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THE SHAPE OF EVENTS TO COME

                   Chapter 4

          Religion as the Mouthpiece
         Of the Evolutionary Impulse

(i)

That we are passing through a crucial phase
Is well reflected in the shining rays
Of sun and pallid luster of the moon,
Perceived by only those who have the boon
Of Supersensory Vision, the most rare
Of all the rich endowments which we share.

Because mankind has made a sudden shift
From ways of life that can bestow the gift;
From rules of conduct which conduce to make
The mind serene, a placid conscious lake,
Whose limpid waters clearly show below
Of Cosmic Consciousness the radiant glow,
The modern world displays a serious dearth
Of men of vision needed on the earth
To feel the pulse of nature and prescribe
The mode of conduct for the human tribe,
Climbing a lofty, unfamiliar height,
Which needs at every step a guiding light.

Does it not look to you as rather odd
That we depend for all we know of God
On books and utterances of some men born
In dim antiquity, when earth was shorn
Of all the glamor that makes modern life
One tense performance of unending strife?
And no one in the intervening span
Of time could say a single word more than
What they had said or press a cubit more
Beyond the line already drawn before?

If you agree that this has been the case
Can you the cause of this stagnation trace?
Why since the time of prophets men became
So void of heavenly grace and are the same
In this amazingly productive span,
As if since then God has forsaken man?

Can you assign a valid cause for this,
Why in this rich, industrial age we miss
The ennobling presence of that lofty class
Of men, whose words inspired the human mass
To righteous deeds with such a soul appeal
That they can, e'en now, moral torpor heal?

Do you believe that was a simpler age
More suited to the anointed seer and sage,
Or more productive for the visionary
Than later periods, when mankind, though free
And more sophisticated, contact lost
With nature, and of this breach paid the cost
In utter absence of such men encrowned
By Heaven with higher knowledge most profound?

Can we ascribe this rather strange surcease
Of great Messiahs to the high increase
In man's material comforts, and the slow
But sure advance of mortals, high and low,
Towards a richer and a healthier life,
Full of amenities so cheap and rife,
That dire necessity does not now force
The more susceptible to have recourse
To rigid penance or the need to heal
Their sorrows with intense religious zeal?
Which means the earlier need for prophets ceased
When science man's temporal hardship eased.

If this is so, why do we then rely
So much on old religious lore and try,
As far as we can, in our thought and deed,
To act upon the tenets of our creed?

The time has come when mankind should decide
If it, in future, can with safety ride
In two dissimilar boats, one out of which
Aspires to God, the other to be rich
And strong to have all that the earth can give,
Believing man has but one life to live.

(ii)

Does it not strike you as extremely strange
That, at this lofty height, the more we change
Towards a more and more luxurious mode
Of life the more we lack a common code
That could all nations bind in harmony,
Each of them self-administered and free?
But far from this we build a vicious load
Of arms, on power and wealth to keep our hold.

And why?  Because we fail to understand
That in our progress nature has a hand,
And when we battle hard to have our way
We, sometimes, find in front a grim array
Of forces we cannot resist, designed
To change the wrong direction of our mind,
And hence the urge to increase our nuclear might
But serves the aim of Heaven to set us right.

What can our puny wit and strength avail
Against a Power that rules the stormy gale,
The wind and tide, the sun, the moon and stars,
If it ordains the scourge of bloody wars
To teach the lessons we too oft forget,
Upon which hoary Time his Seal has set,
The lessons binding for the evolving race
Which of all great religions form the base.

This hallowed teaching calls upon mankind
To lead a simple, healthy life to find
Its way to God, the source of human life,
And win perfection with ennobling strife,
To treat all folk as brothers, kith and kin,
And raise the fallen, heavenly grace to win,
To deal with all as one does with oneself,
And not betray them to gain power or pelf,
To have the feeling always that the Lord
Does o'ersee all our actions and record.

If we into our mind's hid sanctum peep
To see how far we these directions keep,
Can we still wonder at a grim reward
For just the contrary endeavor hard,
For our sophistication heedless of
Conscientious scruples, waived off with a laugh?

These golden lessons were not taught to serve
As empty ornaments to adorn the curve
Of lips, or but to swell the memory,
But of our life a vital part to be.
Since most of us have failed to school our heart
To make these rules of life a changeless part,
We lack in peace and make the earth a base
For war, since individuals make the race.

