Anita Aparna Muyeed
Ancient wisdom across our planet tells us that many moons ago, in a Golden Age, we honored all life, and we lived much closer to the earth. We were close to the earth, not in an elementary or primitive manner, but in a way that respected nature. We operated on a higher level of consciousness. We understood the science behind cosmic energy and were aware of our intimate relationship with it. We understood how to work with it and because of that, we were capable of feats far more advanced than today. But as great ancient civilizations perished in the face of catastrophic cataclysms and as the level of consciousness gradually began to decrease on the planet, much of this knowledge was lost and forgotten. In our forgetting, what remained was a deep longing for a connection to the cosmos, to the earth, to one another, and to something greater. Disconnected from the great power of our inner energy, we began to engage in a quest for an external technology mimicking who we already were inside, but no longer knew.
By recalculating the duration of the four ascending and descending Yugas, Swami Sri Yukteshwar’s greatest contributions to the modern world was his reinterpretation of the timeline of the ancient wisdom of the Yugas. Properly understanding this timeline is vital to the understanding of the heritage of our knowledge of the cosmos, how it affects us and our consciousness, who we are and where we come from, but most importantly, where we are in it now, and where we are headed.
According to Sri Yukteshwar’s timeline, having left Kali Yuga or the age of matter behind us (500-1700 AD), we now find ourselves in an ascending Dwapara Age defined as an age of energy (1700 to 3900 AD). And yet, the influence of Kali Yuga still weighs heavily upon us. Our way of thinking, rooted deeply in materialistic commitment, is reflected in our culture, engrained in our beliefs, and is what still separates us from one another. Even though great scientific advances have been made in the understanding of the interconnection of energy and matter, the world is slow and reluctant to embrace them.
According to Yogananda, as we now attempt to release these long established illusions of matter and separation consciousness into a greater awareness of energy and unity consciousness, we will experience great upheavals and chaos in our world, followed by a period of exceptional breakthroughs and advancement throughout the planet. And indeed, just as he had foretold, we find ourselves in a world of extremes and change; at a precious and rare moment in the history of civilization and of human evolution, at the intersection of two worlds, one that is breaking away before our eyes, and another that is emerging as we speak. The remaining holds of Kali Yuga burning away, and Dwapara Yuga emerging from its ashes. We find ourselves at the crossroads of not one, but three natural cycles of change: of climate, economy and of conflict. How can we remain flexible and resilient in a world that is ever-changing and more uncertain by the day? Paramhansa Yogananda suggested we must, “stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds”.
At this pivotal point in our evolution, from a material to an energy age, Paramhansa Yogananda came with an important mission. He was a teacher for the entire planet, a Guru who by bringing the teachings of Self-Realization taught us to interact with the world in novel ways through energy. He brought with him a divine ray of light, a special dispensation of divine grace. He showed us how to increase and direct energy, and develop willpower. He taught us that the power of attunement is what increases our inner magnetism so that we can remain in our center, unaffected by the ever increasing external energies of Dwapara Yuga, and so that we can not only remain fulfilled by our own inner magnetism, but radiate it outwards. “The deeper the Self-realization of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations, and the less he himself is affected by the phenomenal flux.” Paramhansa Yogananda ushered us from the age of matter into the age of energy, teaching us not only how to move forward but also thrive, even in the midst of crashing worlds.