DO you know what is to happen to the universe, to India, to us? We do not know. These are hidden from us. We know only what the rishis have told us.
What did they say? They said that we are living in the fourth yuga (Kalki) and that at the end of it, there will he dissolution of the universe. But it is not the end of time. It is only the beginning of the next Kalpa.
Hindu concept of time is a wonder. Hindus count time in billions of years. But the Charvakas (atheists) say that world is eternal, that it has no beginning or end.
However, the Semitic faiths gave the universe a short span of life. Christians, for instance, believed that the world would come to an end a thousand years after Jesus Christ. Jews and Muslims also held the same views.
The scriptures are all passimistic about the future of the universe and of man. The point is: the march of man is towards his damnation in all religions. Hinduism is the only exception.
Eric Hobsbaum, the Marxist historian, says: “We do not know where we are going”. If we are going to have a meaningful future, he says, it cannot be by prolonging the past or the present. It can be only through changes.
The nuclear threat almost took us to the brink of a global disaster. The great historian Toynbee warned us that a nuclear armed humanity would destroy itself. When passions are armed with nuclear weapons, we are likely to revert to our tribal gods.
And Dr Fisher, an Archbishop of Canterbury, says that there is no evidence that the human race is to last forever, that there is plenty of evidence to the contrary in Christian scriptures.
But we have hope in the scientists. They believe that the world is eternal and that there is no fear of an end. Darwin for instance is of the view that the world is evolving to higher forms. And Einstein says that God does not play dice with the world .
Dear Reader, here is a plethora of views. It is confusing. But logic is for an eternal world. Forms may be destroyed, not what is behind the form. This is exactly what Sri Krishna says in the Gita: “At the end of the night of time,” he says, “all things return to my nature and when the new day of time begins I bring them into light. Thus, through my nature, I bring forth all creation and this rolls around in the circle of time.”
Hinduism does not provide for an end to the universe. Instead time goes on in cycles. It repeats itself.
What is to happen to India and us? The answer is: Whatever happens to the universe will happen to India and us. And yet India enjoys a large measure of freedom to make life happier. Hinduism does not encourage asceticism among the youth. Instead, it has divided life into four stages so that the Hindus find more fulfillment in his life on earth.
In the most holy book of the Hindus, the Gita, Sri Krishna says “I come into being through my powers whenever there is decline in righteousness.” Here is comfort to the Hindus that evil will not prevail, as Gandhiji says.
And it is the good fortune of India, says Dr Radhakrishnan that whenever there is spiritual confusion, exponents of the true faith appear.
Thus the Hindus have the assurance that they have the support of Providence.
Which is why the Hindus are a peaceful people, why they do not take to revolutions, why they do not go out to conquer, why they do not plunder other people’s property. Today India is a model of development in all sense. That is its destiny: to be an example to the humanity.