Volume VIIIa - Sufi Teachings
THE BIRTH OF THE NEW ERA
THAT THE new era will not be worse is plain enough, for when the worst has happened there cannot be anything beyond that. The worst condition ends the cycle, and the new cycle must necessarily begin better. If we look back with keen sight and with a true sense of justice, it is clear that as individuals, as communities, as nations, and as races, the world has been going from bad to worse in the way of selfishness. There is not one religion in this world whose followers are not in revolt against their leaders on the path. Religion has gradually lost its truth and has survived in name only. So we can no longer be unaware of our sins in the past.
When we look at racial distinctions, we see that the hatred of one race for another has always increased with civilization. Color prejudice, class distinction, differences between East and West, and the dominion of one sex over the other are not yet out of sight; they are rather on the increase.
In whichever direction we look – at the prosperity of commerce, the great progress in education, art, and science – we can see everywhere the demoralization of the world bringing to an end the ideal of friendship and personal relationship. In the progress of education, the knowledge of the soul's purpose, the only thing worthwhile in life, is overlooked. Education qualifies a man to become selfish to the best of his ability, and to get the better of another. Art has lost its freedom of grace and beauty, since its reward depends on the approval of the heartless and blind. Science has degenerated for the very reason that the scientist has limited his view to the objective world and denied the existence of the life which is beyond perception. In the absence of a higher ideal the constant striving after material inventions has led man to such devices as have set the world on fire. Those who are under the spell of destruction are unaware of all this; they cannot know it until the clouds of gloom have dispersed, their hearts are clear, and their minds have recovered from this intoxication which prevents them from thinking and understanding.
The races in the coming era will mix more and more every day, developing finally into a world-wide race. The nations will develop a democratic spirit, and will overthrow every element which embitters them against one another. There will be alliances of nations until there is a world alliance of nations, so that no nation may be oppressed by another, but all will work in harmony and freedom for common peace.
Science will probe the secrets of the life unseen, and art will follow nature closely. The people of all classes will be seen everywhere. The caste system will vanish and communities will lose their exclusiveness, all mingling together, and their followers will be tolerant towards one another. The followers of one religion will be able to pray by offering the prayers of another, until the essential truth will become the religion of the whole world and diversity of religions will be no more.
Education will culminate in the study of human life, and learning will develop on that basis. Trade will become more universal, and will be arranged on the basis of a common profit. Labor will stand side by side with capital on an equal footing.
Titles will have little importance. Signs of honor will become conspicuous. Bigotry in faiths and beliefs will become obsolete. Ritual and ceremony will be a play. Women will become freer every day in all aspects of life, and married women will be called by their own names. The sons and daughters will be called by the name of their town, city, or nation, instead of by the family name. No work will be considered menial. No position in life will be humiliating. Everybody will mind his own business, and all will converse with one another without demanding introductions. The husband and wife will be like companions, independent and detached. The children will follow their own bent. Servant and master will be so only during working hours, and the feeling of superiority and inferiority among people will vanish. Medicine will take away the need for surgery, and healing will take the place of medicine. New ways of life will manifest themselves, hotel life predominating over home life. Grudges against relatives, complaints about servants, finding fault with neighbors will all cease to occur, and the world will continue to improve in all aspects of life until the day of Gayamat, when all vain talk will cease, and when everywhere will be heard the cry, 'Peace, peace, peace!'