The Hindu calculation of the current evolutionary cycle of our world, is what they call, Kali Yuga, and means, "The Dark Age." The duration of this dark age, is to be, 500,000 years, of which 5000 to 6000 years have been already spent. The time period of 500,000 years, is more or less than this estimate of duration, for with the Hindus the exact duration of cycles given to the public is always cloaked.
If we ever awaken from our obsession with our electronic devices, remove the tyranny of time, for only a few minutes, mature beyond seeking satisfaction for every sensation, we might gain just enough clarity to understand the real dangers and affects of this dark age. The force of direction of this dark age is toward materialism and rampant self-satisfaction; the negative or dark side of life. Of course, the light side is not completely extinguished, but exposes itself continuously and opportunistically through out the dark age's course. The primary affect of this dark age is what might be called the "Pinocchio Affect." Using the Disney interpretation of the story of Pinocchio as an metaphor: we see Pinocchio, school books in hand, walking to attend school, when on his way the Wolf intercepts Pinocchio and seduces him with an invitation to Pleasure Island. There, said the Wolf, "All your desires can be satisfied, twenty four hours, day in, day out, and at no cost to you." Pinocchio, engrossed with the idea of having all the pleasures he could want, skips happily and voluntarily under the arches of Pleasure Island. As Pinocchio and the other children indiscriminately feed their desires, they begin to, slowly but surely, morph into donkeys. When the morphing process is totality completed the Wolf and his cohorts lead the now donkey herd into wagons, and bring them to auction houses, where they are sold to business people as slave labor.
If you haven't figured it out as yet, we live within a dualistic reality: hot/cold, pleasure/pain, male/female, night/day, spirit/matter, etc. There are three very ancient symbols which represent the duality in which we live: first, the Buddhist symbol, a circle with dark and white forms within the circle's interior; you might recognize it by thinking of the Chinese, yin and yang. Next, (keep in mind that this is a very ancient symbol), is the swastika, another favorite Buddhist symbol, a cross with broken arms bent at right angles. The German Nazi Party used this ancient symbol to designate their party, but defaced the original, ancient meaning to meet their needs. The vertical line of the cross represents the spiritual aspect of life, while the horizontal line represents the matter side of life. The right angle arms suggest, life, movement, and forward progress. The third symbol is known as the Egyptian Tau. It is a cross with a circle at the top of the vertical line descending from it. Its meaning is similar to that of the swastika, however emphasizing the movements and circulations of consciousness in evolution. If you study these three symbols, single mindedly and separately, they may bring insights that substantiates your empirical idea of the characteristics of the duality in which we life. When you bring enough pertinent facts together the truth emerges.
Lets us write a litany of the effects of the full morphing process into donkeys, using our country as a point of reference. When all our U.S. power and influence is measured against the qualities of life, such as peace of mind, harmony, tolerance, and joy, we are found to be severely lacking. While we proclaim our superior economic "standard of living" far and wide, we allow vice under every form to flourish in every city and community. While we advise other countries to follow our principles of living, we consume a quarter of all the world's resources, yet we represent only one-fifth of the world's population. While we are mentally absorbed in inventing new, cheap products or innovating old products to make them cheaper, our waste of resources is vast enough for entire countries to use and live well. While we shop in a pet store and become frustrated over which brand of dog food to purchase, people over the world are starving to death. In our country forty-five million citizens are living in poverty. While we indulge ourselves on every level possible, the air and water the whole world breaths and drinks is being polluted by those very businesses' providing the means for our gratification. While we measure our Gross National Product in the zillions of dollars, our rate of drug addiction and over does deaths, murders, and suicides are among the highest in the world. While we look great and powerful from the outside, we are corroded on the inside. We have become self-seeking and self-satisfying, and in turn have become slaves to our own vices and to foolish social and economic customs. This is a form of mental slavery of the most destructive kind. This litany of the effects of the Dark Age have not here been exhausted, much more can be added; and as the pertinent facts expands the truth emerges.
