[Yogas of the past are predominantly individualistic aiming at a spiritual salvation and perfection of the individual. Yoga of the future has to include and find ways for the inner progress and spiritual transformation of the collectivity. This series of articles explores the principles, processes and methods of a collective Yoga based on integral psychology]
Inner Development of the Social Organs
In the ancient Indian social thought every major human activity like for example economics or politics or a collective human organism like a nation is viewed as a living organism with an inner and has an inner as well as an outer dimension. The outer collective form or phenomenon is the expression of inner psychological needs, urges motives, faculties or qualities. These psychological factors are in turn the expressions of some spiritual and cosmic forces. The natures of these inner psychological, cosmic and spiritual forces which shape the outer phenomena give an indication of its higher ideals and values.
Based on these Indian insights we may conceive the human society as a living organism with four organs: first is Organ of Knowledge; second is the Organ of Power; third is the Organ of Mutuality and Harmony; the fourth is the Organ of Work and Service. Let us now examine the inner and outer nature of these social organs and the path for their inner awakening and outer development in the light of Indian insights.
Awakening the Organ of Knowledge
There is a spiritual and cosmic power of Wisdom which manifests in those faculties which seeks for knowledge, values and ideals. This Power manifests in these faculties as the deeper aspiration in man for knowing the higher aims and values of life, for self-knowledge and world-knowledge, for understanding the eternal universal and impersonal truths, principles or laws of life and the laws of right living, and to communicate this knowledge to others. This cluster of psychological faculties and its needs expresses itself in the outer life of man in the cultural institutions and activities like philosophy, science, education, learning, scholarship, literature and in human types like the thinker, scholar, seer and sage. The spiritual source of these inner and outer activities is the cosmic power of Wisdom and therefore their highest aim and destiny is to become a conscious instrument of their inner source. To achieve this ideal, they have to follow an inner and outer discipline of knowledge, which consists of:
- A constant and sincere search for the hidden truth and cause of things which lie behind the outer appearances, through deep thinking, meditation and contemplation.
- Purification of the intelligence from all emotional and vital desire and mental preferences.
- Turning or opening the mind inward in a receptive silence to the higher intuitive sources of knowledge beyond the rational mind.
- Sensitise the mind to the unity and wholeness of life, and train it to tolerate and reconcile contradictions in an intuitive synthesis.
- Develop the faculties of communication and creative expression.
- Create an outer environment in which there is a complete freedom of expression and debate and dialogue and a free interchange of ideas.
Wielding the Organ of Power
Similarly there is a cosmic power of Strength which enforces what the power of Wisdom perceives. This power manifests in the faculties of will and action as the urge for power, strength and mastery. In the moral and spiritual level it expresses itself as the quest for inner strength which comes from self-mastery, seeking for justice, honour and dignity, freedom, unity and order, magnanimity of the mind and heart, courage, heroism and self-sacrifice, and the urge to fight for a higher cause and to protect, nourish and foster higher values like light, truth and justice against opposing forces of darkness. In the mental level this cosmic power manifests as the combative and daring thought which explores and conquers new territories of knowledge and fights against stagnant, unprogressive, superstitious and established ideas, customs and conventions. In the vital level this power expresses itself as the urge for power, success, achievement, conquest, adventure, progress, expansion and mastery over the external environment. Politics, government, police, military, judiciary, administration and the organs of leadership, spiritual and moral heroes like Buddha, yogis who try to explore and master the inner realms of consciousness, leaders, conquerors, warriors and explorers of the outer world like Alexandar, Napolean and Columbus, are some of the outer expressions of this psychological and spiritual force of Strength. Here again the education and discipline for inner awakening of this part of the collective life consists of:
- Development of will-power and the capacity for concentration.
- Self-management and self-mastery.
- Strength of character which comes from truth, clarity, sincerity in the mind; courage and energy in the vital force; generosity, kindness and compassion in the heart; firmness, patience, persistence and endurance in the will; sense of honesty, dignity and justice in the moral being; and finally harmony of thought, feeling will and action in the personality as a whole.
- Some form of Karma Yoga by which the consciousness of the dynamic faculties of will and action can be elevated to the spiritual level.
This is the discipline which will create a natural leader with an inner power. Such a leader will have no greed or desire for external power or authority because he can exercise his subtle inner power and influence from wherever he is and in whatever position he occupies in the social or organizational hierarchy. He will command a spontaneous respect and adherence from not only his subordinates but also from his peers and bosses. When such natural leaders sit on the thrones of power in economy, society, politics and government, then it will trigger a widespread inner awakening in the physical and vital life of the community.
