From Individual Spiritual Realisation to World Transformation

An inner realisation and an inward transformation based on it, are the first steps in the individual’s spiritual growth. It has long been recognised that this inward spiritual life is a necessary step in the individual’s evolving spiritual focus; and that it precedes any kind of comprehensive impact or change on the outer nature. The long-standing habits of nature can maintain their hold even as we reshape our inner landscape. Sri Aurobindo points out “There can undoubtedly be a spiritual life within, a kingdom of heaven within us which is not dependent on any outer manifestation or instrumentation or formula of external being.”

There would of course be, at some level, a reflection or infusion of this spiritual development of the individual into the outer nature, but it may not be obviously manifest. This remains an important stage in the spiritual evolution and a focus on this inner development is not misplaced. Sri Aurobindo however does not see this as being the goal or final stage of the development: “…from the point of view of a spiritual evolution, this would be only an individual liberation and perfection in an unchanged environmental existence: for a greater dynamic change in earth-nature itself, a spiritual change of the whole principle and instrumentation of life and action, the appearance of a new order of beings and a new earth-life must be envisaged in our idea of the total consummation, the divine issue. Here the gnostic change assumes a primary importance; all that precedes can be considered as an upbuilding and a preparation for this transmuting reversal of the whole nature. For it is a gnostic way of dynamic living that must be the fulfilled divine life on earth, a way of living that develops higher instruments of world-knowledge and world-action for the dynamisation of consciousness in the physical existence and takes up and transforms the values of a world of material Nature.”

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