Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12

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Similar is the method in philosophical reasoning. In the imagination that is allowed in philosophy, you have to rigorously follow a process in which the data which are available; from among those data you have to find some such data which will conclusively and necessarily show that other data which are not known must be of that nature. This is the law of necessity in philosophical reasoning.

Philosophy arises at a time when certain data are available about a large number of subjects in the world, not merely one. On the basis of those data a question is raised about the nature of all the data of the universe and you are asked to answer the question as to what must necessarily be true of all the data, not probably true, but necessarily true. Or else, if you can’t find an answer in terms of rigorous necessity you shall be able to answer with utmost probability regarding all the data. So two kinds of answers are available at this stage in enquiry, the enquiry must be about all the possible data, that is what distinguishes philosophy from science.

At present science deals with only subject matters of one domain or the other. Philosophy deals with all the data of the entire universe and secondly it takes into account all the known data; and on the basis of the known data, an effort is made to imagine as to what must be the nature of all the other data which are not known. Or secondly what most probably must be the nature of the data which are not known.

This process is what is called the logical process, as distinguished from the processes of imagination of poetry or of art or music or any other. This process of deriving necessary conclusions, or most probable conclusions, this process is called a logical process. You might that the difference between poetry, music and art on the one hand and philosophy on the other is that the imagination that is allowed in philosophy has to follow a logical process. In poetry, music and art logical process is not necessary. You can deviate from logical process. There can be illogical process, or logical with some license or supra–logical, these are the methods of poetry, music and art. Illogical, logical with some licenses and supra–logical, but in philosophy the processes are supposed to be exclusively logical.

The Life Divine is called a book of philosophy because it deals with all the known data of physics, chemistry, biology and all, whatever is known, all the data which are known and which are useful in deriving the knowledge about the unknown data. All this data are to be found in this book, that’s the first reason why it is a philosophical book. But not merely that, on the basis of this data a logical process has been employed to infer, what must necessarily be the nature of all the data which are known or unknown and a systematic, consistent picture of the whole is attempted to be presented. There is a rigour of logic; there are imaginations or inferences which are vigorously following a logical process. And the ultimate picture that emerges is that of the totality, so that you can be intellectually quite sure that even though sciences have not yet found out all the data, in advance of the scientific discoveries you are absolutely sure by this process, as to what is the nature of the totality of reality. This is the special merit of philosophy that even before science makes a full progress in arriving at the knowledge of the totality; philosophy is like a fore–runner. And says that even with regard to whatever is available on that very basis, I will be able to tell you with certainty as to what must be the nature of the totality or if not absolute certainty, with the highest degree of probability, I will tell you whatever is the ultimate total picture of the reality. This is the great work that is contained in the whole of The Life Divine, in the whole book. 

You must have seen that in this whole argument one word, which I have used become central, and that is the word ‘logic’. You take out the word ‘logic’ and all that I have said falls down. The most important question is what is the meaning of logic? This is a question which has been asked since thousands of years. What is logic? And even today the question is being asked and while there are different answers to this question; there is a need to think on this question with a fresh mind.

Normally it takes about several years to study what is logic and I don’t want that we should waste so many years in studying that subject. Within a short time we may make an effort to get at the essence of the matter, so that we can go ahead with our main enquiry. I shall tell you very briefly, what logic is. Let me take two examples to indicate it to you, what logic is, – If I ask Tushar: ‘what is the colour of this statue here before me? He will say, ‘it is black and gold, part of it is golden, part of it is black’. Then I will ask him, ‘Is it both black and gold?’ Then he will clarify and say –‘that where it is golden it is not black, where it is black, it is not golden’. Then I will ask him the question, ‘why is it so? Why is it that what is golden is not black and what is black is not golden?’ If he has not studied logic he will simply say, ‘it is so.’ Then I will ask him further question, ‘it is all right, it is so but is it necessarily so’ that will be my further question, ‘is it necessarily so?’ In other words the question would be, is it necessary that what is golden can never be black and what is black, can never be golden. ‘Is it necessarily so?’

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