"What thou art within, that outside thee thou shalt enjoy"; no machinery [of government and society] can rescue you from the law of your being.
What Thou Art Within
Topic: Spiritual Growth & Practice
“This erring race of human beings dreams always of perfecting its environment by the machinery of government and society, but it is only by the perfection of the soul within that the outer environment can be perfected. “What thou art within, that outside thee thou shalt enjoy”; no machinery can rescue you from the law of your being. What then shall be our ideal? Unity for the human race by an inner oneness… the pouring of the power of the spirit into the physical and mental instrument, so that we shall exceed our present state as much as this exceeds the animal state from which science tells us we have issued.”
Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950)
Wilson, Andrew, editor. World Scripture II. Universal Peace Federation, 2011, p. 983 [Sri Aurobindo, To Love Is to Know Me: The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living; Sri Aurobindo's Teachings and Yoga, Next Future blog].
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Sri Aurobindo, To Love Is to Know Me: The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living
“Sri Aurobindo is not talking from book knowledge, though he was a great scholar. Statements like these are stamped with the vision that comes from personal experience.”
–Eknath Easwaran, The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living. Volume III, Nilgiri Press, 1979, [Sri Aurobindo, To Love Is to Know Me: The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living].
Transformation of Human Consciousness
Transformation of Consciousness is the key to lasting social transformation: Machinery cannot bring the millennium
The source of all perfection as well as imperfection lies in human consciousness. The state of the Society is an exact reflection of the state of human consciousness “What thou art within, that outside thee thou shalt enjoy; no machinery can rescue thee from the law of thy being”. All the products of human Mind like Science, Technology, Economics, Politics, Morality, Religion, Philosophy, Culture, failed to perfect society because they are not able to transform the nature and consciousness of Man. At worst, they have mechanized and brutalized man; at best they brought some refinement to the surface being of Man, while the deep subconscious roots of his ignorance, imperfection and suffering remained untouched. Sri Aurobindo never denied the immense utility of these mental pursuits of man in the preparation and education of human consciousness for its higher destiny; he never denied them as meaningless illusions like the traditional spiritualist. But he denies the cock-sure faith of the modern scientific and rational mind in these powers of the mind, that they can perfect Man and his Society. So the only sure path towards a lasting social transformation which Sri Aurobindo envisages is an inner psychological and spiritual discipline of consciousness, which will release and uplift the individual and collective consciousness of Man into a higher level of consciousness beyond Mind – an inherently Perfect and Integral Consciousness which can bring lasting peace, harmony and fulfillment to human life.
–M.S. Srinivasan [M.S. Srinivasan, the Sri Aurobindo Society, The Next Future blog].