Spiritual aspirants, upon recognition of the perversions, weaknesses and distortions caused by the life-force in its unredeemed normal status, have generally tried to avoid the problem by avoidance. They have concluded that power is corrupt and corrupting and therefore inconsistent with spiritual growth and development. They seek for a salvation in some other plane of consciousness or some other world of existence. We see throughout history the story of the seeker who abandons a life of power and comfort in the world, goes to the forest or the desert, there to find God and live a holy and quiet life.
They hold that power corrupts. Money, as a form of power, corrupts. Action in the world is inherently corrupted. Transformation of the life-force, if there is to be one, is then thought to come about through the action of Knowledge or Love from a high plane of purity.
Sri Aurobindo points out the fallacy of this approach: “It is no solution either to postpone dealing with the works of life till Love and Knowledge have been evolved to a point at which they can sovereignly and with safety lay hold on the Life-Force to regenerate it; for we have seen that they have to rise to immense heights before they can be secure from the vital perversion which hampers or hamstrings their power to delivery.” It must be further noted that it is essentially impossible to reach the heights where such an influence could be wielded while the Life-Force remains unregenerated, as any uprising or descent of the forces of Knowledge or Love are sure to be appropriated and misused if it comes to that.
Sri Aurobindo reminds us that the will to power is also a divine aspect. “As the mind gropes for Knowledge, as the heart feels out for Love, so the life-force, however fumblingly or trepidantly, stumbles in search of Power and the control given by Power. It is a mistake of the ethical or religious mind to condemn Power as in itself a thing not to be accepted or sought after because naturally corrupting and evil…” “However corrupted and misused, as Love and Knowledge too are corrupted and misused, Power is divine and put here for a divine use.”
“Shakti, Will, Power is the driver of the worlds and, whether it be Knowledge-Force or Love-Force or Life-Force or Action-Force or Body-Force, is always spiritual in its origin and divine in its character.”
“The integral Yoga cannot reject the works of Life and be satisfied with an inward experience only; it has to go inward in order to change the outward, making the Life-Force a part and a working of a Yoga-Energy which is in touch with the Divine and divine in its guidance.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 6, The Ascent of the Sacrifice-2, The Works of Love–The Works of Life, pp. 163-164