In the last 2,000 years of the Age of Pisces, the Ageless Wisdom teaching tells us, humanity has acquired the new qualities of individuality and idealism. And while these qualities are essential for manifesting our fundamental oneness, the current unbalanced emphasis they receive in the way we have organized society around the need to compete for a living has led the world to the edge of the abyss.
For, if we look at the state of the world in 2018, when eight individuals are now as wealthy as the poorest 50 percent of humanity (Oxfam), while more than a billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day, and more and more people are employed on less-than-living wages, we can see how the ruthless expression of both individuality and idealism has reached its apex — with their respective vices of separateness and extremism reinforcing each other in a dysfunctional system where competition has become a necessity and greed a virtue.
At the same time, in the face of growing injustice and human suffering, we see all around us a marked movement towards the expression of unity and synthesis — the qualities of the new age of Aquarius.
Apparently, inwardly, perhaps subconsciously, we know that we are one species, one race, but as we experience on a daily basis, our present societal structures do not allow us to express this oneness, which has led the world to the current crisis that manifests most visibly in the socio-economic field where injustice towards fellow human beings as well as the Earth is rampant.
As a result of this dichotomy, humanity is deeply polarized about which way to take from here. Those who are steeped in the old ways want to hold on to what they know and argue for reinforced separation between groups and greater competition, inviting ever more conflict. Others are looking to find new ways towards greater openness, inclusion, justice and cooperation.
As we look for guidance, it is interesting to see that the essence of all the major religions — the original teachings minus the man-made dogma that was added later — share several crucial points of agreement that have always been available to point humanity the way out of our perplexity. In summary, all the major religions agree on a cyclical revelation through the return of a Teacher at the beginning or end of each cosmic cycle or Age, about the source and expansion of consciousness, which needs to be given expression by living according to the Golden Rule to establish right human relations.
Students of the Ageless Wisdom teaching will immediately recognize three major laws in this iteration that have been held before humanity by our Teachers since time immemorial: the Law of Cyclic Return, the Law of Evolution and the Law of Harmlessness.
The Law of Cyclic Return
The first of these Laws should sound familiar for most followers of any of the five major religions in terms of the various prophecies about the return of a Teacher: Christians are waiting for the Second Coming, Jews are still waiting for the Messiah, Buddhists expect Maitreya Buddha, Hindus the 10th incarnation of Vishnu, or Kalki Avatar, while sections of Islam await the 12th Mahdi, Imam Mahdi.
Seeing the pronouncements from the ancient scriptures in concert provides a powerful confirmation of this esoteric Law of Cyclic Return:
• Hinduism: “Whenever there is a withering of the law and an uprising of lawlessness on all sides, then I manifest myself. For the salvation of the righteous and the destruction of such as do evil, for the firm establishing of the Law, I come to birth age after age.” — Krishna (Bhagavad Gita, Book iv, Sutra 7 & 8)
“…At the conjunction of two yugas, the Lord of the creation will take His birth as the Kalki incarnation and become the son of Vishnuyasha. At this time the rulers of the earth will have degenerated into plunderers.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.3.25)
“When the practices taught in the Vedas and institutes of law have nearly ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, a portion of that divine being who exists of His own spiritual nature, and who is the beginning and end, and who comprehends all things, shall descend upon earth.” (Vishnu Purana, Book Four, Chapter 24)
• Judaism: “…His name shall be called ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness, from this time forth and for ever more. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9.6-7)
“With the footprints [heralding] the Messiah, presumptions shall increase and dearth reach its height; the vine shall yield its fruit but the wine shall be costly; and the empire shall fall into heresy and there shall be none to utter reproof. The academies shall be given to fornication, and…the wisdom of the scribes shall become insipid, and they that shun sin shall be deemed contemptible, and truth shall nowhere be found. Children shall shame the elders, and the elders shall rise up before the children….” (Mishnah, Sota 9.15)
• Buddhism: “Now in those days, brethren, there shall arise in the world an Exalted One by name Maitreya (the Kindly One) an Arhat, a Fully Enlightened One, endowed with wisdom and righteousness, a Happy One, a World-knower, the Peerless Charioteer of men to be tamed, a teacher of the devas (angels) and mankind, an Exalted One, a Buddha like myself. …He shall proclaim the norm, lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, and lovely in the end thereof. He shall make known the wholly perfect life of righteousness in all its purity, both in the spirit and in the letter of it, even as I do now. He shall lead an Order of Brethren numbering many thousands, even as I do now lead an order of Brethren numbering many hundreds.” — Gautama Buddha (Digha Nikaya, iii.76)
• Christianity: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory…. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” — Jesus (Matthew 24:30, 33)
• Islam: “Even if only a day remains for Qiyamah [the resurrection] to come, yet Allah will surely send a man from my family who will fill this world with such justice and fairness, just as it initially was filled with oppression.” — The Prophet (3rd Hadith)
“The promised Mahdi will be among my family. God will make the provisions for his emergence within a single night.” — Mohammed (6th Hadith)
The Law of Evolution
The Law of Evolution, the evolution of consciousness on its path to realize ultimately its essential oneness with the Source, can also be found in the scriptures of every religious tradition:
• According to Hinduism: In order to attain liberation from the world one must achieve wholeness, i.e. a human being must acquire self-knowledge about one’s true self (Atman) and realize that it is identical with the transcendent Self, Brahman, or the ultimate Reality.
