Principles for Development of a Divine Life

What we experience in life, both on an individual basis and on a societal basis, is generally a mass of confusion, conflict, striving and limitations, certainly not something we would call “divine life”. At the same time we understand that there is a process of evolution of consciousness which progressively reveals the hidden divine sense in both individual and societal development.

It is not sufficient to hold spiritual ideas in the mind. Truth of the spirit must be lived and must eventually infuse and manifest itself in all the life-actions of the individual and transform the society in its workings as well. There is of course, the possibility that the spiritual impetus will lead to the abandonment of the imperfect life in the world, as we have seen in the “refusal of the ascetic”. but this is clearly not the main line of evolutionary impetus.

Sri Aurobindo weighs in on the issues of transforming life and society into divine life and divine society. “All spiritual life is in its principle a growth into divine living.” He describes a space where the mental action upon which our ordinary lives are built is infused with spiritual principles and ideas, but has not yet become a fully spiritual living. There is an obvious “interspace” where the two principles, mental and spiritual, overlap and are hard to distinguish from each other as the development takes place. “As the mind and life become illumined with the light of the Spirit, they put on or reflect something of the divinity, the secret greater Reality and this must increase until the interspace has been crossed and the whole existence is unified in the full light and power of the spiritual principle.”

“But, for the full and perfect fulfilment of the evolutionary urge, this illumination and change must take up and re-create the whole being, mind, life and body: it must be not only an inner experience of the Divinity but a remoulding of both the inner and outer existence by its power; it must take form not only in the life of the individual but as a collective life of gnostic beings established as a highest power and form of the becoming of the Spirit in earth-nature. For this to be possible in us the spiritual entity in us must have developed its own integralised perfection not only of the inner state of the being but of the outgoing power of the being and, with that perfection and as a necessity of its complete action, it must have evolved its own dynamis and instrumentation of the outer existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”

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Life and the Manifestation of Consciousness

Sri Aurobindo views life as the dynamic condition that allows the manifestation of consciousness in Matter. Life provides the opportunity for the unfolding of the eternal Being through Time in the material world. The unfolding of consciousness in an ever-evolving manner provides the context of the life action. Life “evolves through growth of consciousness even as consciousness evolves through greater organisation and perfection of life: a greater consciousness kmeans a greater life.”

Because mentality is not the final stage of consciousness, but rather, a transitional phase, life for man is imperfect and subject to limitations. In fact, even a perfected form of Mind would remain limited and thereby lead to imperfect expression in life. “For what is involved and emergent is not a Mind, but a Spirit, and mind is not the native dynamism of consciousness of the Spirit; Supermind, the light of gnosis, is its native dynamism. If then life has to become a manifestation of the Spirit, it is the manifestation of a spiritual being in us and the divine life of a perfected consciousness in a supramental or gnostic power of spiritual being that must be the secret burden and intention of evolutionary Nature.”

Life in such a new context has the opportunity to transform Matter and the relationship of living entities within the unified framework of the manifestation. Life provides the opportunity; the evolution of Consciousness provides the subject and the rationale.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”