A Spiritual Religion of Humanity Is the Hope of the Future

Sri Aurobindo’s statement about a spiritual religion of humanity captures, in a brief compass, the essence of the aspiration, the method, the direction and the goals set before humanity in its development towards human unity:

“A spiritual religion of humanity is the hope of the future.  By this is not meant what is ordinarily called a universal religion, a system, a thing of creed and intellectual belief and dogma and outward rite.  Mankind has tried unity by that means; it has failed and deserved to fail, because there can be no universal religious system, one in mental creed and vital form.  The inner spirit is indeed one, but more than any other the spiritual life insists on freedom and variation in its self-expression and means of development.  A religion of humanity means the growing realisation that there is a secret Spirit, a divine Reality, in which we are all one, that humanity is its highest  present vehicle on earth, that the human race and the human being are the means by which it will progressively reveal itself here.  It implies a growing attempt to live out this knowledge and bring about a kingdom of this divine Spirit upon earth.  By its growth within us oneness with our fellow-men will become the leading principle of all our life, not merely a principle of cooperation but a deeper brotherhood, a real and an inner sense of unity and equality and a common life.  There must be the realisation by the individual that only in the life of his fellow-men is his own life complete.  There must be the realisation by the race that only on the free and full life of the individual can its own perfection and permanent happiness be founded.  There must be too a discipline and a way of salvation in accordance with this religion, that is to say, a means by which it can be developed by each man within himself, so that it may be developed in the life of the race.  To go into all that this implies would be too large a subject to be entered upon here; it is enough to point out that in this direction lies the eventual road.  No doubt, if this is only an idea like the rest, it will go the way of all ideas.  But if it is at all a truth of our being, then it must be the truth to which all is moving and in it must be found the means of a fundamental, an inner, a complete, a real human unity which would be the one secure base of a unification of human life.  A spiritual oneness which would create a psychological oneness not dependent upon any intellectual or outward uniformity and compel a oneness of life not bound up with its mechanical means of unification, but ready always to enrich its secure unity by a free inner variation and a freely varied outer self-expression, this would be the basis for a higher type of human existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 35, Summary and Conclusion, pp. 307-308

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