As Sri Krishna says: “The soul is the cause of movement, but does not itself move. The soul is one, yet has innumerable forms. The soul creates, preserves, and destroys. The soul is the light of every light; and its light transcends the duality of brightness and darkness. The soul is the light of knowledge; and its light is also the goal of knowledge. In the soul the subject and object of knowledge are one.” (Bhagavad Gita 13.12-17)
• Judaism: In Jewish mysticism the Zohar sees the building of the Tabernacle as a symbol of our growing unity. In the Book of Exodus, the Tabernacle is God’s dwelling place among the Israelite camp during their wanderings, and students of the Ageless Wisdom teaching will not find it a leap to see this as an allegory for the gradual return to perfection through the soul’s many incarnations on the path of return to perfection, to unity with the Source. While the Tabernacle was made up of many parts, when they were all properly fitted together “the Tabernacle was one.” (Exodus 26:6)
• In Buddhism: The evolution of consciousness is expressed as achieving the cessation of thought: “Just this noble eightfold path: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. That is the ancient path, the ancient road, traveled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times. I followed that path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of aging and death, direct knowledge of the origination of aging and death, direct knowledge of the cessation of aging and death, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of aging and death. I followed that path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of birth…becoming…clinging…craving…feeling…contact…the six sense media…name-and-form…consciousness, direct knowledge of the origination of consciousness, direct knowledge of the cessation of consciousness, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of consciousness. I followed that path.” — Gautama Buddha (Nagara Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya ii.124)
• In Christianity: A very similar concept occurs when Jesus encourages us to apply and sharpen our conscious faculties: “…And why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:57). In Matthew we read that with a limited perception of life and reality “people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed…. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (Matthew 13:11,15-17). Also, when Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” the Wisdom student understands He refers to our growing identification with and expression of our innate divinity.
• According to Islam: God is visible only to the inward sight of the “heart.” In Sufism, the mystical approach to Islam, followers seek to find a direct personal experience of God by strengthening the heart’s connection to the Divine. This is called the “opening of the heart” so that one becomes re-united with the Divine or “lost in love for God.” As if pointing directly to the expansion or evolution of consciousness, Jalaluddin Rumi says that man cannot know God by the senses, “for He is immaterial; nor by the intellect, for He is unthinkable. Logic never gets beyond the finite; philosophy sees double; book-learning fosters self-conceit and obscures the idea of the Truth with clouds of empty words.” “Look in your own heart,” says the Sufi, “for the kingdom of God is within you.” (A. Reynold Nicholson, The Mystics of Islam)
The Law of Harmlessness
Expanding our consciousness to restore our awareness of our innate divinity, by living the Laws of Life that come to us through cyclical revelation, we must necessarily also expand our awareness to include the well-being of our fellow man, wherever he may be. Therefore, any true expression of this growth in consciousness must manifest itself in right human relations through the Law of Harmlessness, better known around the world as the Golden Rule.
• Hinduism: “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of Righteousness.” (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8)
• Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Law; all the rest is commentary.” (Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a)
• Buddhism: “Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” — Gautama Buddha (Udana-Varga 5:18)
• Christianity: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” — Jesus (Matthew 7:12)
• Islam: “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for your brothers what you wish for yourself.” — Mohammed (An-Nawawi, 13th Hadith)
Indeed, this Golden Rule is so ingrained in our being as our highest aspiration, that it is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, paragraph 1: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
As the growing global tensions that result from economic oppression and mass migration clearly show, this Article is more fundamental to securing a sustainable future for humanity than is currently recognized. For only the establishment of right human relations and the restoration of justice in the world will provide a safe roadmap out of the crisis in consciousness that is holding back mankind from manifesting the next stage in the unfoldment of our innate divinity as the essence of humanity at this crossroads between two Ages.