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The idea of progress — indefinite betterment — is anything but modern. It is probably as old as man’s oldest successful attempt to improve his material surroundings and to increase, through technical skill, his capacity of attack and defence. Technical skill, for many centuries at least, has been too precious to be despised. Nay, when displayed to an extraordinary degree, it has, more than once, been hailed as something almost divine. Wondrous legends have always been woven, for instance, round such men as were said to have, by some means, been able to raise themselves, physically, above the earth, be it Etana of Erech who soared to heaven “borne upon eagle’s wings,” or the famous Icarus, unfortunate forerunner of our modern airmen, or Manco Capac’s brother, Auca, said to have been gifted with “natural” wings which finally fared hardly better than Icarus’ artificial ones.1

But apart from such incredible feats of a handful of individuals, the Ancients as a whole distinguished themselves in many material achievements. They could boast of the irrigation system in Sumeria; of the construction of pyramids revealing, both in Egypt and, centuries later, in Central America, an amazing knowledge of astronomical data; of the bath-rooms and drains in the palace of Knossos; of the invention of the war-chariot after that of the bow and arrow, and of the sand-clock after that of the sun-dial, — enough to make them dizzy with conceit and over-confident in the destiny of their respective civilisations.

Yet, although they fully recognized the value of their own work in the practical field, and surely very soon conceived the possibility — and perhaps acquired the certitude — of indefinite technical progress, they never believed in progress as a whole,

1 While Icarus fell into the sea, the Peruvian hero was turned into stone on reaching the top of the hill destined to become the site of the great Temple of the Sun, in Cuzco.


in progress on all lines, as most of our contemporaries seem to do. From all evidence, they faithfully clung to the traditional idea of cyclic evolution and had, in addition to that, the good sense to admit that they lived (inspire of all their achievements) in anything but the beginning of the long-drawn, downward process constituting their own particular “cycle” — and ours. Whether Hindus or Greeks, Egyptians or Japanese, Chinese, Sumerians, or ancient Americans, — or even Romans, the most “modern” amongst people of Antiquity, — they all placed the “Golden Age,” the “Age of Truth,”1 the rule of Kronos or of Ra, or of any other Gods on earth — the glorious Beginning of the slow, downward unfurling of history, whatever name it be given, — far behind them in the past.

And they believed that the return of a similar Age, foretold in their respective sacred texts and oral traditions, depends, not upon man’s conscious effort, but upon iron laws, inherent to the very nature of visible and tangible manifestation, and all-pervading; upon cosmic laws. They believed that man’s conscious effort is but an expression of those laws at work, leading the world, willingly or unwillingly, wherever its destiny lies; in one word, that the history of man, as the history of the rest of the living, is but a detail in cosmic history without beginning nor end; a periodical outcome of the inner Necessity that binds all phenomena in Time.

And just as the Ancients could accept that vision of the world’s evolution while still taking full advantage of all technical progress within their reach, so can — and so do, — to this day, thousands of men brought up within the pale of age-old cultures centred round the self-same traditional views, and also, in the very midst of the over-proud industrial cultures, a few stray individuals able to think for themselves. They contemplate the history of mankind in a similar perspective.

While living, apparently, as “modern” men and women, — using electric fans and electric irons, telephones and trains, and aeroplanes, when they can afford it, — they nourish in their hearts a deep contempt for the childish conceit and bloated hopes of our age, and for the various recipes for “saving, mankind,” which zealous philosophers and politicians thrust into circulation. They know that nothing can “save mankind,” for

1 Satya Yuga, in the Sanskrit Scriptures.


mankind is reaching the end of its present cycle. The wave that carried it, for so mane millenniums, is about to break, with all the fury of acquired speed, and to merge once more into the depth of the unchanging Ocean of undifferentiated existence. It will rise; again, some day, with abrupt majesty, for such is the law of waves. But in the meantime nothing can be done to stop it. The unfortunate — the fools — are those men who, for some reason best known to themselves, — probably on account of their exaggerated estimation of what is to be lost in the process — would like to stop it. The privileged ones — the wise — are those few who, being fully aware of the increasing worthlessness of present-day mankind and of its much-applauded “progress,” know how little there is to be lost in the coming crash and look forward to it with joyous expectation as to the necessary condition of a new beginning — a new “Golden Age,” sunlit crest of the next long drawn downward wave upon the surface of the endless Ocean of Life.

