Chapter 4 The Kali Yuga
I would like to begin this chapter with an excerpt about the Kali Yuga from the book The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti, and the Secret Way by Julius Evola. It will serve as an introduction to some of the concepts that I would like to address in this chapter.
The intent was to convey the idea that Tantrism represents an extension or a further development of those traditional teachings originally found in the Vedas and later articulated in the Brahmanas, the Upanishads, and the Puranas. That is why the Tantras have claimed for themselves the dignity befitting a “fifth Veda,” that is, a further revelation beyond what is found in the traditional four Vedas. To this they added a reference to the doctrine of the four ages (Yugas) of the world. It is claimed that the teachings, rites, and disciplines that would have been viable in the first age (the Krita or Satya Yuga, the equivalent of Hesiod’s “Golden age”) are no longer fit for people living in the following ages, especially in the last age, the “dark age” (Kali Yuga, the “Iron Age,” the “Age of the Wolf” in the Edda). Mankind in these later ages may find knowledge, a worldview, rituals, and adequate practices for elevating humans over and beyond their condition and for overcoming death (mrityun javate), not in the Vedas and in other strictly traditional texts, but rather in the Tantras and in the Agamas. It is stated therefore that only Tantric practices based on Shakti (shakti-sadhana) are suitable and efficacious in our contemporary age: all the others are considered to be as powerless as a snake deprived of its poison.
Although Tantrism is far from rejecting ancient wisdom, it is characterized by a reaction against (1) a hollow and stereotypical ritualism, (2) mere speculation or contemplation, and (3) any asceticism of a unilateral, mortifying, and penitential nature. It opposes to contemplation a path of action, of practical realization, and of direct experience. It’s password is practice (sadhana, abhyasa). This runs on the lines of what may be designated the “dry way,” resembling the original Buddhist doctrine of the awakening, with its reaction against a degenerated brahmanism and its dislike of speculations and hollow ritualism. One among the many Tantric texts remarks rather significantly:
It is a womanly thing to establish superiority through convincing arguments; it is a manly thing to conquer the world through one’s power. Reasoning, argument, and inference may be the work of other schools [shastras]; but the work of the Tantra is to accomplish super human and divine events through the force of their own words of power [mantras].
The special virtue of the Tantras lies in its mode of Sadhana. It is neither mere worship [upasana] nor prayer. It is not limiting or contrition or repentance before the Deity. It is the Sadhana which is the union of Purusha and Prakrti; the Sadhana which joins the Male Principal and the Mother Element within the body, and strives to make the attributed attributeless… This Sadhana is to be performed through the awakening of the forces within the body… This is not mere “philosophy,” a mere attempt to ponder upon the husks of words, but something which is to be done in a thoroughly practical manner. The Tantras say: “begin practicing under the guidance of a good Guru; if you do not obtain favorable results immediately, you can freely give it up.”
Thus Tantras often employ an analogy taken from medicine: the efficacy of the doctrine, like a drug, is proved by the results it produces, and in this particular case, by the siddhis, or powers, that it grants. Another text says: “Yoga siddhis are not obtained by wearing yoga garments or by conversation about yoga, but only through tireless practice. This is the secret of success. There is no doubt about it.”
In the previous quotation referring to the body, another important point was alluded to. The analysis of the last age, the “dark age” or Kali Yuga, brings to light two essential features. The first is that mankind living in this age is strictly connected to the body and cannot prescind from it; therefore, the only way open is not that of pure detachment (as in early Buddhism and in the many varieties of yoga) but rather that of knowledge, awakening, and mastery over secret energies trapped in the body. The second characteristic is that of the dissolution typical of this age. During the Kali Yuga, the bull of Dharma stands on only one foot (it lost the other three during the previous three ages). This means that the traditional law (Dharma) is wavering, is reduced to a shadow of its former self, and seems to be almost succumbing. During Kali Yuga, however, the goddess Kali, who was asleep in the previous ages, is now fully awake. I will write at greater length about Kali, a prominent Tantric goddess, in the following pages; for now, let us say that this symbolism implies that during the last age elementary, infernal, and even abyssal forces are untrammeled. The immediate task consists in facing and absorbing these forces, in taking the risk of “riding the tiger,” to use a Chinese expression that may best describe this situation, or “to transform the poison into medicine,” according to a Tantric expression. Hence the rituals and special practices of what has been named Left-Hand Tantrism, or the Path of the Left Hand (Vama-marga), which despite some problematic aspects (orgies, use of sex, etc.) represents one of the most interesting forms within the trend analyzed in this study.
It is therefore stated – and this is significant – that considering the situation of the Kali Yuga, teachings that were previously kept secret may now be revealed in different degrees, though a word of caution is issued concerning the danger they may represent for those who are not initiated. Hence what we have so far mentioned: the emergence, in Tantrism, of esoteric and initiatory teaching.
A third point must be emphasized. In Tantrism the passage from the ideal of “liberation” to that of “freedom” marks an essential change in the ideals and ethics of Hinduism. It is true that even previously the ideal of the jivanmukta had been known. The word means “one who is freed,” that is, the one who has achieved the unconditioned, the sahaja, while alive, in his own body. Tantrism introduces a specification, however: to the existential condition of mankind living in the last age, it relates the overcoming of the anti-thesis between enjoyment of the world and the ascesis, or yoga, which is spiritual aimed at liberation. “In the other schools – thus claim the Tantras – one excludes the other, but in the path we follow these opposites meet.” In other words, a discipline is developed that allows one to be free and invulnerable even while enjoying the world, or anything the world may offer. In the meantime, the world ceases to be seen in terms of maya – that is, pure appearance, illusion, or mirage – as is the case in Vedantic philosophy. The world is not maya but power. This paradoxical coexistence of freedom, or of the dimension of transcendence in oneself, and enjoyment of the world, of freely experimenting with the world’s pleasures, carries the strictest relation with Tantrism’s formula and main goal: the union of the impassive Shiva with the ardent Shakti in one’s being and at all levels of reality.
