by Swami Krishnananda
There is another peculiar feature of social organisation which makes itself felt as necessary for social welfare, social progress and even personal advantage. But, it should not be forgotten that no organisation can have any sense in it if it has not got the ‘character’ of an ‘organisation’. Many people sitting together do not make a social body. A social body is that assemblage of individuals which represents some percentage, at least, of ‘universality’ in it, which is the nature of the spirit, which is indivisible being. The ability to reflect the character of the spirit, namely, symmetry of structure and perfect coordination in action, is precisely the ability to find oneself in others, when alone one can work for others. To find oneself in others does not mean getting oneself attached to the ‘otherness’ in others or enforcing the will of one’s own personality on others, but calls for a voluntary cooperative spirit manifest in different degrees, harmoniously, at the different levels of organisation, because an organisation has not only a horizontal expansiveness but also a vertical ascending nature, which is a reflection of the degrees of Ultimate Reality. When the character of the spirit is not, in this manner, adequately reflected in the external social organisation, the spirit within comes in conflict with it, and vice versa. This is what is called social tension and personal tension.
Now, to mention a word about what this organisation means, or what it ought to mean, in order that it may be compatible with the spirit that is universal. There should neither be any element or feature in the organisation which will either contradict or try to defeat the purpose of the spirit nor any element or feature which will affirm the reality of externals either by way of temptation or by way of opposition. Because all these elements and features are incompatible with the nature of the spirit. Such are, for example, any set of circumstances which can provide a free and easy outlet for the instincts for wealth, sex and fame, which are the main causes of personality-assertion and the disintegration of the ‘organisation’, quite other than the spiritual universality that is the great Aim of Life.
To allow anything to happen at any time in any manner will be to compel the seeking spirit to live in an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity and, because the spirit is perfect certainty and perfect security, it cannot live in peace in such an atmosphere. Here the intention behind the social body is defeated of its purpose. This purpose can be defeated by a subtle impervious individuality, nay, even egoism, that can manifest itself from the personalities that are supposed to constitute the social body. This undesirable character in the members of such a body can reveal itself not necessarily in an ostensible or clamorous way but can become a secretly annoying and irritating atmosphere to the spirit whose longings are obviously far removed from the mere formation of a social body or working through its media.
Also, it should be the wisdom of the framers of the social organisation to see that no undesirable feature of the types enumerated above is allowed to percolate into its structure even at the most initial of its stages, because small mistakes committed in ‘the beginning can assume large proportions and become awful confrontations after some time. And not to pay any attention to these aspects of social life, which has been accepted, after all, as only a tentative necessity, a necessary evil rather, would be to live in a fool’s paradise and allow the wrath of Nature or, may we say, the wrath of God, to take its course, when other means of advice and coercion fail. May we also remember that Nature is not ethical and moral in the sense of any human sentiment, a fact which can be seen in daily life, when it can be perfectly just and in order for a court of law to pass death-sentence even on a person who may be regarded as an indispensable by social sentiments and feelings, a good nature for the matter of that, or even a genius in some field of life. Justice is impersonal, and so is the law of Nature, and the law of God. Where the requisite amount of impersonality is absent, whether in an individual or in a social body, it can turn to be a menace, a Frankenstein’s monster, a creation which, instead of tending towards the universality of spirit, may become a serious handicap, a sorrow which can be worse than the condition in. which one would have found oneself even without forming a social set-up of any kind.
To sum up: Firstly, social life is not the ultimate aim of life, because the spirit which is the Ultimate Aim is not a social structure but Indivisible Being. Hence, no one can be really happy in a contrived atmosphere of such an invented instrument which is not a solution but only an alternative of escape from the main problem. Secondly, even the little meaning that is possibly discoverable in social life would be absent when the nature of the spirit which is universality, freedom, spontaneity and absence of compulsion are absent in it. Thirdly, social life is not merely a means of external security but of inward growth and expansion, and to allow elements and features to prevail in social life which would stultify the requisites for further progress into the true universality of Godhood would pain the spirit to such an extent that it would naturally recoil from such a set-up, in an agony which will perforce drive it to find the proper ways and means of functioning consciously on the way to the attainment of the only aim that there can be in life.
We may call this the story of the anguish of the spirit, or the epic of the soul’s struggle to reach the Absolute.