The Spiritual Destiny of Man

Are there signs or indications of any greater spiritual destiny for humanity than what we see around us in terms of physical, vital and mental development?  Where can we look for such signs?  How can we recognise them and their meaning?  Many people will deny any such destiny and will fixate their efforts on achieving success on the material, vital and mental planes.  Modern society is a testament to this view of existence in many ways.  Yet we can see also the imbalances and deficiencies inherent in the modern world and the disruptions caused by a view towards short-term gains on these levels with no further consideration for anything greater.  We find that every being has its own inner drive, instinct, will to live which sets its destiny before it, whether that destiny is purely on the physical and vital planes, or includes a self-awareness of a mental consciousness.  We can look to the deeper aspirations, therefore, of humanity through time as a means towards understanding the future direction and destiny of mankind.

In the opening chapter of The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo describes ‘the human aspiration’:  “The earliest preoccupation of man in his awakened thoughts and, as it seems, his inevitable and ultimate preoccupation, — for it survives the longest periods of scepticism and returns after every banishment, — is also the highest which his thought can envisage.  It manifests itself in the divination of Godhead, the impulse towards perfection, the search after pure Truth and unmixed Bliss, the sense of a secret immortality. … today we see a humanity satiated but not satisfied by victorious analysis of the externalities of Nature preparing to return to its primeval longings.  The earliest formula of Wisdom promises to be its last, — God, Light, Freedom, Immortality.”

We see here the inner drive that pushes humanity forward, and that drive represents the spiritual destiny of humanity.  Sri Aurobindo notes in The Human Cycle:  :  “…concealed in the mind and life, in all the action of the intellectual, the aesthetic, the ethical, the dynamic and practical, the emotional, sensational, vital and physical being, there is a power that sees by identity and intuition and gives to all these things such truth and such certainty and stability as they are able to compass.  Obscurely we are now beginning to see something of this behind all our science and philosophy and all our other activities. … Man’s road to spiritual supermanhood will be open when he declares boldly that all he has yet developed, including the intellect of which he is so rightly and yet so vainly proud, are now no longer sufficient for him, and that to uncase, discover, set free this greater Light within shall be henceforward his pervading preoccupation.  The will his philosophy, art, science, ethics, social existence, vital pursuits be no longer an exercise of mind and life, done for themselves, carried in a circle, but a means for the discovery of a greater Truth behind mind and life and for the bringing of its power into our human existence.  We shall be on the right road to become ourselves, to find our true law of perfection, to live our true satisfied existence in our real being and divine nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 22, The Necessity of the Spiritual Transformation, pp. 244-245

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