Who runs the world?

by | Sep 1, 2019

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If this world is a machine, then who is the ghost in the machine? Who runs this world is an old question with answers that keep changing with time. Human beings used to be hunter gatherers in the early ages. Some of these people shifted to rearing animals rather than killing and eating them. A mix of these wandering people, upon settling into territories over time started calling themselves as nations, some strong and others weak. Wars were the next natural development. The principal cause of war, which was greed, was camouflaged by religion, ideology and imaginary conflicts. To stop some of this chaos, great empires were born – the Roman Empire, the Prussian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and many others. 

The First World War, which started as a war to end all wars, led to the demise of empires and the creation of Soviet Russia. The hurt pride of the Germans led to the Second World War and the end of the European era. A bipolar world dominated by the Americans and the Russians emerged. In 1990, with the implosion of Soviet Russia, America unleashed globalization to bring almost the entire planet into its control. This turned China into a global factory, and India into an intellectual slave provider, to achieve profit for the US corporations. It badly backfired and today, President Trump is trying in vain to reverse globalization. 

So, who runs the world now? Global corporations? Military power? It was believed that control over resources creates a symbiotic relation and balance that runs the world. But the newly brewed trade war between China and the United States; the exit of Britain from the European Union; the American Military Power shining in its impotency to establish rule over Afghanistan and Iraq, occupied decades back; and Iran, Turkey and Hungary staring back in defiance at their erstwhile mentoring nations, have all thrown up new doubts. Every time victory over terrorism is declared, bombs blasts at the most unexpected locations rattle this illusion. There is unease and uncertainty in the air.  So now, who is controlling the modern world?

Let us go to Neti Neti, ‘not this, not this’, line of thought of ancient Indian thinkers. Money does not control the world. All major international currencies are tied up in a tangle and no one is really leading. All ideologies and isms, are dead and in a great paradox, Communist China is today’s most capitalist country and the United States is promoting most vigorously, the rights of its workers and the interests of its locals over that of its immigrants. Religion is dead as a force, not only politically, but also in its role as a moral and social reformer. British journalist Catherine Nixey, working for The Times, in her book In The Darkening Age, narrates how nations following the Christian religion, despite preaching peace, had been violent, ruthless and intolerant. Lack of human development is glaring in most of the orthodox Muslim nations. 

It is important to look at the Vedic concept of Kali Yuga – the Age of the Dark for two reasons. One, it explains to a large extent the increased entropy, disorder and uncertainty of the contemporary world. Internet-driven electronic mass and social media have established a kingdom of lies and deceit over the human mind and an explosion of a mindless, unfocused generation growing up in every country of the world is imminent, in varying intensity and time lag. There was a Hollywood movie ‘World War Z’, sometime back, wherein zombies created by a biological infection almost took over the world but for the heroics of the protagonist. In real life, however, there is no protagonist and the end would unfortunately be different from the one shown in the movie.  

The world, the way it is or is going to be, will eventually end but humanity will survive; good human beings will remain alive. Therefore, the point is not to brood over what is wrong with the world, and to face the reality that there is hardly anything right with the world. The point is not to be passive and see the decay and degeneration of human values, but to connect with the Infinite of which this earth is a minute part and the human part, further a small part of the planet itself.  The Indian mind has always seen the Earth as Mother, humanity as one, and the world as a family – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

A Chinese proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Let us take that first step by connecting to the Infinite Intelligence centre inside our own body – our soul, or with whatever other word we may like to call it. A multi-layered system governs everything, whether it is our life inside, our life around and the world at large. The first step to know who runs the world is to know who runs you!



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  1. Very nicely put! Great reading and I am sure it will have impact.

  2. In the race of reaching somewhere (often not very clear where!) we are not spending enough thoughts on such realities. Often, when our ‘innocent’ mind raises questions, we tend to postpone attending that (often we are afraid of facing the question form within). It is very refreshing and stimulating to read the blog and will certainly help change our perspective.

  3. Arunji, excellent article and three take aways for me: 1. Good human beings will remain alive; 2. Connect to our soul; 3. Know who runs you.

  4. A very insightful read! So thoughtfully penned it is and rightly said that humanity is the essence of everything. No matter how much the world changes or who runs the world, important is how we sail in this changing environment and how we value its core existence. Please keep writing more and enlightening us with your wisdom and thoughts.

  5. The answer to this question is Maya. As we move into the high tech era, its media images and virtual realities the twenty-first century, our world is becoming more and more like Maya every day. Maya runs the world. The seeming or illusory nature of the phenomena, events or circumstances in the world is a common fact of our daily lives. We would be wise by not to be taken in by appearances, promises, or marketing. They hold back, wait and observe before making any important judgments or decisions, looking to what may be behind the actions and motivations of others or the circumstances involved.

