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HOW TO GET FREE OF THE INFLUENCE OF KALI-YUGA
In spite of all the changes predicted to happen in society and on the planet, there are still many ways, material and spiritual, to stifle or even get free of Kali-yuga's influence. If we are going to change anything for the better, now is the time to work at it-while the Golden Age in Kali-yuga lasts. One of the first things we must understand is that a perfect civilization is based on working with valor while depending on the Supreme. The more godless we become, the more deteriorated and degraded society and this world will be due to allowing the influence of Kali-yuga to come in without any interference. Therefore, we all need to work for our existence, but we need to recognize that we also are dependent on nature, or the gifts of God. For example, a farmer may have planned and worked so hard to acquire full facility to grow food, such as getting land, seeds, and equipment. But he is not in control of the rain. Without proper rainfall all of his endeavors are fruitless. Therefore, he is dependent on the higher powers. So although wanting to be independent of everything is natural for people, this is not possible while living in this material world. We are all dependent on so many other beings and things to survive, including the laws of material nature. And, ultimately, it is the Supreme Being who is in charge of those laws. Therefore, the perfection of society is to work to contribute to family and society while depending on and working in harmony with the Supreme Will.The proper and peaceful view of human existence is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.8.40) where it states: "All these cities and villages are flourishing in all respects because the herbs and grains are in abundance, the trees are full of fruits, the rivers are flowing, the hills are full of minerals and the oceans full of wealth. And this is all due to the glance of the Supreme Being."
It is natural for humankind and all life on this planet to flourish and be happy by taking advantage of the gifts of nature, such as fruits, grains, vegetables, unpolluted rivers and lakes, fresh air, minerals, jewels, etc. All are supplied by the arrangement of the Supreme. However, if the world is sufficient in these items, then what is the need to hanker after large industrial projects that often exploit men and resources at the cost of destroying the planet and increasing unrest and dissatisfaction in society for the sake of acquiring money?
Often we can see that where there are many industrial businesses, such as mines, factories, workshops, and slaughterhouses, the area becomes dark, filthy and dungeon-like, with low-class residential quarters and slums. The attitudes of people in these areas often become low and miserable, with an increase in health problems. Whereas when residential and working areas are made to nurture our well-being, and include flower gardens, parks, reservoirs of water, and flowering trees, everything is brighter and more enjoyable. Thus, advancement of society should not be estimated solely by the growth of industry and technology. Such nieasures must at least include the development of the spiritual and finer characteristics of human beings. Otherwise, spending one's life in factories, slaughte-houses, and mills, simply dulls and deteriorates the finer sentiments of people aid poisons the environment in so many ways. Themore dependent we become on artificial necessities, the more vulnerable we are t( needless and artificial crises. True independence means being free from being dependent on such artificial needs. Such detachment and independence may be mort important than we think if we are to survive those changes that are predicted to happen on the planet and in society. Things we take for granted now may on< day be difficult to get. Jus as there is now the holistic view of health, there needs to be what I call "holisti; economics." The basis of holistic economics is considering economic development with the whole planet in mind. The principle of proper economic development, in the Vedic view, must be centered on land and cows, along with other nal necessities, such as food grains, fruits, milk, minerals, wood, jewels, clothin>, and housing. We all require these things to live. Therefore, all enterpiies based on these items can prosper in a natural way if they are used for the berefit of society and the planet without exploitative intentions. In this way, we can understand that the secret of a successful society is to take refuge under the protectbn of the Supreme, and to use the gifts of nature in the way they are meant to be uied-for the benefit of society and the planet.
Tie point is that there must be cooperation between humankind, nature, and God. Tus, however, depends on the consciousness of people and how spiritually evolvec they are. It is this full cooperation between humans, nature, and God that will brng happiness, peace, and prosperity in the world. The attitude of vicious compettion, envy, and the exploitation of one another and the planet for all that can be gotten from it, will only cause discontent and misery. Real prosperity and happiiess flourish on the gifts of nature, not on industrial enterprises. For exampe, even the powerful automotive industry depends on natural resources for its coninuation, such as metals, oil, chemicals, etc. Without these, there is no auto industy. And without the auto industry, many will lose their jobs. And without cars a vehicles for mass transit, our speed of transportation will certainly be reduced. So we are all directly or indirectly dependent on the gifts of nature.
Artificial forms of economic development based on factories producing artificial requirements for quick profits, and the bank's and government's methods of maiipulating the economy, have lead to a world of greed, envy, hunger for power and, ultimately, chaos and wars. Many history books relate the process of how vars have developed, but they often fail to point out the correct reasons for it, wheh are endeavors based on false economic advancement, the exploitation of the veak, and the lack of spiritual consciousness in the world. Spiritual conscousness includes the recognition that all of our rivers, oceans, forests, hills and nountains, and all of its resources are not creations of humankind that are to be ustd any way people want. These are the creations of the Supreme. There are mean; and systems of using these resources in a harmonious way for all involved. This is holistic economics. It is real economic development based on genuine needs of society and the well-being of the planet. It is the method by which we guarantee ourselves and the planet a bright future. Understanding and using the principle of holistic economics, and working in harmony with nature, is one way society can be free from the deteriorating effects of the age of Kali.