To those privileged ones — amongst whom we count ourselves, — the whole succession of “current events” appears in an entirely different perspective from that either of the desperate believers in “progress” or of those people who, though accepting the cyclic view of history and therefore considering the coming crash as unavoidable, feel sorry to see the civilisation in which they live rush towards its doom.

To us, the high-resounding “isms” to which our contemporaries ask; us to give our allegiance, now, in 1948, are all equally futile: bound to be betrayed, defeated, and finally rejected by men at large, if containing anything really noble; bound to enjoy, for the time being, some sort of noisy success; if sufficiently vulgar, pretentious and soul-killing to appeal to the growing number of mechanically conditioned slaves that crawl about our planet, posing as free men; all destined to prove, ultimately, of no avail. The time-honoured religions, rapidly growing out of fashion as present-day “isms” become more and more popular, are no less futile — if not more: frameworks of organised superstition void of all true feeling of the Divine, or — among more sophisticated people — mere conventional aspects of social life, or systems of ethics (and of very elementary ethics at that) seasoned with a sprinkling of out-dated rites and symbols of which hardly anybody bothers to seek the original meaning; devices in the hands of clever


men in power to lull the simpletons into permanent obedience; convenient names, round which it might be easy to rally converging national aspirations or political tendencies; or just the last resort of weaklings and cranks: that is, practically, all they are — all they have been reduced to in the course of a few centuries — the lot of them. They are dead, in fact — as dead as the old cults that flourished before them, with the difference that those cults have long ceased exhaling the stench of death, while they (the so-called “living” ones) are still at the stage at which death is inseparable from corruption. None — neither Christianity nor Islam nor even Buddhism — can be expected now to “save” anything of that world they once partly conquered; none have any normal place in “modern” life, which is essentially devoid of all awareness of the eternal.

There are no activities in “modern” life which are not futile, save perhaps those that aim at satisfying one’s body’s hunger: growing rice; growing wheat; gathering chestnuts from the woods or potatoes from one’s garden. And the one and only sensible policy can but be to let things take their course and to await the coming Destroyer, destined to clear the ground for the building of a new “Age of Truth”: the One Whom the Hindus name Kalki and hail as the tenth and last Incarnation of Vishnu; the Destroyer Whose advent is the condition of the preservation of Life, according to Life’s everlasting laws.

We know all this will sound utter folly to those, more and more numerous, who, despite the untold horrors of our age, remain convinced that humanity is “progressing.” It will appear as cynicism even to many of those who accept our belief in cyclic evolution, which is the universal, traditional belief expressed in poetic form in all the sacred texts of the world, including the Bible. We have nothing to reply to this latter possible criticism, for it is entirely based upon an emotional attitude which is not ours. But we can try to point out the vanity of the popular belief in “progress,” be it only in order to stress the rationality and strength of the theory of cycles which forms the background of the triple study which is the subject of this book.

* * *

The exponents of the belief in “progress” put forth many arguments to prove — to themselves and to others — that our


times, with all their undeniable drawbacks, are on the whole, better than any epoch of the past, and even that they show definite signs of improvement. It is not possible to analyse all their arguments in detail. But one can easily detect the fallacies hidden in the most wide-spread and, apparently, the most “convincing” of them.

All the advocates of “progress” lay enormous stress upon such things as literacy, individual “freedom,” equal opportunities for all men, religious toleration and “humaneness,” progress in this last line covering all such tendencies as find their expression in the modern preoccupation for child-welfare, prison-reforms, better conditions of labour, State aid to the sick and destitute and, if not greater kindness, at least less cruelty to animals. The dazzling results obtained, of recent years, in the application of scientific discoveries to industrial and other practical pursuits, are, of course, the most popular of all instances expected to show how marvellous our times are. But that point we shall not discuss, as we have already made it clear that we by no means deny or minimise the importance of technical progress. What we do deny is the existence of any progress at all in the value of man as such, whether individually or collectively, and our reflexions on universal literacy and other highly praised “signs” of improvement in which our contemporaries take pride, all spring from that one point of view.

