Those who are fixated on the outer life look at the ideal of human existence as being the development of the body, life and mind and the enjoyment of life using these instruments as the means. Some of course believe that the purpose of life is elsewhere and is achieved after death through actions taken in life. Even those who search for a deeper significance and who take a subjective viewpoint, may focus primarily on the development and highest expression of the body, life and mind as a key component of their fulfillment. Sri Aurobindo takes the view that these are instruments of expression of the Self, but can only find their true and ideal value when they carry out the spiritual evolutionary purpose of the self of the individual and the society. One of Sri Aurobindo’s unique contributions to the science of Yoga was the development of the Yoga of self-perfection, so that one would not abandon life in order to achieve spiritual realisation, but rather, would identify with the deeper Self of the Spirit, and then carry out the evolutionary work of the Spirit in the world, through perfected instruments of body, life and mind, attuned to the Oneness and spiritual purpose of the Spirit.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “But here also it is possible for subjectivism to go beyond and to discover the true Self as something greater even than mind. Mind, life and body then become merely an instrumentation for the increasing expression of this Self in the world, — instruments not equal in their hierarchy, but equal in their necessity to the whole, so that their complete perfection and harmony and unity as elements of our self-expression become essential to the true aim of our living. And yet that aim would not be to perfect life, body and mind in themselves, but to develop them so as to make a fit basis and fit instruments for the revelation in our inner and outer life of the luminous Self, the secret Godhead who is one and yet various in all of us, in every being and existence, thing and creature. The ideal of human existence personal and social would be its progressive transformation into a conscious outflowering of the joy, power, love, light, beauty of the transcendent and universal Spirit.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 6, The Objective and Subjective Views of Life, pg. 62