American Institute of Vedic Studies

2020 and its Dangers for Humanity

We are all looking with deep concern about the current state of the world and what is happening today, which continues to surprise, confound and agitate us. The division and conflict on every continent is easy to see, but how to resolve it remains bewildering. While we should not give in to 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”, which I predicted in 2009 would begin in 2020. Yet spiritual benefits and a deeper civilizational growth may eventually emerge after this difficult and trying period of uncertainty and turbulence that forces us to restore our harmony with nature and our inner Self.


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 (who took his Mahasamadhi in 2015). The conference addressed the issue of 2012, regarded by many as an epochal year, and the future of humanity. In that conference I first spoke of 2020 as marking a New Time of Troubles for Humanity. Now that we are experiencing 2020, I wanted to share my comments and predictions that I have updated since 2010.


Prospects of Global Change


Clearly we are in a time of great challenges in terms of ecology, technology and societal changes that are shaking the moorings of what we regard as world civilization. While there is no end of the world in sight, the negative karmas of our civilization out of balance are strongly manifesting, until we deal with them in a  responsible manner. For this new global karmic rectification the wisdom of Vedic knowledge systems, notably Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology remains crucial and can lead us to a transformative future.


Our civilization will likely experience several years of turbulence, uncertainty, and confusion before a clear light emerges for humanity overall. 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 forced to change the values of our civilization that is far removed from nature and the Divine Self within us.


Calamities, both manmade and natural, are likely to increase, as well as increased physical and psychological vulnerability in society. Yet even if these difficulties are only as much as in previous centuries, they can be more significant in their consequences 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 compassionate science, humanism and cultural renaissance reflecting dharmic values. The coronavirus is a key indicator of this process but not the only factor.


Until such a higher change occurs, we may see an increasing Brave New World scenario of media, high tech and drug-based social control, social disruption, terrorism, new diseases and epidemics, and population displacement if not decline. 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 must 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. There is a greater danger of new physical and psychological diseases as our individual immune systems decline along with the disruption of our natural environment.


Astrological Indications – Conjunction with the Galactic Center


Overall, the main astrological event dominating our times remains the conjunction of the the point 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, which cannot be reduced to a particular year.


The great Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda in his special Yuga theory, which he derived from his guru Sri Yukteswar, indicated that humanity has moved astrologically from the dark age of Kali Yuga to the brighter age of Dwapara, a process completed around 1900 AD with the notable technological gains of that time. This may cause us to raise our hopes in the current historical situation.


However, Yogananda noted that Dwapara Yuga can be a dangerous period in which the development of new technologies can proceed 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 that are more dangerous than those under Kali Yuga, which had 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 now in the middle of this. The dangers of Dwapara Yuga should not be underestimated, particularly during these initial phases, as we experienced in the twentieth century with World War I, World War II and the Cold War, which were Dwapara type technological conflicts. Our new media and high tech conflicts and confrontations are also new Dwapara events.


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 may be more positive in some ways this can take more 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 that offers little security. Our population is 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 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 the wisdom to guide society. It is often connected to vested economic and political interests and new powerful social control potentials. Overall our civilization, with its high degree of centralization and interdependency, remains more vulnerable than previous eras. Now a major war, environmental, health or economic disaster in one country can send off shock waves that can disrupt the entire world order.


Yet we must a remember that 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 the most 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.


As a counter trend, 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, Vedanta, Buddhism and meditation, mystical approaches, native traditions, alternative, and natural medicine like Ayurveda reflects this. Pro-environment and ecological forces 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. Yet at the same time, adharmic and unspiritual forces are getting more powerful and sophisticated, spreading through the media and promoting violence, determined to cause  disruption. The battleground between these opposite forces is developing.


What Do We See for the Future?


A difficult Kalasarpa or Serpent of Time Yoga (combination with all the planets located between the lunar nodes Rahu and Ketu) has marked 2020 with epidemic disease, psychological malaise, paranoia, civil unrest and social change, with a new idealism in some places and old prejudices in others. It will decline somewhat over time but there will be new challenges throughout this year, which is likely to be set the tone of the future century.


Presently as of September 2020 this Kalasarpa Yoga has come to an end by way of transits but its influence remains in the yearly charts. Other difficult astrological combinations are coming as well. The winter solstice of December 2020 is marked by a Saturn-Jupiter conjunction and solar eclipse, with Jupiter near its maximum point of debility, showing the danger of large scale political and economic turmoil or division, which will likely influence the next twenty years until the following Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. The contentious American presidential election of November 2020 occurs just before this.


We are looking to a new post-covid world order but uncertain if it will bring spiritual freedom or simply greater social control. A new economic order is required as jobs continue to disappear, with many becoming automated or computerized. Schools and universities are going online, reducing their physical presence. New creative thinking is required, not simply getting caught in negativity or emotional reaction.


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 global terrorism and 2008 with economic dangers. 2020-2028 will be a period of increased disruptions 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 may be over, but the shadow of these 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, both 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 a greater polarization in society. 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, Vedanta, Ayurveda 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 have spiritual movements and a visionary aspiration in a few. Hopefully, the new spiritual elite can overcome the Asuric (egoistic) tendencies of our current culture and bring in more compassion and devotion.


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 ten years that can hopefully hold steady through these storms. If so, India can be a guide for all humanity how to integrate science and consciousness-based spirituality.


In any case, humanity is in for a great deal 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 remain 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.



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