There are certain primary tendencies of development that tend to repeat themselves in the human aspiration. There is the focus on inner spiritual practice, there is the attempt to uplift, change and perfect the outer world; there is the call of the Transcendent beckoning us to abandon all for an ultimate Truth beyond; and there are those who would integrate the spiritual development with the upliftment of the world of Nature. Each of these speaks to some aspect of ourselves that pushes for expression and its true place in human development. Sri Aurobindo focuses attention on these somewhat conflicting demands of Nature: “There is too the divided or double demand of our being of Nature which is poised between these two terms, depends on them and connects them; for it is apparently made by the world and yet, because its true creator is in ourselves and the world-instrumentation that seems to make it is only the means first used, it is really a form, a disguised manifestation of a greater spiritual being within us. It is this demand that mediates between our preoccupation with an inward perfection or spiritual liberation and our preoccupation with the outer world and its formation, insists on a happier relation between the two terms and creates the ideal of a better individual in a better world. But it is within us that the Reality must be found and the source and foundation of a perfected life; no outward formation can replace it: there must be the true self realised within if there is to be the true life realised in world and Nature.”
Sri Aurobindo’s solution to the opposition of the “refusal of the ascetic” and the “materialist denial” is here found in a nutshell: achieve spiritual realisation within, and through the creative power of that realisation transform one’s outer life and the world around one into an image of that Divine Unity that is the substance of spiritual consciousnessness and the expression of Sat-Chit-Ananda.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”