Category: The Yugas
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I know it for a fact that suffering is a result of a result of man’s transgressions of God’s laws. I also know that Paramhansa Yogananda was God realized and did not like people to be troubled by pain and suffering. My question will human civilization reach a stage where there will be no suffering or suffering almost negligible?
According to Yogananda and his guru Sri Yukteswar we are in the beginning of the ascending arc of a twenty-four thousand year yuga cycle. Satya yuga, the highest “Golden Age” of the cycle begins in 7700 A.D. and will last for 9600 years. Sri Yukteswar wrote that during Satya yuga mankind in general would directly comprehend the Spirit beyond material creation. A golden age indeed.
Alas, the yugas proceed in a cycle. Satya yuga will pass and mankind will go into a descending age once again and eventually reach the lowest age, Kali yuga, once more. However, we don’t have to reincarnate thousands of years from now to personally experience such a high state of consciousness. We can achieve our own golden age within through deep meditation aided by Kriya yoga.
We are incarnated in the age in which we need to work out our karma — but we can rise above its limitations if we choose.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
In studying the Yugas I understand that there is an upward tendency that takes many eons, but also a downward tendency. How is it possible that when we are at the utmost enlightened period, with high vibrations, there comes the downward movement again? Why can’t these high vibrations prevent the downward movement? Is it because it is part of our dual world, and when so, does the principle behind the Yugas exist everywhere in our material universe? Kind regards.
Your suggestion is correct. The yuga cycle, with high ages followed by low, and low ages by high, reflects the inherent duality of material creation. Light/dark, day/night, happiness/sorrow, positive/negative, attraction/repulsion are all expressions of the dualistic nature of the world we inhabit.
Our true home lies within and beyond duality. This shadow play, as Yogananda poetically described it, is an illusion created by God, colossal entertainment for His children to enjoy. Alas, we get caught up in the illusion and become attached to what we deem good and try to shun what we deem bad — and in the process mire ourselves in duality’s endless complexity.
We are only visitors here. The yugas endless cycle is just one more confirmation that nothing here is permanent. Nothing here can give us lasting happiness, because nothing here is lasting.
In answer to your last question: duality certainly exists throughout the material universe but whether all inhabited solar systems go through a cycle of high ages and low ages I don’t know. My guess would be that some other systems, but not all, experience such a cycle.
Yogananda said that there were satvic (spiritual), rajasic (energetic) and tamasic (low consciousness) galaxies — and that the Milky Way, our galaxy, is rajasic. Perhaps satvic galaxies are more stable? Just a guess.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
Regarding the yugas, is it not a personal and consequently a cultural choice as to what era one is living in? Karmically as well as physically and spiritually? Should not we all make a grander assumption for ourselves and just live in our own present time—not project antiquated notions on our societies and other persons? There are so many illumined masters about choosing to live life simply, making as little karmic and adharmic an imprint on the world at this time. Be the change in the world.
I agree with you in spirit. We should all seek to realize, and express, our own highest potential — regardless of our unfolding karma, astrological chart, or the yugic age in which we live. Yogananda said that all conditions are neutral and that we make them good or bad by our own reactions to them. Yogananda challenged astrologers to pick his worst periods — then went out and accomplished difficult tasks during those periods — just to show that we should not be slaves to outer influences. Our spiritual destiny is to see through the dream-nature of this seeming reality around us and to manifest our Divinity.
On the other hand, Yogananda said that when we hit our dream head against a dream wall, our dream head will hurt. Until we rise above all influence, until we truly know that the seeming reality around us is indeed a dream, it will influence us. It’s important to note that Yogananda did not discount astrology. He merely demonstrated that, with will power, we can rise above it’s negative influence — and use the positive influences to our advantage.
Dwapara Yuga’s influence can be used for good or bad — used badly it encourages people to seek their happiness through self-interest and the building personal power. It’s not hard to see the results of its influence all around us. But that same influence, taken inwardly, can lead to powerful experiences of our life force (prana) and, controlling our life force (pranayama), can take us deep into communion with Spirit.
The potential of pranayama is Dwapara’s gift.
I like to compare this way of accepting and adapting to outer influences to the martial art of Aikido. In Aikido, one is trained to take the motion of one’s opponent and use it against them. To take, say, the energy of an opponent’s forward strike, to move them past one and then put him in an arm lock. In this way, one doesn’t have to generate all the energy oneself.
I urge you to flow with the influence of Dwapara, ride the energy like a surfer rides a wave. Use it to help you manifest the highest within you — which will make it possible to rise above it’s very influence.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
Just a question that I wanted to ask out of curiosity - Are the tales in Ramayan true or mostly symbolic? My brother refuses to believe in the epic, for which I replied that most of the stories might have been symbolic ones created by saints in the past to explain Man's battle with evil. But he needed an answer, so I decided to ask the very question to my most favourite website!
While researching and writing the book, The Yugas, I arrived at the conviction that much of the Ramayana, and other ancient epics, is probably true.
According to the cycle of the yugas, as expounded by Sri Yukteswar, Yogananda's guru and author of The Holy Science, the Ramayana was likely composed during the last Treta Yuga. During Treta Yuga, mankind as a whole possesses mental powers that are only hinted at today. Sri Yukteswar said that mental telepathy was the normal means of communication during Treta Yuga and that mankind as a whole would comprehend the "Divine magnetism."
In another work, Yogananda refers to Divine magnetism as the "power of all powers." I believe attunement to such power would lead to individuals becoming themselves vastly powerful. Telekinesis, mantric weapons (i.e. elemental vibration harnessed to the control of the mind), drawing on astral beings (i.e. the devas) would all fit with Sri Yukteswar's description of Treta Yuga.
Woven into the ancient epics such as the Ramayana are spiritual teachings that are today their great gift to mankind, but it would not surprise me if many of the battles and feats described are much closer to being literally true than is popularly believed.
One example. Satelite photos have revealed an underwater formation (averaging about 100 feet below sea level) between the southern tip of India and Sri Lanka. Geologists are at a loss to explain how it could have formed. Seasonal currents, such ones that create barrier islands near coastlines, cannot explain it because the currents reverse themselves during the year and would carry off any deposits left behind earlier in the year. A general sea bed uplift cannot explain it because the formation is very narrow.
If you see a satelite picture of it, and you are familiar with the Ramayana, you can't help but think of Rama's bridge!
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
P.S. If you are interested in the yugas, you can find the book at Crystal Clarity.
Davy asked a long question which we have summarized here:
The question stems from statements made by Master in Conversations with Yogananda. In #36, Master confirms the truth of UFO sightings, and says someday we'll travel to other planets as easily as we go now from continent to continent. In #44, Master responds to the desire of some disciples to visit Mt. Shasta in California because they have heard that ancient masters live there. He said there are no masters living on Mt. Shasta, but there have been "colonists."
Davy asks about research, supported by "Sumerian tablets found in Iraq," that say Earth has been visited by beings from other planets, who have tried to gain power over earthlings and that perhaps the darkness and seeming satanic influences on Earth now are because of these invaders. He speaks of these dark, reptilian creatures interbreeding with earthlings, feeding on negative energy, etc. In this context he mentions the vast numbers of ways the three gunas can manifest. He also asks about lower astral entities and how to protect ourselves from them.
Many of your questions are answered in the book just published by Crystal Clarity, The Yugas, by Joseph Selbie and David Steinmetz (Sanskrit names: Purushottama and Byasa). "Yugas" are the different ages - long periods of ascending and descending consciousness - that have happened on Earth over many thousands, in fact, millions of years.
Starting with information given by Sri Yukteswar in The Holy Science, and Master in Autobiography of a Yogi, the authors did extensive research to find supporting facts in history, geology, archeology, religion, and science. They then wove these facts into a fascinating narrative that puts into perspective past, present, and future.
UFOs, interplanetary travel, invasions or colonization from other planets - all of these are included, not in detail but in concept. I think you will find it helps you put into context other research that you have read.
There is also a website, The Yugas.
In the meantime, here are a few thoughts about the questions you have raised.
Your ideas about invasions of other species, interbreeding, creatures feeding on negative energy are all, in a sense, true, but perhaps not exactly in the way you are seeing it.
The drama of creation is the same everywhere. Whether on Earth, Mars, or on planets not yet discovered, the only "plot" in the universe is consciousness trapped in ego-based self-interest gradually becoming free.
Everything is a manifestation of the Divine. And everything seeks to return to its Creator.
Ego-based self-interest often expresses itself in cruel and hideous ways, feeding, as you say, on negative energy. It is not that beings caught in this delusion are in themselves evil. They are merely misguided, utterly confused as to the source of their own happiness.
Look at the Chinese takeover of Tibet, Communism under Stalin, the Nazi takeover of Germany. If you want to believe the cause is alien invaders, who have systematically mated with human beings to create an evil race, feel free to do so. I don't think it is factually true, but it does describe the spirit of what we see in history. At times madness descends, and it is comforting to explain it some way other than merely the degraded potential of human consciousness.
But in fact, it is our own potential. Not you, not me - not anymore. Master says, however, that before the soul attains liberation it experiments with every possible alternative. We try everything to see if it will give us happiness and only when we have drunk each cup to the dregs are we convinced. We don't learn from being told; we only learn through our own experience.
This isn't pleasant to contemplate. Among other things, it speaks of a very long time before we become liberated. But why else are we so certain that some behaviors will never bring us happiness? We don't merely believe; we know.
This is why we have to be so patient, both with ourselves and with others, as we gradually work our way from darkness to light.
In every aspect of creation there are egos striving to be free, expressing themselves in some combination of the gunas - the three levels of consciousness: dark, active, and light.
Some people, some planets, express a preponderance of one or the other. Earth at this time is a mixture. The difference in the overall consciousness of various planets at various times is one of the many fascinating things explained in The Yugas.
In #41 of Conversations with Yogananda, Master is asked if we always reincarnate on Earth. He replied that there are many populated planets in the universe and where we go depends on our level of spiritual development. We choose a planet that is appropriate for what we need in that incarnation.
Technological advancement alone does not insure purity of consciousness. What we see on Earth right now makes that clear. We have the technology to blow ourselves to bits and no guarantee that we won't do it. It is the nature of early Dwapara Yuga - which is where we are now. Consciousness is rising but technology is rising faster. Eventually it will work out, but those on the planet now may experience the unpleasant "growing pains" as consciousness catches up to technology. (All of this is explained in The Yugas.)
Once interplanetary travel becomes common, as Master says it will, the idea of interplanetary invasion also rears its ugly head. Yugas run in a cycle 24,000 years long - 12,000 years each of ascending and descending consciousness. There are four yugas in all (we are just entering the second) and war continues into the third Yuga. By that time, space travel will be common so we can only assume that something of Star Trek can easily be reality - planets and planetary species getting all mixed up in peace and war.
The good news in all of this is Master's comment in Conversations #41. We go to the planet that is spiritually appropriate. He does not say we go where it will be easiest or most pleasant. For all of us, too, are engaged in the great Cosmic Drama of consciousness trapped in ego-awareness seeking its home in the Divine.
All of this is fascinating to contemplate, and thrilling to read about (Did I mention the book The Yugas?!) but in the end, our job is the same. To love, serve, and meditate. For in that way we will gradually liberate ourselves from the only cause of suffering: bondage to ego.
The yugas are a planetary phenomenon, dictated, as The Yugas explains, by external astronomical realities (a planet's position relative to the center, and therefore the source of energy, of the galaxy in which it orbits).
Self-realization is individual. The planets and the yugas are only the backdrop in front of which the process of realization takes place. Great masters have lived in every yuga, from the highest to the lowest. We go to the planet that provides for us the right context to work out our karma and gradually then to escape from ego into the consciousness of God.
As for astral entities, yes, they do exist. Sometimes souls after their bodies die are too attached to the material plane to leave this world for the astral spheres. They become ghosts, clinging to places and people that vibrate on their wavelength. Not all astral entities are evil; some are merely confused.
A young mother who dies, for example, may be so attached to her baby, and so worried about his well-being, that she will cling to the house or family where her baby lives. Even though her intentions may be good, her actions are not, because they show a lack of faith in God's plan. Eventually such a person has to learn to trust God, and go on with her own destiny.
More negative attachments, like drinking, drug addiction, over-sexuality, cruelty, or hatred, can also bind a person to this world even after death. Those are the entities that seek to enter into other people's bodies so that they can experience the material "pleasures" they crave.
Such an invasion, however, can only happen when a person gives up control of his own consciousness - which is what happens when you become drunk, high, or over-stimulated with sexuality. Many crimes are committed when people are in these states. Afterwards the person may not even remember doing it. It is not only the effect of the substances they may have ingested, it may also be because someone else came into their body when they were effectively "out to lunch."
Not a pleasant prospect, certainly, but one easily avoided! Even when you meditate, don't just go blank. Lift your consciousness upward to God. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can wander into the "dark side" and be strong enough to "handle it." Maybe you will be, maybe you won't. Don't gamble with something so important as your own consciousness.
Ultimately, Light is the only reality. Concentrate on that, focus on the Masters, and you will always be protected.
Namaste. I trust that we're now about 311 years into an ascending Dwapara Yuga. But I've heard many other spiritual teachers or those that're regarded as Masters/Gurus/Avatars by their followers, say that we are in a Kali Yuga. I believe in one version of AOY, it indicated that though we're in Dwapara of the 24000 cycle, we are in Kali of a much larger cycle. Could these other teachers be referring to this larger cycle or because they're wrong, it's simply a sign that they're not true Masters?
In 1894, when Sri Yukteswar wrote "The Holy Science" and described the 24,000 year yuga cycle, the tradition in India was that the world was not only still in Kali Yuga but it had over 300,000 more years to go! Although Sri Yukteswar's 24,000 year cycle is rapidly gaining adherents, this far longer traditional cycle remains the most widely accepted.