We believe that man’s value — as every creature’s value, ultimately — lies not in the mere intellect but in the spirit: in the capacity to reflect that which, for lack of a more precise word, we choose to call “the divine,” i.e. that which is true and beautiful beyond all manifestation, that which remains timeless (and therefore unchangeable) within all changes. We believe it with the difference that, in our eyes, — contrarily to what the Christians maintain — that capacity to reflect the divine is closely linked with man’s race and physical health; in other words, that the spirit is anything but independent from the body. And we fail to see that the different improvements that we witness to-day in education or in the social field, in government or even in technical matters, have either made individual men and women more valuable in that sense, or created any new lasting type of civilisation in which man’s possibilities of all round perfection, thus conceived, are being


promoted. The Hindus seem to be, to-day, the sole people who, by tradition, share our views; and they have, in course of time, failed to maintain the divine order — the rule of the natural ruling castes. And we, the only people in the West who have tried to restore it in modern times, have been materially ruined by the agents of those forces of false equality that the modern world calls forces of “progress.”

Progress? — It is true that, to-day, at least in all highly organised (typically “modern”) countries, nearly everybody can read and write. But what of that? To be able to read and write is an advantage — and a considerable one. But it is not a virtue. It is a tool and a weapon; a means to an end; a very useful thing, no doubt; but not an end in itself. The ultimate value of literacy depends upon the end to which it is used. And to what end, is it generally used to-day? It is used for convenience or for entertainment, by those who read; for some advertisement, or some objectionable propaganda, — for money-making or power-grabbing — by those who write; sometimes, of course, by both, for acquiring or spreading disinterested knowledge of the few things worth knowing; for finding expression of or giving expression to the few deep feelings that can lift a man to the awareness of things eternal, but not more often so than in the days in which one man out of ten thousand could understand the symbolism of the written word. Generally, to-day, the man or woman whom compulsory education has made “literate” uses writing to communicate personal matters to absent friends and relatives, to fill forms — one of the international occupations of modern civilised humanity — or to commit to memory little useful, but otherwise trifling things such as someone’s address or telephone number, or the date of some appointment with the hair-dresser or the dentist, or the list of clean clothes due from the laundry. He or she reads “to pass time” because, outside the hours of dreary work, mere thinking is no longer intense and interesting enough to serve that purpose.

We know that there are also people whose whole lives have been directed to some beautiful destiny by a book, a poem — a mere sentence — read in distant childhood, like Schliemann, who lavishly spent on archaeological excavations the wealth patiently and purposely gathered in forty years of dreary toil, all for they sake of the impression left upon him,


as a boy, by the immortal story of Troy. But such people always lived, even before compulsory education came into, fashion. And the stories heard and remembered were no less inspiring than stories now read. The real advantage of general literacy, if any, is to be sought elsewhere. It lies not in the better quality either of the exceptional men and women or of the literate millions, but rather in the fact that the latter are rapidly becoming intellectually more lazy and therefore more credulous than ever — and not less so; — more easily deceived, more liable to be led like sheep without even the shadow of a protest, provided the nonsense one wishes them to swallow be presented to them, in printed form and made to appear “scientific.” The higher the general level of literacy, the easier it is, for a government in control of the daily press, of the wireless and of the publishing business, — these almost irresistible modern means of action upon the mind — to keep the masses and the “intelligenzia” under its thumb, without them even suspecting it.

Among widely illiterate but more actively thinking people, openly governed in the old autocratic manner, a prophet, direct mouthpiece of the Gods, or of genuine collective aspirations, could always hope to rise between secular authority and the people. The priests themselves could never be quite sure of keeping the people in obedience for ever. The people could choose to listen to the prophet, if they liked. And they did, sometimes. To-day, wherever universal literacy is prevalent, inspired exponents of timeless truth — prophets — or even selfless advocates of timely practical changes, have less and less chances to appear. Sincere thought, real free thought, ready, in the name of superhuman authority or of humble common sense, to question the basis of what is officially taught and generally accepted, is less and less likely to thrive. It is, we repeat, by far easier to enslave a literate people than an illiterate one, strange as this may seem at first sight. And the enslavement is more likely to be lasting. The real advantage of universal literacy is to tighten the grip of the governing power upon the foolish and conceited millions. That is probably why it is dinned into our heads, from babyhood onwards, that “literacy” is such a boon. Capacity to think for one’s self is, however, the real boon. And that always was and always will be the privilege of a minority, once recognised


as a natural élite and respected. To-day, compulsory mass-education and an increasingly standardised literature for the consumption of “conditioned” brains — outstanding signs of “progress” — tend to reduce that minority to the smallest possible proportions; ultimately, to suppress it altogether. Is that what mankind wants? If so, mankind is loosing its raison d’être, and the sooner the end of this so-called “civilisation” the better.

