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Symbolism In Satya Yuga Concept In Hinduism

 The Hindu Puranas believe there was and there will be an era called Satya Yuga, in which good preponderates over evil. A look into the depths of our own self or at the facts of the world around, shows that the world is neither all good nor all evil but a mixture of both.

Dissatisfied with evil, some hope they will go, after death, to some place where there is good for aye and no evil. Such a dream may satisfy children. But is good possible without evil? If unmixed good is never in this life, the theory of unmixed good in an afterlife is absolutely baseless. So is that of eternal good, as nothing is known yet that does not die. ‘What is here, is there, and what is there, is here.’ (Katha Upanishad, 4.10) The same laws must be supposed to hold good throughout the universe until the contrary is proved by well-known facts.

A denial of evils by assuming that they are apparently so but really good is a lie to one’s self and cannot be a lasting consolation. Blows, if they are called ‘kisses’, would not be less painful.

Will evil be, in the course of evolution, gradually eliminated, leaving only good as the residuum? The history of evolution answers in the negative. The elimination would be possible if the amount of evil were a fixed quantity. The fact, however, is that evolution multiplies evil with good equally, if not more. The pleasures and pains of the savage are mostly in the senses and gross. If civilization has opened the gates to finer enjoyments of the senses and new pleasures of the head and the heart, it has created for man new sources of and bred in him a keen susceptibility to very fine sufferings too.

Is there any remedy? The answer is, we find none in Nature. Her laws are uniform, everywhere and always. One of them is, good is always mixed with evil. So long as we shall be under her laws, we shall never be able to avoid evil, here or elsewhere, now or millions of centuries hence. But it is possible to master the laws, says Vedanta. Only then, and not till then, can we hope to conquer evil.

The remedy lies in the mastery of the laws of Nature. How can the particular law of the coexistence of good and evil be mastered?

The same nerves carry the sensations of good as well as of evil. The same thing produces pleasure in one and pain in another. To one man, the same thing is pleasurable at one time and painful at another. Therefore, good and evil cannot, in the first place, be two absolutely separate existences. They are manifestations differing only in degree, as all manifestations are, according to Vedanta, of a unity underlying them. Knowledge of the Unity alone gives control over its manifestations. Know first the Unity. Then you will have the power to manifest it only as good or only as evil or just as you like.

‘Thou art That.’ That Unity is also the reality of your soul. You, the real you, are then manifesting yourself as good, as evil, as all the laws of the universe. Know this and find out that you are not, never were or never will be, a slave but are eternally the manifesting cause, the master of the laws. Find out that the universe, however infinite it may appear to you now, is to your ‘real you’ as a bubble in the ocean. Have faith in, know and assert the real you; then the whole Nature, with all her laws—what to speak of the one law of good and evil—will be your willing slave.

A bold ideal indeed! Yet Vedanta asks everyone to realize it. The whole world will realize it. Then Nature will have no power over the soul, Spirit will get perfect control over matter, man will neither be the slave of good nor of evil. Then everyone will be a jivanmukta, that is, free whilst living, being established firm in the Unity.

Then everyone will see the Unity running through all its manifestations, in man, in animals, in every point of the universe. All selfishness will go. Love will reign in the place of hatred and competition. Brute force will be an evil dream of the past. For when all will be One, shall one hate or kill oneself?

Then there will be no shudra, vaishya or kshatriya. Everyone will be a knower of the Brahman unity and therefore a brahmana. And Satya Yuga, the vision of the ancient rishis of India, will dawn on earth.