Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that despite the enormous focus on the terrestrial life and its goals, rooted in material survival and prosperity, achieving results that are measured on a scale calibrated to the needs of the terrestrial plane, eventually human beings recognize, in some part of their being, that there must be something greater and separate from this terrestrial form of fulfilment, and they begin to turn their attention to that supraterrestrial influence.
“The intuition of a beyond, the idea and feeling of a soul and spirit in us which is other than the mind, life and body or is greater, not limited by their formula, returns upon us and ends by resuming possession.”
This seeking comes at times as an exceptional seeking or effort, the “fasting in the desert” or the ascetic meditation in the mountain caves, the overwhelming spiritual experience which leads to a dedication or devotion of parts of the being, or in rare cases, a complete dedication of the life, excluding the calls of the material terrestrial world, and abandoning them in favor of this new spiritual direction.
“There have been epochs in which the supraterrestrial view has gained a very powerful hold and there has been a vacillation between an imperfect human living which cannot take its large natural expansion and a sick ascetic longing for the celestial life which also does not acquire in more than a few its best pure and happy movement.”
Sri Aurobindo stresses that this division and conflict between the needs of the terrestrial and the supraterrestrial is a sign of an unresolved understanding of the true evolutionary goals of consciousness. “This is a sign of the creation of some false war in the being by the setting up of a standard or a device that ignores the law of evolutionary capacity or an overstress that misses the reconciling equation which must exist somewhere in a divine dispensation of our nature.”
In the end, there must be a reconciliation, an integration, which validates both the terrestrial life and the supraterrestrial seeking without destroying the one in the pursuit of the other.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 16, The Integral Knowledge and the Aim of Life; Four Theories of Existence