Humanity has tried to improve or perfect itself through the modalities of physical organisation, vital enhancement and mental systems or rules. None of these has the capability of transforming human life or ushering in a divine life on earth. Each of them suffers from limitations that lead to various forms of systemisation or legislating behavior which fail by either a too restrictive regimentation or by an over-emphasis on one aspect or another at the expense of the rest of human development.
Many past attempts to define a higher formation of life on earth have failed due to reliance on external methodologies. We have witnessed, just in the last centuries a number of such attempts, such as the Third Reich which attempted through strict regimentation and exercise of vital power to cull out humanity and create a master race. We saw the attempt in the People’s Republic of China to massively re-educate citizens to fit into a pre-determined regimented formulation by restricting individual initiative and creative thought. We have seen in the West an attempt to enhance humanity through “free enterprise” and through the increasing understanding and control of our environment through application of science and technology. And we have seen any number of religions attempt to unify and create harmony through bringing about adherence to a particular belief set, even if it required coercion and rigid fundamentalism to create that adherence. Clearly none of these approaches has proven itself capable of leading humanity to a true spiritual future based on Oneness while supporting the diversity and multiplicity of approaches that are modeled for us in Nature.
Sri Aurobindo sums up the issue: “In the growth into a divine life the Spirit must be our first preoccupation; until we have revealed and evolved it in our self out of its mental, vital, physical wrappings and disguises, extracted it with patience from our own body, as the Upanishad puts it, until we have built up in ourselves an inner life of the Spirit, it is obvious that no outer divine living can become possible.”
Once the spiritual focus has been established and extensively developed, it then becomes possible to begin to address the outer life effectively. “This inner life once created, to convert our whole surface being, our thought, feeling, action in the world, into a perfect power of that inner life, must be our other preoccupation. Only if we live in that deeper and greater way in our dynamic parts, can there be a force for creating a greater life or the world be remade whether in some power or perfection of Mind and Life or the power and perfection of the Spirit. A perfected human world cannot be created by men or composed of men who are themselves imperfect.”
The process is one of organic growth of consciousness, not regimented training or indoctrination into a pre-defined formation: “For soul and mind and life are powers of being and can grow but cannot be cut out or made; an outer process or formation can assist or can express soul and mind and life but cannot create or develop it.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”