Message for the New Millennium

JMD, December 1999

The new millennium is here. . . time is marching on, as always, and new horizons await us.  With the ever quickening advancement in sciences and technology, the world is getting smaller and smaller and the barriers between peoples and cultures are breaking apart.  As we learn more and more about ourselves and one another, our differences become more and more insignificant.  We realize that we are all human beings, with similar hopes and aspirations, feelings and emotions, fears and desires.

The inventions and discoveries made in the past 1000 years (1000-2000), and particularly in the past 100 years, have set the stage for the years to come.  In the near future (possibly within 50-100 years) we can expect many new scientific and technological developments.  Just to give a few ideas. . . .

§         Always we are trying to make machines that are faster and faster, and smaller and smaller.  Perhaps the time will come when we will have ‘atomic computers’ in which the minute electrical charges within an atom are used to form instruction sets.  These computers will be so small that they will literally be invisible.

§         The day may come when small computers will actually be implanted in the ear and will enable its recipient to listen to any language in his or her own native tongue (in other words, you could listen to someone speaking in Swahili, Russian, Cantonese, French, etc., and the words would be instantly translated into your own language, for example Hindi or English).  

§         In the world of science. . . the distinction between physics and metaphysics will eventually disappear as scientists learn more and more about the relationship between matter and consciousness. 

§         Scientists and philosophers will collaborate to gain an in depth understanding of the principle of Time and its relationship to matter.

§          The time will come when ‘portals’ into other galaxies and universes will be discovered, allowing instantaneous travel to other worlds. 

§         We will eventually make contact with beings from other planets.  

These things may sound farfetched now, but really this is only a very, very small sampling of what is to come. All of these (and other) developments will bring a collective change in the psyche of the peoples of this planet—these developments will alter the focal length of our consciousness and change the way we see others and ourselves.

Just two hundred and fifty years ago in this country (the United States of America) slavery was still an established norm.  People actually regarded a dark-skinned human being as less than human. Even the first president of this country, and many after him, were slave owners.  It took years of suffering and turmoil before slavery was abolished (and many more years for attitudes to change—and still there are years to go). These changes (in attitudes) come about as our perception changes.  Advancements in science and technology have certainly brought about changes in the way we perceive others and ourselves. Inventions of the past 100 or so years, such as the printing press, telephone, radio, television, and computer (to name just a few) have made us more aware of the events happening around us and have inspired us to remove injustices, poverty, suffering, and ignorance.  At the same time, these and other inventions have helped in creating an appreciation for other cultures and ideas, and have opened up a whole New World of possibilities. 

But has religion kept pace with science?  Unfortunately, the answer is definitely in the negative.  On the contrary, religion has often been an obstacle in scientific research and the development of technology.  Religious sentiment and superstition have often fanned the fires of hatred that have led to widespread persecution and war.

Some persons may argue that religion has kept our excesses in check, and has ensured that the ‘moral principle’ has been preserved.   But is it really religious sentiment that stands as a sentinel at the boundary between man and beast, or is it our essential human nature?  A person could be raised in the forest without any exposure to any religion whatsoever and still that person would know in their heart and mind that it is wrong to kill, to torture, to steal, and to lie.  It would seem that it is our basic human nature that defines our moral boundaries.   In fact, it is something much deeper than that:  it is our essential nature, our essence (ATMAN) which pervades our mind and body and makes us conscious about what we do, think, and feel. Essentially we are conscious beings. 

The purpose of true religion is to help us refine our character, to make us better human beings (and also, some may say, to prepare us for the after life, or the next life). It is sad to say, but religion has really failed its mandate.  Contemporary religion (religion that has sprung up in the past 4000 years or so) has NOT concerned itself with raising consciousness, but has been busy with raising funds, followers, believers, and supporters.   Unfortunately, religion is often the guardian of dogma (in the name of religious tradition), rather than the guardian of human values and principles. 

In this new millennium, the so-called contemporary religions will become a thing of the past. As the year 2000 passes without any big bang, and we move through the first few years without ever seeing ‘the end of the world,’ more and more human beings will drop their religious superstitions and discard their outdated religious beliefs.  Scientific exploration will be accompanied with the exploration of consciousness (which indeed, must take place together in order to break the ‘scientific barriers’ and unravel the riddles of the universe).  As we become more aware of the inner world of consciousness we will begin to unlock the mysteries of our existence.  With this knowledge and understanding we will be less prone to fall into the traps of superstition and dogma.

