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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 603

If anybody asks what is the proposition, philosophical argument comes afterwards, but first is the statement of what you want to say, what you wish to propose, what you want to prove. Mankind has been pursuing the ideals of God, Light, Freedom, Immortality and Bliss. It is the first statement that Sri Aurobindo wants to make. But in making the statement Sri Aurobindo uses argument at every step. That statement is complex because Sri Aurobindo makes a proposition and along with the proposition he argues at the same time. It is a very complex statement. When you analyze you find how many trends of thought are involved in the very first statement. It is a very fortunate to come across such a statement in one sentence which gives you complete exercise of philosophy to your mind.

The proposition of The Life Divine, of the whole book or of this chapter at least is that human beings are looking for meaning which manifests itself in the search for God, Truth, Light, Freedom, Immortality, Bliss. This is the proposition. And this proposition is made through two arguments, a logical argument and a historical argument. This is the first proposition.

The second proposition of Sri Aurobindo in the second paragraph is whether this aspiration is justified or not. Are human being misled or is it good for them to aspire for it? If it is good what is the reason for it? Is it rational or is it a madness? And should we continue or not? That is the second question. The second proposition of Sri Aurobindo is: is it justified to aspire for God, Light, Freedom, Immortality? And it is here that Sri Aurobindo gives us an argument in the form of a dialectical argument. Sri Aurobindo expounds this proposition by dialectical argument in which he set one set of facts contrasted with another set of facts and shows the contradiction between the two. Having set forth this contradiction the human mind now moves forward and says: therefore what follows? If one is contradicted by another then on what ground, what kind of consequences you will arrive at? It is a continuation of the dialectical argument. Here, there are two arguments which are put before us by Sri Aurobindo. The argument from the point of view of the material intellect and another argument which is a quintessential philosophical argument.

If you take the argument of the material intellect, the conclusion is – Sri Aurobindo says: "to the material intellect which takes its present organization of consciousness to be the limit of its possibilities this contradiction is an argument against their validity." Their invalidity means, invalidity of what? Of the ideals! That is one solution. If there is a contradiction between this and that the conclusion is that this contradiction is resolved by saying the ideals are invalid, thesis, antithesis and synthesis. The synthesis is a denial of these ideals.

But, Sri Aurobindo says that this argument is not conclusive. There is a deeper quintessential philosophical argument in the light of which, you may arrive at a different conclusion. This contradiction can be met by another synthesis. "If we take a more deliberate view of the world's workings the direct opposition appears rather as part of Nature's profoundest method and the seal of her completest sanction." This is the conclusion we should arrive at. That this contradiction is actually an opposition which is intended by Nature, there is a sanction of Nature, there is a meaning in it.

What is the meaning? We come now to the next paragraph; the very meaning is said in the very first sentence. "For all problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony." That is the meaning. When you find such opposition in the Nature's workings there is a meaning which tells you that there is to be a harmony. It is a problem; all problems of existence are problems of harmony. Therefore look for harmony, don't merely say that this is opposed to that therefore it is invalid. It is a kind of idle man's answer; one does not take the trouble. Sri Aurobindo says, be more intelligent, be more meaningful and enter into a meaningful enquiry, and if you enter into a meaningful enquiry you will find that there is secret harmony. Find that harmony.

"The accordance of active Life with a material of 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."

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