The physical becomes vitalised, vital becomes mentalised, physical becomes vitalised physical, physical–vital becomes mentalised, vital mental begins to become spiritualised, then the spiritual will become vitalised, mentalised and physicalised in every way. The ultimate perfection will come when all the four principles, physical, vital, mental and spiritual are so developed and so perfectly harmonised that the whole edifice can stand without the recurrence of collapse. Now if examine from this point of view, we can now say that there has been a real progress in mankind. So to conclude I give again one passage from Sri Aurobindo.
Question: You speak of the renaissance in the west, which was a revival of the literature, arts and architecture. In India more and more people are going back to our roots because of education and greater mental development, have we in India reached that threshold of renaissance?
Answer: you are quite right, from the beginning of the 19th century in India, we have entered into that age of renaissance, it has still not fructified because of various reasons but if we look into the developments of India between the 19th and early 20th century, we had already big inroads into the renaissance of India. In 1914–1921, Sri Aurobindo wrote a book called ‘The renaissance in India’.
That is a book which I would like every Indian to read, because it shows the awakening of India and how India can become reborn. Unfortunately there was a period where we again lost the track after fifty years of independence. We again realise that we have lost something. And all over India, at least the thinking has begun and again we are beginning to search where we have lost something. That is why the revival, that is why there is so much appetite arising in India to understand, to go back and Sri Aurobindo says that there are three tasks that modern India has to accomplish, first is the recover the ancient spiritual knowledge, particularly therefore of the Veda, Upanishads and the Gita. Why Gita is gripping us today, because we find there is something, which answers our questions of today, otherwise we won’t read this book. These three great works of India you might say are immortal, something that is supreme in spirituality and something that is supreme has a possibility of a widening, of subtlising or deepening is all present in the Veda, Upanishads and the Gita.
Even that is not enough according to Sri Aurobindo, even if you recover this, this is only the first step, the second step will be that you allow this in all the modern subjects which are now coming up on us. It is not enough that India will remain India as it is; the world is now at our gates and they will be poured upon us, whether we like it or not; therefore, with the strength of the knowledge we should enter into the immense field of inquiry, which is wide–spread all over the world, assimilate the waters of this knowledge which are coming in up on us; but these waters have to be purified, irrigated, refined, recovered, so that this knowledge irrigates this new knowledge, which is coming from outside. It will be a real synthesis of the old and the new and the new thing that will come about will not be merely the Veda Upanishad and the Gita, it will be a much greater knowledge. To accomplish that is the third task, Sri Aurobindo says is that we have to change the whole society, –– social institutions, political institutions, economic institutions in such a way; that the dream of mankind in the field of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity, which can be realised only on the spiritual foundation., which India possesses and by the development of the spirituality; with that spirituality you will be able to realise those three great ideals first in India because we have a ready possibility. That is why a Sri Aurobindo says that the destiny of India is very great, because we have all these possibilities, we are ready to assimilate, and we are assimilating today. Even the language that we are speaking is an assimilated language, and if you can recover the knowledge and develop it fully then those ideals that can’t be realised there because they do not have this knowledge; although there also now there is an opening. The west is turning to the east. When Vivekananda went to Chicago and gave his powerful message, since that time the west is awakened and it is turning to the east. But our own responsibility is much greater because if they turn to India, today’s India is no example for the west. It will be an example, India will be an example if we can do all the work and show how Equality, Liberty and Fraternity can be realised by the alchemy of the spiritual knowledge; then we shall have fulfilled ourselves and we should have served the world truly. This is the message of Sri Aurobindo that these three tasks we have to do. We are in the process of that great task, and to the extent to which we become aware of these three tasks and fulfil it through ourselves and through our children and the next generation. If we can do this task then we shall be able to go to that period where perhaps the collapse may not happen.
So let us red the passage.
“It cannot truly be said that there has been no such thing as human progress since man’s appearance or even in his ascertainable history; for however great the ancients, however supreme some of their achievements and creations, however impressive their powers of spirituality, of intellect or of character, there has been in later developments an increasing subtlety, complexity and manifold development of knowledge and possibility in man’s achievements, in his politics, society, life, science, metaphysics, and knowledge of all kinds, art, literature; even in his spiritual endeavour, less surprisingly lofty and less massive in power of spirituality than that of the ancients, there has been a increasing subtlety, plasticity, sounding of depths, extension of seeking. There have been falls from a high type of culture, a sharp temporary descent into a certain obscurantism, cessations of the spiritual urge, plunges into a barbaric natural materialism; but these are temporary phenomena, at worst a downward curve of the spiral of progress. This progress has not indeed has not indeed carried the race beyond itself, into a self–exceeding, a transformation of the mental being. But that was not to be expected; for the action of evolutionary Nature is a type of being and consciousness is the first to develop the type to its utmost capacity by just a subtilisation and increasing complexity till it is ready for her bursting of the shell, the ripened decisive appearance, reversal, turning over of the consciousness on itself that constitutes a new stage in the evolution. If it be supposed that her next step is the spiritual and the supramental being, the stress of spirituality may be taken in the race as a sign that that is Nature’s intention, the sign too of the man to operate in himself or aid her to operate the transition if the appearance in the animal being similar in some respects to the ape–kind but already from the beginning endowed with the elements of humanity was the method of the human evolution, the appearance in the human being of the spiritual type resembling mental–animal humanity but already with the stamp of the spiritual aspiration on it would be the obvious method of Nature for the evolutionary production of the spiritual and Supramental being.”
Considering from this point of view, we should ask the question, whether mankind today, has become capable of entering into the spiritual age. If the answer is ‘yes’, then the answer is that mankind has made progress.