T h e    D a w n

O f   T h e   T h i r d   M i l l e n i u m

– H.  H.   S r i   S w a m i   C h i d a n a n d a


Monday, December 28, 1998

Radiant Divinity!

Beloved Brethren in the fraternity of the spirit,

Salutations and Adorations. Accept my goodwishes and special greetings for the NEW YEAR 1999 that is just 72 hours away. Because, I write this on Monday, 28th December and it is now nearing the midnight hour. May this New Year be specially blessed by the ONE GOD of all religions as the commencement of this year signals the conclusion of the 20th century leading to the dawn of the third millennium.

May the lessons learnt by humanity during this 20th century enable it to start living with greater wisdom, tolerance, better understanding, mutual cooperation, harmony and sympathetic consideration of views and opinions of their fellow beings. This is my prayer to the one Universal Divine Spirit in whom we find our oneness as He is the one common source and origin of our very existence.

This present letter is actually a continuation of my previous letter which I had clearly stated was incomplete. I had said that I had many more things to say and that I would say them in my next letter. You will see for yourself if you refer to my concluding paragraph of that 1st letter.

"sympathetic consideration of views
and opinions of . . . fellow beings.
This is my prayer "

In the year 1950 Holy Master Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj went on an All India Spiritual Tour that took him from his Ashram in the Himalayas through out India all the way to the south right-down to Kanyakumari to proclaim the message of peace, goodwill and spiritual brotherhood, unity of all mankind.

Next year would be the Golden Jubilee year of this memorable All India Spiritual tour. A sincere devotee of Hyderabad who is a senior advocate in the twin-cities has addressed a letter to me and Swami Krishnanandaji, the General Secretary, suggesting that a similar tour should be undertaken by the Head of the Divine Life Society accompanied by a number of senior monastics and sadhaks to mark the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of this memorable occasion.

I am herewith reproducing advocate Sri Venugopal Reddyji's letter:

Adorable and merciful Swamiji,

Sashtang Pranams to Thy sacred Lotus Feet.

Om Namo Narayanaya!

I crave Thy gracious pardon for this humble submission.

The epochal All India and Ceylon Tour, 1950 is not only one of the momentous components in Sri Gurudev's glorious mission, but a significant Divine dispensation for the countrywide revival of spiritual culture.

The Holy Ashram must be contemplating the observance of the Golden Jubilee of this memorable event. It would indeed constitute a concomitant event culmination and a crowning glory to the Divine Decade undertaking.

Sevak is prompted to make this submission with great hesitancy and trepidation, only to emphasise humbly, the need for early commencement of the necessary planning, having regard to the magnitude of the effort involved in re-enacting (as it deserves to be) the unique event, in a befitting manner.

This submission is made under auspicious and inescapable compulsion, in all humility, devoid of any desire EXCEPT ANONYMITY, with an earnest prayer to bless me to be witness to the unfolding and fulfilment of Gurudev's Divya Sankalpa, under Thy benign guidance.

Even as esteemed Sri Venugopal Reddyji has put forward this humble suggestion of his for the 2000 A.D. similarly the UN Organisation has something very definite and specific to say about the ending year of this century, namely, this year 1999. The UNO has declared this period as the year of the aged section of the world human population.

In this context a very suggestive and somewhat not too optimistic article had appeared in one of the daily newspapers, The Sunday Times of India, New Delhi, of 1st November 1998 (Page-6). This is a challenge. The people of the present time have to take up and prove themselves as being capable of rising to this occasion and doing full justice to this call of the UNO to focus upon our attention caring for the aged.

Here is the brief gist of the contents of that article:

It would probably come as news, even to the well-informed, that this is the 'International Year of the Old'. The United Nations declares the period from October 1, 1998, to December 3, 1999, as the International Year of Older Persons with the overall objective to promote independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity among them.