I am not preaching doom and gloom of Judgment Day proportions, because Universal Nature's essence is not annihilation, but evolution within harmony, balance, and unity. Yet, "We cannot (either) always live on the enthusiasm of heavenly joy. The rosy hue of dawn does not reach round the world; it chases darkness," (Recension by, William Q. Judge, "Bhagavad-Gita", page 122). The relationship of the extremes within the duality are not static, but dynamic; they interact, and in so doing, commingle. Let us use, as an example, Kali Yuga, the dark age of the Hindus as it reacts and interacts within the its opposite, the light side. All dualistic extremes originally start at a point of balance. From this balance point or rest point, the Dark Age begins its unfolding, (think of a clockwise circular movement around the outline of a circle). within the parameters of Universal Nature. Simultaneously, as the dark side unfolds, the light side. begins to inscroll itself. This movement continues until the dark side maxis-out, and reaches its balance or rest point. The balance point is an inner pause in which progress takes place. The pause is like sleep, like the stillness before a storm. It is the point before transition; where all things are cleared or exhausted to make ready for the change. From this half rotation, (keep in mind a circle), the light side begins to unfold, and the dark side inscrolls, until the light side maxis-out and reaches its balance point. The full rotation of the light side and dark side is called, in Hindu parlance, the Day and Night of Brahma, the duration of which is some where around 8,640,000,000 years.
This great wheel of evolutionary life, evolves many minor wheels, like wheels within wheels: the 24 hour day/night, the solstices and equinoxes, the four seasons through the 365 day year, the fourteen day moon wheel round the earth, the wheels of the sun and planets and their moons, etc.. All the above, comes under the operational guidance of Universal Nature, who marks its own time and effects in relation to the quality of karma of evolving life within the various wheels. Put that in your pipe and see what kind of smoke comes out. Who said that ascending the ascent to wisdom would be easy?
Pythagoras of Samos, one of the wise men who walked on our earth, is credited with using the word, "philosopher." His meaning and use was, "a lover of wisdom." The meaning of philosopher has morphed over the centuries, into systems or schools of thought. Now days a philosopher is one who expounds on a particular system of thought. Pythagoras's meaning did not particulate certain systems of thought, but the seeking and utilizing the truth, no matter where it is found. As the Dark Age evolved into our current time, we see that truth is expounded on by self proclaimed experts, degree academicians, scientists, preachers, and anyone who is connected to the internet. There is such a diversity and high-volume of wisdom-less truths constantly flying through our eyes and ears that our likes can quickly attach to, and because of our loose attachment to our likes we can swiftly change to the most popular expert's theory or opinion. Since most of the expert's theories and opinions lack comprehensive wisdom, our beliefs are weakened. This weakness compels us to seek strength, power, and zeal at the extremes. Thus, here in the twenty first century, we sit stuck in the mire of the extremes. with little ability to compromise. Instead we stand on false principles, and are willing to go to war up-holding these weakened principles.
Again we see the effects of living in the Dark Age. The good news is that the light side has not abandoned us. Although, the dominance of the Dark Side makes it more difficult to incorporate the light side into our lives, it is not an impossible achievement. We must learn how to build spiritual knowledge, and use it as a foundation and shield, by making yourself the center of authority and filtering all information through the standard of the light side and truth. In that way you can withstand all the illusions and force of the Dark Age. It is like anything we aspire to and highly value; plant your desire within your will, imagination, and faith. Whether you like it or not, the evolutionary wheels continuously revolve, alternating the light and the dark side, leaving you to choose which path to follow.
I leave to contemplate a poem by, Maximinus, a Renaissance, Roman poet, about the Pythagorean Y.
The Pythagorean Letter two ways spread
Shows the two paths in which Man's life is led.
The right hand track to sacred Virtue tends.
Though steep and rough at first, in rest it ends.
The other broad and smooth, but from its Crown
On rocks the Traveler is tumbled down.
He who to Virtue by harsh toils aspires,
Subduing pains, worth and renown acquires.
But who seeks slothful luxury, and flies,
The labor of great acts, dishonor'd dies.