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“Facts are simple and facts are straight.
Facts are lazy and facts are late.
Facts all come with points of view.
Facts don’t do what I want them to.
Facts just twist the truth around.
Facts are living turned inside out…”

~ David Byrne, “Cross-eyed and Painless”

The vast power that multinational corporations wield over individuals and nations – and the apparent inability or unwillingness of politicians to alleviate the situation – should not be particularly surprising.

It’s a situation that both Left and Right political parties have fed plentifully for years. The only real surprise is that the popular backlash (which was pretty much inevitable) came more strongly from the Right than the Left, unfortunately carrying along with it all sorts of hurtful social-conservative and corporate-friendly baggage.

The Left lost the thread of its influence when it began treating all truths as equal and all hierarchies as bad – “radical inclusion,” if you will. The Right reacted by upping the ante and stealing the ball with “radical exclusion” – nationalism, fundamentalist religious groups, anti-immigrant sentiment etc.

It flipped the Left’s narrative on its head by treating all truths as invalid and all hierarchies (well, all that didn’t serve the Right’s agenda) as creations of the “other” actor – whether political, racial, sexual, financial, economic; whatever fit the situation. The jaw-dropping willingness of the current U.S. administration to call black white and up down, and so on, and the willingness of a large part of the population to accept such anti-narratives at face value, is only the beginning.

Whether or not the 45th U.S. administration survives its peculiar fog of untruth and chaos, the next is unlikely to be better. For this is not a simple political aberration that will be corrected on the next electoral go-round. The whole world is – whether more quickly or more slowly – sliding into the same chasm. The U.S.’s outsized political and cultural influence simply accelerated an already existing situation.

The Hindu religious guru Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswati – a master of Sri Vidya, the most ancient surviving Goddess-centered religion in India, stretching back millennia into pre-Christian, even prehistoric times – predicted a couple of decades ago that the so-called Kali Yuga would end “very much within our lifetimes” – and the dislocation and trauma is bound to be huge.

The Kali Yuga is, in Hindu cosmology, the final phase of cosmic birth, flourishing, decline and dissolution. It is an age of entropy, of things falling apart.

And indeed, the world does appear to be spinning inexorably toward entropy. Truth, morals and ethics are becoming disposable.

People are being seen and treated (by said corporations, businesses, political parties and special interest groups) less as dignified individual souls, and more as resources to be exploited, used and manipulated as means to material ends. And all the while, those very same people are often celebrating those who harm them, while attacking those who try to help them. Confusion and despair are on a steep rise.

But Kali Yuga doesn’t necessarily mean the end of time; it’s just the beginning of another cycle.

Those who refuse to participate in the dissolution, who are able to maintain their center in truth and dharma, can reverse the flow for themselves and at least some others. This is achieved in part by spiritual practice (Sri Vidya, for example, is almost entirely rooted in the idea of “reversing the flow” from the outward disintegration into materialism to the inward re-integration of eternal spirit).

Yet we cannot withdraw from the world: we must fight, we must resist.

We must insist on helping the most vulnerable, the low-hanging fruit who will be most brutalized and scapegoated by the bullies and liars who are leading the plunge: the Asuras of Entropy, the Demons of Dissolution.

So be sure to wrap yourselves in Varahi, Sri Vidya’s great, boar-headed goddess of protection, healing and aggressive integrity; take a deep breath, and prepare for a very bumpy ride. On the other side of this chaos lies (with divine grace and a generous slab of luck) a collective, corrective evolutionary step forward toward a more integral future.

 

 

Michael Bowden, author of The Goddess & The Guru,  is an attorney and former New York Times Company reporter with three decades of publishing experience, having written for newspapers and magazines ranging from the ABA Journal to India Today.   A longtime features editor for Lawyers Weekly Publications in Boston, Bowden is currently Director of Communications for Roger Williams University School of Law, Rhode Island’s only law school. His freelance magazine features have appeared in both national and international publications, and he was awarded the American Bar Association’s prestigious Ross Award for his legal journalism.

A magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Bowden earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maine and actively practiced law for several years before returning to journalism. In 1999 he co-founded the Shakti Sadhana Group, which collected, published and hosted discussions of Hindu Shakta scriptures. He and Amritananda met in 2003 and collaborated on a number of projects together.

Bowden is also an accomplished artist, whose paintings have been featured in both group and solo gallery shows. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife Anna and their two sons.

(Photo of Varahi Devi at Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, India, by Michael Bowden)