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pray_hands.GIF (680 bytes) Prayer & Spirituality
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The Hour of God
By Andrew Harvey

In my presentation at The Great Rethinking - The Prophets Oxford, "The Hour of God: Mystical Activism and the Transformation of the Planet," I will try and unfold my vision of the times we are in and of the responses to growing disaster that I believe really can change our world.

In early December 1992 I sat with the great catholic mystic Bede Griffiths in his ashram in Shantivanam, South India. He startled me by saying, "You know of course, Andrew, that we are in the hour of God." I asked him what he meant and he replied, "The whole human race has now come to the moment when everything is at stake, when a vast shift of consciousness will have to take place on a massive scale in all societies and religions for the world to survive." I asked him of he believed that the human race could survive. He replied, "Yes, but it will cost everything. Just as Jesus had to go through death into the new world of the Resurrection, so millions of us will have to go through a death to the past and to all old ways of being and doing if we are going to be brought by the grace of God into the truth of a real new age. The next twenty years will unfold a series of terrible disasters, wars and ordeals of every kind that will reveal if the human race is ready to die into new life or not...Either total destruction or total transformation is possible and depends on us, on what we choose and how we act."

The world is now clearly plunged into that "hour of God" of which Bede Griffiths spoke so starkly. One other way of understanding this all-critical time is seeing it as a "dark night of the species," a kind of worldwide crucifixion of everything humanity has believed about itself in every arena. Terrifying though this process is, the mystics of every serious mystical tradition have informed us that such a crucifixion is a necessary prelude to the "resurrection" of new life. I hope to present in Oxford what I call "the wisdom of the dark night" in such a way as to give people heart for what lies ahead and the faith to see, feel, and create a new world order through the chaos.

What I believe is now essential for all those who are aware both of the danger and of the potential of the time is to plunge into the work of serious transformation that will fuse together profound inner work with passionate external radical action. This I call "Mystical Activism." As I write in my recent book, A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Ramakrishna, "It is crystal clear I think to anyone who sees the depth of the global predicament that we are in, that there can be only one way out now---the way of 'mystical activism'. An activism that is not fed by mystical wisdom and stamina will wither in the fire of persistent and persistently exhausting disappointment and defeat and tend to create as many new problems as it tries to solve. A mysticism that is not committed to action within the world on behalf of the poor, of the oppressed and of nature itself condemns itself to futility at a time in which so much is at stake. Only the highest spiritual wisdom and tireless sacred passion for all of life united with pragmatic, radical action on all possible fronts can now help us preserve the planet."

My presentation will end with a detailed vision of HOW to be a "mystical activist" and how to stay inspired by the Sacred in the midst of action in the world.

About the Author:

Andrew Harvey was born in South India in 1952 and lived there until he was nine years old, a period he credits with shaping his vision of the inner unity of all religions. He left India to attend private school in England, and entered Oxford University in 1970 to study history on a scholarship. At the age of 21, he became the youngest person ever to be awarded the Fellow of All Souls College, England's highest academic honor.

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