  6. This blog makes me recall the climax of Lucy (a 2014 si-fi), the whole evolution zips past us, and the evolution of our race merely a fraction of it.
    The conclusion of this blog- “The first step to know who runs the world is to know who runs you!” is indeed the essence of our own evolution, which by its very nature- governed by the cycle of life and death, is key to our well-being.
    Thank you Sir for bringing focus in our life with your words.

  7. Technology runs this world – few months back when I was walking alone in Seoul, South Korea, the most wired place on earth, I had this feeling! Today money is riding over technology and in turn technology is producing money – like a snake feeding on its own tail. It is no more about resources. It is all about how fast can you move them, transform them, and trade them. Blockchain is still denied by those who wish to see their old money survive but those who are using it know it works. Thank you for creating this much-needed awareness. Young people will have to find their own way to survive in the emerging world. Those versed with technology will only flourish, the rest will some how survive – brooding, complaining, lamenting, even fighting to loose!

  8. Even though goodness is tempted by evil, goodness always triumphs over evil. The conflict between good and evil exists in worldly living no matter who runs the world. All religions of this world preach that the good triumphs over evil and of restoration or raising up this world and its mortals to a higher realm. Existence of many different theories, thoughts, morals and religions indicate that there are varieties of options and opinions that constitute peaceful & prosperous coexistence.
    Atrocities happen, indifferences exist, murders, thefts and exploitations of many a kind fail humanity, whoever runs the world. Yet we know of forgiving hearts, beautiful faces, kind smiles, repentance, personal regeneration & transformation and giving hands. My plea, hope and prayer is, whoever runs the world let them not be intoxicated by their own self-righteousness or believe in their own intrinsic moral superiority so easily to permit themselves to do terrible things to those they hate or fear. Anybody but greed, hate and delusion can run an ideal world.

  9. Pranam sir

    Your narration of the world scenario stems from your experienced and close observation of the world and its forces and the picture does not appear too good.

    The only point of solace is that the increase in entropy of the universe, though worrisome, is as you pointed out a part of the grand design.

    Indeed sir, The grim picture that is visible today is a defining aspect of the age of darkness or the Yuga of Kali . But just like every dark night is followed by a dawn, a great and golden dawn awaits a world engulfed in pitch darkness.

    The ancients of our country have promised us a protagonist, Kalki who will descend into the mortal existence to turn the tide and set forth the next revolution of the wheel of Dharma.

    Sri Aurobindo speaks about the next avatar as the one who will break even the boundaries of the Manifesting avatars. The next avatar won’t be just a single form but a multi manifestation in the darkest and most unexpected places. A mixed race of divine humans will awaken like scattered butter lamps shining the same light in a field invaded by abject darkness.

    These Kalki-ites, I believe sir, will be the prime movers of the world who will use both man and machine to usher in the age of light and truth -Satya Yuga.

    Everytime we see humans doing seemingly impossible things to better the world , I think we can all smile- the tide’s turning.

  10. Quite thought provoking Prof. Tiwari! Thank you. Your writing reminds me of Vladimir Putin’s comments that whoever wins the AI race will rule the world. Mankind indeed will face new challenges in the not too distant future.

  11. Good article. As we have been taught and brought up, we will act proactively so that the humanity does not suffer. It is not too late to mend ourselves and everyone around us. The prayer ” Sarve Jana Sukinah, Sarve Santu Niramaya…” is the prayer with which we seek his blessings to help us see the light of a better tomorrow.

  12. Very deep and thought provoking article. The only problems I felt is it is too short!

    It is worrying but as you have rightly said is effect of Kaliyug. Power is concentrated in few Power centres by now with few big Corporates wielding it like Google, Apple, Microsoft etc. One wrong CEO there and… ??

    We all must do our part in our surroundings to increase awareness and take few small steps in our own ways. It is said that: No matter what in any age, Good character will always be valued. Even dishonest people want honest people to work for them!!

  13. As videogames are becoming more and more sophisticated, it reasonable to predict that in the future machines shall be able to have simulations of conscious entities inside them. The entity, or entities, which will own such machines, will run the world. Even now, to a very large extent, algorithms, no one person make or operate, decide machines run markets – prices of commodities, shares, and currencies. If one progresses at the current rate of technology a few decades into the future, very quickly we will be a society where there are artificial entities living in simulations that are much more abundant than human beings.

  14. We have already moved in a new era in which we are building systems that can’t be grasped in their totality or held in the mind of a single person. The stock market runs on algorithms, which decides the price of a share, attractive enough to buy, repulsive enough to sell, generating money for the system in either way. I am tempted to call the modern times as the entanglement age. No aspect of life is left untouched by the technology – what we eat, breathe, read, think, do for our livelihood, even conceiving and giving birth to a child, every thing is infested by technology. Mankind is returning to the jungle — only this time we’ve constructed it ourselves! Before man regressed to become a controllable animal, it is important to hold on to our spiritual essence. Your article is a call, can’t be missed!

