[The] spiritual fulfilment of the urge to individual perfection and an inner completeness of being that we mean first when we speak of a divine life. It is the first essential condition of a perfected life on earth, and we are therefore right in making the utmost possible individual perfection our first supreme business. The perfection of the spiritual and pragmatic relation of the individual with all around him is our second preoccupation; the solution of this second desideratum lies in a complete universality and oneness with all life upon earth which is the other concomitant result of an evolution into the gnostic consciousness and nature. But there still remains the third desideratum, a new world, a change in the total life of humanity or, at the least, a new perfected collective life in the earth-nature. This calls for the appearance not only of isolated evolved individuals acting in the unevolved mass, but of many gnostic individuals forming a new kind of beings and a new common life superior to the present individual and common existence. A collective life of this kind must obviously constitute itself on the same principle as the life of the gnostic individual. In our present human existence there is a physical collectivity held together by the common physical life-fact and all that arises from it, community of interests, a common civilisation and culture, a common social law, an aggregate mentality, an economic association, the ideals, emotions, endeavours of the collective ego with the strand of individual ties and connections running through the whole and helping to keep it together. Or, where there is a difference in these things, opposition, conflict, a practical accommodation or an organised compromise is enforced by the necessity of living together; there is erected a natural or a constructed order. This would not be the gnostic divine way of collective living; for there what would bind and hold all together would be, not the fact of life creating a sufficiently united social consciousness, but a common consciousness consolidating a common life. All will be united by the evolution of the Truth-Consciousness in them; in the changed way of being which this consciousness would bring about in them, they will feel themselves to be embodiments of a single self, souls of a single Reality; illumined and motived by a fundamental unity of knowledge, actuated by a fundamental unified will and feeling, a life expressing the spiritual Truth would find through them its own natural forms of becoming. An order there would be, for truth of oneness creates its own order: a law or laws of living there might be, but these would be self-determined; they would be an expression of the truth of a spiritually united being and the truth of a spiritually united life. The whole formation of the common existence would be a self-building of the spiritual forces that must work themselves out spontaneously in such a life: these forces would be received inwardly by the inner being and expressed or self-expressed in a native harmony of idea and action and purpose.1
~ Sri Aurobindo
[Organised religion] is one of the most common types of human collectivity — to group together, band together, unite around a common ideal, a common action, a common realization but in an absolutely artificial way. In contrast to this, Sri Aurobindo tells us that a true community — what he terms a gnostic or a supramental community — can be based only upon the INNER REALIZATION of each one of its members, each realizing his real, concrete oneness and identity with all the other members of the community; that is each one should not feel himself a member connected to all the others in an arbitrary way, but that all are one within himself. For each one, the others should be as much himself as his own body — not in a mental and artificial way , but through a fact of consciousness, by an inner realization.
This means that before hoping to realize such a gnostic collectivity, each one must first of all become (or at least start to become) a gnostic being. It is obvious that the individual work must take the lead and the collective work will follow; but the fact remains that spontaneously, without any arbitrary intervention of will, the individual progress is restrained or CHECKED, as it were, by the collective state. Between the collectivity and the individual, there exists an interdependence from which one can not be totally free, even if one tries. And even he who might try, in this yoga, to free himself totally from the human and terrestrial state of consciousness, would be at least subconsciously bound by the state of the whole, which impedes and PULLS BACKWARDS. One can attempt to go much faster, one can attempt to let all the weight of attachments and responsibilities fall off, but in spite of everything, the realization of even the most advanced or the leader in the march of evolution is dependent upon the realization of the whole, dependent upon the state in which the terrestrial collectivity happens to be. And this PULLS backwards to such an extent that sometimes one has to wait centuries for the earth to be ready before being able to realize what is to be realized. This is why Sri Aurobindo has also written somewhere else that a double movement is necessary: the effort for individual progress and realization must be combined with the effort of trying to uplift the whole so as to enable it to make a progress indispensable for the greater progress of the individual: a mass progress, if you will, that allows the individual to take a further step forward.2
~ The Mother
- CWSA Vol. 21-22, The Life Divine, Page: 1067-68
2. Mother’s Agenda 01, April 22, 1957