This is certainly not to say that everyone is going to be enlightened in the 21st century.  As long as people are searching outward (in the material world) for fulfillment they will remain unfulfilled.  But hopefully, in this 21st century, at least gross habits like meat eating, consumption of alcohol, and tobacco will become completely abnormal practices that one ‘could hardly imagine anyone would do.’  This may sound impossible to some people, but a little reflection may change your mind.  Just consider the example of tobacco: less than 50 years ago there were no generally accepted ‘scientific proofs’ that cigarette smoking was bad for your health.  There were no restrictions in this country regarding the sale, purchase, and use of tobacco (except of course for the sake of collecting taxes—but not for the sake of your health!).  Whether riding on an airplane or bus, or sitting in a restaurant, or even going to the doctor’s office or hospital, you could expect to have smoke blown in your face, and you had no choice but to accept it.  But now (at least in this country) things have completely turned around, so much so that some smokers now feel sheepish or even ashamed to ‘light-up.’ Smoking commercials (televised tobacco advertisements) have long since disappeared, and now even the tobacco billboard advertisements are being crowded out by anti-tobacco billboard advertising (in some parts of the country).  This is good news, and more good news is to follow:  people are changing their eating habits too; they are shifting to lower fat diets, and lower fat diets means less consumption of meat.  These changes are happening because the benefits of a low fat diet (and the dangers of meat eating such as heart disease, cancer, etc.) are now scientifically verifiable.   Because of television, radio, and recent developments like the Internet, the knowledge base of the general public is growing and these things are becoming more and more ‘generally known’, and it is only a matter of time before it becomes ‘common sense’ that meat-eating is unhealthy.

In the new millennium, with the growth of the so-called “cyber culture” spawned by the Internet, we will see ourselves more and more as one people.  In the world of cyberspace there are no borders between countries and no walls between peoples and cultures.  As more and more people ‘go on-line’ they are finding that there are ‘no lines drawn’—there are virtually no restrictions in the world of digital communications.  This really leaves it up to each individual to make their own choices and set their own boundaries.  Hopefully people will grow wiser from these experiences, and as they mature they will begin to sift the ‘wheat from the chaff.’ 

There is no denying that computers are here to stay.  It is foolish to bemoan the Computer Age in the 21st century, just as it was foolish to bemoan the Industrial Age at the turn of the 20th century. Technological developments are part of the evolution and drama of human existence.  We need to keep pace with the times—but it does not mean we should be swept away by the current.  Sometimes you need to set your sails against the prevailing winds in order to change the direction of your life.  Many people are going faster and faster, pushed along by their insatiable desire for more and more ‘information’, more and more excitement, and more and more ways to ‘make themselves happy.’  But they remain misinformed, bored, and unhappy.  People are driven, compelled, by self-centered (egotistical) ambition or emotion, and no matter where they go or how much they achieve, they never find peace. 

As the world becomes more automated and computerized, our lives are becoming more complex and we realize that we are missing something that is absolutely essential for our peace of mind.  That something is Self-knowledge—knowledge of the Self (ATMAN, soul).  We will no longer accept the ready-made answers and cookbook theories embodied in religious dogma, and we are growing weary of the intellectual ego-based approach offered by science and psychology.  The one (religion) is all ‘pretending,’ and the other is too pretentious.  Both miss the mark.

The children of this new millennium want straightforward answers. Fairy tales and science fiction might pass for entertainment, but nobody really takes them seriously.  

 We need to know ourselves—we need to know what we are really made of, and what we are ‘made for,’ and why.

Wise human beings have the answers because they have ‘done their homework.’  They have spent years researching the mind and exploring the vast field of consciousness.  Wise human beings have confronted their own egos, their own feelings and emotions, their own faults and weaknesses, and continue to improve on a daily basis.  They are called Siddhas, which simply means that they are persons who have attained excellence in their consciousness, who have refined their nature with wisdom and noble practices.

Wise human beings have no affiliation with any particular religion, dogma, or creed.  Their affiliation is only with the Absolute.  Their only religion is the religion of humanity and their only creed is the creed of wisdom.   Such was the way of the ancient Vedic sages. They did not labor to build a name for themselves, because they were busy emulating the names (qualities) of that Supreme Soul, the essence of life itself. 

In the years to come, all the religions of the world will eventually fade away. As the years roll on and on, and one millennium is followed by another and yet another, and so on and so forth, till eternity . . . every person, place, and manmade thing will be forgotten, but the essence will remain the same. That Essence is our essence—it is what we are made of.  To know that essence is what we were made for. Why? Because that is our nature: to discover our own True Self.

May one and all prosper in this New Millennium and realize the true purpose of this life.

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