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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 503

Sri Aurobindo says that the complete victory would be that you should be first of all an animal body, a body which has locomotion, also a body which has a mind, which normally disables the body in many ways. A Mind supporting animal body. And that kind of body is to be immortal, in which Life remains planted all the time in the body, in the physical... If you can achieve this then you can say: Now Nature has created an instrument in which all the problems of contradictions are resolved. Till that time contradictions are not yet resolved. As long as the body dies, the accordance of Life in Matter is not complete – it is only a temporary accord. There is no secret yet by which Life and Matter can be completely reconciled. Sri Aurobindo says: Nature is still striving. Do not worry that it will not happen. First step is taken already; this is only a proof that something can be done. Don't say that this thing is impossible. The moment we know there is a bigger problem, we always put down our hands saying: impossible, this cannot be done.

Sri Aurobindo says, if there were a witness, but uninstructed, who were to watch the world at the very beginning, he would have questioned the appearance of even a small little bubble, a little germ in water. If you were told there will be some stir in the water and germs will moves about. If you had to predict as a witness you would have said: "Oh it is impossible! How can there come by itself a bubble like this with germs constantly moving, self–propelled, impossible!" Even if you saw this you would say: "Oh alright, may be something happened". You might grant that this has happened so we can't now refuse it. But then if you were told that this little germ will have one day locomotion in a very big way: an elephant will come or a lion will come, you would say: "Oh it is impossible! How can a little thing ever grow to an elephant or a lion? Impossible!" And then if you were told that there would come about a human being who will think, who will observe, you would laugh it off. If you are told that he will be able to measure the world, not only think, he will be able to speculate, he will discuss the law of contradictions in a class one day. He will even write poetry, and a complex kind of poetry such as Savitri. He will philosophise, he will become a mystic, he will see the invisible, hear the inaudible, if you were to be told this you would have to simply laugh it off, not only that you would say: "Please stop this dream, it is impossible!" Today if we are told that really there will be a human being which is the superman, all people around say it is impossible. Even today, I read out to you, an acute mind such as Russell refuses to believe that they are higher ways of knowing. It is the same argument: the contrast between the realised fact and the unrealized ideal – the contradiction between the two shows that the unrealized ideal is invalid. This argument is now brought to its own ridiculous conclusion by rendering this fact before us. So the first condition is the "accordance of active life with a material form in which the condition of activity itself seems to be inertia is one problem of opposites that Nature has solved and seeks always to solve better with greater complexities for its perfect solution would be the material immortality of a fully organized mind–supporting animal body". That would be the complete solution of the problem.

There is another problem which Nature has already solved. This is what Sri Aurobindo now describes. The second problem of opposites that Nature has solved: "The accordance of conscious mind and conscious will with a form and a life in themselves not overtly self–conscious and capable at best of a mechanical or sub–conscious will is another problem of opposites in which it has produced astonishing results and aims always at higher marvels;..." Now you see the opposites: accordance of Mind in Life. We are all mental beings, so for us it is a very easy thing to understand. What is the opposition between Life and Mind? Mind is conscious, there is a conscious perception, conscious thought and a conscious will. These are the things that even a small child possesses. Even a child perceives and decides to react favorably or unfavorably. If a child is given the kind of food that he expects he wills to accept it, if he finds that it is only a trick and you are not giving the food that he wants, he decides to refuse you. Even at the most elementary level there is a conscious will and a conscious thought. But Life by its nature – the life that you find in plants, even the life that we possess in our body – is not self–conscious. At least not overtly self–conscious.

