Spiritual seekers have long looked at liberation from the bondage of life in the world, and oneness with the Transcendent, the Absolute, as the key focus to demand their attention. This is of course an essential step in freeing the individual from the current limits of mind, life and body, and yet, if it is treated as an exit rather than a necessary stage for the transformation of life, it leads away, rather than towards the universal creation and its intention in manifestation. Sri Aurobindo has set a further stage of actual transformation of life to create a divine life on earth. This is not to be done through outer means of a specific economic or political system, a specific set of doctrines or religious disciplines, nor from application of concepts of charity or social work. Rather, it is to be done by conscious participation in the evolution of consciousness, the detailed understanding of the complex interplay of the various aspects of consciousness that bring about what we experience in our lives, and a steady pressure of a higher evolutionary force to effect changes to the way our minds, lives and bodies respond and act in the world.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The interpenetration of the planes is indeed for me a capital and fundamental part of spiritual experience without which yoga as I practice it and its aim could not exist. For that aim is to manifest, reach or embody a higher consciousness upon earth and not to get away from earth into a higher world or some supreme Absolute. The old yogas (not quite all of them) tended the other way — but that was, I think, because they found the earth as it is a rather impossible place for any spiritual being and the resistance to change too obstinate to be borne; earth-nature looked to them in Vivekananda’s simile like the dog’s tail which, every time you straighten it, goes back to its original curl. But the fundamental proposition in this matter was proclaimed very definitely in the Upanishads which went so far as to say that Earth is the foundation and all the worlds are on the earth and to imagine a clean-cut or irreconcilable difference between them is ignorance: here and not elsewhere, not by going to some other world, the divine realisation must come. This statement was used to justify a purely individual realisation, but it can equally be the basis of a wider endeavour.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Supermind and the Earth, pp. 67-68

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com He is author of 16 books and is editor in chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.