Sri Aurobindo's - 'The Life Divine' - The Human Aspiration - Chapter I

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 306

We go now to the next step in the argument, the opposition between ordinary experience and totality of experience. Sri Aurobindo formulates these in their stark opposition to each other, as a thesis and an antithesis. This formulation is one of the most powerful and most potent formulations in philosophy. The stark opposition between the two poles of experience – on one side you experience one thing, on the other side you experience something else – and Sri Aurobindo speaks of the synthesis of these two poles. We shall go very slowly; little by little we shall see each one of the opposites that Sri Aurobindo describes here.

"To know, possess and be the Divine being in an animal and egoistic consciousness." These are the two polarities. We are at present in an animal and egoistic consciousness. That is our ordinary experience. The other pole of experience is to know, possess and be the Divine being – that is the formula of God. Then, "To convert our twilight or obscure physical mentality into the plenary supramental illumination." On one side at present we have got an obscure physical consciousness, at the most it is twilit – twilight means some light either in the evening or in the early morning. Either darkness is about to come or darkness is about to go. Our consciousness is at present a twilight consciousness we might say. Mostly it is an obscure physical consciousness in which we live. If we count how many hours we spend in our active work – it is eight hours so sixteen hours of the day are either in sleep or preparation to awaken and to start work. Mostly we live in a twilight consciousness. To convert our twilit obscure physical mentality, this is true of our ordinary experience – now you come to the higher experience – into plenary supramental experience. Plenary means that which does not diminish at all, everlasting, there is no alteration between sleep and awaking. We say Light is a part of the formula, Light, God, Freedom, Immortality. When we speak of Light, we don't speak of the aspiration to have some light, it is not an aspiration to have a temporary light; our aspiration is to have no diminution of light at all. So, this is the aspiration, to convert our twilight or obscure physical mentality into the plenary supramental illumination.

"To build peace and a self existent bliss where there is only a stress of transitory satisfactions besieged by physical pain and emotional suffering." This is the third term of our aspiration for God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, Immortality. These are the five terms of our formula. This is the third term. To achieve what kind of Bliss? To build peace and a self–existence bliss. A bliss which does not depend upon any external object – self–existent – a bliss which flows automatically from our being, it doesn't depend upon any external stimulation. Neither sensory nor intellectual nor anything that come from outside it is self–existent. We should bubble with delight from within ourselves, that kind of delight. "To build peace and a self–existence bliss – this is our goal – where there is only a stress of transitory satisfactions." It is a beautiful expression! What is our present state? Our present state is a state of satisfaction, but this satisfaction has always a stress in it, it is never a stress–less satisfaction. Even when you say: "Oh I am contented now", there is some stress in it. Sri Aurobindo uses the word "stress", stress of transitory satisfaction. There are three things: our satisfactions are only for a time. Even the richest man when he sits back in his armchair after doing a day's work and feels absolutely satisfied, might get suddenly the news that his son has fallen sick and all his satisfaction is wiped out. It is only a transitory satisfaction that we normally have. And even this transitory satisfaction, Sri Aurobindo now qualifies by a beautiful expression is "besieged by physical pain and emotional suffering". Even when you may be contented you may not be able to eat sweets because you have diabetes. When everything is available to you, unfortunately physical pain is knocking at your door. So even that satisfaction you cannot enjoy. There is physical pain and emotional suffering. You will find that all the time in human life, even in the best conditions of your bliss, suddenly you find somebody becomes angry with you, somebody is dissatisfied, somebody revolts, somebody sulks and you do not feel satisfied at all and you begin to move out of yourself to satisfy something or the other.

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