What we have said of literacy can roughly be repeated about those two other main glories of modern Democracy: “individual freedom” and equality of opportunities for every person. The first is a lie — and a more and more sinister one as the shackles of compulsory education are being more and more hopelessly fastened round people’s whole being. The second is an absurdity.

One of the funniest inconsistencies of the average citizen of the modern industrialised world is the way in which he criticises all institutions of older and better civilisations, such as the caste-system of the Hindus or the all-absorbing family-cult of the Far East, on the ground that these tend to check the “liberty of the individual.” He does not realise how exacting, — nay, how annihilating — is the command of the collective authority which he obeys (half the time, unknowingly) compared with that of traditional collective authority, in apparently less “free” societies. The caste-ridden or family-ridden people of India or of the Far East might not be allowed to do all that they like, in many relatively trifling and in a few really all-important matters of daily life. But they are left to believe what they like, or rather what they can; to feel according to their own nature and to express themselves freely about a great number of essential matters; they are allowed to conduct their higher life in the manner they judge the wisest for them, after their duties to family, taste and king have been fulfilled, The individual living under the iron and steel rule of modern “progress” can eat whatever he fancies (to a great extent) and marry whom he pleases — unfortunately! — and go whenever he likes (in theory at least). But he is made to accept, in all extra-individual matters, — matters which, to us, really count, — the beliefs, the attitude to life, the scale of values and, to a great extent, the political views, that tend to strengthen the mighty socio-economic system of exploitation


to which he belongs (to which he is forced to belong, in order to be able to live) and in which he is a mere cog. And, what is more, he is made to believe that it is a privilege of his to be a cog in such an organism; that the unimportant matters in which he feels he is his own master are, in fact, the most important ones — the only really important ones. He is taught not to value that freedom of judgement about ultimate truth, aesthetical, ethical or metaphysical, of which he is subtly deprived. More still: he is told, — in the democratic countries at any rate, — that he is free in all respects; that he is “an individual, answerable to none but to his own conscience,” ... after years of clever conditioning have moulded his “conscience” and his whole being so thoroughly according to pattern, that he is no longer capable of reacting differently. Well can such a man speak of “pressure upon the individual” in any society, ancient or modern!

One can realise to what an extent men’s minds have been curved, both by deliberate and by unconscious conditioning, in the world in which we live to-day, when one encounters people who have never come under the influence of industrial civilisation, or when one happens, oneself, to be lucky enough to have defied, from childhood onwards, the pernicious pressure of standardised education and to have remained free amidst the crowd of those who react as they were taught to, in all fundamental matters. The cleavage between the thinking and the unthinking, the free and the slaves, is appalling.

As for “equality of opportunities,” there can be no such thing anyhow, really speaking. By producing men and women different both in degree and in quality of intelligence, sensitiveness and will-power, different in character and temperament, Nature herself gives them the most unequal opportunities of fulfilling their aspirations, whatever these might be. An over-emotional and rather weak person can, for instance, neither conceive the same ideal of happiness nor have equal chances of reaching it in life, as one who is born with a more balanced nature and a stronger will. That is obvious. And add to that the characteristics that differentiate one race of men from another, and the absurdity of the very notion of “human equality” becomes even more striking.

