Evolution of the Vedic Spirit : A Psychological Perspective-I-M.S. Srinivasan

We were discussing so far the various aspects of the spiritual psychology and yoga of the Vedas.  What is the relevance of the Vedic spiritual ethos to the future of religion and spirituality?  This series of article examines this question  in a  psychological and evolutionary  perspective.

The Significance of Vedic Spirituality

The future of spirituality is moving towards something beyond the spirit of formal religion.  One  of  the major  defects of the religious spirit of the past is that if confined  itself mainly with belief and dogma and a formal piety; it made no attempt towards  a scientific, systematic, psychological and inward-turning quest for the  highest spiritual  truth leading to a spiritual transformation of  consciousness.  Even the mystic elements in religion which insisted on this spiritual conversion is satisfied with a self–contained and an exclusively in drawn spirituality  and made  no  attempt  to  bring  down  the  light  and  power  of  the  spiritual consciousness  to the physical and vital life of man.  The mystic who is  able to  achieve  some state of inner spiritual illumination tends to  dismiss  the  formal  religion as a mass of ignorance and superstition and the worldly  life as  a  tale  of woe or an illusion.  The quest  of  traditional  mysticism  in general is exclusive rather than comprehensive; no positive attempt is made to understand  the  deeper  truth and evolutionary significance  of  the  various motives  and  stages of human life; no creative spiritual compassion  for  the upliftment  of  the collective life of man.  What is  lacking  in  traditional mysticism  is  the comprehensive spiritual wisdom which rejects  none  of  the human activities or motives but tries to gradually illumine and uplift them to higher and higher levels of motivation, idealism and truth until the whole  of human life and its every activity — its religion, culture, science, economics, politics,  society — is illumined of its highest truth, purpose  and  destiny and  transformed  in  the  light  and  force  of  an  all-embracing  spiritual illumination.   The future of human evolution is moving towards such a comprehensive spirituality.

The Vedic Rishis possessed such a comprehensive spiritual wisdom and was relatively free from the negative trends of the religions or mysticism of the later periods.  The Vedic Rishis tried to bring down the light and power of a higher spiritual consciousness into the physical life of man.  The ritualistic method may not be suited to the present times but the central vision, ideals and aim of the Vedic Rishis have a living relevance for the future evolution of humanity.  For the highest aim of the future will be the direct government of the material life of man by the spiritual consciousness.  At present it is the powers of the mental world which govern the physical and vital life of man.  But in the future this government of mental intelligence will be replaced by the government of the spiritual consciousness or in other words as the Mother points out “the physical life must be governed by the higher consciousness and not the mental world” (1)

For this to happen we need a dynamic spiritual philosophy and discipline which can give a total spiritual motivation and direction to the whole of the inner and outer life in all its dimension – physical, vital and metal.   The Vedic spirituality is in essence, such a dynamic spiritual philosophy and discipline.   But  the  truth  was  concealed  behind  a  system  of  esoteric symbolism.  The meaning of the symbols and the inner discipline was revealed only to the fit initiates, the “twice born,” while the masses are given only an outer religious discipline made of symbolic rituals.

But esotericism, however well-intentioned and whatever may be its  utility in  the past, has no place in the present or future world, which is moving towards  a new  era in which as Sri Aurobindo prophesied “even the multitude  shall  hear the  voice  and  turn to commune with the Spirit within”(2).  We need a new expression of the essential spirit of the Vedas in a new form which can be understood by the modern mentality and accessible to the masses.

Fortunately  the Vedic spirit is not a static entity like the  spirit  of other religion but a progressive, flexible and adaptive spiritual force  which in  the  course  of its later evolution gave birth to  many  innovative  self-expressions  of  its  essential truth.  So to create new forms of the Vedic spirit for the present or future we can get sufficient clues from the later developments in our own spiritual traditions.  It we can examine  deeply  the psychological  evolution  of  the Vedic spirit we may  possibly  get  all  the important  clues needed for creating a new life and body to the  Vedic  spirit suited to the modern age and the emerging future.

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