Sri Aurobindo describes a goal for humanity which involves a change of consciousness and the transformation of human nature. There is considerable debate about whether it is possible to change human nature, or whether we are doomed to be stuck in our animal nature for all times. Sri Aurobindo acknowledges that the process of changing human nature is difficult, that the long-held habits of the physical and vital nature of man continue to exert their strong control over our actions, despite our highest ideals and mental conceptions. However, he makes it clear that human nature is not static and that as new powers of consciousness become active, they begin to exert influence, and eventually can radically alter the way we understand things and the way we act upon what we understand.
The advent of the mind into the life of the vital and physical animal world was, as Sri Aurobindo points out, a major new expression of consciousness and, despite the failure to change all of human nature and overcome all the animal habits, it is clear that the mind has had a revolutionary impact upon life on earth. Something similarly radical, but with a much more powerful force and understanding behind it, as envisioned by Sri Aurobindo for the supramental stage of evolution, can address issues that have bedeviled even the most conscientious seekers on the planet from time immemorial.
Each step forward by an individual is an advancement on the path, but individual salvation is not, in fact, the goal or end result. It is the transformation of humanity under the impulsion of a new power of consciousness, and the far-reaching changes that such a transformation will bring about in the world, that is the true measure of the transformation process.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “By transformation I do not mean some change of the nature — I do not mean, for instance, sainthood or ethical perfection or yogic siddhis (like the Tantrik’s) or a transcendental (cinmaya) body. I use transformation in a special sense, a change of consciousness radical and complete and of a certain specific kind which is so conceived as to bring about a strong and assured step forward in the spiritual evolution of the being of a greater and higher kind and of a larger sweep and completeness than what took place when a mentalised being first appeared in a vital and material animal world. If anything short of that takes place or at least if a real beginning is not made on that basis, a fundamental progress towards this fulfilment, then my object is not accomplished. A partial realisation, something mixed and inconclusive, does not meet the demand I make on life and yoga.”
Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 8, The Triple Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, The Meaning of Transformation, pp. 201-203