In the Kena Upanishad, the various “powers” of existence exhibit their pride of place and point out how essential and important they are. The powers of Matter, Life and Mind each trumpeted their unique capabilities, but in the end, they could not achieve the final test. There was something “beyond” each of them, the Eternal, the Spirit that provides them their power and is itself beyond the limits of each of them. We have gone through several cycles whereby humanity has exhibited its pride of power, its pride of learning on the material, vital and now the mental planes of existence. As long as we remain fixated on these limited powers, we cannot achieve the fulfillment of the spiritual age.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “But still a subjective age of mankind must be an adventure full of perils and uncertainties as are all great adventures of the race. It may wander long before it finds itself or may not find itself at all and may swing back to a new repetition of the cycle. The true secret can only be discovered if in the third stage, in an age of mental subjectivism, the idea becomes strong of the mind itself as no more than a secondary power of the Spirit’s working and of the Spirit as the great Eternal, the original and, in spite of the many terms in which it is both expressed and hidden, the sole reality, ayam atma brahma. Then only will the real, the decisive endeavour begin and life and the world be studied, known, dealt with in all directions as the self-finding and self-expression of the Spirit. Then only will a spiritual age of mankind be possible.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 23, Conditions for the Coming of a Spiritual Age, pg. 254