You may discredit this and loudly scoff
At what I say, dismiss it with a laugh,
Or more resistant and rebellious grow,
But that will not avert the awful blow
Which will, as surely as the fire is hot,
Descend to change the tenor of our thought.
For what we do is not consistent with
Revealed commands, so either they are myth
Or we are in for trouble, so let us
See what is right-our faith or cleverness.

I make a firm assertion, no doubt bold
For my most humble station, but of old
This doubt has rankled in full many a heart,
Of which the crop is now the nuclear dart:
A weapon so opposed to common sense
And one's instinctive urge for self-defense,
That any normal man, free of the cloud
Of doubt, with judgment and foresight endowed,
When brooding o'er it cannot but discern
That either it serves as a measure stern
Of Heaven for our correction, since no form
Of life reacts 'gainst its instinctive norm,
Or there is something in Creation wrong
And we but to a godless world belong.

Except these two conclusions, not inapt,
It is a riddle what mist has enwrapt
The mind of man, compelling him to invite
A dreadful end, his cleverness despite
A weird behavior followed by no kind
Of life, save when death makes its instinct blind;
A horribly abnormal trait we fail
To mark as clouds before our vision sail.

If truth and righteousness have real worth
And but to mortal thought owe not their birth,
Can we conceive of something more accurst,
And sacrilegious than this horrid thirst
In man to cause extinction at his will
Of countless forms of life this planet fill?

So either nature is unjust and blind,
Or there is some unfathomed Law behind
Our present fatal choice to act like this,
And has a meaning which today we miss,
But must become apparent at its time
To strengthen mortal faith in Laws Sublime;
And if it be not so, then Faith should cease
And leave men free to frolic as they please.

For if you hold belief in God, can He
Be so impotent or leave men so free
That they kill millions, as one kills a louse,
While He looks timidly on, like a mouse?
An infantile belief that cannot stand
The probe of reason or the keen demand
Of stern morality, for it would mean
That Satan is the master, and we lean
On God, as slaves to false beliefs, and not
Because He is the ruler of our lot.

(iii)

But if our faith is true and there exists
A just Creator hidden in the mists
Of whirling atoms and revolving suns,
Whose will through every grain of matter runs,
Expressed in partly known perennial laws,
Which all phenomena of nature cause,
There must be still some hidden laws behind
What is yet dark and puzzling to our mind;
Behind what is mysterious and obscure,
Or that which keeps us doubting and unsure,
And these unfathomed laws, when they are known,
May clear the doubts to which now we are prone.

These undeciphered laws, to make us gain
Serenity of mind, must make it plain
Whether or not the sphere of life has rules
That make some people wise and others fools,
Create divergence and disparity,
Which so acutely rankles you and me,
Or cause the injustice and unfairness found
In such a soul-tormenting form around,
That 'tis no wonder Faith has ceased to give
The solace by which we in peace can live.

Can we suppose that save our puny mind
The rest of nature is inert and blind?
That man is master of his destiny,
In his own will and choice entirely free?
If this were so could prophet, seer and sage
Have shown a Path, conforming to each age,
For folk to follow to deserve the Prize
Which they all hinted at to make us wise
That we are destined for a higher goal,
And so must act a more becoming role,
That mankind has to reach a State Divine
Where free of chains our souls in glory shine?

This Path or Dharma, call it what you will,
Demands that we should conquer, but not kill
Our passions and desires, tame and subdue
Our nature to be noble, pure and true;
And these instructions were precisely laid
To save from error, rightly guide and aid
Evolving mortals destined for a state
Of deathless glory, reachable soon or late:
A state of Cosmic Knowledge most sublime
Ordained for all mankind in course of time.

But in this age there has occurred a clash
Between our judgments as, mad after cash,
We have forgotten all about the Aim
Of Life, for which the sage and Savior came,
Forgotten that evolving as we are
We should not with improper actions bar
Our path, which means the same as when we try
To stop our heart or lungs, with pain to cry;
Which means to arrest a natural growth decreed
To uplift our mind, ennoble thought and deed;
Which means to disregard all that was taught
By every Founder of religious thought.

This soul-illuminating trend affects
People of all professions, creeds and sects,
Affects decisively all mortals born
To end one day the always rankling thorn
Of death, and joy of deathlessness to taste,
If only they their spare time do not waste,
If only they avail of the golden chance
Of human life to hasten their advance,
And reach the portals of the holy shrine,
Where mortals with immortal luster shine.

