Meditation On The Doctrine Of The Four Ages

Regarding the Early Buddhism texts, which J. Evola refers to in his “Doctrine of Awakening,” there is a passage in the beginning of the MAHÂ-PARINIBBÂNA-SUTTANTA, which clearly indicates the concept of “The Doctrine of the Four Ages”, described by J. Evola in his book “Revolt against the Modern World;” i.e. a spiritual degeneration has occurred. All Ancient traditions speak about this concept in one way or the other. This passage clearly indicates this:

‘So long, Ânanda, as the Vaggians meet together in concord, and rise in concord, and carry out their undertakings in concord–so long as they enact nothing not already established, abrogate nothing that has been already enacted, and act in accordance with the ancient institutions of the Vaggians as established in former days–so long as they honour and esteem and revere and support the Vaggian elders, and hold it a point of duty to hearken to their words–so long as no women or girls belonging to their clans are detained among them by force or abduction–so long as they honour and esteem and revere and support the Vaggian shrines in town or country, and allow not the proper offerings and rites, as formerly given and performed, to fall into desuetude–so long as the rightful protection, defence, and support shall be fully provided for the Arahats among them, so that Arahats from a distance may enter the realm, and the Arahats therein may live at case–so long may the Vaggians be expected not to decline, but to prosper.’


As I said in the beginning it is obvious that this is a valuable clue to understanding that the further away from the original core of the Buddhistic doctrine we get with wrong translations or wrong interpretations, the more degenerated, corrupt and false the doctrine will become. If we move away from the core of the early written texts just one inch, then we are on the way downwards. This would suggest that the Buddhism, for instance, of today is not in “concord” with the very words of Buddha; it has become degenerated and corrupt and not better, improved versions, as Science would want you to think.

But why stop at the earliest texts; why not go all the way back to the source? I do not believe that the knowledge written down in the early Buddhistic documents were the “invention” – if I may use that word – of Buddha, or the people surrounding him in that period of time. I believe that all knowledge, spiritual or technical, is always passed on from earlier traditions, earlier ages and eras.

If people in a future age would find a tyre by the brand of “Goodyear” buried in the sand somewhere; this tyre being the oldest artifact that has been found, they would probably say: Oh, the people from the 21 century – or whatever year the current era ends – invented the wheel, but this is not accurate, because we all know that the “Sumerians” did, or rather, this knowledge were passed on to them from a previous age and era.

A majority of all ancient texts found in this age are of a religious, or spiritual character, and they very often contain information about people, circumstances or beliefs of the earlier ages and eras; what we are and why we are here, the creation, for instance. Let us say that the people of a future age, perhaps 10.000 years from today will find “ancient texts” from or about this age; describing the way of life of the people in the forms of stories and myths, in the ancient mysterious language of English. Will these texts, describing the people from this particular century, be religious and spiritual in their nature? I would say no. The texts would suggest that the people in 2000 A.D. did not believe in God, but gold and that we did not believe in The Soul with a divine immortal essence, but rather that we were soulless physical beings originated from animals i.e. nature. This is a sure sign that a spiritual degeneration has taken place even within this age. So, these texts could make future inhabitants of this earth believe that people from this age were “primitive” people, who did not believe in God or a Soul, just as science today consider ancient civilizations to be “pagan” i.e. primitive people and therefore inferior to us living in this modern age. Naturally, if the divine knowledge is lost; if we are not able to get in contact with it and passing it on to the next generation; the human race being so degenerated, then this is when an new era with a new golden age has to begin. The knowledge has to be released once again.

What I am implying is that if divine knowledge once upon a time – in a golden age – was entirely of an inner nature; a practical doctrine, then all written documents of our age would be a far cry from the original knowledge. Reading a book about “how-to-drive-a car” is not the same as actually driving a car. The experience of driving a car would be of an inner nature and reading about the experience would be a false version of this knowledge. All knowledge, in any written form, must be considered as degenerated and corrupt. If we would “live” spiritual knowledge, then we would act and talk quite differently and we only need to look at this world to see that this is not the case.

According to the doctrine of the four ages, this fourth and last dark age will be followed by a new golden age, where certain people who survives to live in that age needs to embody this spiritual knowledge in order for it to be passed on, and considering the low level of development on which the majority of the people of this last age find themselves; no spiritual knowledge can be passed on by the majority, as mentioned earlier. It is a minority who will provide the next age with the divine knowledge; passing on this burning torch to that lineage. This inner state of being will always exist within that lineage as a spirit; as a memory of the divine knowledge, their ancestors once embodied, which the descendants still living in a dark age can have access to, if they choose to, even if they only have a small trace of that lineage within them, because The Divine is so much stronger than the physical, or the material.

This knowledge will of course decline again through another cycle of these four ages, (Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron, according to the Greco-Roman tradition) arriving once again in an iron age, where the people will find religious and spiritual texts again; the divine knowledge passed on through the ages, being in its degenerated, corrupt and final form, before it disappears all together and a new cycle will begin again. What fascinates me is that all ancient texts in the forms of legends, myths, sagas, tales, symbols etc. are, when you think about it, really very simplified forms, containing this spiritual knowledge, so perfectly suited to our level of development. So if the people of this iron age i.e. dark age are at the lowest point in their spiritual development, as suggested by all the traditional authors, then obviously it is from this point they have to start. Why give a child who is struggling with the ABC a book written by Dostojevskij? It would serve no purpose at all.

I do not believe in chance or coincidence, which otherwise would suggest that I am an atheist and I am not, so naturally, all these ancient texts in various forms are constructed or influenced by some individuals, who clearly have access to superior knowledge about who we are, what this place is and the reason for us being here; embodying this knowledge and passing it on to us all, but in forms that suits our level of development, as I suggested earlier.

Traditional teaching, though in various forms, had always and everywhere upheld the belief in the existence of a primordial race that embodied a transcendent spirituality; for that reason, this race was often regarded as divine or “like the gods.” […] A force from above is found in this race as a a presence, predestining it to command, to the royal function.[…] Owing to a progressive involution of mankind, which was likewise recorded in several traditions, the function exercised by this race became gradually invisible, and that direct contact between historical and superhistorical elements was interrupted.1 […] …The beings of the primordial age never died but rather took an invisible form to guide mortal beings.2

It is therefore not a coincidence that the texts found in our age are of a religious, or spiritual character. The knowledge in literal forms is what the human race of this particular age need and these instruments are being provided to us, because when looking closely, one could consider texts as tools or instruments that can be used to develop one self; to find ones way back to the original state of being.
The instruments have unfortunately mostly been used in a negative way throughout history and that is the thing, we always have a choice how we use them through free-will.
All the texts that will be found in the next dark age must then logically be written now, in this age and era, in the forms of legends, myths, “holy books” of different religions, since in a golden age there is no need for written versions of the knowledge, because people are embodying it, otherwise it would not be a golden age.

I want to end this essay with a quote from the great hungarian traditional thinker András László from his “Solum Ipsum,” regarding the doctrine of the four ages:

“Back in the past metaphysical realisation needed only the will of realisation. Later realisation also needed initiation. Even later initiation already presupposed preparation. Today even preparation has to be prepared, but first of all a self-correction should take place.”

  1. J. Evola, The Mystery of the Grail []
  2. Hesiod, Works and Days []
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