From the Preface by Dr. Rashmi Mayur, Director, International Institute for Sustainable Future, Bombay, India.
Kali Yuga Odyssey: A spiritual journey, by Dr. J.T. Ross Jackson, is an unparalleled account of a successful businessman, a brilliant systems scientist, a global visionary and an avid searcher of the ultimate purpose and truth of life.
Ross went through a traumatic experience during his visit to India. This experience is remarkably described by him. He puts it so dramatically: “the entire effect was electric, timeless, mystical, mesmerizing, powerful, unworldly”. Ross soared to a different world, the world beyond Western materialism – at the ashram of Swami Muktananda. The experience took Ross to a different level of existence. He was mutated. He returns to earth – to the real experiences of life, to Hildur, his wife, his lover, his partner and his core. As he put it: “Knowledge without experience is useless; have to have experience. I concentrated all my energy on this picture of Hildur until it felt safe again”.
Their support for the fast-growing global ecovillage movement is a rare example of philanthropy. An ecovillage is an integrated community of people established for the purpose of living sustainably in a social network, often, but not always, including spiritual pursuits. At a modest scale, it is an attempt to develop examples of sustainable living, which they hope will eventually bring about a new social, economic and political order in the world, both North and South.
Ross’s journey continues beyond the personal to the global to a higher spiritual level. He is on a deeper search of discovering who Man is. He says, “we are all divine”. As a scientist, I have never understood the meaning of divine, but my poetic sense tells me that we all have something beyond the physical, the experiences of love, truth, beauty and more, none of which can be explained by the weak tool of language. It is an experience of life. Ross is at his best when he describes his experiences at the ashram of Swami Muktananda. His description flows like a stream, gushing at one time and serene at another. He gets a feeling of “full power“. I could not understand how a businessman could reach such a high level of consciousness, but he did, and that is what makes Ross so different from other businessmen.
He becomes hopeful about himself and the world – beyond the Kali Yuga. He quotes Sai Baba, who says “the golden age of humanity is soon to dawn, within the next two decades, and the Sat Yuga shall start from 1999“. Ross is a confirmed optimist. I am an optimist too. We believe that ultimately, a new, sustainable world for all human beings will arrive.
I am searching, and so is Ross. His journey is a journey of search. Fortunately, our search continues forever. When one path ends, there is another beyond, ad infinitum. I enjoyed Kali Yuga Odyssey because it reminds me of Pilgrims Progress by John Banyon. It is a memoir of life and spiritual pursuits.
Ross is a personal friend of several years. I have always admired him as a man of high intellect and purpose. This book has given me a deeper understanding of his philosophical mind. Scientists raise questions, answering them at a physical, biological level. Philosophers take us to another world, where answers may reside.