Realisation of the Spirit: The One Thing Needful To Be Done

As a result of the double evolutionary process described in the previous post, there is a slow process that alternates between preparation of the instruments on the level of body, life and mind to hold and express the spiritual energy and consciousness; and the action of descent whereby that spiritual consciousness manifests and takes charge of the Nature.

The reliance on the much less flexible and denser foundations of mind, life and body also creates both obstacles and delays in the spiritual manifestation. There is a downward pressure and the temptation to utilize the spiritual energy for the fulfillment of the much less lofty goals and projects of the material being. This brings obscurity, darkness, error and, for those who are moved by the spiritual force, a great impatience and intolerance of the material obstacles can arise. This in fact is the justification for the “refusal of the ascetic” who strives to achieve spiritual realisation at the cost of the body, life and mind. Sri Aurobindo puts this into context when he acknowledges that the resistance is so dense, that it takes heroes of the Spirit to stake everything on achieving the spiritual realisation and that this is a part of Nature’s process to help balance out the darkness and density of the material being worked on.

At the same time, the goal of the double evolution is to achieve not only the spiritual consciousness in its purest or highest forms, but to extend it and take charge of the lower nature and transform the working of that nature. Sri Aurobindo describes this dynamic: “There is thus a dual tendency in the spiritual emergence, on one side a drive towards the establishment at all cost of the spiritual consciousness in the being, even to the rejection of Nature, on the other side a push towards the extension of spirituality to our parts of nature. But until the first is fully achieved, the second can only be imperfect and halting. It is the foundation of the pure spiritual consciousness that is the first object in the evolution of the spiritual man, and it is this and the urge of that consciousness towards contact with the Reality, the Self or the Divine Being that must be the first and foremost or even, till it is perfectly accomplished, the sole preoccupation of the spiritual seeker. It is the one thing needful that has to be done by each on whatever line is possible to him, by each according to the spiritual capacity developed in his nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 24, “The Evolution of the Spiritual Man”

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