The Spiritual Need of the Modern Age

We live in a time of extreme challenge where the entire fate of humanity, and of the planet we live on, is at risk. We have explored in every possible direction and created thereby the ultimate fragmentation, pitting every religion, philosophy and creed against one another in a battle for the hearts and minds of people everywhere. At the same time we have, through modern technology and communication, brought the entire world together and thereby accentuated the clash of ideologies. We find however no solution and no satisfaction in the doctrines of the past. The flood of information and knowledge gained through the intensive scrutiny provided by science and technology has created new challenges that force us to look at the very essence of why we are alive and what we have to do here. At the same time, we are confronted with the enhanced power of each past line of development to communicate its message and command adherents.

Sri Aurobindo points out that, having taken the capacities of analysis and exclusive concentration to their ultimate point, we stand in need of a new synthesis which will build upon the spiritual foundations of the past, but not remain fixed there; rather, this new synthesis must be one that is dynamic and comprehensive enough to take up the challenges of the modern day and provide us the guidance we need, not only for survival, but for development of our spiritual destiny.

“We do not belong to the past dawns, but to the noons of the future. A mass of new material is flowing into us; we have not only to assimilate the influences of the great theistic religions of India and of the world and a recovered sense of the meaning of Buddhism, but to take full account of the potent though limited revelations of modern knowledge and seeking…”

“All this points to a new, a very rich, a very vast synthesis; a fresh and widely embracing harmonisation of our gains is both an intellectual and a spiritual necessity of the future.”

“Our object, then, in studying the Gita will not be a scholastic or academical scrutiny of its thought, nor to place its philosophy in the history of metaphysical speculation, nor shall we deal with it in the manner of the analytical dialectician. We approach it for help and light and our aim must be to distinguish its essential and living message, that in it on which humanity has to seize for its perfection and its highest spiritual welfare.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 1, Our Demand and Need from the Gita, pg. 8,

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