Mysticism is growing obscurely in strength, as Science grew obscurely in strength in the Middle Ages. We see Titanic and mystic figures striding out of the East, building themselves fortresses and points of departure, spreading among the half-intellectual, capturing even the intellectual - vague figures of Theosophy, Spiritualism, Mental Science, Psychical Research, Neo-Hinduism, Neo-Buddhism, Neo-Mahomedanism, Neo-Christianity. The priests of Isis, the adepts of illuminati of Gnosticism, denied their triumph by the intervention of St Paul and the Pope, reborn into this latter age, claim now their satisfaction. Already some outworks of materialism are giving way, the attack grows more insistent, the defence more uncertain, less proudly self-confident, though not less angry, contemptuous, bitter and intolerant; the invaders increase their adherents, extend the number of their strongholds. If no wider and higher truth intervenes, it would almost seem as if the old confusion in a new form might replace the news. Perhaps an Esoteric Society or a Spiritualist Circle of High Mediums will in a few centuries be laying down for us what we shall think about this world and the next, what particular relations with Gods will be permitted us, what Influences or Initiates we shall worship. Who knows? The fires of Smithfield may yet reblaze to save heretics from the perdition which an illustrious voice has declared to us to be the destined doom of all who do not acknowledge Maurya and Kutthumi.
These are not mere fantastic speculations. The history of humanity and the peculiar capacities of that apparently incalculable and erratic thing, human nature, ought to warn us of their possibility - or at least that they are not entirely impossible, in spite of the printing press, in spite of the clarities of Science. No doubt the old philosophers [thought] that with so many Stoas and Academies, such spread of education, never again would enlightenment be dimmed and the worship of gods and ghosts would in the end amuse none but the vulgar. We must accept these things as possible and examine why they are possible. This reaction is inevitable because Philosophy, though exceedingly high and luminous, tends to be exclusive and narrow and Science, though exceedingly patient, accurate and minute, tends to be limited, dry and purblind. They are both apt to be as dogmatic and intolerant in their own high way or in their own clear, dry way as Religion in her way which is not high, but intense, not clear but enthusiastic; and they live on a plane of mentality on which humanity at large does not yet find itself at perfect ease, cannot live without a struggle and a difficulty in breathing. They both demand from man that he shall sacrifice his heart and his imagination to his intellect, shall deny his full human nature and live coldly and dryly. You might just as well ask him to live without free breathing. The mental world in which we are asked to live, resembles what the life of humanity would be if the warmth of the sun had diminished, the earth were growing chill and its atmosphere were already too rarefied for our comfort. It is no use saying that he ought to live in such an atmosphere, that it will improve his mental health and vigour. Perhaps he ought, though I do not think so, but he cannot. Or rather the individual may, - everything is possible to individual man, - but the race cannot.
The demand can never be allowed; for it is a denial of Nature, a violation of the great Mother, a displacement of her eternal facts by the aridities of logic; it is a refusal of the Truth of things, of the Satyam, Ritam, and if it is persisted in, it will bring its own revenges. Philosophy & Science, if they are to help mankind without hurting it and themselves, must recognise that mankind is a complex being and his nature demands that every part of that complexity shall have its field of activity and every essential aspiration in him must be satisfied. It is his nature and his destiny to be aptakama, satisfied in his desires, in the individual and in the race - though always in accordance with the satyam, the ritam, which is also the sukham and sundaram, not lawlessly & according to aberrations and caprices. It was the great virtue of the ancient Hinduism, before Buddhism upset its balance and other aberrations followed, that it recognised in principle at least this fundamental verity, did not deny what God insists upon but strove, it does not matter whether perfectly or imperfectly, to put everything in its place and create a natural harmony.
Excerpt from the book Essays Divine and Human by Sri Aurobindo