Though humanity has always indulged in drugs as a way of escaping from a life that seemed to them so meaningless, its usage and acceptance has increased manifold since the sixties. It was a period when the counterculture movement started and the youth began to look for alternate world views and ways of life. It was a period when Reason and Science were fully in the ascendancy, while the religious impulse was looked down upon by the modern rational man as something inferior or superstitious, the sign of an underdeveloped humanity. This wave of rational analytical thought, of technology and industry and democracy was rising like a tsunami, creating a world where cold material intellect was the judge and the heart, its tender feelings had no or a little place. It was either the analytical mind or the blind play of passions as a pastime for relaxation. This passion play was regarded as love though it was as far from love as the sky or mountain peaks from the turbulent ocean waves trying to reach the heights. The early part of the century had already witnessed an Asuric humanity at its worst as a result of this scientific industrial revolution with money and greed and lust at the centre. Whatever good was there, – and no doubt goodness and good people were always there, but they were rather ineffective in dealing with the advancing machinery of Science that looked upon man as a mere machine and the body as the beginning and end of all things. Then the two wars came in and destroyed almost all that humanity ever valued and cherished. It was like the proverbial nail in the coffin. A sudden loss of values, a depravity of human feelings, a civilisational collapse, a breakdown of the family system, a dwindling of the religious impulse, a widespread cynicism was the result.
It was during this period that the drug and counterculture movements started in a big way. Yet this near total collapse of the old civilisation had its own value. In fact, it collapsed because it had turned into a mechanical system wherein the spirit that gave birth to it had retired into silence and all that was left was a dead carapace. As new kind of humanity began to arise out of the old like the snake changing its covering, it began to throw out whatever remnant were left of the old. It was clearly a transition from the old to the new age. Feminism, search for new paradigms, a growing interest in spiritual aspiration replacing religion, experimentation with new forms of art and music, a new individualistic and subjective rather than socially driven morality began to emerge. A great confusion prevailed and still does as we transit from the old to the new Age. As we know the forces of disorder and confusion find easy entry when this transition happens which is what we are seeing today.
What then is the remedy? Clearly, we cannot go back to the good old days and the values that our grandfathers cherished. That is gone and gone for good. It is God who has broken it because He has a greater plan for us. It is this greater plan, the new way towards which we must move with courage and confidence knowing that ultimately it is God who is the true leader of humanity. He knows His steps and a great Wisdom hides itself behind the mask of chance events. We must explore this new light that is dawning upon man and instead of lamenting for the night start preparing for the daybreak of the greater Gods.
Which Gods shall rule the New Creation?
First, Love since these children are badly deprived of love. Everybody from parents and teachers and society has been busy counting their marks and defining them with their position in class room. Deprived of love which is the only true authentic source of joy these children are turning to drugs and partying to find outside what lies concealed within their own heart.
Next, Light since they know not the meaning of life anymore. Science has told them about processes and the how but not the why. Religion has gone and with the illusion of knowledge they are robbed of the wonder of a child. They are literally in an existential crisis or a spiritual emergency as it is now called. Religion cannot and should not come back, not in its old forms and institutions that became themselves hotbeds for evil. It is the age of spirituality which is what they are looking for. But we end up giving them religious sermons which the new age has already rejected.
Thirdly, we need to respect the demand of the age which cannot be limited to a standardized idea of social conformity, moral rules determined by others and a rational order of things. They need to discover their own intuition about what is true and good and beautiful. that is where they need help and assistance.
Finally, the need to expand the mind and discover alternate realities can be satisfied through meditative practices and other methods that are coming up in a big way to open doors to newer possibilities of life and action and not only of thought and feelings. There is a need to enter these aspects of life which will lead to new paradigms in psychology, medicine, education by freeing us from this imprisoning thought that man is nothing else than a bundle of chemicals and life is nothing else but a dance of atoms in empty space.
These are just some of the beginnings. In any case we should never lose hope since according to the Hindu faith and experience God dwells within creation and in every human being. If this be so as indeed all spiritual experience affirms then He surely knows His way must be much more concerned about what is going on here than any or all of us. The difference of course is that He knows the way and hence He smiles at the play. We don’t and hence we are troubled. Yet Wisdom can dawn by growing one with the Divine and greater possibilities can emerge to carry us beyond our present humanity towards the superhumanity of the future. Man may be redundant but not the ways of God. There are many things hidden behind the mask of Nature and the last act of the grand cosmic play is not yet over. In fact, it has just begun.
Let’s close with few lines from Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri which always brings Hope with the promise and assurance of a new and diviner future for earth and humanity:
A giant dance of Shiva tore the past;
There was a thunder as of worlds that fall;
Earth was o’errun with fire and the roar of Death
Clamouring to slay a world his hunger had made;
There was a clangour of Destruction’s wings:
The Titan’s battle-cry was in my ears,
Alarm and rumour shook the armoured Night.
I saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers
Over the heavenly verge which turns towards life
Come crowding down the amber stairs of birth;
Forerunners of a divine multitude,
Out of the paths of the morning star they came
Into the little room of mortal life.
I saw them cross the twilight of an age,
The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn,
The great creators with wide brows of calm,
The massive barrier-breakers of the world
And wrestlers with destiny in her lists of will,
The labourers in the quarries of the gods,
The messengers of the Incommunicable,
The architects of immortality.
Into the fallen human sphere they came,
Faces that wore the Immortal’s glory still,
Voices that communed still with the thoughts of God,
Bodies made beautiful by the spirit’s light,
Carrying the magic word, the mystic fire,
Carrying the Dionysian cup of joy,
Approaching eyes of a diviner man,
Lips chanting an unknown anthem of the soul,
Feet echoing in the corridors of Time.
High priests of wisdom, sweetness, might and bliss,
Discoverers of beauty’s sunlit ways
And swimmers of Love’s laughing fiery floods
And dancers within rapture’s golden doors,
Their tread one day shall change the suffering earth
And justify the light on Nature’s face.
Although Fate lingers in the high Beyond
And the work seems vain on which our heart’s force was spent,
All shall be done for which our pain was borne.
Even as of old man came behind the beast
This high divine successor surely shall come
Behind man’s inefficient mortal pace,
Behind his vain labour, sweat and blood and tears:
He shall know what mortal mind barely durst think,
He shall do what the heart of the mortal could not dare.
Inheritor of the toil of human time,
He shall take on him the burden of the gods;
All heavenly light shall visit the earth’s thoughts,
The might of heaven shall fortify earthly hearts;
Earth’s deeds shall touch the superhuman’s height,
Earth’s seeing widen into the infinite.