An audio recording of the talk (in Hindi) and an edited transcription (in English)
Human Quest For Unity And Harmony: A Psycho-spiritual Approach In the Light of Sri Aurobindo
(Shri A. B. Patel Endowment Lectures, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar)
Part 2: UNITY AND HARMONY IN PRACTICAL PROSPECTS
As to the theme we have taken up, viz., “Human Quest for Unity And Harmony” we have hitherto tried to reflect in the light of Sri Aurobindo that Essential Oneness is the underlying truth of all existence and the human urge to Unity and Harmony is itself due to it for self-realisation. We have also tried to see that all multiplicity with every individuation is verily the self-expression of the Eternal Identity in its cosmic play. To understand that we- as human beings have somehow entered into a state of self-oblivion so as to miss that oneness, losing the essential truth of our identity with the Supreme Reality and the cosmic existence and also to look into the possibilities and the appropriate ways to recover our true status in unity and harmony with others, one and all, is what we now have to do. We propose to enter into that phase of our dealing with our theme in this our second session, looking forward to practical prospects of our effective oneness not only with human beings but with all existences in a profound psycho-spiritual experience.
First, a point of clarification about “practical prospects” and another, about “effective, actual and living unity”. For quite often our common mentality uncritically carries its superficial sense of these terms and starts asking for a down-to-the-earth or some work-a-day schedules with observable signs in day-to-day life for pragmatic assessment. The ‘practical’, for example, is considered to be different from the ‘theoretical’ in that the latter is purely conceptual in the mind and the former is a course in action, to the result that all thought is branded as ‘theory’ and that alone is admitted as practical which is observed in behaviour, is manual, physical, producing perceptible, even measurable results. However, such a flat distinction between theory and practice is likely to miss the factual importance of the effective power of the mind and its thought and will and dispositions, reserving practicality to only manual or verbal activity. We must not ignore the natural truth that ideas and ideals, thoughts and beliefs, feelings and dispositions, decisions and resolutions are much more effective in our life than muscular and physical activities. Visualising an ideal and holding it in conviction has a very great practical value in actual life. To develop such inner qualities and faculties, to cultivate them and thus grow inwardly is itself intensely practical. It is simple to see that to think rightly is by practice of the mind even as to observe accurately is by practice of the senses and to perform physical actions efficiently is by practice of the motor organs. Thus to think nobly is practical for the mind, to be generous and harmonious is practical for the heart, to speak well is practical for the organ of speech and to swim well is practical for the physical body.
Our minds’ waking up to the ideal of unity and harmony, even though conceptually, our hearts’ rising in love and unifying emotions, even in aspirations, our widening wishes for amity and good will, our taste and disposition for help and mutuality and togetherness — all have in fact a great practical value even when they do not fully translate themselves in perfectly appropriate terms of behaviour in social life.
So too, Unity and Harmony are not to be confounded with common ideas of social conformity, behavioural uniformity, even similarity of life-style, of ideas and beliefs. Conventional mentality clamours for consistency in collective life, our ways of thinking and living and doing things in agreeable patterns so as to give us the sense of homogeneity. Unity does not either demand or impose uniformity since in its true essence it is spiritual, embracing all diversity of its multiple self-expressions. Variety of temperaments of individuals or of groups, diversity of faith and thought and taste, differences of habits and dispositions do not stand in the way of unity and harmony springing from its spiritual depths. This is to speak in the social context of collective life. In the context of broader, wider and all-embracing life in the world, the realisation of Unity would be with all existences, human, animal, natural. With these two clarifications, we now proceed to the effective ways of entering into the real Unity with practical prospects.
Taking up the problem of the divisive sense due to multiplicity with the separative sense of individuality, which to the human mind seems to be the very opposite of unity and mostly the ground of disharmony, we refer back to our reflection in the light of Sri Aurobindo that all diversity is the self-expression of the fundamental Unity. The problem, therefore, is not of multiplicity but of the dividing mentality which has emerged in the human individual in course of his evolution. This leads to the conclusion that individuation in the human stuff is the crux of the problem. Hence, perhaps, self-abnegation may be the only solution, resulting ultimately in the dissolution of the ego for the restoration of the oneness lost because of self-affirming individualism.
The discipline of self-abnegation has been recognised by various spiritual traditions as most effective, even indispensable, for eradicating the problem of division and discord in life; its value we can ill-afford to ignore in view of the practical efficacy of it and the result it has yielded in the lives of religio-spiritual seekers.
