So when we examine human history, we should ask these questions. At least physical and vital were sufficiently established, if intellectuality was sufficiently developed and collapsed because it was not sufficiently widely distributed. The answer is even though there was intellectual and spiritual development in earlier times they remained within small groups of people. Even in the times of the Vedic Rishis; it is not as if all the people living in the Vedic times came to know what is in the Vedas. In fact only a small group of people became Rishis but a large number of people were savages. If you see the Ramayana, Vishwamitra comes to Dasharatha, saying we are doing Yagyas, sacrifices according to the Vedic rites, but we are being disturbed by huge monsters and we want to be protected. So even while there were Rishis like Vishwamitra, the vital and the physical beings represented by the Rakshashas and they were ready to destroy and they were not sufficiently conquered. The history’s attention was to conquer them. That is why Rama and Lakshmana had to go in their youth to destroy those Rakshashas. That means a large population was ignorant, it didn’t participate in the heights of the Vedic spirituality.
If you go to Greek history, it was mainly Athens, one city in which the glory of the Greek developed great pinnacles, but the other states they did not partake in it. They were overrun afterwards by the Romans , who were savages. So intellectual development of Greece was submerged, why because the vital powers had still their own history to make and they were allowed a large room. So from the point of view of the vital, the development of the intellect was to be brought down, but from the point of view of the development of the vital, which had been given a large room, that was secured. Human history is therefore a kind of a zig- zag in which different powers are all to develop and even reach a climax but the attention was on different planes which had to be given a larger room, a larger place. In the first place the physical was given a large place, then the vital was given a large place then came the age of the intellect.
What is the history of our modern times? Since the time of the Renaissance, Renaissance is supposed to have started in 1492 that is the date of the commencement of Renaissance. From 1492 to the present day you can see the age of intellectuality. By 1492, physical and vital being was sufficiently developed, it did not mean that they had reached their climax and there were no clamours of the physical and the vital. But they were sufficiently developed so as to give a larger room for the intellectual development. Even though in ancient times the intellect was developed and I gave you examples of it, but it was never was intellectual development made so wide-spread the sharing of the intellectual development as today during these 500 years? Larger section of people is being more and more intellectual; they are sharing the philosophical churning and all fields of morality and aesthetics.
All these elements were highly developed and shared, important point is sharing. A historical development is to be judged by the height that you reach and by the largeness of sharing that you can make. In the past ages of history there was a pinnacle achieved from time to time but because it was not being shared by a large number of people, there was a possibility of an attack and of destruction. During the last 500 years even the wars took place, even the vital was still allowed to play a great role, still there was sufficient stability of civilisation as to allow the development of the intellect in a number of subjects. The multiplicity of inquiry that you find in the last 500 years in Europe was incredible. The subjects that were enquired, and the methods of inquiry that were developed, particularly the method of induction, experimentation that had been done, discoveries that had been made, inventions that had been made, so that during the last 500 years, you have surpassed the pinnacles of the past in various domains of intellectual development. Today’s astronomy, in the last 500 years has surpassed all astronomical developments of the past. So even if you have reached in the past today’s heights are much greater and wide-spread development in the past development was not wide-spread, education system in the past restricted access to education. It was difficult to get education in most of the times of history. It is during the last 500 years that education is made very wide-spread. We speak of education for all; we want everyone to be educated.
Even in the field of intellect, there are three domains, the physical intellect, the vital intellect and the pure intellect. And therefore in the last 500 years all the three, one after the other has been developed very largely. Now it is not that at the same time the other domains are not developing but the special place was given to the development of the intellect.
It is true that some of the intellectual heights which were reached earlier may have been greater than now, it is quite possible. In certain intellectual developments the peaks which were reached were greater, for example it can be said that the intellectuality that you find in the Mahabharata, even now remains unsurpassed even in some respects. The conclusions which were reached in some of the domains of philosophy, even now remain unsurpassed; but this is compensated by the subtlety. In any domain there are three aspects to be seen, the height that you reach, the subtlety that you reach and the complexity and profundity that you reach all the three. Your height should be highest, subtlety that you reach and the complexity and the profundity that you reach, all the three have to be seen. For fullness you should have all the three aspects. For fullness you should have all the three. Your height should be highest, subtlety should be subtlest, complexity and profundity must be deepest, when you can combine all the three then you can say that it is perfected. You can say when these three perfections because you have not reached perfection there is a possibility of a collapse. During the last 500 years, therefore intellect developed not only in the sense of the physical intellect that is why physics is a science of the physical intellect. Vital intellect, the development of arts and application, technology, this is the vital intellect and the pure intellect is in the field of philosophy, pure speculation, pure thought, in all the three respects, not only that it went one step farther. Intellect came to recognise the necessity of conceiving ideals, which was always the case, but how to apply on a large scale on the society, so that the whole society shares those ideals.
This new idea sprang up in the West on a very large scale. Take for example, in France; it was not only France but England, America. But it specially crystallised in France. In France the great thinkers thought of the three great ideals of the intellect, ideal of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and said that if you want a rational life in the world, reasonable life and a good life in the world, then people should have the freedom of thought and expression. There should be equality so that the wide gulf that exists today between the rich and the poor be reduced or eliminated and there should be a feeling of brotherliness among people. Having these ideals, the whole of France went into a great revolution and said in the whole of France, we want Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, not only that but Napoleon who came forward at the end of the French Revolution, he carried these ideals all over Europe. One of the great reasons of the Napoleonic wars was that these three ideals went round the whole of Europe.
Although the French Revolution failed, in France, but these ideals they went round and it inspired revolution in the other countries in the same way, even today, even if you read our Indian Constitution, which was framed in 1950, you will find the very Preamble speaks of Justice, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. The effect that those ideals are now getting more and more established. But even that is now found that you may put the ideals, you may even share the ideals, you may try to implement them, but today’s history has shown that they are not implementable except in a very minor degree.