What our contemporaries mean when they speak of “equality of opportunities” is the fact that, in modern society


— so they say — any man or woman stands, more and more, as many chances as his or her neighbour of holding the position and doing the job for which he or she is naturally fitted. But that too is only partly true. For, more and more, the world of to-day, — the world dominated by grand-scale industry and mass-production, — can offer only jobs in which the best of the worker’s self plays little or no part if he or she be anything more than a merely clever and materially efficient person. The hereditary craftsman, who could find the best expression for what is conveniently called his “soul” in his daily weaving, carpet-making, enamel work, etc., even the tiller of the soil, in personal contact with Mother Earth and the Sun and the seasons, is becoming more and more a figure of the past. There are less and less opportunities, also, for the sincere seeker of truth — speaker or writer — who refuses to become the expounder of broadly accepted ideas, products of mass-conditioning, for which he or she does not stand; for the seeker of beauty who refuses to bend his or her art to the demands of popular taste which he or she knows to be bad taste. Such people have to waste much of their tine doing inefficiently — and grudgingly — some job for which they are not fitted, in order to live, before they can devote the rest of it to what the Hindus would call their sadhana — the work for which their deeper nature has appointed them: their life’s dedication.

The idea of modern division of labour, condensed in the oft-quoted sentence “the right man in the right place,” boils down, in practice, to the fact that any man — any one of the dull, indiscriminate millions — can be “conditioned” to occupy any place, while the best of human beings, the only ones who still justify the existence of the more and more degenerate species, are allowed no place at all. Progress....

* * *

Remain the “religious toleration” of our times and their “humaneness” compared with the “barbarity” of the past. Two jokes, to say the least!

Recalling some of the most spectacular horrors of history — the burning of “heretics” and “witches” at the stake; the wholesale massacre of “heathens,” and other no less repulsive manifestations of Christian civilisation in Europe, conquered


America, Goa, and elsewhere, — modern man is filled with pride in the “progress” accomplished, in one line at least, since the end of the dark ages of religious fanaticism. However bad they be, our contemporaries have, at any rate, grown out of the habit of torturing people for such “trifles” as their conception of the Holy Trinity or their ideas about predestination and purgatory. Such is modern man’s feeling — because theological questions have lost all importance in his life. But in the days when Christian Churches persecuted one another and encouraged the conversion of heathen nations by means of blood and fire, both the persecutors and the persecuted, both the Christians and those who wished to remain faithful to non-Christian creeds, looked upon such questions as vital in one way or another. And the real reason for which nobody is put to torture, to-day, for the sake of his or her religious beliefs, is not that torture as such has become distasteful to everybody, in “advanced” twentieth-century civilisation, not that individuals and States have become “tolerant,” but just that, among those who have the power of inflicting pain, hardly anybody takes any vivid, vital interest in religion, let alone in theology.

The so-called “religious toleration” practised by modern States and individuals springs from anything but an intelligent understanding and love of all religions as manifold, symbolical expressions of the same few essential, eternal truths, — as Hindu toleration does, and always did. It is, rather, the outcome of a grossly ignorant contempt for all religions; of indifference to those very truths which their various founders endeavoured to re-assert, again and again. It is no toleration at all.

To judge how far our contemporaries have or not the right to boast of their “spirit of toleration,” the best is to watch their behaviour towards those whom they decidedly look upon as the enemies of their gods: the men who happen to be holding views contrary to theirs concerning not some theological quibble, in which they are not interested, but some political or socio-political Ideology which they regard as “a threat to civilisation” or as “the only creed through which civilisation can be saved.” Nobody can deny that in all such circumstances, and specially in war time, they all, perform — to the extent they have the power, — or condone — to the extent they have not, themselves, the opportunity of performing, —


actions in every respect as ugly as those ordered, performed or tolerated in the past, in the name of different religions (if indeed the latter ugly be). The only difference is, perhaps, that modern cold-blooded atrocities only become known when the hidden powers in control of the means of herd-conditioning — of the press, the wireless and the cinema, — decide, for ends anything but “humanitarian,” that they should be, i.e. when they happen to be the enemy’s atrocities, not one’s own — nor those of one’s “gallant allies” — and when their story is, therefore, considered to be “good propaganda,” on account of the current of indignation it is expected to create and of the new incentive it is expected to give the war-effort. Moreover, after a war, fought or supposed to have been fought for an Ideology — the modern equivalent of the bitter religious conflicts of old — the horrors rightly or wrongly: said to have been perpetrated by the vanquished are the only ones to be broadcasted all over the world, while the victors try as hard as they can to make believe that their High Command at least never shut its eyes to any similar horrors. But in sixteenth century Europe, and before; and among the warriors of Islam, conducting “jihad” against men of other faiths, each side was well aware of the atrocious means used, not only by its opponents for their “foul ends,” but by its own people and its own leaders in order to “uproot heresy” or to “fight popery,” or to “preach the name of Allah to infidels.” Modern man is more of a moral coward. He wants the advantages of violent intolerance — which is only natural — but he shuns the responsibility of it. Progress, that also.