Now from the spiritual point of view, the Vedic literature naturally puts great emphasis on which spiritual knowledge is necessary to free ourselves from the effects of Kali-yuga. It also explains the method needed to reach a higher level of consciousness and enter a new dimension and higher vibratory level of existence. The Mahanirvana Tantra (4.57-69) explains that Kali-yuga cannot harm those who are purified by truth, who have conquered their passions and senses, are compassionate, devoted to the service of their guru, take care of their mothers and wives, are adherents to the true dharma, and faithful to the performance of its duties. The age of Kali cannot harm those who are free of malice, envy, arrogance, and hatred, and who keep the company of those who are spiritually knowledgeable. The Kali age cannot harm those who perform their penances, pilgrimages, devotions, and purificatory rituals. The age of Kali is but a slave to those who are free of crookedness and falsehood, devoted to the good of others, and who follow the ways of dharma [spiritual merit].
This may all sound quite lofty, so to help us in knowing the ways of true dharma and bring a change in the atmosphere and social environment, the Srimad Bhagavata-Mahatmya of the Padma Purana states that the Srimad-Bhagavatam was expounded in Kali-yuga to guide us and purify the minds of those who listen and learn from it. The Bhagavata-Mahatmya (1.9-12) says: "Suta replied: Saunaka, I shall disclose that which is the essence of all established conclusions. I shall tell you that which is capable of dispelling the fear of reincarnation, is prone to swell the tide of devotion, and is conducive to satisfying Lord Krishna. Hear it attentively. The holy scripture known by the name of Srimad-Bhagavatam was expounded in this age of Kali by the sage Shuka with the object of completely destroying the fear of being caught in the jaws of the serpent of time. There is no means other than this conducive to the purification of the mind. One gets to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam only when there is virtue earned in one's past lives."
In this way, we begin to understand the potency of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and why it is so effective for changing the atmosphere and spreading genuine spiritual knowledge in this age. In fact, the Bhagavata-Mahatmya (2.62-63) also states: "All these evils of Kali-yuga will surely disappear at the very chanting of Srimad-Bhagavatam, even as wolves take to flight at the very roar of a lion. Then Bhakti (devotion) and Jnana (knowledge) and Vairagya (detachment) will dance in every heart and in every home."
The Bhagavatam is considered so powerful that, "They [the seers and demigods] came to regard the holy book of Srimad-Bhagavatam as an embodiment °f the Lord Himself in the Kali age and capable of conferring the reward of speedy access to Vaikuntha (the divine spiritual realm) by merely being read or heard." (Bhagavata-Mahatmya, 1.20) Suta Gosvami states in the Bhagavatam (1.3.40) itself that, "This Srimad-Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of God, and is compiled by Srila Vyasadeva, the incarnation of God. It is meant for the ultimate good of all people, and it is all-successful, all-blissful and ill-perfect."
The Bhagavata-Mahatmya relate; many powerful characteristics of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. For example, it states (1.17) that an opportunity to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam is so uncommor in this world that even the demigods [residents on the higher planetary systems] consider it a rarity to hear it. The four Kumaras also state (Bhagavata-Maha'mya, 2.67) that the Bhagavatam is the essence of the Vedas and Upanishads. \nd (3.29) a house where it is read every day is a sacred place, and (3.33) if you seek the highest destiny, read even a quarter verse of it every day. An assortment of other verses are found that signify that reading Srimad-Bhagavatam is superior to everything else (3.32-39), is important for reaching a high destiny aid the spiritual world (3.40-41), and for gaining spiritual merit (3.30-31), and for making sure one's life is not wasted (3.42). Other verses explain the inroortance of taking advantage of the rare opportunity of hearing the Bhagavatam (3.44-50), and how focusing on reading or hearing it is superior to everythiig, including fasting, rituals, going on pilgrimage, or practicing yoga and meditation (3.50-51). In conclusion, Srila Vyasadeva himself says that the Bhagavatam is the mature fruit of all Vedic wisdom: "This Bhagavat Pur ana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krishna to his own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana." (Bhag.l.3A3)
The point of all this is that as you inderstand this spiritual science, you will automatically understand the other aspects of this material creation and you will have your own spiritual realizations abcut who and what you are and how you fit into the scheme of things. Just as when you have a million dollars all of your ten dollar problems are solved, similarly, jnce you begin to understand the highest levels of spiritual science you also undeistand the lower levels of existence. Thus, in order to spread as much light and spiritual knowledge in this age as possible, to counteract the pollution and conftsion that pervades this planet and the consciousness of society, and to relieve humanity of the influence of Kali, the use of and familiarity with this Srimad-Bhagavatam is of the utmost importance.