\opment of the human being in himself, the perfectibility j iof the individual, a full development of the collective, 'J ;being, the perfectibility of society, and, more pragmatically :; " restricted, the perfect or best possible relations of indi~ :: vidual with individual and society and of community ;with community .An exclusive or dominant, emphasis is claid sometimes on the individual, sometimes on the :collectivity or society, sometimes on a right and balanced relation between the individual and the collective human:. whole. One idea holds up the growing life, freedom or per- cfection of the human individual as the true object of our , existence,-whether the ideal be merely a free self-expression ;:of the personal being or a self-governed whole of complete mind, fine and ample life and perfect body, or a spiritual perfection and liberation. In this view society is there only as a field of activity and growth for the individual man and ,~ serves best its function when it gives as far as possible a wide room, ample means, a sufficient freedom or guidance of development to his thought, his action, his growth, his possibility .of fullness of being. An opposite idea' gives the collective life the first or the sole importance; the existence,(page 108:)
r!t serve that power of life, consent only to exist as an ins~rume ~ ~~~i!'. for the maintenance and efficiency of the collectiveexistenc ct:: .In another idea the perfection of man lies in his ethical aI
; .~.: social relations with other men; he is a social being and h , i:..; to live for society, for others, for his utility to the race: tJ 1-. society also is there for the service of all, to give them the
: ;['~: right relation, education, training, economic opportunit ; ~" .right frame of life. In the ancient cultures the greatest eI ~ !:": phasis was laid on the com~unity .and the fitting of ti
, c~: individual into the community, but also there grew up ~ -::: idea of the perfected individual; in ancient India it was ti €: \ idea of the spiritual individual that was dominant, but ti ;-:~\: society was of extreme importance because in it and undt
" ~:. its moulding influence the individual had to pass first throug f : the social status of the physical, vital, mental being wit " his satisfaction of interests, desire, pursuit of knowledge aD right living before he could reach fitness for a truer seJ realisation and a free spiritual existence. In recent times ti whole stress has passed to the life of the race, to a sear( for the perfect society and latterly to a concentration on tI right organisation and scientific mechanisation of the li of mankind as a whole; the individual now tends to 1: regarded only as a member of the collectivity, a unit of t1J race whose existence must be subordinated to the comlnd aiInS and total interests of the organised society, and muc less or not at all as a mental or spiritual being with his ow right and power of existence. This tendency has not y< reached its acme everywhere, but everywhere it is rapid! increasing and heading towards dominance.
Thus, in the vicissitudes of human thought, on one sid the individual is moved or invited to discover and pursu his own se1f-affirmation, his own development of mind, ill(page 109:) and body, his own spiritual perfection; on the other hand he is called on to face and subordinate himself and to accept the ideas, ideals, will, instincts, intersts of the community as his own. He is moved by nature to live for himself and by something deep within him to affirm his individuality; he is called upoa by society and by a certain mental idealism to live for humanity or for the greater good of the community. The principle of self and its interests is met and opposed by the principle of altruism. The State erects its godhead and demands his obedience, submission, subordination, self- immolation. The individual has to affirm against this exorbi- tant claim the rights of his ideals, his ideas, his personality, his conscience. It is evident that all this conflict of standards is a groping of the mental Ignorance of man seeking to find its way and grasping different sides of the truth but unable by its want of integrality and knowledge to harmonise them together. A unifying and harri1onising knowledge can alone find the way, but that knowledge belongs to a deeper principle of our being to which oneness and integrality are native. It
is only by finding that in ourselves that we can solve the .. problel1l of our existence and with it the problem of the true ~ way of individual and communal living. .~
There is a Reality, a truth of all existence which is greater :: and more abiding than all its formations and manifestations ; to find that truth and Reality and live in it, achieve the most perfect manifestation and formation possible of it, must be the secret of perfection whether of individual or communal being. This Reality is there within each thing and gives to each of its formations its power of being and value of being. The universe is a manifestation of Reality, and there is a truth of the universal existence, a power of cosmic being, an all-self or world-spirit. Humanity is a formation or manifesta- , cion of the Reality in the universe and there is a truth and self of humanity, a human spirit, a destiny of human life. The community is a formation of the Reality, a manifes- tation of the spirit of man, and there is a truth, a self, a power of the collective being. The individual is a formation of the Reality, and there is a truth of the individual, an individual self, soul or spirit that expresses itself through the individual mind, life and body, something even that goes beyond(page 110:)
.which constitute it, still it does .not constitute their who life. If it has its being which it seeks to affirm by the life I the individuals, the individual also has a being of his ow which he seeks to affirm in the life of the community. But 1 is not tied to that, he can affirm himself in another gener: life, or, if he is strong enough, in a nomad existence or j 'an ermite solitude where, if he cannot pursue or achieve complete material living, he can spiritually exist and fiD his own reality and indwelling self of being.
The individual is indeed the key of the evolutionary mov, ment; for it is the individual who finds himself, who becoml conscious of the Reality. The movement of the collectivil is a largely subconscious mass movement; it has to formula and express itself through the individu~ls to become consciou(page 111:) its general mass consciousness is always less evolved than the consciousness of its most developed individuals, and it pro- gresses in so far as it accepts their impress or develops what they develop. The individual does not owe his ultimate allegiance either to the State which is a machine or to the community which is a part of life and not the whole of life: his allegiance must be to the Truth, the Self, the Spirit, the Divine which is in him and in all; not to subordinate or lose himself in the f c mass, but to find and express that truth of being .in himself cand help the community and humanity in its seeking for its " own truth and fullness of being must be his real object of existence. But the extent to which the power of the individual life or the spiritual Reality within it become operative, depends on his own development: so long as he is undeveloped, he has to subordinate in many ways his undeveloped self to whatever is greater than it. As he develops, he moves to a
, spiritual freedom, but this freedom is not something entirely separate from all-existence; it has a solidarity with it because c that too is the self, the same spirit. As he moves towards spiritual freedom, he moves also towards spiritual oneness. ;' ; The spiritually realised; the liberated man is preoccupied, ~ ~says the Gita~ with the good of all beings. Buddha discovering ~ fthe way of NIrvana must turn back to open that way to those :: cccwho are still under the delusion of their constructive instead
c iof their real being-or non-being; Vivekananda, drawn by ;c the Absolute, feels also the call of the disguised Godhead in ~chumanity and most the call of the fallen and the suffering, i the call of the self to the selfin the obscure body of the universe.
' :cFor the awakened individual the realisation of his truth of .fbeing and his inner liberation and prefection must be his
"primary seeking,-first, because that is the call of the Spirit '\ ~cwithin ~im, but also because it is only by liberatiori and ,cprefection and realisation of the truth of being that man can ,arrive at truth of living. A perfected community also can
~exist only by the perfection of its individuals, and perfection :<:an come only by the discovery and affirmation in life by c;each of his own spiritual being and the discovery by all of r::their spiritual unity and a resultant life unity. There can be I,no real perfection for us except by our inner self and truth 'of spiritual existence taking up all truth of the instrumental(page 112:)