A Message to America – Sri Aurobindo

A Message to America
I have been asked to send on this occasion of the fifteenth August
a message to theWest, but what I have to say might be delivered
equally as a message to the East. It has been customary to dwell
on the division and difference between these two sections of
the human family and even oppose them to each other; but,
for myself I would rather be disposed to dwell on oneness and
unity than on division and difference. East and West have the
same human nature, a common human destiny, the same aspiration
after a greater perfection, the same seeking after something
higher than itself, something towards which inwardly and even
outwardly we move. There has been a tendency in some minds
to dwell on the spirituality or mysticism of the East and the
materialism of the West; but the West has had no less than the
East its spiritual seekings and, though not in such profusion, its
saints and sages and mystics, the East has had its materialistic
tendencies, its material splendours, its similar or identical dealings
with life and Matter and the world in which we live. East
and West have always met and mixed more or less closely, they
have powerfully influenced each other and at the present day
are under an increasing compulsion of Nature and Fate to do so
more than ever before.
There is a common hope, a common destiny, both spiritual
and material, for which both are needed as co-workers. It is
no longer towards division and difference that we should turn
our minds, but on unity, union, even oneness necessary for the
pursuit and realisation of a common ideal, the destined goal, the
fulfilment towards which Nature in her beginning obscurely set
out and must in an increasing light of knowledge replacing her
first ignorance constantly persevere.
But what shall be that ideal and that goal? That depends on
our conception of the realities of life and the supreme Reality.
Here we have to take into account that there has been, not
any absolute difference but an increasing divergence between the
tendencies of the East and theWest. The highest truth is truth of
the Spirit; a Spirit supreme above the world and yet immanent
in the world and in all that exists, sustaining and leading all towards
whatever is the aim and goal and the fulfilment of Nature
since her obscure inconscient beginnings through the growth of
consciousness is the one aspect of existence which gives a clue to
the secret of our being and a meaning to the world. The East has
always and increasingly put the highest emphasis on the supreme
truth of the Spirit; it has, even in its extreme philosophies, put
the world away as an illusion and regarded the Spirit as the sole
reality. The West has concentrated more and more increasingly
on the world, on the dealings of mind and life with our material
existence, on our mastery over it, on the perfection of mind and
life and some fulfilment of the human being here: latterly this has
gone so far as the denial of the Spirit and even the enthronement
of Matter as the sole reality. Spiritual perfection as the sole
ideal on one side, on the other, the perfectibility of the race,
the perfect society, a perfect development of the human mind
and life and man’s material existence have become the largest
dream of the future. Yet both are truths and can be regarded as
part of the intention of the Spirit in world-nature; they are not
incompatible with each other: rather their divergence has to be
healed and both have to be included and reconciled in our view
of the future.
The Science of the West has discovered evolution as the
secret of life and its process in this material world; but it has
laid more stress on the growth of form and species than on the
growth of consciousness: even, consciousness has been regarded
as an incident and not the whole secret of the meaning of the
evolution. An evolution has been admitted by certain minds in
the East, certain philosophies and Scriptures, but there its sense
has been the growth of the soul through developing or successive
forms and many lives of the individual to its own highest reality.
For if there is a conscious being in the form, that being can
hardly be a temporary phenomenon of consciousness; it must
be a soul fulfilling itself and this fulfilment can only take place
if there is a return of the soul to earth in many successive lives,
in many successive bodies.
The process of evolution has been the development from and
in inconscient Matter of a subconscient and then a conscious
Life, of conscious mind first in animal life and then fully in
conscious and thinking man, the highest present achievement
of evolutionary Nature. The achievement of mental being is
at present her highest and tends to be regarded as her final
work; but it is possible to conceive a still further step of the
evolution: Nature may have in view beyond the imperfect mind
of man a consciousness that passes out of the mind’s ignorance
and possesses truth as its inherent right and nature. There is a
truth-consciousness as it is called in the Veda, a supermind, as I
have termed it, possessing Knowledge, not having to seek after
it and constantly miss it. In one of the Upanishads a being of
knowledge is stated to be the next step above the mental being;
into that the soul has to rise and through it to attain the perfect
bliss of spiritual existence. If that could be achieved as the next
evolutionary step of Nature here, then she would be fulfilled
and we could conceive of the perfection of life even here, its
attainment of a full spiritual living even in this body or it may
be in a perfected body. We could even speak of a divine life on
earth; our human dream of perfectibility would be accomplished
and at the same time the aspiration to a heaven on earth common
to several religions and spiritual seers and thinkers.
The ascent of the human soul to the supreme Spirit is that
soul’s highest aim and necessity, for that is the supreme reality;
but there can be too the descent of the Spirit and its powers into
the world and that would justify the existence of the material
world also, give a meaning, a divine purpose to the creation
and solve its riddle. East and West could be reconciled in the
pursuit of the highest and largest ideal, Spirit embrace Matter
and Matter find its own true reality and the hidden Reality in
all things in the Spirit.
11-8-49 Sri Aurobindo

p 552 On Sri Aurobindo’s Ashram and Yoga

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One comment on “A Message to America – Sri Aurobindo

  1. ihaiva says:

    Reblogged this on The Life Divine and commented:
    ”In one of the Upanishads a being of
    knowledge is stated to be the next step above the mental being;
    into that the soul has to rise and through it to attain the perfect
    bliss of spiritual existence. If that could be achieved as the next
    evolutionary step of Nature here, then she would be fulfilled
    and we could conceive of the perfection of life even here, its
    attainment of a full spiritual living even in this body or it may
    be in a perfected body. We could even speak of a divine life on
    earth; our human dream of perfectibility would be accomplished
    and at the same time the aspiration to a heaven on earth common
    to several religions and spiritual seers and thinkers.”Sri Aurobindo

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