Spirituality Integrated Into Life Provides the Guiding Light for Human Existence

When we recognise the reality of both the spiritual aspiration for God, Light, Freedom and Immortality and the reality of the world encompassing our physical, vital and mental development and the evolution of consciousness, we find that a one-sided, exclusive concentration on one side or the other, while it may bring progress for that aspect of existence, does not resolve the significance of our lives or the purposes of the Divine in the manifestation.  Religion has tended to a one-sided approach that minimizes the role of the world.  Meanwhile, those who accepted the truth of the world in many cases minimize the value or role of religion.

A balance between these two drives inherent in the human psyche provides the clue to fulfillment.  The ancient Greeks spoke of the ideal of a “sound mind in a sound body” to balance the separate developmental needs of the mental and the physical aspects of human life.  Today we need to add to this formula, the fulfillment of the spiritual aspiration while attaining the “sound mind in a sound body” ideal of the Greek philosophers.

Sri Aurobindo observes, in The Human Cycle, “The spiritual man who can guide human life towards its perfection is typified in the ancient Indian idea of the Rishi, one who has lived fully the life of man and found the word of the supra-intellectual, supramental, spiritual truth.  He has risen above these lower limitations and can view all things from above, but also he is in sympathy with their effort and can view them from within; he has the complete inner knowledge and the higher surpassing knowledge.  Therefore he can guide the world humanly as God guides it divinely, because like the Divine he is in the life of the world and yet above it.”

“In spirituality, then, understood in this sense, we must seek for the directing light and the harmonising law, and in religion only in proportion as it identifies itself with this spirituality.  So long as it falls short of this, it is one human activity and power among others, and, even if it be considered the most important and the most powerful, it cannot wholly guide the others.  If it seeks always to fix them into the limits of a creed, an unchangeable law, a particular system, it must be prepared to see them revolting from its control; for although they may accept this impress for a time and greatly profit by it, in the end they must move by the law of their being towards a freer activity and an untrammelled movement.  Spirituality respects the freedom of the human soul, because it is itself fulfilled by freedom; and the deepest meaning of freedom is the power to expand and grow towards perfection by the law of one’s own nature, dharma.

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Three, The Present Evolutionary Crisis, pp. 27-28

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