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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 806

So all manifestation in Nature is nothing but that which was sleeping which manifests gradually. The entire purpose of evolution is to bring out that which was veiled, which is sleeping, that which is involved, that which is inward, to put it out externally and manifest it fully if evolution is a progressive evolution of that which was sleeping was involved in Nature. It is what she secretly is!

"We cannot, then, bid her pause at a given stage of her evolution, nor have we the right to condemn with the religionist as perverse and presumptuous or with the rationalist as a disease or hallucination any intention she may evince or effort she may make to go beyond." This is one of the most difficult lines of this chapter. Every words of this sentence is important.

"We cannot, then, bid her pause…" i.e., if Nature is striving to manifest, it has already manifested so much, and we know now it has the potential to manifest fully. If so, then we cannot tell Nature stop here now, don't move forward, we cannot bid her to pause – bid means command. We cannot tell Nature now don't do it. We cannot bid her to pause at this given stage of evolution. Nor we have the right to condemn any evolutionary impulse that we may have. Why is Sri Aurobindo writing this sentence?

It has a historical background. There are two groups of people in the world today. There are many groups but amongst them are two powerful groups. One group is called the religionist group and the other one is called the rationalist group. Both of them are very honorable, they are greatly honored in the world. They have great power in the world. Both of them however are standing at the edge of the evolutionary movement. And both of them say: "No, no, don't go further". The religionist says: "Finished! Man is what he is to be and nothing more. He cannot evolve further and he should not!" The rationalist also says: "Should not! Enough! What man is, man is!" This may look surprising to you but if you go out in the world, you will find these two groups. I have myself lived with both the groups quite long in my life and I have had long conversations and dialogues with religionists and rationalists and both of them tried their best to discourage any evolutionary intention that we have of surpassing mind.

Therefore Sri Aurobindo has written – in fact the whole book is written to satisfy religionists and rationalists, so that young students of tomorrow, which we all are, are not discouraged. We need to be very careful. Whenever we want to have this aspiration, you will be told, by many people, in fact this is a universal experience, the moment you try to surpass the borders of manhood, all kinds of forces will come to suppress you. There is a big battle to be fought.

There is a story. When Buddha reached a very high level of tapasya, and he had reached almost the top, not the top but almost the top, at that time there was a great battle that was waged by Mara. Mara is a force of evil. And Buddha had to fight a relentless battle with Mara. And Mara has many methods of preventing you from going beyond a certain point. It bids you "Now stop! Don't move forward!"

It is said of Christ when he was at a certain stage of his development that Satan came, and one of the challenges he threw was "If God is real, he is bound to protect you, because you say yourself God always protects. So throw yourself from this mountain top and see how God protects you." That was the challenge. Normally this kind of challenge is a very powerful challenge because one does not know whether the protection of God would come in the form in which it is demanded. And Christ said: "I don't want to test God" that was his very brave, very great answer. "I don't want to test God, I know God will protect. Why should I prove to you? Who are you? What are your credentials?"

It is like – you know there was one person who wrote to Sri Aurobindo and said: "Can I see God?" And Sri Aurobindo said: "The question is whether God wants to see you or not!"

So such formidable questions are put to you when you want to rise from one level to another. There is always this demand of no, no, no. You can't! You shall not! And formidable arguments are given. Sri Aurobindo has said in two lines the summary of the argument of the religionists and of the rationalists. Read all the literature of the religions. Read all the literature of the rationalists. In two lines Sri Aurobindo summarizes and says, the religionists will tell you that your urge to evolve beyond mind is perverse and presumptuous. Your demand, your desire, your aspiration to move beyond mind is presumptuous and perverse. You are a human being, you want to be as great as God? Presumptuous! What are you? A little crawling creature on earth, and you want to be God! It is presumptuous on your part! You want to compete with God! You are perverse! This is the argument of the religionist. God and you – what a gulf there is between you and God! And you want to be like God? You want to sit on the throne of God? This is the argument of the religionist.

Sri Aurobindo says do not worry about these arguments. You have seen how evolution moves upwards. As there, so here. As there the will–to–be, so here the will–to–be. If Matter has become man, if that dull, insensitive, inert matter has today become a living and thinking laboratory, do not come under the impulse of this influence. When, somebody says, "Oh! You want to be like God or God himself. Man can never be God". This is the conclusion of religionists. And this is told by such vehement personalities of the earth, who uphold religions, that we become quite frightened. At least I was. Very eminent people, before whom we become overshadowed, subdued as it were. You become even more submissive than before. These people declare that you are presumptuous, you are perverse. So Sri Aurobindo says, do not come under the influence of these wrong arguments.

Now, if you go to rationalists, who are of course opposed to religion. But in discouraging you, both of them join. Both religion and rationalism join together in discouraging you. The religionist will say you are presumptuous and perverse, the rationalist what will he say? Sri Aurobindo says that he will say this urge in you is a disease. You have a diseased mind, can you ever think of those heavens of the Mind and Supermind! The rationalist will say that you are disturbed by false visions and dreams. When you are sick, very often you hear voices, you see visions, when you wake up there is nothing. It is a hallucination. Hallucination is an illusion which you think to be true, but when you really awake, it is no longer there. So they say that your idea that there will be divine manifestation, that there will be a capacity in you to possess Truth and Light, not have seeking mind, seeking Truth and Light, but a consciousness automatically possessed by Truth and Light – is pure dream. It is an hallucination. Don't go under these false images and dreams. Be very practical. See what is real. Don't dream. You remain all the time in dream, and then begin to see. They are all false visions. So if you go to the rationalist's ground, he will tell you that your aspirations are nothing but a disease.

Both these, although the religionist is the opponent of rationalist, the rationalist is the opponent of religionist; both of them are equal enemies of yours. As soon as you want to go beyond your mind level and want to rise higher, both will come and say: "Stop!" Therefore Sri Aurobindo says: "We cannot, then, bid her pause at a given stage of her evolution, nor have we the right to condemn with the religionist as perverse and presumptuous and with the rationalist as a disease or hallucination any intention she may evince or effort she may make to go beyond."

He says: "If it be true that Spirit is involved in Matter and apparent Nature is secret God, then the manifestation of the divine in himself and the realization of God within and without are the highest and the most legitimate aim possible to man upon earth."

This is the conclusion. There is aspiration toward God, Light, Freedom and Immortality. It is the first statement in the beginning. Sri Aurobindo has then given arguments against harbouring this aspiration. And he has said that this aspiration is justified. Do not come under the influence of the religionist and the rationalist who want to prevent you. He now concludes giving the final argument: "If it be true that Spirit is involved in Matter and apparent Nature is secret God…" If this proposition is true and as we have seen it is true, "then the manifestation of the divine in himself and the realization of God within and without are the highest and the most legitimate aim possible to man upon earth." Do not, do not, do not hesitate to aspire for this.

We shall stop here now. I had given you the 8th chapter as homework at one time. Continue with that. Read it again, even if you don't understand, don't worry. We shall do that chapter word by word as we have done the first chapter. Go slowly, it is a very important chapter.

But still, if you read, the mind will be accustomed to some of the terms which are there, and use the dictionary sometimes if you don't follow a word, you can find out the meaning.

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