A New Synthesis of Yoga as a necessity to overcome the impasse of modernity - Skype - Track 204 (29 August 2008)

I would like to invite all our friends to three or four pages of The Life Divine, beginning from page no.1056 up to page no.1059, where Sri Aurobindo expounds these four solutions. I think the first solution, in fact Sri Aurobindo says that the overwhelming idea of the first solution was to emphasise the search for perfected economic society. Secondly, this search for perfected economic society was to be conducted by the powers of reason and by the powers that science has brought to mankind but there was a farther element. That element was to regard the idea that a community, or society, or the nation had a soul and that each nation, particularly one nation, or the one nation in which this ideology arose regarded itself to be a superior soul, where even the concept of the soul was misconceived and the communal ego was raised up to the status of the soul and it was felt if this idea of national subjective being or soul but actually an ego, if people can be collected together under the force of this impulsion and if they all come together then a perfected economic society can be created. This was the formula. In doing so, the effort was to coerce the individual to fall in line with the demands of the communal ego.

Now the other solution had also the same idea of perfected economic society, again with the power of the reason, again putting science as the instrument for enlargement of whatever structures and productions that could be produced by science. But the idea was not a communal, national egoism but the whole humanity, it was a kind of a movement in which international community of mankind could join together so that a perfected economic society can be created but the means were the same, coerce the individual so that they can all come together and individual if he opposes he can be curbed and fall in line. This is the second solution that was being proposed. A third solution was as Sri Aurobindo says the development of an enlightened reason and will of the normal man consenting a new socialised life in which he will subordinate his ego for the sake of the right arrangement of the life of the community. Here the consent of the individual was conceded but the aim is again a perfected economic society and even ultimately the teaching was individual should sub serve himself for the larger interest of the society. And that this consent can be brought about by education, by training and by creating a kind of a social machinery. Now Sri Aurobindo having studied all the three alternative solutions, in fact we know now historically that all the three solutions have failed and today we are almost at a point where we do not know in what direction the new development must take place. It is true that after the collapse of Nazism, after the collapse of communism in Russia, in Soviet Union, and after the failure of the developed world, which was capitalistic, which was socialistic partly and which was partly swayed between the two alternatives, we do not know as yet where to turn? And we are at this point where we are still constructing new theories of social development and still our preoccupation is the perfection of economic society. To use our reason for that purpose and to use the power of science and creation of huge structures and the latest development is globalisation. And we do not know as yet, we are not experienced how far globalisation will take us and what direction, what will be the perils and advantages and disadvantages are being discussed today at large. But there are two-three sentences of Sri Aurobindo which are very relevant where Sri Aurobindo says that all these solutions rely upon machinery, create social machine, create scientific machines, utilise reason as a machine, utilise individual as a machine, it is machinery that is predominant in our present thinking about social individual relationships. And Sri Aurobindo says: “Machinery cannot form the soul and life-force into standardised shapes; it can at best coerce them, make soul and mind inert and stationary and regulate the life’s outward action; but if this is to be effectively done, coercion and compression of the mind and life are indispensable and that again spells either unprogressive stability or decadence.”

In three lines Sri Aurobindo suggests a true solution, Sri Aurobindo says: “Man’s true way out is to discover his soul and its self-force and instrumentation and replace by it both the mechanisation of mind and the ignorance and disorder of life-nature.”

Now you can see that in Sri Aurobindo’s diagnosis the most important thing is to ask each individual to discover his soul. This is a proposition which needs to be explored – what does it mean? Unless there come about individuals in the world in sufficiently, increasingly larger number, we cannot come out of present impasse. As Sri Aurobindo pointed out, it is only when the egoism of man can be thinned to the vanishing point that the hugeness of the structures can be met by the hugeness of the individual and that hugeness of the individual would rest in the soul of man, neither in his power of mind, nor in his power of life, nor in his power of body but in the power of the soul. What Kant had dimly recognised the discovery of the individual, the discovery of the individual freedom, individual’s discovery of a law which is categorical, a discovery which is universal, universal and therefore something that goes beyond egoism, to go beyond egoism to remain yet the individual and to be united with the universal, unless this happens and unless a large number of individuals coming together and this consciousness spreads in the world, we may go on knocking doors after doors, erecting solutions after solutions, the present situation is such that we cannot escape from the present impasse. I think I have spoken at length today beyond my time limit but let me within next two-three minutes, sum up my present statement because I spoke four solutions and I have expounded only three and I reserve the fourth one for next one and still develop it further, next time and then I would like to then deal with the problem of reason and also deal with the problem of ego and the individual because unless we analyse these terms very neatly, we will not be able to understand the significance of the problem and the solution and the tremendous work that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have accomplished.