The text below is from the Preface of a book written by Sisirkumar Mitra titled Resurgent India (1963).
“The sages of ancient India have always held that at critical moments in history mighty souls appear on earth manifesting a power of God or representing the Godhead himself in order to liberate man from the overwhelming darkness and help the collective advancement of the race. They are the bringers of new dawns whose light and force reaffirm the Ideal and inspire fresh endeavours to realise it.
It is these souls that are the real makers of history. It is in their life and work that lies the deeper meaning of Carlyle’s concept of Universal History which
“is at bottom the History of the Great Men Who have worked in the world.”
He adds :
“History is the essence of numerous biographies. If one wants to know the meaning of history, let him look into the lives of great men.”
“There is properly no history; only biography.”
“The history of the world is the history of a ‘few great men who had faith in themselves.”
History cannot be truly conceived without those heroic souls that shine in its pages not only as saviours or liberators of mankind but as embodiments of the Time-Spirit, or the Will of God which impels them to infuse into their people a new life, a new spirit, a higher consciousness to push them up the scale of evolution. It is their example and their light that blaze the trail for others to follow and usher in a yugāntara, a new epoch.
Thus is history made by those who, in the words of Sri Aurobindo, “represent the ascending element in humanity“. Their life and teaching inspire the aspirations of the age in which they appear, live and work. This is how a people progresses, how the rhythm of the individual life of the pioneers transmits itself to the rhythm of the collective life of the people, and the divine purpose of their advent is fulfilled. Out of this inner process grow the contents of organic history.
Sri Aurobindo says that it is the individual who is always the pioneer and precursor. The vision of the seer becomes the ideal of the people. The Mahayogi’s ecstasy of spiritual experience moves a million hearts. The creation of the artist or the poet opens man to the world of beauty and delight that are for all and for all time. The thought of the philosopher leavens the collective mind. The gift of the scientist is for the entire human race. The zeal and determination that burn in the heart of the reformer set aflame other hearts.”
Along the lines of “The vision of the seer becomes the ideal of the people”, interested readers may consider the section From Inspiration to Intuition in The word Rishi in the light of Sri Aurobindo, which has a wonderful letter which Sri Aurobindo wrote to his brother Barin on this subject.