“Alexa, give me five minutes!” This command came easily from the lips of our two-and-a-half year old nephew who was told he needed to share his toy truck with his brother. “Alexa,” for those who don’t know, is a machine that utilizes artificial intelligence and voice recognition to do all sorts of things, including setting a timer.

This story reminded me how clearly we have entered into Dwapara Yuga and how quickly the acceleration of technological advancements is happening. With these advancements comes convenience and the ability to not have to spend so much time on mundane things like pushing buttons to set a timer. 

Those being born during this time have a natural affinity for technology. I’ve seen our six-year-old friend, Mila, play video games on her tablet like a pro! And when Narayan and I brought my sister and her two boys to Universal Studios theme park, I understood that this younger generation actually processes things differently. We went on the Harry Potter ride, which is a motion simulation ride (your body is moving and you are seeing as if you’re inside the movie). My sister and I almost lost our lunch! I asked the boys if it bothered them at all and they assured me it felt perfectly natural. 

We are in a different world, that’s for sure!

Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda talked about a “return to simplicity” but does that mean we go back to the way things were for our grandparents or great grandparents? Certainly not. Swamiji shares about this point clearly in his book, The New Path:

“Human nature has not changed. Those who ignore its guiding principles pay all the usual penalties, whether as restless and unhappy camel drivers or as restless and unhappy jet airplane pilots, or corporate executives.

It is not that what we have nowadays is wrong. The solution lies not in reverting to primitivism, or to any other culture that imagination may enhalo for us in a romantic glow. Those cultures had their problems, too. We are living today. What is needed is a change in our priorities. We need, as every age has needed, to subordinate material to human and spiritual ends. The principles taught by Paramhansa Yogananda will, if adopted, correct the spiritual imbalances of our times.

One of the pressing needs nowadays is for what Yogananda called “world brotherhood colonies”—places that can facilitate the development of an integrated, well-balanced life, setting an example to all mankind of the advantages of such a life. Cooperative communities ought not to be isolationist, like medieval villages, nor in any sense a step backwards in time, but an integral part of the age in which we live.”

Each one of our “return to simplicity” will look different. I remember Swamiji sharing how he was attempting to lower his monthly expenses to below $10 per month when he realized he was overcomplicating simple living! Let’s not “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” We can follow the example of the Masters and utilize the innovations of this new age of Dwapara Yuga while not forgetting our guiding principles:

  1. People are more important than things.
  2. Where there is dharma, there is victory.

When we can do that, we will truly enter into a higher age!