But there is a deeper truth of individuality the positive value of which comes home in the light of Sri Aurobindo. The evolution of the individual and his growing sense of uniqueness is of special significance in the scheme of Mother Nature, the all-creative Shakti of the Supreme, not an enigmatic error of creation, a problematic falsity. Only the present mental-vital sense of separative individuality is an imperfect stage of its development, having a perverse sense of a self-assertive ego which deserves to be outgrown for a further stage of its proper development into a true individuality which in the light of Sri Aurobindo we would call “psychic being”, unique in itself while always harmoniously one with all. The Mother speaks of it thus:
“...the creation of an individual being is the result of the projection, in time and space, of one of the countless possibilities latent in the Supreme Origin of all manifestation which, through the one and universal consciousness, is concretised in the law or the truth of an individual and so becomes by a progressive growth its soul or psychic being.”
(On Education, p. 123)
The roots of an individuality are in the ‘Supreme Origin’, the Creative Power of the Supreme Reality and its growth and development must have a divine purpose. To regard individuality as an error in ignorance, as has been regarded by monistic absolutism, is due to a conceptual reduction of a mystic and secret truth to a mere mental equation that since the ‘Real’ signifies the truth of non-dual Oneness, individuality, implying duality, must be an error of ignorance, a non-real appearance.
The human quest for Unity, after all, is inherently aspirational; it is a seeking for the experiential truth of Oneness by realisation, not merely for a logical conclusion implying some ontological abstraction. The experiencing and realising consciousness of the seeker who is a human being, an individual person, is undeniably real both in its seeking and its finding, and in its realisation growing from its aspiration to its fulfilment. To negate the individual is to cancel the quest by a suicidal conclusion arrived at by rigour of a logical mind that since all duality is false, since the individual being, the Jiva, is eternally and inalienably identical with the Absolute Brahman, all seeking is only apparent and not real; its validity pertains to ignorance in the phenomenal life. One might hear the verdict in the name of “absolute fact”: “There is none bound, none freed, none seeking to be free”. Seeking for Freedom, ‘mumuksa’ is fundamental and inherent to human nature and intimately one with the cognate seeking for Unity. The ‘verdict’ could equally apply: ‘there is none separated, none united, none seeking for unity.’ One might go on extending such parallelism with all other human aspirations for Light and Truth and Godhead and Perfection and Immortality and Delight, to all his spiritual seekings.
But does that cure man of his inherent seekings? Is the “absolute fact”, the ‘paramārtha’ absolutely intolerant of all human aspiration? Does it cancel human urge to supreme fulfilment? Is human aspiration for the highest simply a delusion? Is it not, rather, this very aspiration for Godhead, Freedom, Light, Immortality, that has led to all the greatest realisations of the saints and sages and seers? One might most pertinently ask; Has any realised soul, any Yogin, any perfected being, any liberated saint ever declared, even hinted, that his own seeking and his sadhana was useless, unnecessary, a sheer self-delusion in vain? Does any spiritual Master, Prophet, Scripture declare sadhana meaningless and irrelevant since the Supreme is omnipresent and the sole Reality? And is not the seeker an individual?
Sri Aurobindo’s writings on metaphysical, evolutionary and practical truths bearing on the aspirational seekings of man, comprehensive and penetrative as they are, bring home the great importance of human individuality and they guide us through the problems relevant to individualism to the cherished ideal of Unity and Harmony realisable by man’s truly developed individuality. He writes:
“The individual indeed is the key of the evolutionary movement; for it is the individual who finds himself, who becomes conscious of the Reality. The movement of the collectivity is a largely sub-conscious mass-movement; it has to formulate and express itself through the individuals to become conscious: its general mass consciousness is always less evolved than the consciousness of its most developed individuals, and it progresses so far as it accepts their impress or develops what they develop. The individual does not owe his ultimate allegiance either to the State which is a machine or to the community which is a part of life and not the whole of life: his allegiance must be to the Truth, the Self, the Spirit, the Divine which is in him and in all; not to subordinate or lose himself in the mass, but to find and express that truth of being in himself and help the community and humanity in its seeking for its own truth and fullness of being must be his real object of existence. But the extent to which the power of the individual or the spiritual Reality within it becomes operative, depends on his own development: so long as he is undeveloped, he has to subordinate in many ways his undeveloped self to whatever is greater than it. As he develops, he moves towards a spiritual freedom, but this freedom is not something entirely separate from all-existence; it has a solidarity with it because that too is the self, the same spirit. As he moves towards spiritual freedom, he moves also towards spiritual oneness…. A perfected community also can exist only by the perfection of its individuals, and perfection can come only by the discovery and affirmation in life by each of his own spiritual being and the discovery by all of their spiritual unity and a resultant life unity. There can be no real perfection for us except by our inner self and truth of spiritual existence taking up all truth of the instrumental existence into itself and giving to it oneness, integration, harmony.”
