by one. Die they must, however, and many of them go painfully. The freedom from pain comes after death. God’s protection, then, must be understood to mean that, for those who love Him, death will be very easy.

Death itself, indeed, is easy, and very pleasant because of its accompanying freedom from confinement within these heavy walls of flesh. Suffering, to the extent that it accompanies death, is only mental: the pain of broken attachments. The very longing, however, for earthly enjoyments prevents people from enjoying heaven itself for very long. In time, they will have to take birth again in a physical body, and will keep on reincarnating here, or on some other planet, until their last desire has been fulfilled or dissipated.

Paramhansa Yogananda once — I was not present on that occasion — told a group of monks, “Someday you all will have to build again from scratch.” Did this mean that the buildings on his properties, and especially on Mt. Washington (his headquarters), would be demolished — perhaps by an atom bomb? I think it all too possible. But would this constitute divine protection? It might, if his organization has strayed too far from his true intentions for it. I remember him saying on one occasion, very forcefully, “If ever I see… (here I deliberately omit a few words, but it concerned something within the organization), then, no matter where I am in space, I shall return and destroy this organization!”

The sufferings to come will be the result, finally, of mankind’s having turned away from God. Therefore I state urgently that our new renunciate order is very desperately needed by mankind, and that it should not be confined to only one organization. Many thousands of people need, now, to “stand up and be counted.”

Will the earth be destroyed? Yogananda said, “Definitely not.” He once said, “I prophesy you will see a new world! a world of peace, harmony, and prosperity. The earth will know no wars for hundreds of years, so tired will they be of violence of all kinds.”

The earth, in this new Dwapara age, will see inconceivable progress, not only with great advancement — scientific and otherwise — on all levels of life, but there will even be travel to distant planets. Dwapara Yuga is a time when man will penetrate the illusion of space. If space is indeed an illusion, then the most distant galaxy must be no farther away, really, than our own feet! Perhaps man will then be able even to travel to galaxies that now seem impossibly distant from us. As regards space travel to our earth, Master said, after the flurry of sightings of UFOs in 1949, “They are indeed visitors from other planets.” In fact, he said, the universe is teeming with life. A fellow disciple once told me that our Guru had said there is even life on the sun, where entities live in bodies of gas.

The concept of small, intentional communities (like Ananda) will, Yogananda said, “spread like wildfire,” and will become an important pattern of life in the future.

If someone living today were to go back in time and speak about the wonders of the present age, he might be sent to a madhouse. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, I have heard it said, the head of the Patent Office proposed in all seriousness that the Patent Office be closed “because everything that could possibly be invented has been invented already.” I’ve read that this report is apocryphal, but it fits the case perfectly — like an Italian saying, “Se non è vero, è ben trovato,” which is to say, “If it isn’t true, it’s well perceived anyway.”

Virtually everything we associate with modern life has been discovered, invented, or put to widespread use since the beginning of the turn of the twentieth century: radio, telephone, television, microwave ovens, cars, airplanes, jet airplanes, rocket travel — well, the list goes on and on.

I myself grew up in Romania, which at that time was an almost medieval country. When a plane flew overhead, we would all go outdoors and wave to it. One year, in an effort at modernization, the whole country went, by mistake, on daylight losing time! Romanians themselves were quite casual about such modern conveniences as train travel. A friend of mine told me that she had once traveled by second class in Romania. When the conductor came by, he asked her in astonishment, “What are you doing in this class?” “Why, can’t you see? I have a second class ticket.” The conductor responded with a humorous smile, “Oh, that doesn’t matter in Romania! Get on up in the first class with everyone else!”

For me personally, then, the change to the twentieth century has been particularly striking. But these changes are minimal compared to what will come over the next 2,000 years.


Chapter 17: The Vows of Renunciation

Autobiography of a Yogi

A Renunciate Order for the New Age

Nayaswami Kriyananda

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