Laws and Institutions of a Society Provide a Framework for Realizing its Dharma

Societies go through a series of phases of development with respect to the creation of a formal body of laws and forms through which the society expresses its essential nature and goals.  The earlier phases are generally not consciously determined, but rather come about through the vital interactions of the participants in the society and their response to external concerns and internal needs for organisation and efficiency of action within the group.  At a later stage, an intellectual component develops, and one can see an attempt to codify and organise laws along sensible lines to achieve certain aims.  This represents the input of the mental evolution into the vital life of the society.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “For the laws and institutions of a society are the framework it builds for its life and its dharma.  When it begins to determine these for itself by a self-conscious action of its reason and will within whatever limits, it has taken the first step in a movement which must inevitably end in an attempt to regulate self-consciously its whole social and cultural life; it must, as its self-consciousness increases, drive towards the endeavour to realise something like the Utopia of the thinker.  For the Utopian thinker is the individual mind forerunning in its turn of thought the trend which the social mind must eventually take.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 21, The Drive towards Legislative and Social Centralisation and Uniformity, pg. 187