(The Life Divine, pp. 1050-51)
To properly grasp the meaning and purpose of individuality in the evolutionary scheme of life as a manifestation in growing stages of the Supreme Reality is in itself practical to our conceptual consciousness of the mind. We turn to the importance of the development of individuality from its crude, unsophisticated and imperfect stage of vitalistic mentality full of ego to the psychic and spiritual stage of self-excellence. This turning is itself a practical discipline of self-improvement and self-regeneration directed towards a spiritual self-resumption. This discipline certainly is a life-wide discipline in the light of Sri Aurobindo, not simply this or that practice as a schedule, a technique yielding pre-calculated output. There are dimensions after dimensions of the human personality and every dimension deserves its own improvement and orientation and self-developing culture and has to grow into its own spiritual perfection. Human faculty of knowledge, faculty of feeling and emotion, faculty of will and action, — all have to simultaneously grow and develop for the total development of the human individuality. Thorough and elaborate guidance regarding all developmental disciplines are available in Sri Aurobindo’s writings. It is strikingly significant that each one of these disciplines has a bearing on other disciplines and all together stand to signify the integral Discipline of his Yoga, our integral union and oneness with the Integral Reality.
Each of the disciplines as an aspect of the Integral Discipline is founded in this or that Law of Life and Reality governing the evolutionary progress and development of life in Nature and expressing in its own way the all-governing truth of the Supreme. Connected to the great discipline of Karma Yoga which ultimately leads an individual to realise his oneness with the Divine through his dynamic nature and therefore his oneness with the entire cosmos, Sri Aurobindo reveals to us a most significant truth of a divine Law operative in the entire world which governs it and conducts its progress and growth towards all-flourishing fullness of the evolutionary creation. He also reveals that it is by attuning oneself to this Law that an individual achieves his highest status of his true individuality in spiritual oneness with God and Nature, and lives a life of unity and harmony with all existences. It is the law of Sacrifice, of Yajna as the Gita puts it. In the words of Sri Aurobindo:
“The Law of sacrifice is the common divine action that was thrown out into the world in its beginning as a symbol of the solidarity of the universe. It is by the attraction of this law that a divinising, a saving power descends to limit and correct and gradually to eliminate the errors of an egoistic and self-divided creation. This descent, this sacrifice of the Purusha, the Divine Soul submitting itself to Force and Matter so that it may inform and illuminate them, is the seed of redemption of this world of Inconscience and Ignorance. For “with sacrifice as their companion”, says the Gita, “the All-Father created these peoples.” The acceptance of the law of sacrifice is the practical recognition by the ego that it is neither alone in the world nor chief in the world. It is its admission that, even in this much fragmented existence, there is beyond itself and behind that which is not its own egoistic person, something greater and completer, a diviner All which demands from it subordination and service. Indeed sacrifice is imposed and, where need be, compelled by the universal World-Force; it takes it even from those who do not consciously recognise the law — inevitably because this is the intrinsic nature of things. Our ignorance or our false egoistic view of life can make no difference to this eternal bedrock truth of Nature. For this is the truth in Nature, that this ego which thinks itself a separate independent being and claims to live for itself, is not and cannot be independent nor separate, nor can it live for itself even if it would, but rather all are linked together by a secret Oneness. Each existence is continually giving out perforce from its stock; out of its mental receipts from Nature or its physical or vital assets and acquisitions and belongings a stream goes to all that is around it. And always again it receives something from its environment in return for its voluntary or involuntary tribute. For it is only by this giving and receiving that it can effect its own growth while at the same time it helps the sum of things.”
