With the end of the war, the personal karma which kept me tied for some years to the Orient's own karma, also came to an end. My limbs were liberated for wider travel once again and my energies set free for more constructive work. For many years I had foreseen that a gigantic war had first to enable mankind to put to the test all the existing theories and practices not only of a materialist character but also of a religious and mystical character. My own drift away from a self-centered and unscientific mysticism had been proceeding fitfully for some years, in consequence of reflection upon its theory and observation of its practice. With the war, however, all this came to a climax, for both the attitude of mystics towards that cataclysmic event and a series of explosive personal experiences in India, the largest stronghold of such a doctrine today, brought me to a parting of the ways.
Is there any justification for the conviction, which is held by quite a number of people, that a large section of humanity, aroused by the devastating agony of the war, wise with the tragic lessons of the terrible crises which foreshadowed and followed it, can at last come to accept a more spiritual world view? The vivid horrors of this decade, the terrible ordeal through which so many millions have passed, and the tremendous changes of environment, custom, and social contact would seem to have made a more spiritual outlook not only necessary but almost inevitable. The sufferings and upheavals of nations and individuals have brought about changes, re-alignments, and movements in the attitudes and consciousness of so many people that this is certain to result in a widespread demand for philosophic teaching and mystical inspiration. The prospects of a spiritual movement are brighter today than even a few years ago. The educated classes who led the trek towards materialism last century are indeed the very people who are now leading the trek away from it.
The beginning of the postwar period has consequently a peculiar importance. The mistakes of the years which immediately followed the First World War planted the seeds which grew not only into the miseries of the two subsequent decades but also into the struggles of the Second World War. The wisdom or foolishness which shape the next few years will likewise decide the characteristics of the experience which our own generation will enjoy or endure. For the early postwar period of dissolution, confusion, ferment, and search provides the proper atmosphere for such a venture as the "Quest." It is at such a time that a special effort is demanded of those who know a little about the laws of life to teach bewildered minds the true perspective of life to those who know even less. We can thus release constructive forces when they are most needed and, therefore, likely to be most appreciated.
-- Notebooks Category 12: Reflections > Chapter 5: The Literary Work > # 179