It is said,
`Sam'ghe shaktih kalao yuge.'
In Kali Yuga, that is, in the so-called `Iron Age', the real strength lies in an organised body.
That means to say people should live unitedly. Why?
In early human history, in the so-called `Golden Age' or Satya Yuga, in the dawn of human civilization, human beings accepted dharma with complete sincerity. The attainment of átman or soul was the only cherished goal of these ancient people. They would live for their átman and die for their átman. Regarding the right to do spiritual practices, they would not discriminate between anyone, not even between friend or foe. They tolerated everyone. They would even give special opportunities to their sworn enemies to learn spiritual practices. In this regard, they never lost their collective spirit.
The next age was called Tretá Yuga, the so-called `Silver Age'. In this age the attainment of átman was no longer the dominant factor - people became more obsessed with their minds. In other words, there was a slight degeneration. Even so, they still helped each other to ensure their collective progress. They, too, did not discriminate between friend or foe and never harmed great scholars or learned people in any way. They were conscious of the need for justice. As they had a common collective goal in the spiritual sphere of life, they did not feel the necessity for any organised body and they did not suffer as a result. In the Tretá Yuga human beings became more mind-orientated.
However, as time passed, the differences of opinion amongst members of the society greatly increased. You all know that among learned people, differences of opinion are common.
`Shrutayo vibhinnáh smrtayo vibhinnáh
[`The scriptures vary, social codes differ;
Due to these differences, there was a further degeneration and humanity entered the Dvápara Yuga, the so-called `Copper Age'. People became more body-orientated. At the least provocation they would annihilate their enemies. It is evident that body-orientated creatures are more degenerated than mind-orientated creatures.
Then came Kali Yuga, the present age. People of this age are food-orientated and grossly materialistic. Eating plays such an important part in their lives that, if there is a shortage of food, they think they will surely die. Their existence is so dependent upon food that they become feeble and lose their stamina to continue vigorous spiritual practices.
You should not depend on food too much. This is why I have prescribed fasting on four days a month for some people and two days a month for others, and personally I have proved by fasting for five years and eight months at a stretch that if people try, they can remain without food. If one's dependence on food decreases, one will gain more freedom in a particular aspect of life.
In Kali Yuga, as I have said, people are too obsessed with food and other material objects. That is why it is said, `Sam'ghe shaktih kaloa yuge.' It is impossible to solve singlehandedly the acute problems of food, medical care, housing and education which we are confronted with today. This requires a collective, organized effort following the spirit of
`devábhágam' yathá pu'rve'
[in the olden days the gods used to share their food].
With this end in view I have formulated a socio-economic philosophy. The sooner you are able to collectively implement that philosophy, the better it will be for society. At the same time you should always remember to exercise control over food. Do not depend upon food too much.
Personally, I do not believe in this division of time into the Satya, Tretá, Dvápara and Kali Yugas, although I do admit that there is some truth in the underlying spirit. You should always remember that Kali Yuga, when people are continually obsessed by food, is also a transitional phase and will be followed by a new Satya Yuga when people will again be more soul-orientated, Satya Yuga will start as soon as you implement the socio-economic ideology. By your collective efforts let Satya Yuga be established on this dusty Earth as soon as possible. May you be victorious.
30 December 1978, Patna