* * *

The so-called “humaneness” of our contemporaries (compared with their forefathers) is just lack of nerve or lack of strong feelings — increasing cowardice, or increasing apathy.

Modern man is squeamish about atrocities — even about ordinary, unimaginative brutality — only when it happens that the aims for which atrocious or merely brutal actions are performed are either hateful or indifferent to him. In all other circumstances, he shuts his eves to any horrors — especially when he knows that the victims can never retaliate (as it is the case with all atrocities committed by man upon animals,


for whatever purpose it be) and he demands, at the most, not to be reminded of them tog often and too noisily. He reacts as though he classified atrocities under two headlines: the “unavoidable” and the avoidable. The “unavoidable” are those that serve or are supposed to serve modern man’s purpose — generally: “the good of humanity” or the “triumph of Democracy.” They are tolerated, nay, justified. The “avoidable” are those which are occasionally committed, or said to be committed, by people whose purpose is alien to his. They alone are condemned, and their real or supposed authors — or inspirers — branded by public opinion as “criminals against humanity.”

Which are, anyhow, the alleged signs of that wonderful “humaneness” of modern man, according to those who believe in progress? We no longer have to-day, — they say — the horrid executions of former times; traitors are no longer “hung, drawn and quartered,” as was the custom in glorious sixteenth century England; anything approaching in ghastliness the torture and execution of François Damien, upon the central square of Paris, before thousands of people purposely come to see it, on the 28th of May, 1757, would be unthinkable in modern France. Modern man also no longer upholds slavery, nor does he (in theory, at least) justify the exploitation of the masses under any form. And his wars — even his wars! monstrous as they may seem, with their elaborate apparatus of costly demoniacal machinery — are beginning to admit, within their code, (so one says) some amount of humanity and justice. Modern man is horrified at the mere thought of the war-time habits of ancient peoples — at the sacrifice of twelve young Trojans to the shade of the Greek hero Patrocles, not to speak of the far less ancient but far more atrocious sacrifices of prisoners of war to the Aztec war-god Huitzilopochtli. (But the Aztecs, though relatively modern, were not Christians, nor, as far as we know, believers in all-round progress). Finally — one says — modern man is kinder, or less cruel, to animals than his forefathers were.

Alone an enormous amount of prejudice in favour of our times can enable one to be taken in by such fallacies.

Surely modern man does not “uphold,” slavery; he denounces it vehemently. But he practises it nevertheless — and on a wider scale than ever, and far more thoroughly than


the Ancients ever could — whether in the Capitalistic West or in the Tropics, or (from what one hears outside its impenetrable walls) even in the one State supposed to be, to-day, the “workers’ paradise.” There are differences, of course. In Antiquity, even the slave had hours of leisure and merriment that were all his own; he had his games of dice in the shade of the columns of his master’s portico, his coarse jokes, his free chatter, his free life outside his daily routine. The modern slave has not the privilege of loitering, completely carefree, for half an hour. His so-called leisure itself is either filled with almost compulsory entertainment, as exacting and often as dreary as his work, or — in “lands of freedom” — poisoned by economic worries. But he is not openly bought and sold. He is just taken. And taken, not by a man in some way at least superior to himself, but by a huge impersonal system without either a body to kick or a soul to damn or a head to answer for its mischief.

And similarly, old horrors have no doubt disappeared from the records of so-called civilised mankind, regarding both justice and war. But new and worse ones, unknown to “barbaric” ages, have crept up in their place. One single instance is ghastly enough to suffice. The long-drawn trial not of criminals, not of traitors, nor regicides, nor wizards, but of the finest leading characters of Europe; their iniquitous condemnation, after months and months of every kind of humiliation and systematical moral torture; their final hanging, in the slowest and cruelest possible manner — that whole sinister farce, staged at Nüremberg in 1945–1946 (and 1947) by a pack of victorious cowards and hypocrites, is immeasurably more disgusting than all the post-war human sacrifices of the past rolled in one, including those performed according to the well-known Mexican ritual. For there, at least, however painful might have been the traditional process of killing, the victims were frankly done to death for the delight of the tribal god of the victors and of the victors themselves, without any macabre mock-pretence of “justice.” And they were, moreover, taken from all ranks of captured warriors, not malignantly selected from the élite of their people only. Nor did the élite of the vanquished people represent, in most cases, — as it actually did in the shameful trial of our progressive times — the very élite of their continent.


