Throughout human history, mankind has turned to religion in an attempt to address or solve the problems of human life. In many cases, charismatic leaders have arisen who, through their teaching and their personal example, have inspired people to make changes in their individual lives, and there is no doubt that in this sense, religion has played a role in helping to guide and enhance the lives of individuals, and in some cases, through various disciplines associated with the religion helped to foster an opening to spiritual experience and development. To the extent that a specific religion “maintains a strong kernel of inner experience, it can generalise to some extent an incomplete spiritual tendency; but it does not transform the race, it cannot create a new principle of the human existence.”

Religion, when it attempts to go beyond this has tended to move into an organised form that develops a specific dogma, ceremonial activity, specific rites or rituals and specific requirements of adherence that tend to regiment individual development and restrict the evolutionary process of individuals which remains the basis for true spiritual change over time. The form tends to become more important than the spiritual foundation in most of these cases. Religion has tended to act as a stabilising force, but not a force of transformation in the broader sense. Human nature, our limitations, and in particular our vital nature of desire have resisted complete and radical change under the historical influence of religions, and we have seen war, torture, prejudice, division, sexual abuse, greed, all practiced, and in some cases justified or encouraged, by religions or religious sentiment in the past. Religion even today remains a dividing force, not a uniting force for mankind to a great degree.

Another idea that has been looked at is the idea of creating a religious brotherhood or community based on the principles of any specific religion. Such communities have arisen, but have been highly circumscribed in their influence or in some cases, have eventually failed outright when human nature overcame the good intentions of the founders of the community.

Sri Aurobindo reminds us that: “It is only the full emergence of the soul, the full descent of the native light and power of the Spirit and the consequent replacement or transformation and uplifting of our insufficient mental and vital nature by a spiritual and supramental Supernature that can effect this evolutionary miracle.”

In the end, even the best and highest solutions of the past are incapable of taking on the complexity and urgency of the evoutionary crisis. A quote attributed to Albert Einstein sums up the issue: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”, pg. 1058-1059

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast located at
He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
Video presentations, interviews and podcast episodes are all available on the YouTube Channel
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at Lotus Press