This brings us to the question what are the external values or ideals which must govern the exercise of power. They are liberty, equality, fraternity and the wellbeing and progress of the whole. Power, inner and outer, has to be used for a progressive manifestation of these values in the inner being and outer life of man, which means:
- For empowering people and liberating them from all form of inner and outer compulsions or slavery which stifle initiative, creativity and the flowering of the human potential in every dimension of human life—outer and inner; physical, psychological and spiritual; economic, social, political and cultural.
- For providing equal opportunity and access to resources like credit or knowledge and an equitable distribution of wealth, power, knowledge, culture, well-being and other fruits of development in the community.
- For creating a social order in which the dignity, equality, universality and divinity or sacredness of the human essence is perceived, recognized and respected regardless of the caste, class, creed, colour or race and every human being is rewarded according to the nature and quality of his creative output or contribution to the well being and progress of the whole.
- For creating an outer order based on an inner fraternity of mind, heart and soul or in other words on the inner unity of consciousness.
- To protect and foster values of the higher mental, moral, aesthetic and spiritual nature in man, which will lead to the higher evolution of humanity and its lasting well-being and fulfillment.
Organising Mutuality and Harmony
The third cosmic power is the power of Beauty and Harmony which determines the rhythms and relations of things. This power manifests itself in the thinking and aesthetic mind as the literary sense for the right and the rhythmic word, urge for syntheses in thought, and the artistic instinct for beauty; in the emotional being as the urge for harmonious relationship and enjoyment of life; in the vital force and the pragmatic mind as the urge for mutual interchange and the capacity for organization and flexible adaptation to the changing realities of life. These clusters of psychological urges or faculties express itself in the outer life as art and literature in culture, family and community in society and trade, commerce and professions in the economy. The inner spiritual source of these faculties is the cosmic power beauty and harmony and therefore their highest ideal or destiny is to become conscious and perfect channel and instrument of this spiritual source. The education and discipline for the organ of mutuality and harmony has to be based on the following principles, ideals and values:
- Development of the pragmatic mind and will: problem-solving skills; practical application of concepts, ideas and ideals for the betterment of life; managerial, organizational and entrepreneurial abilities.
- Development of the relational mind: interpersonal skills; vital intuition into the mutualities and complementing interdependence of life; ability to create a mutually beneficial win-win situation in all transactions with life; intuitive understanding of the need to give and take in a harmonious balance with an emphasis on large and generous giving for the common good of all.
- Development of an integral aesthetic sense; beauty and harmony in thought, feelings, sensations and actions expressing itself outwardly not only in the traditional works of art like music, but also in creating a beautiful and harmonious organisation of the outer life, especially in the material, economic and social life of the community.
The Organ of Work and Service
The fourth cosmic power is the power of work and service, which executes what the other three directs. This power manifests itself in the moral and spiritual level as the sense of dignity of work, humility, loyalty, obedience and respect for those who are worthy of it, humble, selfless and dedicated service to humanity and devotion or surrender to God; in the faculties of action as skill in action of the technician or craftmen, capacity for minute, meticulous or careful material work or hard and long toil and the urge for a progressive perfection in action; in the emotional level as the urge for emotional and social bonding, attachment to the family and the community and to work for and serve the group; in the physical level as the urge for health, strength, energy and wellbeing in the body.
According to Sri Aurobindo this cosmic power is “the youngest of the four and closest to the physical existence”. So in the outer life this power expresses itself diffusedly in the large majority of the masses who live predominantly in their physical consciousness and the work-force in the lower levels of the social and organizational hierarchy engaged in the material execution of the idea. The education and discipline for awakening this part of the society have to bring out and manifest its deeper psychological, moral and spiritual potentialities. It could be somewhat on the following lines with a predominant stress on creating an understanding of the practical benefits of the discipline for the material, economic and social well-being and progress of the individual and the collectivity
- Development of skill in action with an emphasis on constant upgradation of skills, continuous improvement in performance and the quality of work, with an active encouragement for innovations in the work-life.
- Training in the principles of organization and management, with an emphasis on efficiency, economy, minimizing waste, cleanliness, beauty and harmony in the surrounding environment.
- Mental education for broadening the mental horizons and creating awareness of the larger whole of life.
- Moral education: cultivating healthy physical and moral habits and social virtues likes respect for elders, caring, friendliness, helpfulness to others and service to the group; opportunities for active participation in the communal life and cooperative decision-making.
- Religious and spiritual education: creating a living understanding of concepts like the indwelling divine, efficacy of a simple, humble and childlike faith in and surrender to God, path of prayer, and principles of Karma Yoga.