As for such unthinkable atrocities as took place in France end in Spain, and many other countries, from the Middle Ages onwards, one would find quite a number of episodes of the recent Spanish civil war — not to mention the no less impressive record of horrors performed, still more recently, by the “heroes” of the French résistance, during the Second World War, — to match them and, more often than not, to outdo them.

And, curiously enough, — although (they say) they “hate such things” — a considerable number of men and women of to-day, while lacking the guts to commit horrible actions personally, seem to be just as keen as ever on watching them being performed or, at least, on thinking of them and gloating over them, and enjoying them vicariously, if denied the morbid pleasure of watching. Such are the people who, in modern England, gather before the prison gates whenever a man is to be hanged, expecting goodness knows what unhealthy excitement from the mere fact of reading the announcement that “justice has been done” — people who, if only given an opportunity, would run to see a public execution, nay, a public burning of witches or heretics, no doubt as speedily as their forefathers once did. Such are also millions of folk, hitherto “civilised” and apparently kind, who reveal themselves in their proper light no sooner a war breaks out, i.e. no sooner they feel encouraged to display the most repulsive type of imagination in competitive descriptions of what tortures every one of them “would” inflict upon the enemy’s leaders, if he — or more often she — had a free hand. Such are, at heart, all those who gloat over the sufferings of the fallen enemy after a victorious war. And they are also millions: millions of vicarious savages, mean at the same time as cruel — unmanly — whom the warriors of the so-called “barbaric” ages would have thoroughly despised.

* * *

But more cowardly and more, hypocritical, perhaps, than anything else, is “progressive” modern man’s behaviour towards living Nature, and in particular towards the animal kingdom. Of that I have spoken at length in another book,1 and

1 “Impeachment of Man,” written in 1945-46, and yet unpublished.


I shall, therefore, here, be contented with underlining a few facts.

Primitive man, — and, often, also, man whose picturesque civilisation is anything but “modern” — is bad enough, it is true, as far as his treatment of animals is concerned. One only has to travel in the least industrialised countries of southern Europe, or in the Near and Middle East, to acquire a very definite certitude on that point. And not all modern leaders have been equally successful in putting an end to age-old cruelties to dumb) beasts, whether in the East or in the West. Gandhi could not, in the name of that universal kindness which he repeatedly preached as the main tenet of his faith, prevent Hindu milk-men from deliberately starving their male calves to death, in order to sell a few extra pints of cow’s milk. Mussolini could not detect and prosecute all those Italians who, even under his government, persisted in the detestable habit of plucking chickens alive on the ground that “the feathers come off more easily.” There is no getting away from the fact that kindness to animals on a national scale does not ultimately depend upon the teachings of any superimposed religion or philosophy. It is one of the distinctive characteristics of the truly superior races. And no religious, philosophical or political alchemy can turn base metal into gold.

This does not mean to say that a good teaching cannot help to bring the best out of every race, as well as out of every individual man or woman. But modern industrial civilisation, to the extent it is man-centred — not controlled by any inspiration of a super-human, cosmic order — and tends to stress quantity instead of quality, production and wealth, instead of character and inherent worth, is anything but congenial to the development of consistent universal kindness, even among, the better people. It hides cruelty. It does nothing to suppress it, or even to lessen it. It excuses, nay, it exalts any atrocity upon animals, which happens to be directly or indirectly connected with money-making, from the daily horrors of the slaughter-houses to the martyrdom of animals at the hands of the circus-trainer, the trapper (and, also, very often, of the skinner, in the case of furry creatures) and of the vivisector. Naturally, the “higher” interest of human beings is put forward as a justification, — without people realising that a humanity which is prepared to buy amusement or luxury, “tasty food,” or even