(The Synthesis of Yoga, pp. 98-99)
The Law of Sacrifice refers to the truth of “Cosmic Commerce” which goes on whether we know it or not, whether we consciously participate in it or suffer it unwittingly. The Law is inexorable and the beauty is that it is for the growth of one and all. One may not realise the truth of it all at once and completely in its spiritual depths. But to our human intelligence it is quite obvious that everything, every phenomenon, every being is necessarily related to all in Nature, immediately or successively. This inter-relatedness is also inter-dependence; there is a ceaseless exchange going on in Nature and nothing can exist without it in utter isolation. A dose observation would reveal that the mutuality of things is not only exchange but even interchange in that the elements of one thing or being enter into another and become that. Sri Aurobindo would help our grasp of it as interfusion leading us to the truth that the entire world is a play of One Reality with its own self-variations. To be able to live in this truth the practical discipline we have to enter into is the discipline of right view and right relationship in thought and feeling and conduct called here ‘sacrifice’ which is the discipline of Yajna as the Gita puts it, not as occasional rites and sacraments in some traditional setting but as an attitude of self-offering to the All in every phase of one’s life.
The discipline of Yajna, self-offering and self-giving to the Divine All, naturally pre-supposes inner purity and freedom from pettiness and greed and desires of the ordinary ego. Sri Aurobindo recognises the value of all moral and social and religious standards of conduct that help the undeveloped individuals by subordinating themselves to them for self-purification and self-discipline. They prepare common human beings to enter into inner and spiritual discipline without which a real unity and harmony cannot be realised. The organisational attempts with social codes and moral laws for a harmonious togetherness of people and their unification by whatever effective means have their own utility and are valid till man from his heart starts feeling his unity with his fellow beings. The limitation of the outer means of unity and harmony is palpable. History bears out that all such means worked only temporarily and that too imperfectly. True and lasting solution to all problems of division and disharmony in humanity can come by a change of his consciousness which is possible only by his spiritual awakening, his psychic intimacy with all. Even socio-psychological ideals often cherished and propagated in the name of universal brotherhood are ineffective as long as they are mentally appreciated without the inner intimacy, love, affection. Sri Aurobindo brings home that it is divine love, not emotional sentiments of the common nature, which makes one rise to feel and realise one’s unity with others in God and because of God, in a state of spiritual equality. In his own words:
“It is the divine love which so emerges that, extended in inward feelings to the Divine in man and all creatures in an active universal equality will be more potent for the perfectibility of life and a more real instrument than the ineffective mental idea of brotherhood can ever be. It is poured out into acts that could alone create a harmony in the world and a true unity between all its creatures; all else strives in vain towards that end so long as Divine Love has not disclosed itself as the heart of the delivered manifestation in terrestrial Nature.”
(The Synthesis of Yoga, p.155)
Unity and harmony are native to feelings in Divine Love. This is the truth of inner experience in its profundity. This too is the truth of the height of spiritual knowledge and wisdom. As through Karma Yoga, so through Bhakti Yoga, so too through the Yoga of Jnana, the essential Unity of all existences, of God and Nature and man, becomes the experiential Unity in the psychic and spiritual consciousness of the seeker. The underlying truth of Oneness of all becomes the realised fact of the man in awakened consciousness rising in Yoga of integral Knowledge. It is tempting to quote Sri Aurobindo in this connection. He writes:
“The complete realisation of unity is therefore the essence of the integral knowledge and of the integral Yoga. To know Sachchidananda one in Himself and one in all His manifestation is the basis of knowledge; to make that vision of oneness real to the consciousness in its status and in its action and to become that by merging the sense of separate individuality in the sense of unity, with the Being and with all beings in its effectuation in Yoga of knowledge; to live, think, feel, will and act in that sense of unity is its effectuation in the individual being and the individual life. This realisation of oneness and this practice of oneness in difference is the whole of the Yoga.”
(The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 402)
As we reflect on the inherent seeking of human nature for unity and harmony, and as we try to dive deep into the secrets of life and existence in order to look into the roots of this seeking, as we explore the possibilities of achieving and realising true unity and oneness and the ways to it, all in the light of Sri Aurobindo, we understand more and better that the entire quest is profound to human life. Whatever the symptoms of this quest in our surface-life, its roots are hidden in the essentials of existence and the entire quest leads to psycho-spiritual dimensions. It has become increasingly dear that Oneness is the very truth of existence and its realisation is possible by spiritual and Yogic disciplines. No artificial attempts of organisational type can really succeed in achieving unity and harmony without an inner, a psychic and spiritual change and awakening in man.
The overt mentality of man, posing often to be ‘representative’ of the common man, the ‘masses’, would raise a point on behalf of the present-day humanity and say that if psycho-spiritual discipline and Yogic realisation are necessary for achieving real unity and harmony, it would be possible only for a few individuals who are exceptional; the race as a whole would remain in division and discord with no prospects of unity and harmony. Such a point would be valid if the present state of humanity were its last destiny. But that would mean that the factual is the limit of the possible and hence all seeking of man would be impossible since he cannot become what he already is not. Such an attitude, however, would be against the very nature of man since he aspires to become what he is not. He is an incorrigible seeker of his ideals.