But there's little evidence of its observance in India. Despite tall claims of 'strong family values' and respect for elders, there's hardly any enthusiasm about making it a memorable year for them. Even the news that this is the Year of the Older Person is yet to be publicised. Most senior citizens, themselves, are unaware of it. Try telling them, all you are likely to hear are a few hometruths like, "Doobte suraj ko kaun poojta hai, hum buddhon ko kaun puchta hai (Who worships the setting Sun, who cares about us)".

True. While India and the World went to town with celebrations during the International Women's Year and the Year of the Child, in the case of the Old, even the token 'celebration' (read seminars and symposiums) is yet to take off. There's no acknowledgment of their contributions, no societal commitment to give them a better deal. The government, on its part, is racing against time to come up with a National Policy for Older Persons before the International Year is over.

"If the government does come out with a policy it will indeed be a face saver in this International Year" remarks the head of an NGO actively involved with age-care. "But little beyond that," cautions Major General S.S. Sandhu, director general of Helpage India, "unless the policy is accompanied by a well-thought-out action plan, for it is in the implementation that most policies get derailed. There's no dearth of them collecting dust on government shelves."

Prof. P K Datta, an expert in geriatrics adds, "People need to be made aware of the rights of the elderly and society's duties towards them. Only then can these schemes succeed. Without it, it's meaningless." He explains, "For instance, how can you prevent a son from availing priority in house allotment on the basis of co-residing with parents and then throwing them out?" Dutta offers a remedy: "In addition to incentives there could be a few disincentives weaved-in into the policy. For instance periodic certificates from parents that the children are taking good care of them should be made compulsory for availing these perks. An adverse certificate should lead to denial of benefits and increments etc."

An important truth has to be recognised in connection with the foregoing. That is, for any sustained progress, organised development and the working out and accomplishment of any policy and peaceful conditions have to prevail. Chaotic and disturbed times do not allow the successful carrying out of such beneficial work.

Peace is a prerequisite for all social, economical, medical and service-oriented help of the weaker and helpless section of our countrymen. Peace is the basis of real progress. Peace is an indispensable and most desirable objective and goal at this moment. Peace constitutes the highest value for human society today. Without doubt it should be given priority.

Let us for a moment take a look at our situation with regard to peace during the course of this century which is about to come to close now.

"peace has disappeared from
the hearts and minds of men"

The world has gone through varied experiences during these fateful 100 years, almost. All these experiences have not been pleasant. All these experiences have been far from pleasant. The very beginning, the very first quarter of this present century, for the first time saw a war which involved not just two countries hostile and inimical to each other but it saw a war which involved many countries.  

It began with two, England and Germany but then soon dragged in the whole of Europe and there was vast destruction, colossal fatality leading to great grief and wide spread sorrow, bereaved families, weeping widows and grieving mothers, children orphaned and whole families wiped out.

Four years from 1914 to 1918. This first quarter ending in 1925 was thus a quarter full of death and destruction, hatred, hostility, violence and war and the 2nd quarter fared no better. Just as the first world war was started in the 14th year of the 20th Century, exactly 14 years after the closing of the first quarter in the year 1925, exactly 14 years later, 1939 September--Hitler's adventurism plunged the world into a second war.

"fourth world war"

This time it lasted more than 4 years 39-45, 7 years and did not seem like coming to an end but fortunately or unfortunately was brought to an end by one immense act of destruction that totally annihilated two cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki and brought the world into the nuclear era. Indeed, a very inauspicious way of emerging into a new era.

Emerging into a new era through the portals of mass destruction as had never hitherto been witnessed by mankind upon planet earth. And since that time peace has disappeared from the hearts and minds of men. The intellectual men were able by logic and reasoning to declare that a third war would be not only far more destructive but, third war would be devastating and disastrous.

