Scientific theories about time and the evolution of human life, and religious concepts about the same have for long been subjects of heated debate. Evolutionary theory says life on earth originated about 3.7 billion years ago and then evolved, as Charles Darwin has theorised, by a process of natural selection. Prehistoric man is said to have evolved from apes and progressed, according to archaeological chronology, from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age and Iron Age in terms of the ability to extract metals from ores and manufacture implements from them. Extending this chronology to the present times we can say that humanity is now in the space age.
Rapid advances in science and technology over the past century have transformed our lives, but the challenges facing humanity have also become more complex and varied, spurring humans to push further the frontiers of science. Futurists speak of humans living on synthetic food, getting transplanted with manufactured organs and colonising outer space in future. However, nobody has a clear vision of where our ‘progress’ will lead eventually. There is just hope that science will find the answers to all our problems and life will carry on. Religious concepts of time speak of the creation of humanity by God and a gradual moral decline of humankind, culminating in an apocalypse or Last Judgement, after which different eschatological traditions speak of various scenarios for human souls. Such scenarios, too, do not give a convincing or complete picture of what will eventually happen to human souls or life on Earth as we know it.
However, the spiritual concept of cyclical repetition of time is an exception. The cycle of time tells us that what we call life is a drama taking place on the vast stage of the Earth, with souls as actors and the elements of nature too playing an active role. This drama begins in the Golden Age, when human souls as well as nature are in their perfect state and live a life of complete happiness. Not all human souls are present in the world at this time, as each comes from the soul world to play its role in this drama at its own appointed time. Over the Golden and Silver Ages (Satyug and Treta) the souls lose some of their spiritual power but are still free of all sorrow.
By the time the Copper Age (Dwapar Yug) begins, the souls forget their true identity and start to identify themselves with their bodies. This body-consciousness gives rise to vices such as lust, anger, ego, greed and attachment, which corrupt the thinking, speech and actions of souls, leading to pain and sorrow. The degradation of souls and their actions also affects the forces of nature, which start becoming violent and causing natural disasters. By the end of the Iron Age (Kaliyug), when the wheel of time is about to complete a full circle and begin a new one, the souls — all of whom are now present on Earth — are completely in the grip of vices and desperately searching for ways to escape sorrow. This is when God intervenes to salvage humanity. God performs the task of eliminating all evil and restoring souls and nature to their original, pure state. He recreates heaven or the Golden Aged world out of the Iron Age. It is for this reason that He is referred to as the Destroyer and Creator.
God, the Supreme Soul, performs this task by helping human souls rid themselves of vices and making them instruments for transforming the world. He reminds humans of their true identity and teaches them Rajyoga — the way to connect mentally with God to draw His powers and virtues. For this, he incarnates in a human medium, who comes to be known as Brahma. God does not take birth like humans, as is shown in scriptures, and nor does He take the form of animals. And the very fact that He incarnates makes it clear that He is not omnipresent. He uses the human medium of Brahma to communicate with humans and give them spiritual knowledge… (continue in next blog post..)