Developing Gnostic Living Amidst a World of Opposition

Another, and serious, issue that arises is the relationship of the gnostic individuals and community to that wider world of humanity and life in general which remains based in the physical, vital and mental principles and thus, continues to operate on the basis of division, fragmentation and the principles of ego and desire.

How will emerging gnostic communities both relate to and survive such an encounter?

“A complete seclusion or separation of the life of a spiritual community from the life of the Ignorance would then seem to impose itself: for otherwise a compromise between the two lives would be necessary and with the compromise a danger of contamination or incompleteness of the greater existence; two different and incompatible principles of existence would be in contact and, even though the greater would influence the lesser, the smaller life would also have its effect on the greater, since such mutual impact is the law of all contiguity and interchange.”

Even further there is the very real danger of the active hostility and opposition coming from the forces that are entrenched in the status quo, and for which the gnostic life represents a challenge and a threat to be put down in order to preserve the vested interests of the powers that act in the world and operate to control the present social order.

In fact, the apparent adoption of the new principle may prove more harmful than outright rejection! We have witnessed in the past the transformation that religions have undergone when, from persecuted minority, they become the accepted religion of the State in power. The defining character of that religion is then quickly modified by the needs of power and the implementation and use of the levers of power now in the hands of the religious leadership.

Of course, if there is an evolutionary impetus, Nature will have to find a way. “But it is to be supposed that the new and completer light would bring also a new and completer power. It might not be necessary for it to be entirely separate; it might establish itself in so many islets and from there spread through the old life, throwing out upon it its own influences and filtrations, gaining upon it, bringing to it a help and illumination which a new aspiration in mankind might after a time begin to understand and welcome.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”, pg. 1062-1063

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