Dr. Madan Lal Goel
Author’s Note: This short essay is based on a talk given at the Unitarian Universalist Church, Pensacola, Florida.
A New Earth is in the making. Life will be radically different and better in future years than in previous centuries. The globe is being transformed as we speak. Given here in summary are the views of four visionaries.
Sri Aurobindo was an Indian philosopher, yogi, poet, and a freedom fighter. He wrote extensively on the future of mankind. His collected works are available in 36 volumes.
Many philosophers conclude that the world is an error. There is too much pain and suffering in the world. Do not be in such a hurry to judge, says Sri Aurobindo. We are in the middle of the play. The end is not yet. The world is in a transitional stage. The movement is upward. The play is on. The final act is not yet.
The world is not an error, says Sri Aurobindo. God did not make the world in six days and rested on the seventh. The world is not made with random bricks of chance. There is a purpose and an aim. The true life is still to emerge. Those who have eyes to see shall see.
Sri Aurobindo was a Rishi, a mystic and a yogi. He practiced yoga and meditation for years in Pondicherry in southern India. An Ashram grew around him. Sri Aurobindo wrote on the basis of his spiritual vision, not as an academician. He foresaw a New Earth in the making. Spirituality is slowly taking possession of the higher mind of humanity. There are pseudo and negative movements to mislead and distract. The negative movements will be overcome. The truth of the soul will eventually emerge; it will take possession of mankind. There will be unity, mutuality and harmony.
Man is a transitional being. He is not final. The step from man to superman is the next approaching achievement in the earth’s evolution. It is inevitable because it is at once the intention of the inner spirit and the logic of Nature’s process.
Christians seek Heaven, Buddhists seek Nirvana and Hindus seek Moksha or liberation from the cycle of life and death. These are otherworldly goals. Salvation and freedom lie elsewhere, not here on earth in this life. Sri Aurobindo views it differently: the goal is not the attainment of Heaven in afterlife but a perfect life here on earth.
The solution to mankind’s problems consists in the spiritual rebirth. The true aim will regard man as not a mind, a life and a body, but as a Soul incarnated for divine fulfillment on earth.
The goal is to live from within, from the soul center. The aim is to establish in society a true “inner theocracy,” not the false theocracy of a Church, a priesthood, an ummah, but that of the inner Priest, the inner Prophet.
Man’s goal is to discover hidden divinity in himself. “To fulfill God in life is man’s manhood.” He starts from animal life but a divine existence is his future. The new life will not be without struggle between good and bad. There is a Kurukshetra, a clash of civilizations. Men of good will must join the fight on the right side.
The words of Sri Aurobindo and others negate the “doom and gloom” scenario frequently painted by numerous modern scholars. A New Earth is in the making.
“Humankind’s immense ability to give meaning to its actions and thoughts is what has enabled its many achievements.” Harari believes that new inventions in the 21st century may create conditions for humans to achieve immortality, happiness, and a god-like status.
Eckhart Tolle is a much acclaimed speaker and writer. He is an optimist for the future of mankind (and womankind). A new consciousness is emerging in the earth atmosphere and will take hold of mankind. Tolle, a New Age guru, was interviewed over a ten week period in 2008 by Oprah Winfrey. He is the author of two popular books: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (2004), and, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2008).
Tolle writes: “A profound transformation is taking place in the collective consciousness of the planet earth and beyond. . .Most crawling reptilians, the most earthbound of all creatures, have remained unchanged for millions of years. Some, however, grew feathers and wings and turned into birds, thus defying the force of gravity that had held them for so long. They did not become better at crawling or walking, but transcended crawling and walking entirely.” Similarly, humanity will transform into a new consciousness; an inner flowering will take place.
(A New Earth, P. 3.)
What about Violence?
Violence presents a mixed picture. The 20th century has been particularly violent? It witnessed two extremely destructive world wars. Twenty million perished in WWI, and twice that number in WWII. Nearly one-half of those who perished were civilian, not combatants, a new norm. In addition to the war-time deaths, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao killed millions on ideological grounds. Then there are the Islamic inspired terrorist attacks, affecting many countries.
Given such horrendous loss of life, how can we regard the 20th Century as progressive? Steven Pinker of Harvard University opines differently:
“Our age is less violent, less cruel and more peaceful than any previous period in human existence.” Physical violence is low in the family, in neighborhoods, between tribes and among nations. We suffer less violence and less cruelty than people living in any previous century, says Pinker in his 800 page book:
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined (Viking Press, 2011).
Dr. Pinker’s data on the level of violence through history is derived essentially from the Western world. Would he reach a different conclusion if he had studied the rest of the world, in particular the continuing violence in the Middle East?
21st Century View: Writing at the beginning of the 21st Century, the humanity’s future looks precarius. Instead of hope, there is negativity. Violence has not declined: somewhere or the other, terrorists strike: there is death and destruction almost on a monthly basis.
Then there is a global pandemic. Covid-19 has claimed several million lives. The virus originated in China in 2019 and spread to the rest of the world in 2020. The U.S. leads the world (as in many things): 20 million infected with the virus and some 350,000 dead, as of the beginning of 21st century. India follows with 10 million infected and 150,000 dead. These numbers will increase before people receive anti-virus vaccines.
The globe’s environment is also under threat: melting ice-sheets, higher temperatures, and rising sea-levels—all poised to strike at human progress.