scientific information or means of healing the sick at such a cost, as that, is no longer worthy to live. The fact remains that there has never been more degeneracy and more disease of all descriptions among men, than in this world of compulsory or almost compulsory vaccination and inoculation; this world which exalts criminals against Life — torturers of innocent living creatures for man’s ends, such as Louis Pasteur, — to the rank of “great” men, while condemning the really great ones who struggled to stress the sacred hierarchy of human races before and above the over-emphasised and, anyhow, obvious, hierarchy of beings, and who, incidentally, built the only State in the West whose laws for the protection of dumb creatures reminded one, for the first time after centuries (and to the extent it was possible in a modern industrial country of cold climate) of the decrees of Emperor Asoka and Harshavardhana.1

Such a world may well boast of its tender care for prize dogs and cats and for pet animals in general, while trying to forget (and to make better civilisations forget) the hideous fact of a million creatures vivisected yearly, in Great Britain alone. It cannot make us overlook its hidden horrors and convince us of its “progress” in kindness to animals, any more than of its increasing kindness to people “irrespectively of their creed.” We refuse to see in it anything else but the darkest living evidence of that which the Hindus have characterised from time immemorial as “Kali Yuga” — the “Dark Age”; the Era of Gloom; the last (and, fortunately, the shortest) subdivision of the present Cycle of history. There is no hope of “putting things right,” in such an age. It is, essentially, the age so forcefully though laconically described in the Book of books — the Bhagavad-Gita — as that in which “out of the corruption of women proceeds the confusion of castes; out of the confusion of castes, the loss memory; out of loss of memory the lack of understanding; and out of this, all evils”;2 the age in which falsehood is termed “truth” and truth persecuted as falsehood or mocked as insanity; in which the exponents of truth, the divinely inspired leaders, the real friends of their race and

1 I refer to the laws against cruelty to animals that were, in my eyes, one of the glories of the National Socialist regime in Germany.
2 The Bhagavad-Gita, Transl. of E. Burnouf, I, 47 and foll.


of all the living, — the god-like men, — are defeated, and their followers humbled and their memory slandered, while the masters of lies are hailed as “saviours”; the age in which every man and woman is in the wrong place, and the world dominated by inferior individuals, bastardised races and vicious doctrines, all part and parcel of an order of inherent ugliness far worse than complete anarchy.

This is the age in which our triumphant Democrats and our hopeful Communists boast of “slow but steady progress through science and education.” Thanks very much for such “progress”! The very sight of it is enough to confirm us in our belief in the immemorial cyclic theory of history, illustrated in the myths of all ancient, natural religions (including that one from which the Jews — and, through them, their disciples, the Christians — borrowed the symbolical story of the Garden of Eden; Perfection at the beginning of Time.) It impresses upon us the fact that human history, far from being a steady ascension towards the better, is an increasingly hopeless process of bastardisation, emasculation and demoralisation of mankind; an inexorable “fall.” It rouses in us the yearning to see the end — the final crash that will push into oblivion both those worthless “isms” that are the product of the decay of thought and of character, and the no less worthless religions of equality which have slowly prepared the ground for them; the coming of Kalki, the divine Destroyer of evil; the dawn of a new Cycle opening, as all time-cycles ever did, with “Golden Age.”

Never mind how bloody the final crash may be! Never mind what old treasures may perish for ever in the redeeming conflagration! The sooner it comes, the better. We are waiting for it — and for the following glory — confident in the divinely established cyclic Law that governs all manifestations of existence in Time: the law of Eternal Return. We ore waiting for it, and for the subsequent triumph of the Truth persecuted to-day; for the triumph under whatever name, of the only faith in harmony with the everlasting laws of being; of the only modern “ism” which is anything but “modern,” being just the latest expression of principles as old as the Sun; the triumph of all those men who, throughout the centuries and to-day, have never lost the vision of the everlasting Order,


decreed by the Sun, and who have fought in a selfless spirit to impress that vision upon others. We are waiting for the glorious restoration, this time, on a world-wide scale, of the New Order, projection in time, in the next, as in every recurring “Golden Age,” of the everlasting Order of the Cosmos.

It is the only thing worth living for — and dying for, if given that privilege, — now, in 1948.

Written in Edinburgh, on the 9th April, 1948, — the 707th anniversary of the famous battle of Liegnitz.