For all practical prospects of realising unity and harmony, we have to regard humanity as growing through its evolution by its own conscious collaboration with Mother Nature in terms of its aspirations and seekings. Sri Aurobindo envisages the future possibility of manifestation of the spiritual unity in human life. He writes:
“Unity and universality, not separative division, would be the foundation of the consciousness of the race; love would be absolute; equality would be consistent with hierarchy and perfect in difference; absolute justice would be secured by the spontaneous action of the being in harmony with the truth of things and the truth of himself and others and therefore sure of true and right result; right reason, no longer mental but supramental, would be satisfied not by the observation of artificial standards but by the free automatic perception of right relations and their inevitable execution in the act. The quarrel between the individual and society or disastrous struggle between one community and another could not exist; the cosmic consciousness imbedded in embodied beings would assure a harmonious diversity in oneness.”
(The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 195)
Such an envisaging of Sri Aurobindo is so very promising. Looking to the present stuff of humanity, however, it seems to offer too distant a promise, too remote a prospect. Granted that man is not a perfected being yet and his present plight is not his last term, yet in the face of the slow improvement that his race is able to make with difficulty, the great achievement visualised by Sri Aurobindo appears like a dream, particularly since the visualisation is about the whole humanity in its collective life and the psycho-spiritual disciplines that would prepare human nature for it is mostly individualistic endeavour towards self-improvement.
Our practical mindedness would earnestly urge that some more widely applicable, more collectively effective and workable programmes for bringing about some sense of togetherness be prepared and prescribed for life now and here; some social, organisational, even constitutional provisions in our socio-economic life be made to ensure at least some minimum solidarity of the people and some constitutional harmony with community life. Pragmatic bias coupled with impatient eagerness for quick and drastic results, as is often the tendency of secular minded zealousness might even claim and clamour for immediately effective laws, rules and regulations which might smash things that smack of divisive possibilities in the society. Even distinctive features of individuals or groups or communities that might possibly contribute to preservation against all-devouring commonness are scouted, suspected and suppressed. In free India today, for example, it would be legally objectionable, even offensive, if a person in public inquires about another’s caste, since, perhaps, that is adverse to what is termed as national integration. Programmes of national integration are being promoted in which positive items that enhance the sense of commonness and collective togetherness are being increasingly endorsed along with a sense of disapproval for customs or conventions that seem to maintain class-distinctions.
In the light of Sri Aurobindo, tendencies and considerations of the above nature have their own portion in human life. A truly psycho-spiritual approach would not decry them simply because they are too extrovert and do not ultimately succeed in bringing about real unity and harmony. But there is no wisdom in not seeing their serious limitations, even their psychological defects and practical failures which are too evident in life and its hitherto history. Sri Aurobindo recognises the meaningfulness of their continuity as long as individuals in society are undeveloped. But that is only a rudimentary arrangement for further growth and development of the individual and the society towards the emergence of real and happy unity and harmony possible only by spiritual regeneration.
Between the mechanical means of codical and constitutional unification and the enlightened and free and spontaneous unity and harmony in psychic and spiritual excellence, we have an intermediary dimension of practical means of refined nature promoting the sense of intimate togetherness and cooperation and sympathy and appreciation and harmony in an advanced and cultural society. In course of his long evolution over millennia, man has developed cultural aspects of his being. Intellectual pursuits in terms of Philosophy and Science, religious seekings in faith and belief and inner experiences in relation to God and Nature and beings that are supra-terrestrial, artistic and aesthetic faculties and activities that have refined his taste and subtilised his sensitivities, literary and poetic sense of creativity with beauty and joy of feelings and emotions, educational endeavour striving to learn and improve and change life into better and better moulds, and many other dimensions of human excellence in personal and social life have all made man a noble being sharing all his great experiences with his fellow beings and thus together rising from crude animalistic existence to a cultured and enjoyable and worthwhile life of values shared by all as one body. All these pursuits have promoted a unity and harmony in human life with a sense of common advancement and progress. Various types of valuable associations have evolved in his life, promoting togetherness and harmony in thought and feeling and voluntary programmes. All these have been of immense practical importance in his pursuit of unity and harmony and even today man is man because of such human achievements. It is this humanness which distinguishes him from the brute and the savage and certainly gives one a sense of solidarity of the human kind.
