From the fall of Rome, around 500 AD, to the Renaissance, ten to twelve centuries
later, almost nothing new was discovered. Man looked back to the great learning of
classical civilization for inspiration: admiring their thinkers and architects but
incapable of equaling them. In turn, those ancients looked back further, to a previous
"Golden Age." Why did civilization fall and then rise again? In 1920, the Indian Yogi
Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic "Autobiography of a Yogi", came
to the United States with the answer.
Yogananda became the most popular speaker in the country, having the ear of leading
figures such as the President, the Governor of California, Burbank, Ford and Edison.
He brought an ancient message of simple living and high thinking to a new audience,
emphasizing healthy diet, exercise and meditation at a time when these ideas were far
Yogananda explained that we are entering a New Age called Dwapara Yuga
characterized by a breakdown of the idea of a material world and a growing
consciousness of the underlying unity of peoples, energy and nature. Like the days
and years, the Yuga or Age is a natural, astronomical cycle in which civilization
gradually rises for 12,000 years and then gradually falls for 12,000 years, as our Sun
orbits its binary star. The ancient Indians called these ages Kali, Dwapara, Treta and
Satya. The ancient Greeks called them Iron, Bronze, Silver and Gold.
In the period of 1600 to 1900 AD we transitioned from the constrictive, materialistic
Kali Yuga or Iron Age to the expansive, energy-focused Dwapara Yuga or Bronze Age.
This has lead to a continuing breakdown of barriers from oligarchy to democracy,
serfdom and slavery to individual freedom and to inventions such as the telescope,
television, atomic power, flight and the Internet. The subject of this short book is the
unfolding Dwapara Yuga, Paramhansa Yogananda, his mission, those who inspired
him and those who he inspired.