We may look upon the inspirational leader bringing forth a new inspiration or teaching as a seed planter. The success of the effort will depend to a great degree on the fertility of the soil, that is, the readiness of humanity, to receive the new teaching and bring it to life in a pure form. The limiting factor, based on human experience, seems to always be that humanity is simply not yet ready to break its old vital, animal habits and take up the spiritual principles and life-ways that are seen and communicated by the teacher, guide, guru or spiritual leader. We have endless examples of teachings of peace, compassion and oneness being turned to inquisitions, crusades, religious warfare and prejudice, or used as justifications for economic or military domination. To the extent that a teaching has been adopted, it has been used primarily for worldly benefits and division into “believers” and “non-believers”. What conditions then must pertain in order for a spiritual teaching to take hold and actually accomplish a transformation in human nature and action?
Sri Aurobindo explains: “…it is the unpreparedness, the unfitness of the society or of the common mind of man which is always the chief stumbling-block. It is the readiness of this common mind which is of the first importance; for even if the condition of society and the principle and rule that govern society are opposed to the spiritual change, even if these belong almost wholly to the vital, to the external, the economic, the mechanical order, as is certainly the way at present with human masses, yet if the common human mind has begun to admit the ideas proper to the higher order that is in the end to be, and the heart of man has begun to be stirred by aspirations born of these ideas, then there is a hope of some advance in the not distant future. And here the first essential sign must be the growth of the subjective idea of life, — the idea of the soul, the inner being, its powers, its possibilities, its growth, its expression and the creation of a true, beautiful and helpful environment for it as the one thing of first and last importance. The signals must be there that are precursors of a subjective age in humanity’s thought and social endeavour.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 23, Conditions for the Coming of a Spiritual Age, pg. 248