But still there is a limitation of his present attainment of solidarity and mutuality and hence the quest for perfect unity and harmony. Sri Aurobindo reveals that his present association is ideological, attitudinal, mental, emotional, with a tinge of allegiance with his kind, failing to extend his arms of love to all alike. Mind being mind, moreover, the possibility of debate and disagreement with peculiarities of standpoints and divisive interests are always there, opening sometimes the gates of hostile opposition between one association and the other. Diversities in philosophical points of view, differences in religious faiths, variety of schools in social, economic and political thought, possibilities of disagreeing idiosyncrasies often give rise to intolerant criticism and thus disrupt rather than promote mutuality of association. Allegiance of the mind does both: it brings close and it divides away from the non-alleging. All practical programmes of propagating ideas, beliefs, customs, conventions do serve the purpose of solidarity on one side and at once on the other side give rise to division and discord. And yet these programmes have their relevance and their utility as long as man follows a kind, imitates an example. Sri Aurobindo recognises the place of reason and looks at it as the guide of man till he is able to rise above it and live by his soul.
In the Indian context, there are dozens of religio-cultural conventions related to auspicious occasions which have been great and effective vehicles and transmitters of her great spiritual heritage, promoting a wide sense of unity and harmony with not only humans but also with Mother Nature and her God-powers. Sri Aurobindo has greatly admired Indian Culture with its religio-spiritual content and distinction. He has clearly said: “India can best develop herself and serve humanity by being herself, by following the law of her own nature.” He has thrown so much of light on the uniqueness of Indian Culture, the unity of India and the ever-inspiring ideals of Indian spirituality for realising World-Unity, even Cosmic oneness, drawn from the perennial sources of the Upanishads and the Gita, any benefiting reference to which would mean a volume by itself. One can most advantageously turn to these religio-cultural conventions that are deeply grounded in spiritual truths and inspired by them for perfectly practical ways of orienting oneself to vibrating oneness with one’s fellow beings, all nature around without distinction of the animate and inanimate, God-powers of cosmic significance and the Supreme Lord of all existence. The one thing needed is to participate in them with feeling and understanding and not merely mechanically. Any detailed account of them in terms of religious festivals, spiritual discourses, auspicious assemblies, congregations for prayer and worship, special rites and performances, ‘parvas’, ‘utsavas’, ‘kathās’, ‘yajnas’, ‘samāgamas’, ‘samārohas’ and innumerable ways of ‘satsanga’, even folk-dances with music like ‘garba’ in Gujarat, would be out of proportions here. But it deserves to be reiterated that the native and traditional observances in Indian life have been a great force of practical consequence for promoting togetherness, unity and harmony of a dimension which is much deeper than social, economic and political layers of life. And yet there is the higher as also the deeper dimension of perfect realisation of inalienable Unity and unimpaired Harmony. That is the psychic and the spiritual.
Let us close with a passage from Sri Aurobindo, giving us a whole agenda:
“Man is there to affirm himself in the universe, that is his first business, but also to evolve and finally to exceed himself; he has to enlarge his partial being into a complete being, his partial consciousness into an integral consciousness; he has to achieve mastery of his environment but also world-union and world-harmony; he has to realise his individuality but also to enlarge it into a cosmic self and a universal and spiritual delight of existence. A transformation, a chastening and correction of all that is obscure, erroneous and ignorant in his mentality, an ultimate arrival of a free and wide harmony and luminousness of knowledge and will and feeling and action and character, is the evident intention of his nature; it is the ideal which the creative Energy has imposed on his intelligence, a need implanted by her in his mental and vital substance. But this can only be accomplished by his growing into a larger being and a larger consciousness; self-enlargement self-fulfilment, self-evolution from what he partially and temporarily is in his actual and apparent nature to what he completely is in his secret self and spirit and therefore can become even in his manifest existence, is the object of his creation. This hope is the justification of his life upon earth amidst the phenomena of the cosmos. The outer apparent man, an ephemeral being subject to the constraints of his material embodiment and imprisoned in a limited mentality, has to become the inner real Man. master of himself and his environment and universal in his being. In more vivid and less metaphysical language, the natural man has to evolve himself into the divine Man; the sons of Death have to know themselves as the children of Immortality. It is this account that the human birth can be described as the turning point in the evolution, the critical stage in earth-nature.”
(The Life Divine, pp. 684-85)