  15. Realistic analysis of the world dynamics and the evolution of the mankind. Intricate analysis of the value of human existence well elucidated.

  16. In the midst of competitions in business, tensions over territories and sharing of resources across the globe, this article is timely written.

  17. Superb Sir.

  18. Thank you for such a thoughtful and enlightening article. The human race is sitting on a pile of weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, the military power and human greed should not be allowed to rule the world. But, what is the alternative? I think the world must be ruled by the power of soul and humanistic wisdom.

    The journey from the present state of world to the desired state is going to be tough. But your Vision gives us hope and optimism for a better future.

  19. Such a well researched article chronicling the situation of the planet as it stands today vis-a-vis the powers that be and the influencing factors that are affecting Global trends. So rightly mentioned that the world economy is in a tangle (almost to the point of a confused chaos), which is such a perilous situation. In such a scenario, there is mass uncertainty and people are clueless as to what or who will present itself as the next global driver. This leads to a kind of a blind power struggle, which can place the whole world at a delicately balanced razor’s edge.

    The only solution in such a scenario is what is so aptly mentioned in the article is to connect with the Infinite Intelligence, which resides within every atom of the Universe. And connect with it with all Humility and with a sense of Service and Gratitude. For it is this very Intelligence, which is the Driving Force throughout the Creation. It is this Intelligence, which pervades everywhere. The currency of this Force is Love, and it is Love that will enable individuals, communities, and nations to rise above the baser levels of unbridled materialism and reach the heights of unparalleled Global Peace, with every heart beating for every heart. The upanishads say “Aksharaat Sambhavita Vishwam” meaning, the entire creation is contained within the Divine Force of the Supreme Intelligence, whichever name one may call it. It is only when Individuals recognize this Unity that one starts getting a glimpse of that Peace that passeth Understanding.There is Hope, for it is Love that eventually survives and only Love is Real.

  20. Your writing reflect your keen desire to unravel the mystery of connection between created and creator.

    In absence of any visible form of God, the humans for centuries have strived to figure it out, based on his experience and conviction.

    In fact non visibility of creator is the most beautiful thing, as it give wings to creativity to visualise & analyse the controller.

    For me the simple answer is that , We have not created ourselves, We had no choice over our sex, colour, form, family, relatives etc

    We have not come to this world on our own accord, and would also not leave the world on our choice

    So it unclutter my mind and I am at peace with my self

    Thus I have no doubt about my creator, the supreme God.

  21. Wow! So beautifully written- very educative and informative! You have narrated a very complex subject very elegantly. Unlike many other intellectuals who portray the picture always negative, your article provides positivity filled with humanity and spirituality. Liked the summary part very much, when you write “The world, the way it is or is going to be, will eventually end but humanity will survive; good human beings will remain alive. Therefore, the point is not to brood over what is wrong with the world, and to face the reality that there is hardly anything right with the world. The point is not to be passive and see the decay and degeneration of human values, but to connect with the Infinite of which this earth is a minute part and the human part, further a small part of the planet itself. Congratulations and thanks for sharing this kind of wisdoms and guiding the next generation like us… remain indebted to you, Sir!

  22. Sir, Logic and true perception of happenings explained by a family person is the essence of all your posts … From ancient world to today the series of incidents are attributed to human psychology of having more and it is at extreme today …. I feel clear understanding the concept who runs us and connecting with infinite intelligence is the essence for peaceful universe…. the more we understand it better will be our lives …. Let’s take this first step….. journey is simple and enjoying

  23. Excellent depiction of the constantly changing life cycle. It’s a dynamically changing world. Keeping pace with the time and Technology may be the need of the hour.

  24. I think the world runs best in a sustainable fashion without humans. It’s only when the human intervention happens that things go haywire. Most recently, fires in the Amazon forest are an example of the destructive mentality of us humans. It will now take centuries perhaps to restore it and a few more to get the biodiversity back. In the name of “Who can run the World”, we are destroying the world and not only that trying to take control of other planets in the universe. Humans are just one of the several but most destructive species on the planet who pretends to run the world.

    This piece is very insightful for all of us and makes us wonder how this world will be in the times to come if humans survive the clinate change….

