The New Age Movement
Exponents of New Age Philosophy in Europe and America include Transcendentalists like Thoreau, Emerson & Walt Whitman, Wordsworth, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), , & Theosophy introduced by Madame Helena Blavatsky (1831- 1891) & Col Olcott & the philosopher, Annie Besant. As the world witnessed a Consciousness Revolution, Transcendental Meditation, Yoga ,Zen, Carlos Castañada, the Beatles, Holistic Medicine ( both Western and Ayurveda ), Tantra, Astrology ( both Western & Vedic ) all became popular .
There are 6 million New Age sites on the Web and the NAM consists of a massive & well organised network consisting of thousands of groups, trusts, foundations, clubs, lodges, and spiritual groups whose goal and purpose is to prepare the world to enter the coming Aquarian Age. ( The Age of Aquarius ). In astrological symbolism, Aquarius represents Spirituality and Pisces Rationality. The Piscean Age, an age of Computer and Cybernetics revolution, will be followed by an Age of Consciousness Revolution or a Spiritual Revolution, the Aquarian Age.
Some New Age Organisations are : California New Age Caucus, New World Alliance, World Goodwill, The Church Universal and Triumphant, The Theosophical Society, Amnesty International, Zero Population Growth, the Forum, Planetary Initiative for the World We Choose, the Club of Rome, Church Universal & Triumphant, Christian Science, and the Unity School of Christianity. New Age believes in the essential goodness of Man and the Divine Spark in Man and the New Age movement is not a unified cult system of beliefs and practices, even though its roots derive from Vedic Philosophy. There is no central authority, no official leader, no headquarters, nor membership list, but instead is a network of groups working toward World Peace and Universal Love. There are millions of worldwide followers of various New Age practices and the world is moving from Chaos ( Disorder ) to Cosmos ( Order ) ! This is a Phase Transition from Entropy ( Disorder ) to Order !
Significant influence has been gained by NAM affecting almost every area of Occidental culture -- Sociology, Psychology, Medicine, the Government, Ecology, Science, Arts, Education, the Business Community, the media, entertainment, sports, and even the Church. Organised spiritual forms such as Christian Science, Unity and even forms of Witchcraft ( from the German ' Wicca' meaning the Wise; Witchcraft means the Craft of the Wise ) are all its expressions. Various Human Potential Seminars, Transcendental Meditation, Zen Meditation and some Alternative Holistic Medicine practices are also its manifold manifestations.
Some popular New Age publications and journals are New Age Journal, the Z Files, Clarity, Body Mind Spirit, Yoga Journal, Gnosis, East West, Noetic Sciences, the Millenium Being and Omega. The new tendency of people now is to view everything from a New Age perspective
The major goal of the New Age Movement is to prepare Man for entering the Aquarian Age and to bring world peace in an already bruised world. "All is wrong with the world" said Shaw & some of the other goals of the NAM are to establish an entirely New World Order in the fields of Economy & Government. The idea of a World Government was proposed by Bernard Shaw earlier and was implemented by Mahesh Yogi and occurs in the writings of the foundational apostle of the New Age Movement, Alice Bailey.
The word 'Initiation" is derived from the Latin "In ire" to go within and Initiates were termed by the Great Master as the salt of the Earth. The mystic Ward defined Reality as "Within and within and within and within" . Another mystic described it as "It is hidden, it is hidden and it is hidden". To the mystic, self evolution is the means and only by changing and correcting ourselves can we change others . The primary goals of the movement then, are to prepare the world to receive the Divine Consciousness and to enter the Age of Aquarius, thus establishing the New World Order.
New Age Philosophy believes that human evolution can be accelerated, if not in the entire mass of humanity, at least in suitable individuals. Human nature is perfectible, through an intensive process of purification and Initiation. The New Age Movement is secular & universally diffused over the earth's surface & its basic underlying philosophy emphasises Gnosticism and Occultism. (Gnosticism is an ancient philosophy stating that Divine essence is the highest reality, and that the Self of man is actually this Essence. Behind the phenomenal world is the Transcendent Reality which Intuition alone can see ). It bears a remarkable resemblance to the Universal Religion that H.G. Wells predicted would one day take over the world.
Basically Dialectical Integralism, New Age Philosophy unites both Matter and Spirit.
Spirit shall see through Matter's gaze
Matter shall reveal the Spirit's face !
The 13 main principles of New Age Philosophy are:
(1) One Global Order - One World Governement, One Currency, One Universal Being.
(2) Universal Energy, Universal Matter, Universal Life, Universal Soul As God
(3) An Eternal Universe - Uniform in Space and Unending in Time
(4) Divine practices ( Astrology Yoga & other esoteric arts)
(5) Syncretism ( Unity of all Religions ).
(6) The need for Meditation ( for generating altered states of Consciousness );
(7) Life is Cyclical- Everything is cyclical, subject to the cyclical upheavals of Time.
(8) Holistic Medicine & Vegetarianism (The patient is more important than the Doctor & Alkaline diet)
(9) Pacifism ( Anti-war activities);
(10) Reincarnation; ( The Law of Conservation of Soul )
(11) The Evolution of Man into Divinity; ( The latent Life Force evolving naturally to the Divine )
(12) The Union of Man with the Divine; ( Merger of man into the Infinite )
(13) Matter's Illusoriness; - Esse est percipii - Perception is Essence; Mind is Substance.