There is a difference between sub–conscious or unconscious will and conscious will. You know that most of the activities of the human body which are organic occur without any consciousness and yet they appear to be conscious in some ways. It is a kind of a miracle. If you are wounded, as soon as there is a wound the white corpuscles rush up automatically. The body wants to protect the wound and the healing process start immediately. It is automatic. Most of the operations of the body are automatic, therefore life basically is unconscious. In that life movement there is a conscious mind. Planting of conscious mind in an unconscious life force is a problem of opposites. How to plant conscious mind in an unconscious life force: this is a big problem of human beings. We are constantly in a war between the unconscious life force and the conscious mind. Sometimes a good doctor may tell you to allow your body to heal itself, not interfere with your mind. When you are not well the doctor says: allow your body the real quietude don't allow your mind to work – your conscious mind – allow the life force to work itself out. Sometimes you are also injected which some kind of medicine which makes you sleep, so the mind is at rest and then unconscious mind, unconscious will force works itself out. Very often our main problem is unconscious life and conscious mind and the war between the two. Now this war is, to a great extent healed, resolved by Nature, so that even when we are conscious, our body goes on functioning quite well. In all normal healthy human beings there is a constant harmony between the unconscious life force and the conscious mind. This is one problem of opposites that Nature has already accomplished. How to put together unconscious life force and conscious mind working together – and both working harmoniously.

This is a marvel. Sri Aurobindo says that many marvels have been manifested when these two things happen together. A small child beginning to learn a language and uttering the first clear word is a matter of delight to everybody, not only to mothers. It is a great marvel. A language is a manifestation of consciousness, of some degree of consciousness, not the highest degree, but some degree of consciousness, even self–consciousness. This accordance of the capacity to speak a language – in the present day there are many great thinkers who are specializing in the study of languages. The whole study of linguistics, as it is called, has become very prominent because people are marveling: What is language? How do we understand a language? When a child identifies the word ma with the woman beside the child – connecting the word ma and the woman, is a kind of identification, the law of identity begins to operate – how does it happen? The child applies the law of identity: the word, the sound and that object. How do the two get correlated in the mind? And it becomes automatic so fast. After some months the child speaks so many sentences, it is a great marvel. This is only the smallest marvel, many more marvels take place as the child begins to grow. Even this is not the complete story. Sri Aurobindo says, even greater complexities and greater achievements are still in the view. He says: "for there her ultimate miracle would be an animal consciousness no longer seeking but possessed of Truth and Light, with the practical omnipotence which would result from the possession of a direct and perfected knowledge." Each word is very important, you see the description of a capacity that is demanded. Let us look at each one of them. Our animal consciousness, even human consciousness even the highest consciousness of the mind, has one great limitation: it has to make an effort to seek knowledge. Of course there are certain things regarding which you don't need to seek, you open your eyes and what is presented to you is known immediately, you don't seek, you just need to open your eyes. But still opening eyes is an effort. Even there, there is a seeking. You are listening to music which is coming from far, it is automatic you don't need to seek to hear it. But you ask a deaf man if he can do it or not. It is very difficult for him to hear, so there is an effort to be made. In any case it is true that all human beings are required to make a great effort to understand ideas – you don't understand ideas automatically, you have to make a great effort to understand ideas – there is a seeking. As you go higher and higher, greater and greater effort is needed. The modern subjects of studies have become so complex you require fifty, sixty years to get elementary notions of things in that subject. Today the subjects are so vast that if you want to enter in any subjects you have to be ready to work for fifty to sixty years. So don't be tired at all because our seeking has become so difficult, so wide, so complex. When Mother had said, to understand The Life Divine you take first, to begin with ten years training, it is absolutely true. And ten years is quite a limited time actually, it is quite fast. As we are doing now in –– galloping. If you do as in Super School and study The Life Divine, it takes ten years. But therefore don't close the book; the gain is that you will live in knowledge.

And then, whatever knowledge you gain, with great effort you have to retain it. How easy it is to forget! You remember certain things but as you grow more and more you find how difficult it is to retain knowledge. So first of all you seek the knowledge, then you gain the knowledge and afterwards you have to make a great effort to retain it. In the mean time new knowledge has come in the picture, so you have to rush towards the new knowledge and again integrate that knowledge with the old knowledge and there are many problems of integration. To unlearn what you have learnt earlier and to learn new things is another problem. These are the difficulties that our human consciousness faces today.

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