It will be the greatest disaster to befall man. And in this context it was related that someone visiting Professor Albert Einstein at the Princeton University seriously asked the professor, "Dr. Einstein, what do you think would be the kind of war if a third war were to break out?" Prof. Einstein is said to have answered him saying, "I don't know about how the shape of a third war is likely to be but this much I know and can say that if a fourth world war were likely to break out then the war would be one in which people would be throwing stones at one another."

Because, all civilization would have been wiped out completely and the global human family would have become thrown back into a stone age. Nothing would be left except rocks and stones, and that would be the only handy thing that they can use, they will have to use, because there is nothing else. All that scientists had done and the progressive modern human society had carefully researched, discovered, invented and built up and created, a marvelous modern world, no trace of it would be left upon the surface of the planet.

The history of mankind would be thrown back millions of years. This was what the great man had to say.

This is to say, how important it is and how urgently this brings to us the fact that we should all work for peace, we should all live for peace, we should all think peace, we should speak only peace. And all our actions should be directed towards the bringing in of peace, establishment of peace on a permanent basis to the world of the third millennium.

We should be the generation that lays the firm foundations for a peaceful world, a peaceful human society, peaceful future history, the near future history so that the new future era may be founded on peace. We are the generation that have to lay this firm foundation as the world draws nearer to the end of the 20th century. We have to welcome the dawn of the 21st century.

May this turning point be a movement not as a continuation of the terror, the fear, the anxiety, the insecurity, the dread that envelops in a pervasive manner the human society of today. Despite the disappearance of the Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics, one of the two great powers who were accusing each other across the Atlantic that each one was the cause of hostility, hatred, enmity, fear and possible war.

"accusing . . . that each one
was the cause of hostility"

Now, one of these two great powers has disappeared. It is no longer existing either geographically or historically. Only Russia as a country is existing. Economically not in a very good way. And in spite of this, in spite of the complete disappearance of one of these two great war-mongering super powers, yet today, fear and anxiety that enveloped the world in its near past time continues and even grows.

There are mutual distrust and treacherous, concealed motivations and intentions. But what can you conceal from God who is all-knowing indweller, all-pervading presence watching every move of man like a select audience watching world chess championship game in progress? We can conceal anything from everyone. But we cannot conceal even one single thing from the great all- pervading Reality from the divine indwelling presence.

"mutual distrust and trea-
cherous, concealed motivations"

Let humanity realise this. Give up sham, deceit, hypocrisy. Come out clean as children of God. Come out clean. Purify one's heart and clear one's mind of all that is unspiritual and undivine and make oneself a deserving, worthy and fit instrument in the hands of God to be used for the welfare of man.

This is the one thing equal in each one of us and every one of us. According to our own possibilities as best as we can within the limits of our own capacities, try to do this in the interest of the peace of the world and welfare and happiness of mankind. It will be appreciated by God, for He sent all his prophets for this purpose of peace, love and goodwill among human beings.

All the great ones came in order to proclaim this fraternity of human family, in order to proclaim the great need for love and peace. Anything that you do in this direction will be further fulfilling and furthering the mission of the great prophets. It will be appreciated by God no matter how little it is even as the widow's mite was precious in the eyes of God as the loudly proclaimed and publicised munificence or the Pharisees may be. Even more so, for, the gaze of the divine sees not the outer form of an action, but the vision of the divine penetrates into the heart, into the deep recesses of the human heart, and knows whence this action derives.

"a small thing is great
in the eyes of God "

God does not need to scrutinise to find out hidden motivations. It is an open book to Him. Human heart is an open book to the omniscient God. Therefore, what we may think is a small thing is great in the eyes of God if it is backed up by sincerity, earnestness and deep and genuine desire for bringing peace, love and goodwill upon god's earth.

May the grace of almighty and benedictions of the holy master help us to do this and enable us to keep on doing this and help and enable us to be successful in this vital task at this crucial juncture. This is the prayer at the feet of God and Gurudev. God bless us all each one of us in our own efforts in this direction.

     Swami Chidananda

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