Spiritual realisation takes place in the individual. The individual may have an influence on the life of the community or the society, particularly if a number of realised individuals help to contribute to a larger aspiration within the societal order.
Until such time as the individual is embarked on the inner development, the framework provided by the social order actually provides a benefit and widening impact to draw him out of a pure and exclusively egoistic attachment to his own desires and needs. Thus, there is an interplay between the individual’s development and the society in both directions, at varying stages of the progression.
The further the individual proceeds in spiritual development, the more spiritual freedom he realises, the greater becomes his awareness of the Oneness that creates an indissoluble bond between the individual and the society.
Sri Aurobindo describes it thus: “As he moves towards spiritual freedom, he moves also towards spiritual oneness.”
This brings about the development of the enlightened seer turning his focus and attention back to aid the rest of society through a broad, over-arching compassion. The Buddhist Bodhisattva ideal embodies just such a turning of the focus toward the entire creation by the realised soul. The Bhagavad Gita also makes reference to such a result, with the realised being working for the good of all.
There is no doubt that the primary focus for the awakened soul need be the development of the spiritual consciousness, because without that, no other real aid is possible. Sri Aurobindo states it this way: “For the awakened individual the realisation of his truth of being and his inner liberation and perfection must be his primary seeking,–first, because that is the call of the Spirit within him, but also because it is only by liberation and perfection and realisation of the truth of being that man can arrive at truth of living.”
Sri Aurobindo concludes: “As our only real freedom is the discovery and disengagement of the spiritual Reality within us, so our only means of true perfection is the sovereignty and self-effectuation of the spiritual Reality in all the elements of our nature.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”