The source of his comments can be found in the Introduction to the book "Holy Science" written by Swami Sri Yukteswar (guru of Yogananda) at the behest of the now-famous Mahavatar, Babaji.
Swami Kriyananda's insights into the unfoldment of human consciousness were expressed in innumerable recorded talks, essays, and books--too numerous to reference. Ananda members, Byasa (David) Steinmetz and co-author Purushottama (Joseph) Selbie, authored an excellent book -- "The Yugas"-- on this subject.
I do not, therefore, want to repeat the groundwork offered to us by the drastic re-calibration of the Hindu calendar offered to the world by Sri Yukteswar in a mere few paragraphs in the introduction to his abstruse tome. If you want an orientation to human history that turns the modern narrative on its head, well, you'll enjoy "The Yugas."
Swamiji, however, would often peer into the future seeking insights to changes and trends in world culture. The one book I can reference in this regard is "Religion in the New Age." (It is a collection of essays on many subjects.)
There are several trends that I want to share that Swamiji spoke of:
- "Small is Beautiful." In this age, which I call the Age of the Individual, an egalitarian age, knowledge is increasingly being offered to everyone. The former hierarchy of education and concomitant power is being "flattened" and the accessibility of information via the world wide web is both symbolic and practically speaking an excellent illustration of this trend. "Think global; act local" is a bumper sticker that also expresses this trend. In America, it is my "theory" (and I'm sticking with it, ha, ha) is that Hurricane Katrina first introduced American society to the need to fend for oneself, whether individually or in local groups. I recall in the early 2000's being in Beverly Hills, CA on Rodeo Drive (the absolute epitome of wealth and celebrity status) seeing banners put up by the city government urging its citizens to focus on disaster preparedness! The failure of the large public utility, Pacific Gas & Electric in California has given those residents a huge incentive to produce energy locally. I could go on and on. Big is out. The federal government in America is paralyzed with divisiveness. States, counties, and cities are dealing with global issues like climate change, plus innumerable other issues, not least of which at this time, is the Coronavirus COVID-19. During the sheltering-at-home phase, seed companies are out of stock as millions are planting gardens. This trend is easy enough of observation. Ironically, the big issues facing our planet require cooperation on national and international scales even as large-scale entities, including corporations, are less and less the trendsetters and leaders of society. The lesson, however, must not be lost rather than only regretted: we (you and me) have to BE THE CHANGE WE SEEK! It's THAT simple.
- A movement away from cities. Since the beginning of the so-called Industrial Revolution, millions of people have migrated from agricultural life to the urban (and later, suburban) life. This trend is not wholly finished in some countries. But the trend that may be only just beginning is a rebound of the post World War II movement to the suburbs. Unfortunately, suburban life simply paved over natural habitat and copied urban life but with a nice green lawn, perhaps a swimming pool, and a few planted trees. But that trend and impulse still exist: a desire to live more in harmony with nature; it is deeper than conscious recognition that cities are toxic by their very nature. Toxic not just in terms of water and air but even by their artificially restless intensity. Sheltering at home has connected millions with the simplicity of home life; cooking real food; reading a book; reaching out to friends, neighbors, and family; having time for thoughtful reflection; prayer and meditation. A calm life is a real life. While young people, restless and adventurous, eager to live at the edge of their senses and taking risks (because believing they are invincible) may yet always tend toward urban environments, the far larger population is, or will be, gradually, drawn to natural living.
- Both of the above trends flow easily and naturally into acceptance of conscious, intentional communities of like-minded, ideal-driven people banding together. This banding or tribal trend (I don't care for the world "tribal" it makes me feel like I want to go beat on a drum and grunt rhythmically) can take place virtually, in service projects, in politics, in religion, education, and of course most naturally, residentially. Yogananda is deemed by Ananda members worldwide to be the "patron saint" of communities. In the 1940's he enthusiastically experimented with a community that included not just monastics but householders. It was premature but even after he disbanded it he continued to the end of his life to wax enthusiastic about its future prospects. He predicted that someday communities would "spread like wildfire." We haven't seen this, for sure, but the two trends mentioned above flow, as I said above, easily into the channel of the communities movement. However, I will admit that these last two trends (away from the cities and the rise of intentional communities) are still very nascent though any number of events could accelerate their unfoldment (like a pandemic!).