The learned scholars on whom we depend
For guidance, have no knowledge of this trend,
Have no suspicion of this hidden urge,
Which like a bright star shining on the verge
Has raised up mankind from a savage shore
To heights of culture, higher still to soar.
No wonder then that scarce a man alive
Has any inkling of this powerful drive
That builds in him a cosmic conscious mind,
Eternal life and peace sublime to find.

Through lack of knowledge of this Plan Divine
We harm and desecrate the evolving Shrine
Of thought, collectively and one by one
And, still unmindful of the damage done,
Expose ourselves to nature's righteous wrath
To stop our wild departure from the Path.

(iv)

When you exhaust all valid reasons for
This morbid state, look through the corridor
Of time, and try to see what fate befell
The ancient empires, which first prospered well,
But later on, contracting faulty traits,
Or morbid thirsts, allured by tempting baits,
And slaves to habits which they could not mend,
Succumbed to them and hastened to their end.
The modern gaudy pageants too await,
By their refusal to change, the same fate.

For mankind has now to a state evolved
Where all schismatic wrangles must be solved,
So that the united race with cautious tread
Along the Cosmic Path may move ahead.

But if a basic change does not occur,
Or out of mutual fear we make no stir
To build a safe, harmonious world with speed,
Embracing every color, class and creed,
The fateful day, clairvoyant spirits fear,
Will come, by force, a global state to rear.

For all adepts, with astral vision blest,
See but one reason for the deep unrest
Seething in men of every faith and class,
As if a current passing through the mass
Demands removal of restrictions which
In man's fraternity create a hitch.

The present restless trend in human minds,
Which in disturbance and commotion finds
A vent, is but a veiled form of this urge
In one united world regime to merge.

At such a lofty intellectual height
It is suicidal for nations to fight,
Since nuclear armaments to mortals give
The choice of whether man shall die or live;
A most decisive factor that should weigh
With those the destinies of nations sway,
And since division is the root of war
They must be more united than they are.

Hence now the choice before the leading minds
Is that their wisdom soon in union binds
The still divided nations of the earth,
To one terrestrial empire to give birth,
Or be prepared for a disastrous war,
With blood the tightly shut doors to unbar.
For Heaven at no compulsive course will stop
To plant the mentally well-seasoned crop
Of humans on the Path to Cosmic Life,
Demanding freedom from contentious strife.

The safety, peace and progress of the race
Can ne'er be built on the explosive base
Of modern armament; this is a sign
To priests and rulers from the Power Divine,
That they must sink their differences to save
Mankind from burial in an atomic grave,
For jarring creeds and sparring nations are
The surest means to invite a nuclear war;
So either nuclear bouts or federal ties,
United mankind lives, divided dies.

I know my these few words will not avail
Against the summoned force of Doom's assault,
But hoping better counsels might prevail
For Heaven's mercy soon to mend our fault;
I, in obedience to an Inner Voice,
Coming from regions deeper than the mind,
Beyond the sphere of mortal will and choice,
Make this submission to alert mankind
That we have passed beyond the safety line
In our immoderate thirst for wealth and might,
Which is against Creation's Grand Design,
And forces Nature too to set us right.

Vibrations in the planet's astral plane
Denote the nearness of the awful Day,
When Hell may rage to make war-mongers sane,
For true, perennial peace to pave the way.

The indications are that time is due
To recreate respect for Heaven's Law,
And that a reign of terror may ensue,
So that the rebel hosts a lesson draw.

Believers in a God cannot condemn,
In their defense, this retributive course,
For if the Almighty Ruler does not stem
The tide of evil, and allows brute force
To flout eternal laws, it would confute
The truth of revelation, leaving man
To follow any self-appointed route
Of life, as well or as ill as he can.

But if religious genius has been right
In its awareness of the moral path,
Then when astray, believing but in might,
Offenders must incur Celestial Wrath.

Alas, the narrowness of human mind
Allowed no conqueror to have a peep
Beforehand at his end, but we can find,
If we employ our mental eye to sweep
Horizons of the ancient empires, built
Upon the sweat and blood of weaker folk,
That they had to disgorge the fruit of guilt,
And soon with their own blood the earth to soak.

Do you not sense now in the atmosphere
Of earth, a turbulence among the youth,
Unrest in elders, though some here and there
Try hard to keep excited tempers smooth?
A clear sign that the Fountain, which supplies
The stream of human thought, reveals a trend
Of disaffection and diversely tries
The factors causing it somehow to end.

