Whither humanity?



By Kosha Shah

T Today humanity faces the question as to where it is headed. We face a crisis on all fronts -- social, political, economic, cultural, and spiritual. The assurances given by spiritual and secular leaders on the fate of humanity are not adequate to allay our apprehensions. That neither have arrived at a workable and lasting solution so far is an eloquent testimony to facts. The task at hand is so vast that we really do not know where to begin, or having begun, how to proceed.

It appears as though nothing short of a divine intervention can push humanity beyond its present preoccupations and limitations, that nothing other than a widespread calamity can make us rework out the priorities that we have set for ourselves.

Need we wait for nature to force us to search for what is beyond our immediate needs? Is it possible to seek out the higher possibilities available to us and to make the change deeper and more radical? Is the possibility of possessing a divine nature open to humanity?

Sri Aurobindo's approach to life has been unique in that he spoke of a further evolution beyond humanity, of a divine gnosis beyond the mind. It would be the spirit, not the ego, guiding this evolution. It is this spiritual and integral view that will mark a turning point in the history of humanity.

T he change has to come from within. What should be our next move towards a spiritualized society of which he spoke, as a collectivity? Would it be possible to create a set of outer circumstances by proposing some transitional systems that could lead to a freer and truer growth?

The Sri Aurobindo Research Foundation in Baroda, India, proposes to study applications of Sri Aurobindo's vision of the future in the present crisis of humanity in various fields of activities with a particular reference to India. Its journal Ritagni is to be a modest beginning towards that endeavor.

We will attempt to articulate questions that haunt humanity today -- whether social, political, economic, educational, cultural, or spiritual -- and to put forward points of view based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In fact, we would like the journal to be an instrument that would put each of us in touch with our inner selves so that we can find our own way to the true life -- both as individuals and as a collectivity.

As Sri Aurobindo puts it:

Man's road to spiritual supermanhood will be open when he declares boldly that all he has yet developed, including the intellect of which he is so rightly and so vainly proud, are no longer sufficient for him, and that to uncase, discover, set free this greater light within shall be henceforward his pervading preoccupation. Then will his philosophy, art, science, ethics, social existence, vital pursuits be no longer an exercise of mind and life, done for themselves, carried in a circle, but a means for the discovery of a greater truth behind mind and life and for the bringing of its power into our human existence. We shall be on the right road to become ourselves, to find our true law of perfection, to live our true satisfied existence in our real being and real nature. -- The Human Cycle, p. 230
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Kosha Shah is founder of the Sri Aurobindo Research Foundation and editor of Ritagni, which is available from the Sri Aurobindo Research Foundation, B-103, Amrakunj Apartments, Racecourse Circle, Baroda 390 007, India.

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