This leads us to consider a further fundamental element of Tantrism, namely, Shaktism. In the complex movement called Tantrism, the central role was played by the emergence and predominance of the figure and of the symbol of a goddess or divine woman, Shakti, in its various epiphanies (especially under the forms of Kali and Durga). She may be either portrayed by herself, as the supreme principle of the universe, or reproduced under the species of multiple Shakti’s, that is, female divinities who accompany male Hindu gods (who had enjoyed a greater autonomy in the previous era), and even various Buddhas and bodhisattvas of late Buddhism. This marks the emergence in a thousand forms of the motif of divine couples, in which the feminine, Shaktic element enjoys a great role, to the point of becoming the predominant element in some of its currents.
The Kali Yuga is an age and according to ancient texts it is considered the last age of a great cycle. Tantrism is a specialized sacred practice of soul development and spirituality during this last age. In fact, it is believed that no other spiritual or religious doctrines and practices are effective during this time. In fact, “all the others are considered to be as powerless as a snake deprived of its poison”. This is a very strong statement to make and should be considered carefully. It is against superficial and empty religious practices, against speculation, meditation, and suffering or penitence of any kind.
This practice involves the joining of male and female energies within the body and is not theoretical, but eminently practical and giving immediate results. Again these are strong words to be considered carefully. Tantrism is clearly a path of action.
Another final point is made. Tantrism is so powerful and dangerous it is to be kept secret in all the other ages and only made available during the Kali Yuga.
This brings up the main question, is the current age which we are living in representative of the Kali Yuga? It also brings up a second question, if so, why are the secret teachings of Tantrism not widely known in today’s world?
It is accepted that approximately every two thousand years a new and higher vibrational energy is introduced into our world. We speak of this as happening with a change from one sign of the zodiac to another. We have just left the age of Pisces and entered the age of Aquarius. A great cycle is considered one complete trip around the zodiac.
What is not so widely known is that each age brings in a totally new energy and causes the activation of that energy center or chakra within the human body. The last two thousand years has been dominated by concrete spiritual energy, archetypal thinking, Christianity, Christ Consciousness and the development of the third eye. The cycle previous to the last was dominated by abstract mental energy, philosophy, logic and reason, reading and writing, development of the soul or observer self and the throat chakra.
With the advent of each new age the energies of the old age are always considered evil and corrupt. They are considered satanic. Followers of the old energies have always been persecuted. During the last age or Christian era “faith” was most important, not scientific or logical proof. Hairsplitting dialectic arguments were frowned upon as making a mockery of spiritual truths. Both the Jews and the Irish at various points in their history were highly literate and suffered greatly because of it. The power of the last age was not in mental creations but in spiritual creations.
The current age, the age of Aquarius, brings in a completely new energy that is higher and more powerful than that of the last age, the Christian age. This is the energy and vibration of unity, the level at which all things merge into spiritual light. It is also the nuclear threshold were mass and energy can be converted for peace or destruction. This is the level of the crown chakra and at this level all opposites are resolved and duality no longer exists. So the next two thousand years will be dominated by the powerful energies of unity and the crown chakra.
Unfortunately, these energies are not accessible to very many lifeforms. In fact these energies are not accessible to very many humans! So there seems to be a great discrepancy here. What do the energies of Christianity, the third eye and spiritual faith have to do with the Kali Yuga? The last age? More importantly, what do the energies of unity and the crown chakra have to do with the Kali Yuga? It seems that the energies of the Kali Yuga are the lowest possible energies and not the highest possible energies! It would seem that we are heading toward a golden age and not a dark age!
There is also the question of Gaia’s ascension. How is it that Gaia can ascend on the energies of unity and the crown chakra? The lower life forms on Gaia’s surface have no access to such high vibratory energies. How can this mystery be resolved?
The answer lies in the cosmic keyboard itself. There are two types of energies that dominate this new age! They are harmonics and octaves of each other and vibrate in unison as one single energy. They are the highest and the lowest energies possible! The other energy is the vital organic energy of life itself, sexual orgasm energy and it is utilized by all life forms. This energy is the garden of Eden energy and the energy that fuels Gaia’s ascension. It manifests through the DNA and cellular life of all living things.
Those lifeforms that cannot access the unity and crown chakra energies have free access to this lower vital life force energy! It is abundantly available to all living things. This is sexual orgasm energy! This is Tantric energy! This is the energy of the male and female combined! This is the energy of Divine counterparts!
Suddenly things have changed. For those accustomed to the spiritual energies of the third eye and Christianity, or even to the lower mental energies of the throat chakra, to logic and reason and philosophical speculations, these Tantric energies seem of no consequence and unimportant. They are not taken seriously. But they should be! These old energies are no longer effective in developing the soul or raising the human condition. They are no longer useful for true empowerment! For those unable to access the unity energies of the crown chakra the next two thousand years is the dark age, the Kali Yuga, the age of dissolution. The only path available for the development of the soul is Tantrism! For those that can do this earth will become the new garden of Eden!
This is the age when gods and goddesses will once more walk upon the earth and mingle with ordinary mortals! These gods and goddesses will be divine counterparts whose individual awarenesses will include the full spectrum of existence, the highest and the lowest of energies and reveal the complete mysteries of love and sexuality!