“None can reach heaven who has not passed through hell.”
– Sri Aurobindo
“It is clear that the Mind has not been able to change human nature radically. You can go on changing human institutions infinitely and yet the imperfection will break through all your institutions.”
It must be another power that can not only resist but overcome that downward pull. Even if our ideas reached life in their pure form, they would still be incapable of creating anything other than a military order—or perhaps a holy, comfortable, religious order, but an order all the same, because the Mind can only devise systems and seek to confine everything in them. The reason of man struggling with life becomes either an empiric or a doctrinaire.
It seizes upon a bit of truth, one drop of divine illumination, and makes it a universal law; it constantly confuses unity with uniformity.
Even when it is capable of understanding the need for diversity, it is practically incapable of implementing it, because it only knows how to deal with what is invariable and finite, while the world is teeming with an infinite variety. Ideas themselves are partial and insufficient: not only have they a very partial triumph but if their success were complete, it would still disappoint, because they are not the whole truth of life and therefore cannot securely govern and perfect life. Life escapes from the formulas and systems which our reason labors to impose on it; it proclaims itself too complex, too full of infinite potentialities to be tyrannized over by the arbitrary intellect of man.
The root of the difficulty is this that at the very basis of all our life and existence, internal and external, there is something on which the intellect can never lay a controlling hand, the Absolute, the Infinite.
Behind everything in life, there is an Absolute, which that thing is seeking after in its own way; everything finite is striving to express an infinite which it feels to be its real truth. Moreover, it is not only each class, each type, each tendency in Nature that is thus impelled to strive after its own variation.
Thus there is not only an Absolute, an Infinite in itself which governs its own expression in many forms and tendencies, but there is also a principle of infinite potentiality and variation quite baffling to the reasoning intelligence; for the reason deals successfully only with the settled and the finite. In man, this difficulty reaches its acme. For not only is mankind unlimited in potentiality, not only is each of its powers and tendencies seeking after its own absolute in its own way and therefore naturally restless under any rigid control by the reason; but in each man their degrees, methods, combinations vary, each man belongs not only to the common humanity but to the Infinite in himself and is therefore unique.
It is because this is the reality of our existence that the intellectual reason and the intelligent will cannot deal with life as its sovereign.”
– Sri Aurobindo