The whole terrestrial surface has become
One vast Satanic web of foul intrigue,
With some conspiring on this side and some
On that to form for war a Mighty League.

And from this fiendish web may soon emerge
A strong contingent of determined states,
Which still but dimly seen upon the verge,
For its abruptly launched offensive waits
The destined hour, the predetermined day,
The appointed moment and the fated year,
When some unreckoned cause shall start the fray,
And crowds the sounds of bursting missiles hear.

The best defenses aimed to intercept
And stop a streaking dart, ere it can smite
To vaporize in seconds, as if swept
Clean from the planet, some forechosen site,
Shall prove of no avail against the blasts
Of nature's mightiest Force, employed before
Its time, by power-drunk minds for holocausts,
To wash the stigma of guilt with their gore.

And those who still believe, despite the array
Of facts to show that stern Supernal Laws,
From atoms to sidereal systems, sway
The cosmos, that they can escape because
Inventive man is from their hold immune,
For this fallacious view, itself a crime,
Shall reap, when arrogantly out of tune,
A bitter harvest in due course of time.

Past all defenses, past all ramparts built
At such enormous cost as could suffice
To keep earth's starving millions from the guilt
Of crimes committed for a morsel twice
A day, the infernal engines, as if wrought
By nature for requite through mortal hands,
Shall spread destruction, poison, death and rot
Among the people of contending lands.

And this to such a staggering extent
That future men shall shudder at the thought,
And centuries of time and labor spent
On pomp and vanity shall come to naught.

The awe-struck world shall shiver, numb with fright,
Deprived of feeling, movement, joy and mirth,
As monstrous globes of fire site after site,
Teeming with human crowds, wipe off the earth.

Thus shall be fought, to purge the poisoned world
Of sin, a bloody Mahabharata*,
With hellish arms by human agents hurled,
To re-establish faith in Moral Law.

The only remedies are Holy awe,
A sane apportionment of earthly wealth,
One world confederacy with equal law,
Improved morality and mental health,
Caught in the mesh of passion, pride and lust,
Become confirmed materialists, we trust
No more in faith and God, in heaven and hell,
And live but to amass, our needs to swell;
Alas, awareless that beyond our dreams,
Beyond the moon and stars and lustrous beams
Of sun, a deathless, happy state awaits
Us all, if we resist temporal baits.

See how full many centuries before,
When needs were few and meager was the store
Of goods, the earth produced the noblest men;
Religious geniuses, not met since then,
Whose simple narratives of Realm Divine,
For that sublime experience make us pine.

A state of such surpassing glory filled
With joy celestial that the mind is stilled
In ecstasy, in overwhelming bliss,
For more than that when ravishing Houris kiss
Impassioned men, than highest earthy joy
Which floods the hungry senses but to cloy;
That most intense joy native to the soul,
When free from ego it becomes the Whole.

One with a marvelous pulsating Main
Of deathless Life, beyond the reach of pain,
One with the Eternal Source that gives it birth,
One with the universe, the heaven and earth,
Lost in the Cosmic Deep of Being, past
The thought of life and death, the first and last,
It soars beyond the opposites, serene,
Itself the unified seer and the seen.

This is the future state for which mankind
Is destined, if we let the evolving mind
Have freedom for the inner process which
Is tending to remold it and enrich,
Until the mortal, one with Cosmic Life,
Discerns the meaning of this baffling strife,
To live a glorious life as nature wills,
One which his dreams and high ideals fulfills,
For which, in fact, primordial man was born,
In time as Cosmic Man the earth to adorn.

But now obstructed, as we cannot scan
A day ahead beyond our mortal span,
The soul-uplifting Force, to pass the hitch,
Creates the seething ferment and the itch
For war, a glaring symptom of this age,
Ignored and o'erlooked in the burning rage
For sensuous comforts and luxurious ware,
Exciting pleasures and delicious fare,
And other things, exhausting now on it
The massive armory of all our wit,
Without a single thought towards the soul,
The Spark Divine, of all our search the goal.

Look at the sums on war and pleasure spent,
While millions starve for want of nutriment,
A most revolting feature at a time,
When intellect is basking in her prime,
And needs the human touch to be divine
Or lacking charity to face decline,
Compelling Heaven, as gently as it can,
To clean the dirt, enabling chastened man
To labor for perfection till the race
Attains the heaven-appointed crown with grace.

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Written by: Gopi Krishna


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