Many of us are looking with deep concern about the current state of the world and what 2020 will bring. The division and conflict on every continent is easy to see, but how to reduce it remains problematical. While we should not give in to the usual doomsday feelings, we must take the situation seriously and counter it on both inner and outer levels.
We are entering globally into what I have called “A New Time of Troubles”. Yet spiritual benefits and a deeper civilizational growth may eventually emerge after this difficult and trying period.
In October 2010, Yogini Shambhavi and I spoke at the “World Conference for Mundane Astrology” in Vishakhapatnam, India, hosted by Sri Sadguru Sivananda Murty, one of India’s greatest yogis and sages, and a great astrologer. The conference addressed the issue of 2012 among related themes and the future of humanity. In that conference I spoke of 2020 as marking a New Time of Troubles for Humanity. Now that 2020 is arriving, I wanted to share my comments and predictions that I have updated from that conference.
Prospects of Global Change
Clearly we are in a time of great challenges in terms the ecology, technology and societal changes. While there is no end of the world in sight, at the same time the negative karmas of our civilization out of balance must begin to manifest, until we deal with them in a responsible manner. For this the wisdom of Vedic knowledge systems, notably Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology remains crucial.
We may see several decades of turbulence, uncertainty, and confusion before a clear light emerges for humanity. One could call this upcoming period in the twenty-first century a “New Time of Troubles” – an extended period of obstacles during which we are gradually forced to change the values of our civilization that is getting ever more removed from both nature and the Divine Self within us.
Calamities, both manmade and natural, are likely to increase. Yet even if these difficulties are only as in previous centuries, they can be significant, as a larger and more vulnerable population will be exposed to their dangers. The ultimate result of this new churning process should be an ecologically sustainable culture and a new global era of peace and yogic spirituality, with a new science, humanism and cultural renaissance reflecting dharmic values – but this improvement will not come easily or quickly, if at all.
Until a higher change occurs, we may see an increasing Brave New World scenario of media, high tech and drug based social control, with social disruption, terrorism, and population displacement. The organic basis of human life will be compromised and people made uncertain as to who they are, what life means or what their purpose should be. We must not just restore the Earth outwardly at an ecological level, but restore our inner ecology and honor the forces of nature within us, such as Ayurveda teaches us. This requires understanding the doshas, gunas and karmas within us and restoring the organic basis of our physical life and social order, including the individual, family and spiritual communities.
Astrological Indications – Conjunction with the Galactic Center
Overall, the main astrological event dominating our times remains the conjunction of the winter solstice with the galactic center, an important point of karmic purification and rectification, which I noted in my book Astrology of the Seers in 1990. However, this conjunction with the galactic center is an influence of several decades, with an influence that cannot be focused on a particular year.
The great Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda in his special Yuga theory, which he derived from his guru Sri Yukteswar, indicates that we have moved astrologically from the dark age of Kali Yuga to the less dark age of Dwapara, a process complete around 1900 AD and the notable technological gains of that time. This may cause us to raise our hopes in the current situation.
However, Yogananda also noted that Dwapara Yuga can be a dangerous period in which the development of new technologies can go faster than our wisdom to handle them, with our minds still in the shadow of old Kali Yuga belief systems. This situation creates high tech Dwapara based wars and calamities, which are more dangerous than those under Kali Yuga, which limited humanity’s resources and weapons. Such a disturbed initial Dwapara Yuga is what we are seeing today.
As I mentioned in previous writings, the first subperiod of Dwapara from 1900 – 2100 is its dark or Kali phase. We are in the middle of this. The dangers of Dwapara Yuga should not be underestimated, particularly during these initial phases. We are also likely in the Kali Yuga of a longer cycle that is still casting its shadows upon us. While the long term trend is more positive this can take some decades to fully manifest.
Increasing Difficulties for Humanity
One does not have to be an astrologer to see the difficulties facing the world today. The exploitation of our lands, ecosystems, air and water, has reached a breaking point. Similarly, the manipulation of human beings through the mass media, cell phones, computers, multinational corporations, social and government agencies, and the widespread use of both recreational and medicinal drugs, is also creating extensive psychological malaise, disorientation, and alienation. Various types of physical and psychological toxins abound in our environment that even a healthy person cannot avoid.
