Friday, January 27, 2012

End of the Kali Yuga

Two years ago I was disbelieving when Dadi Janki, the head of the Brahma Kumaris, told an invited group at a retreat at Mount Abu that the Kali Yuga is coming to an end.

Little has happened since then to advertise a trend towards such a moral transformation – in fact, if we go by the daily headlines the world is sinking deeper into the darkness – but I have come to think that she is right. This is not a matter of good spiritual vibes or astrological predictions. There are rational indicators that a process of significant change has been occurring, and that it could lead to a radical global transformation is real.

Two revolutionary processes are primarily responsible for the positive changes that have already taken place and others that wait in the wings. One is the centuries-long process of the Indian Renaissance; the other is the Information and Communications Revolutions of the late 20th Century.

The Indian Renaissance, essentially a spiritual and devotional upsurge that sustained the country through half a millennium of confusion and deepening crisis, found its modern political expression in the movements against European dominance led by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa and India. They set in motion the human rights and nationalist revolutions that ended four centuries of European dominance of world affairs, closing the bloodiest, most violent and depraved chapter of human history. In retrospect, that era qualifies unreservedly as the nadir of the Kali Yuga.

The world continues to experience the bitter legacy of that time, but we have seen the once potent materialist philosophies of Europe -- the root cause of moral blindness and global misery -- lose their rapacious and seductive energy. Only deluded bands of terrorists in the pay of mining companies in the poorest parts of India now tread the Marxist path, and in the Western citadels of Capitalism – or more correctly, “Corporatism” – the “99 percent” have lost faith in a system run by and for the rich.

Although the votaries of corporate globalization continue to put on a brave front at their conclaves at Davos, the World Bank and the IMF, there is no denying that the world economy is in a profound systemic crisis. If by some miracle they avoid a major depression and get back to business as usual, it will surely precipitate a much worse crisis by collapsing the planetary ecosystem that supports all life.

As I see it, we have two choices. One is to continue down the current path into deepening economic, political and environmental crisis. It will bring climate change, radical shifts in patterns of agricultural productivity, and in all probability, genocidal turf wars. If weapons of mass destruction come into use, that could make much of the planet unfit for life. (The hands of the Doomsday Clock at the office of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in Chicago have just been moved forward: we are now five minutes from midnight.)

The other choice is to move towards a sane world order through a broad-based process of global cooperation that is now possible by using the Internet and the Worldwide Web. We have seen in the movements that have rocked the tyrannies of the Middle East and called into question the legitimacy of corporate elites in Western countries the potential of the new information and communications technologies. We have in Mozilla and Kickstarter the beginnings of a new age driven by a force stronger than the profit motive: the “soul force” that Gandhi hailed as the primary element of human survival and welfare. In effect, such a cooperative effort will bring to global affairs the spiritual impetus of the Indian Renaissance. It will most certainly end the Kali Yuga and usher in a new age.

Coming in Part 2: practical measures to end the Kali Yuga.

No comments: