Those who are practicing yoga and meditation are heralds of a new age—one that cannot be thought of only in terms of more advanced technology. What will define this age is a change in human awareness. People will reach new levels of understanding of their destiny and their own inner nature.
Most important of all, there will be a greater understanding of our relation to God. People will realize that they are not subservient creatures bound to obey or suffer for eternity, but beings who are part of God. They will know that it is their duty to discover their unity with God, and to learn how to work with Him rather than merely for Him.
This new age will also bring a more liberating attitude to our relations with one another, as we interact more from a level of soul to soul. It will be a time when people will more naturally rise to their own true potential, instead of having it squelched by societal expectations. I believe that there will be more true sharing in the world and a much greater sense of brotherhood.
The role of yoga
It is the role of yoga to help mankind fulfill this inward direction. The science of matter has developed to the point where it’s almost beyond our power of comprehension—and these developments are threatening our very existence. If we can’t find some kind of inner science to help us balance the outer one, we’re almost certainly going to succumb as a civilization.
That may seem impossible, just as it seems quite impossible that the sun could ever do anything but rise in the east. But this planet we’re living on is just a small mud ball. It wouldn’t take a very great cosmic event to cause it to turn in a different direction. If it did, the sun would cease rising in the east.
The possibility of a cataclysm
We have to understand that a cataclysm is entirely possible. Mankind has been brought close to destruction many times because he chose to go against natural law.
A few years ago I heard a lecturer in England say that Mother Earth is slow to react because her body is very big compared to ours. But when she does react, there’s absolutely no countermanding her decisions. When she finally gets fed up with the way people are treating her, the cataclysm that she inflicts upon man make him seem less than inconsequential—almost non-existent.
There is an absolute need now for us to get back into harmony with ourselves and with nature. From that point of view, the science of yoga is essential.
Only a few committed people are needed
I’ve spent many years trying to put Yogananda’s teachings in such a way that people will emphatically say, “Yes, this logic is something I can’t refute. It’s absolutely clear and airtight.” I’ve succeeded in some ways in doing this, but do you know what the reaction I’ve generally found is? “Well, it may be true, but I’m just not interested.”
You can fight wrong logic, but you can’t fight lack of interest, and that’s what you find almost universally. But, if we can reach a few committed people here and there, they’re the ones who are going to make a difference in the world anyway.
I remember when Yogananda gave that incredibly powerful talk about world brotherhood colonies at a Beverly Hills garden party. His voice thundered as he said, “I sow this thought in the ether. And my words shall move the West!” What happened? Did crowds come up afterwards and say, “Yes, yes, we want to start communities!” No. Did anybody else that I’ve heard of do it? No. But I did.
If I hadn’t, somebody else would have, because his own words were, “I’m putting this thought in the ether.” Those people who tune in to that power, and know how to use it, can become instruments for his will, whether or not they are disciples of Yogananda.
Tune into Yogananda
When you tune in to a saint, you are tuning in to a particular ray of divine help. You don’t have to be a disciple of that ray to get its benefits. Yogananda was giving a blessing to the whole world when he sent that thought out into the ether. People who inwardly tune in to that thought will suddenly find that a power is coming into their lives.
Our practice of meditation and yoga has less power than that of a great master like Yogananda, yet it very definitely has power. If, when we meditate, we send out thoughts of harmony and peace, it will have a lot more power than if we just talk about peace.
When you meditate, don’t just do it for yourself, but expand the sense of peace or love you feel and consciously send it to others. You’ll find that the power of your thoughts will be much greater than you can imagine.
Thoughts have power
Yoga gives power to our consciousness, and a powerful consciousness has more impact than anything else in the world. They used to say that the pen is mightier than the sword, but thought is mightier than the pen, because that’s what gives the pen its power.
If you have a very strong thought, it will have to come into outward manifestation. A group of people with strongly concentrated minds have a power that can’t be offset by many times their number. A handful of people in the time of Christ were able to change the whole course of civilization, through the influence they exerted on those they touched. Gradually that influence grew, until today there virtually isn’t a corner of the world untouched by the teachings of Christ.
Even now, at the beginning of this new age, we find the man in the street saying things that are totally compatible with yoga, things that would have been unheard of twenty years ago. Most people don’t attribute this to yoga or spirituality, but the fact is, these thoughts have begun to filter down.
People tune into new thought forms
When a new thing is done, it puts a particular new thought form in the ether and this gives a new potential to those people who are able to tune into it. As a few people change, suddenly many people begin to tune into that change. Consider what happens in sports. Once a particular record—like the 4-minute mile—has been broken, many people start to do it. Or, we can look at it from the standpoint of scientific discovery—many times two or more people have made the same discovery simultaneously.
The power that comes from the practice of yoga and meditation is much greater that the power generated by the 4-minute mile. The most important thing going on today is not peace conferences or détentes—it’s people changing their own awareness. In the process they’re sending out rays of divine consciousness that others can tune into.
This is the secret of bringing peace to this age. I’m convinced of it. Yoga and meditation have a role to play in this next step in human evolution. In the future, history will recognize that they were central to the expansion of consciousness that is the hallmark of this age.
From a 1983 talk at Ananda Village