Therefore in the field of science he was supposed to be one of the foremost forerunners of modern science, it is only after Darwin and later on that his researches were surpassed that was recently only in the 19th century. Aristotle who lived in the fourth century BC, up to 19th century he was the leader, forerunner in the field of logic. In the field of logic, which is the science of valid thought, how do human beings think when they are right on the right track, is a subject of examination. How do they react, what is the operation in the mind when the mind is on the right track of valid thought, of correct thought? As you know human mind is full of complexities. There are correct thoughts and there are incorrect thoughts, people think rightly and people think incorrectly and there are prejudices by which people think wrongly. There are biases in favour, and partiality therefore, you think wrongly, you think in favour of that person in spite of all the contrary evidence, you may have some kind of prejudice against somebody, whatever the evidence you give you will think wrongly about him these are incorrect thoughts. Aristotle examined how the human thought works when it's on the right track, when human thought is correct and he examined it very minutely and developed a science of it. The science which deals with the processes of right–thinking is called Logic.
You must have heard the word logic very often, but what is the meaning of logic,− how the human mind works. What is the process of human mind when it is on the right track, as a result of which it can come to a correct conclusion. This is the study of logic and his study of logic even today, every student of philosophy, every student of logic is required to study in every university, in the world. You cannot be a philosopher; you cannot be a logician, without a good foundation in what Aristotle said about logic even today.
It is true that during the last century, during the 20th century particularly, a new science of logic has emerged. But you can see from fourth century BC, up to the end of 19th century, by logic was meant only what Aristotle taught about logic. There was no change, excepting a little change made by Leibniz, about whom I've talked to you earlier. Leibniz was the only one, who made some change in Aristotle's system of logic. But right from his time fourth century BC up to end of 19th century, logic remained the same as what Aristotle had laid down and that is the importance of Aristotle.
In the field of metaphysics, what is metaphysics, we talked about it quite a lot. Metaphysics is a kind of a science but not exactly a science. If you mean by science a body of systematic knowledge; it is science. But usually sciences dealing with processes of things, there is a difference between process and the source of the process. When you study the source of the process, it is metaphysics, when you study the processes, it is science. He discussed the question as to what is the source of all the motion in a world. He gave a notion of what is called the ‘unmoved mover’ as a source. He said the world is moving but at the root of it, there is a reality, which is unmoved, which does not move and yet it moves everything else. So he gave term, which is called the ‘unmoved mover’. It's a very interesting concept, to which we should come back in the Upanishad also, when we deal with it. Unmoved mover, who moves not and yet moves everything else, this is the highest concept that he arrived at in metaphysics. And this concept even now is still current. Many philosophers even though they may differ from Aristotle still respect this notion even today. There are many people who are Aristotelians, even until today they expound the philosophy of the unmoved mover. So, you can see the influence and power of his thought of metaphysics.
In the field of literature even till today, there is no book on criticism of literature, which does not start with Aristotle, at least in the West. There is no book on criticism of literature, which does not use what is called rhetoric and poetics of Aristotle. He wrote a book on the subject, Rhetoric and Poetics.
What is poetry and what is the meaning of image in poetry that is rhetoric. Rhetoric is actually a science, a study of image making, various kinds of images that you can make, various forms of images is rhetoric and what is poetry itself, the vision in poetry the element of beauty in poetry is poetics. And what is the science of image making and the forms of images, is rhetoric. You must have heard what is called figures of speech. When I look at this book and address the book: ‘Oh! Book reveal your knowledge to me.’ It's an image, as if I'm talking to the book; the book is a living being, its poetry.
If you read ‘Vikram Urvashiyam’ of Kalidasa, you should read once the story of Vikram and Urvashi in which, it is a beautiful play written by Kalidasa, and one of the most important poetical exposition is the frenzy of Vikram, when Urvashi, his beloved is lost, she just disappears, she was just there and now she's no more there, this is the condition in which he was put, she is lost; she is not to be found anywhere. He is in a state of frenzy and he looks at the elephant and says to the elephant:’ ‘Oh! Elephant you've stolen the gait of my wife.’ This is figure of speech, “Oh! Elephant you've stolen the gait of my wife because you walk exactly as my wife walks. How could you get this gait except from my wife? So, surely you know where is my wife, please tell me where is she, explain to me.” And the bird sings and he says: “this singing only my wife knows how to sing, you can only get it only from my wife, so you must know where is my wife.” He goes around like a mad man and he's a madman. It is one of the highest points of poetics where the image making is so great that you are crowded with images, they come upon you. It's a very big study, how many kinds of images human beings can make and without images there is no poetry.
The distinguishing feature of poetry as distinguished from prose is that poetry is basically image making, if there are no images, it is not poetry. You read Sri Aurobindo’s, ‘Savitri, almost every line is an image and what a wonderful image, glorious images. When you read a description of Savitri, when she was a young woman, Sri Aurobindo describes her as ‘A parable of Dawn’. Imagine the image, all the beauty of the dawn, what an image, the greater the image making; the greater the poetry that you have. Aristotle fourth century BC he wrote a full science on this subject, on the rhetoric and even today, all poets in the Western world refers to the poetics of Aristotle this is the greatness of this man.