Sri Yukteswar addressed the discrepency between his 24,000 cycle and the traditional Indian cycle in "The Holy Science." Sri Yukteswar said that toward the end of descending Dwapara Yuga (roughly 900 to 700BC) errors had crept into the Indian almanacs that were used to calculate the length of the yugas. Compunding this problem was the darkening effect of the descending yuga which led unenlightened people to adjust the calculations, which resulted in the far longer cycle of current Indian tradition.
So, while it is quite possible that there is in fact a longer yuga cycle of which the 24,000 year cycle is a sub-cycle, it is unlikely that the current traditional cycle, which was derived erroneously, accurately describes that longer cycle. My co-author, David Steinmetz, has been researching the longer cycle for some time and may one day be able to present us a description of the longer cycle that has become obscured by the current tradition.
Joseph (Puru) Selbie
ive heard that many souls coming here now are from a place where they have been experiencing a newer age, therefore poised to make the best of this yuga of energy mastery. i see it in my kids. they are adept at things i hadn't a clue about, and have an innate sense about current awareness and subtlties. so, have i known my kids before. or recently? seems theyre coming from such a different reality than i just came from. have they progressed more-were our planes ever close enough to meet
According to Yogananda's teachings, soul's are attracted to incarnate into circumstances that will give them opportunities to grow as human beings and to expiate old karma. It would stand to reason then that the soul's that are attracted to incarnate at this particular time would have some resonance with this current age.
According to the concept of the yugas we are in an advancing (or ascending) arc of human development so we would expect that the soul's who arrive as our children would be attuned to a slightly higher or more advanced vibration than we were attracted to at our birth. I say slightly, because in relation to the 12,000 years of the ascending arc of the yugas, the 20 or 30 years separating generations is not that significant. But it would be a real difference and noticeable to one who is sensitive.
As to where these recently incarnated soul's came from, there could be several answers. Again, according to the concept of the yugas, there was an equally higher age in our past. Soul's who incarnated then could be reincarnating again now to work on similar kinds of personal growth and karmic issues. Yogananda also said there are many other planets in our universe on which we can incarnate. Those planets vibrate at different frequencies from low to high, which attracts souls who are in resonance with them. Or, since souls spend time in the astral worlds between incarnations, what you sense could just be your children's recent experience of the finer more energetic astral world.
According to Yogananda, chances are that you do have some connection with your children. Your kids may be attuned to a slightly higher vibration, but at the same time you are very likely to have karmic ties. Yogananda said it was rare that a child was born to a parent with no prior relationships from previous incarnations.
Part of what you may be experiencing is simply the dizzying rate of change in our world! Kids have no resistance to the new. Quite the opposite. Those of us who are older, on the other hand, develope habits and expectations which make us somewhat resistant to the new, and, given the pace of change, date us kind of quickly :).
Joseph (Puru) Selbie
Swami Sri Yukteshwar mentions in his book that all the yugas occur within a 24000 yr period and that we are currently in the dwapara yuga. Based on this theory it believed that perhaps the human civilization has already seen several such complete 24000yr yugas and we refer to them as ' Days of Brahman' . I was wondering as to where prehistoric animals such as dinosaurs etc fit into the yuga cycle? Furthermore how does the yugas account for the prehistoric ape man? where does he fit it?
We know from Sri Yukteswar that the yugas pertain to the human level of consciousness and the process of soul evolution leading to liberation. What they mean to animal consciousness in prehistoric times is an open question.
The consciousness of early humans is not recorded in bones. The influence of Darwin and the notion of linear, rather than cyclic, development have strongly colored conventional thinking. The peoples of the Satya Yuga are characterized by paleoanthropologists as "hunter-gatherers", yet at GÃ¶bekli Tepe in Southern Turkey there are elaborate megalithic structures built about 9000 BC, in the middle of the Satya Yuga, with no sign of a permanent settlement nearby contemporary with those structures. The popular image of a hunter-gatherer's life style of that time period doesn't fit with these discoveries of coordinated work at a fixed location over a 1500 year time period. If you strip away the thick layer of biased guess work and just look at the data, what is known about the period of the higher yugas is not inconsistent with Sri Yukteswar's description.
It has been very roughly 100,000 years since the earth has experienced an extended period of climate like today's. In between there was ice in the north and oceans were lower. Whatever evidence peoples of the intervening four full cycles of yugas left behind is probably under the sea. Would we even recognize and understand artifacts of earlier cycles? The finest cave art comes from two periods: the Satya yuga of our current cycle and the Satya Yuga of the previous cycle. Why? Nobody knows. The uncertainty of the dates and of the meaning of prehistoric archaeological artifacts leaves us with little to say about earlier cycles. Our present understanding of the yugas is far too limited to apply to early hominids, let alone the dinosaurs.
These issues are addressed in our forthcoming (early 2011) book The Yugas by J. Selbie and D. Steinmetz
Nayaswami Byasa Steinmetz
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