Our economic systems are in danger of decline, if not collapse, through excessive borrowing, spending, speculation, and a reckless use of other people’s money by banks, corporations and governments. Many people are living on credit and paper money values that are fragile, offering little security. In addition, our population is now outstripping its essential resources of food, water, land and jobs. Many countries are caught in civil unrest extending into unending civil wars in some instances.
We see a lack of responsible leadership and a dearth of great leaders in the world, with a few notable exceptions. Political parties aim at short-term electoral gains and inflame identity politics, divisive vote banks and religious extremism. We now look to technocrats to guide us, but an ability to develop new technologies cannot be regarded as any wisdom to guide society. Overall our civilization, with its high degree of centralization and interdependency, remains more vulnerable than previous eras. Now a major war, environmental or economic disaster in one country can send off shock waves that can disrupt the entire world order.
Yet we must also remember each century for humanity has produced major challenges that the next century seems to quickly forget. The twentieth century had two enormous world wars that resulted in the killing of a hundred million people worldwide, with extensive losses in highly civilized Europe – compared to which our twenty-first-century conflicts so far appear minor. Science and technology continued to develop and the scars of these twentieth world wars were quickly covered with new cities and peace between the hostile countries.
In addition, there continues to be a growing movement towards higher consciousness in humanity, though in the background and subject to distortion. The global spread of dharmic traditions, Yoga and meditation, mystical approaches, native traditions, alternative, and natural medicine continues. Pro-environment and ecological forces worldwide are gaining greater influence in government and business circles. The new social media is providing an alternative voice to the mainstream mass media and its vested interests that so far had a monopoly. At the same time, adharmic and unspiritual forces are getting more powerful and sophisticated, spreading through the media and promoting violence, determined to cause violence and disruption. The battleground between these opposite forces is getting set.
What Do We See for the Future?
The winter solstice of December 2020 is marked by difficult Saturn-Jupiter conjunction, with Jupiter near its maximum point of debility, showing the danger of large scale political and economic turmoil, which will influence the next twenty years until the following Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.
This new global time of troubles that is likely to last for several decades, and cannot be dealt with in a simplistic manner or with short-term action plans. These global problems have already started in 2001 with terrorism and 2008 with economic dangers, and are likely to become critical by 2020. 2020-2028 will likely be a period of increased disruptions, including at government and economic levels, with continuing refugee problems and failed states. 2028-2044 will continue these, perhaps at a more severe level, but with stronger countermeasures.
By 2050, the worst should be over, but the shadow of events may color the remainder of the century. These issues are generational, not simply a matter of a few years. The end of the century should see a considerable drop in the global population, by outer problems or better population control. Whether what remains afterward will be a Brave New World or a real new yogic spiritual era is debatable.
Science and technology have proved to be a two-edged sword, raising standards of living but increasing artificial desires, developing better communication but causing greater polarization in humanity. Our older organized belief-based religions have failed, carrying on medieval creedal divisions as if these could provide a solution for all humanity. Dharmic traditions with their emphasis on a universal Consciousness show the way forward.
There will be a continuing growing interest in higher consciousness, meditation, Yoga and natural healing, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, the seeds of which have already been cast in the global consciousness, including in the educated elite. Most countries will continue to have spiritual fringes and a visionary aspiration in a few. Hopefully, that new spiritual elite can overcome the Asuric (egoistic) tendencies of our current culture and bring in more compassion.
And always hope must remain. Though the negative forces or Asuras usually have the advantage in this material world, which is their obsession, the Devas or Divine energies can overcome them at the level of the heart, and can win at the end, even when realistic scenarios look bleak. India remains a target for negative adharmic forces as usual but has been developing a new dharmic strength over the last five years that can hopefully hold steady through these storms. If so, India can be a guide for all humanity as to how to integrate science and consciousness-based spirituality.
In any case, humanity is in for a great deal amount of turbulence in the years to come. The question is if the nobility of the true human spirit, like the lotus, can surface in this mire. At least to some extent, it will, as it always does. The individual can always transcend, even if society cannot.
We can only spread the message of higher humanity – and look to the cosmic powers to enlighten or chastise our species as our karmas may dictate. We must be patient during this long term churning process and sustain the eternal light! Then even the limitations of collective karma can be overcome.
The higher powers are looking for more individuals to aid in this work, which has great blessings for all. May everyone take up that call! This is a call not simply to be a social activist but to be a center for bringing a higher awareness into the world, however one is capable of doing that.