Some commonly used New Age terms are: Quantum Healing, Transmutation, Transfiguration, Guided Imagery, Reincarnation; Positive Thinking; Human Potential; Holistic; Holographic; Synergistic; Unity; Oneness; Transformation; Awakening; Networking; Communal Sharing; One-world/globalism/new world order (i.e., One language, One Government, One currency, One religion); Cosmic Consciousness; Zodiac, etc.
Some prominent New Agers are: Jeremy Rifkin, Norman Cousins, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, John Denver, George Lucas, Norman Lear, Alice Bailey, Alvin Toffler, Dr. Barbara Ray, Benjamin Creme, Levi Dowling, George Trevelyan, Fritjof Capra, Abraham Maslow, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Ruth Montgomery, Shirley MacLaine, J.Z. Knight, Marilyn Ferguson and David Spangler. Soothing audio environments are created by New Age musicians and they believe rightly that Music has psycho-therapeutic properties. ( This concept is derived from the Vedic Philosophy that All music is Samaveda, the 4th Veda of the Indians ). Born of an interest in spirituality and healing in the late 1970s, it is often used as an aid in meditation.
Essentially meditative, New Age Music is soothing to the Soul. Isnt Music defined as the food for the Soul ? Harmonic consonance, uplifting themes, contemplative melodies & nonlinear song forms are the characteristics of New Age music. Even natural sounds or sounds from Nature and traditional electronic instruments are used by New Age musicians. With roots in classical music or Eastern Music, New Age music is often meditative. Prominent New Age musicians include vocalist Liz Story; harpist Andreas Vollenweider, electric violinist Jean-Luc Ponty , electronic-music pioneer Brian Eno, multi-instrumentalist Kitaro & solo-piano artist George Winston.New Age practices have almost conquered the world. Athletes are using guided imagery. Graduate schools of business are invoking T M, Yoga, and Tarot cards in teaching courses on creativity in business (e.g., Stanford Graduate School of Business). Based upon Astrology, the Science of Time, stock market gurus employ Fibonacci numbers and "Wave Theory" in their forecasting.
Since the New Age is a conglomeration of spiritual practices, let us analyse the basic principles of N A M
1. The Divine Source of Authority. New Agers do not claim any source of authority -- Only Inspiration by the Divine. By the Divine we mean a principle within, the Divine Spark or the Self and many are there who receive the revealations of the Self within or the intuitive insights of the Self.
2. The Lord. - Since Matter and Energy can neither be created or destroyed and the sum total energy in the Universe is an absolute constant ( Universal Being ), the Lord did not create the world, He became the world. Monism --( "All is Unity" ) averrs that there is only One Essence in the universe, everyone and everything being a part of that essence. The Self is an utter Being and all these are its Becomings. New Agers view God as an Impersonal Life force, Consciousness, or Energy (e.g., the "Star Wars Force") mainly but they also believe in His personal aspect, as the Ocean ( which is Formless ) can take the form of an iceberg! They averr that every human has a divine spark within him because all created beings are reflections of the Divine Idea. The eternal state is called by various terms among different New Age groups, i.e., God-consciousness, Universal Love, Self-Realization, the I AM, Higher Self, Brahman, Nirvana, etc.
6.Salvation is Self-Actualisation and Sin is Ignorance - SSome theoreticians taught the concept of Man's Original Sin. New Age exponents teach the concept of man's essential goodness. Instead of systems which emphasised the human negative aspect and sin, New Age highlights that every man is essentially divine and it is a sin to call man a sinner ! However, New Agers speak of troublesome desires which are natural impulses which retard human evolution and make the Ego move away from the Self. Sin is merely ignorance of man's essential divinity. The atrophied spiritual consciousness of the normal man who lives in ignorance of his Divine Self is Sin. Like the Law of Conservation of Energy which states that Energy cannot be created or destroyed, the Law of Conservation of Soul states that the Soul can neither be created nor destroyed. Matter exists in 3 states, liquid, gaseous and solid and matter cannot be created or destroyed. Nothing ever begins to be. Similarly Life does not at physical birth begin to be. It merely enters physical conditions and assumes physical guise. It merely undergoes a parallel transformation into conditions which preexisted in other conditions. The Soul is reincarnated in different bodies in a continous succession of lives. The good or bad Karma earned in the present lifetime determines one's subsequent incarnation. Attaining higher states of Consciousness should be our aim.There are many different paths to the goal of Divine perfection and we should be tolerant of other paths.
The divine Aurobindo predicted that spiritual influences from India will trigger off a global spiritual movement.There will be Mass Incarnations ( many people divinely inspired ) who will work for World Peace and Universal Love !
I saw them cross the twilight of the Age
The massive barrier breakers of this world
The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn
The architects of immortality
Carrying the magic Word, the mystic Fire
Carrying the Dionysian Cup of Joy !
The four systems of Philosophy which triggered the N A M are Hinduism, a product of 5,000 years of development, Buddhism, circa 560 B.C., Taoism, circa 500 B.C & Druidism, circa 300 B.C, the religion of the Celts, which extended upto the Middle Ages.