  25. Sir, very thought provoking article. Who runs the world ? Our scriptures say the world is run by the supreme trio Brahma, Vishnu and Msheshwsr which comprises of four Yugas go on an eternal cyclic fashion. What we look at the super powers of the world today competing with each other US’A, Rusia and now China rapidly emerging as a world super power. By super power I don’t mean the leader of the world who is obligated to run the world by moral values.
    According to evolution, the modern man, homo sapien was born in Africa nearly 200,000 years ago. Four and half billion years have already elapsed in the life of earth and perhaps life on earth will survive another five billion years until our SUN dies. Modern man who invented world wars, perhaps the first one was really fought in kurukshetra we fail to site. Despite all these world wars we humans still survive by picking up piecess and re emerge with new civilisations. I must say the word religion is invented by modern human but not by our supreme trio, Brahma, Vishnu and Msheshwsr.

    Some say there are parallel universes and we exist in other universes too. I still can’t comprehend that as it us beyond my abstract mind. Perhaps meditation may let me travel all Universes instantly. Mind Travel is certainly in my mind to explore the existence of parallel universes. Please continue your thought provoking ideas and enlugtrnnus more

  26. Excellent narrative of our world today. The degenerative society has a huge challenge. India has has a beautiful tradition of Gurus and Saints. My view is that the Guru is the light and the way forward to guiding society with our dharma. Guru brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru devo Maheshvara has been an integral part of our Hindu dharma. The search for a Bona fide Guru could be a panacea to our social ills. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is one such progressive institutions who can provide peace that we all need.

  27. The need of spirituality could not be explained in a better way. To my surprise, US President has been acknowledged for good, and I have been telling since long the same. The second paragraph made me so gloomy that I had to take refuge under the phrase of ” Vasudhaiw Kutumbakam “… And finally when I read the same , the feeling of understanding the director’s mind was overwhelming… But , here , during that process, I realised that, we in our extended family maintain our own units, with almost same rule with a little of alteration with ourr priorities… Can we apply the same in the world too…?? I mean , materialism and all other isms have only dampened the true sense of humanity… We do not need much to servive as well as thrive… every nation live own their own, and in the case of adversity, other nations do stand by like a family…who ever is running the World, should give it a thought about it.

  28. None of the visible worldly sources run the world – though they may apparently appear to be doing so. The cause and source of all such sources, runs the entire universe(s). This eternal source is beyond time and mind. In fact, this eternal source is the light of consciousness. This light emanates from the particle of this divine light of consciousness. This light is completely different from worldly objects and descriptions but worldly objectș and descriptions express manifestations of this divine light. This divine consciousness is universal, omnipresent and follows the science of universal truth, happiness, contentment, wholeness, aishvarya, without any birth and death. It is only one without any distinction. In this state, nothing else except this undivided light exists and is the source and cause of the universe and the visible world. It is the ‘Advait Brahm’ described in the Vedas and Upnishads. It can only be experienced but cannot be described in words. It follows the science of unity which is completely different from the science of duality in the visible world. The science of duality is the science of energy and matter. The science of unity is the science of divine energy alone. The science of duality is the science of light and darkness. The science of oneness is the science of divine light alone. The science of duality is greatly bound and handicapped by its limitations to shed its cover of darkness and seek entry into the realm of the light of consciousness. In fact, consciousness is the real identity of all living beings. Heart (mun), mind and body are only manifestations of consciousness. But, bound by the limitations of heart, mind and body, one falls to recognize the consciousness within him though he aspires for unrestricted happiness which is an inbuilt quality in consciousness.
    It is this light of consciousness that eternally runs and controls the world and the world eternally. Birth and death are only scenes in the unending sky of consciousness. Everything exists in this light of consciousness. Nothing can exist without the support of this divine light.

  29. Sir Beautifully narrated. The world perhaps is run by forces constantly trying to topple each other over the critical resource of the prevailing time.

    First it was land and water . as farming was major major economic force. Then it became energy resources .. then today it is intellectual property and markets

    The chasers of these resources run around each other in orbits .. in a shared control or a pretence of control. Till the next orbit arrives.

  30. India and whole world is in unrest and fighting for mighty right one over another. Who runs the world to my opinion is the humanity and compassion runs the world. So scholastic write up appropriate with current global scenario.

  31. Absolutely correct as who runs the world. This reminds me our recent journey to Mount Satopanth and Swargarohini which myself and Frenny could reach inspite of all advises otherwise because of our age and another one is my recent journey to Vipassana for 11 days which teaches us to look in our own unconscious mind to remove all Raga and Dvesha. The point is what Prof Arunji wrote as who runs the world. He has rightly said that humanity and our own perception to see the things in a different way runs the world. In Bhagvad Gita it is said that no money, no power can challenge me except the one who does his karma without any expectation and full faith in me.

  32. Really eye-opener thought.Sir Thanks a lot for post.

  33. Great sir with nice postings. Very spiritual and human touch information. Like to see many more inspirational discussions. You are true leader blessing young people to inspire like Abdul Kalam ji.
    Wish you and your family a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi.

  34. Very nice. Very deep sir. Have to read it a few tones before I fully get the essence.

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