Limitations of Mental Endeavor for Spiritual Change

While the psychic being may need to gain leverage on the transformation of human nature by working through an ever more refined and spiritualised mind, it must be remembered that there are also limitations to this approach. One of the primary limitations is the natural tendency of the spiritualised mind to abandon the life principle and the body to reside in the wideness, in the timelessness, in the unmoving purity of the spiritual Reality unaffected by the small and distracting demands of life, action and survival. This has led throughout the world and in almost all cultures to the line of approach that calls for the renunciation of the life of the world, the focus exclusively on the spiritual realisation, and the abandonment of the body, the life and the pursuits of the mind in their ordinary course, in favor of a high exclusive concentration, which Sri Aurobindo has aptly described as “the refusal of the ascetic”.

As the mind develops under the influence of the spiritual focus, “it becomes aware of the unchanging Self, the sheer Spirit, the pure bareness of an essential Existence, the formless Infinite and the nameless Absolute.” By focusing exclusively on this “A spiritualised consciousness is achieved and the life falls quiet, the body ceases to need and to clamour, the soul itself merges into the spiritual silence.”

Sri Aurobindo concludes: “But this transformation through the mind does not give us the integral transformation; the psychic transmutation is replaced by a spiritual change on the rare and high summits, but this is not the complete divine dynamisation of Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, as he has done before, does not accept the “refusal of the ascetic” as the goal and end of the evolutionary process of manifestation.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 25, “The Triple Transformation”