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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 905

Now you give me an example which analyses these four causes. You take any effect and you tell me, take up any effect in the world, they are so many effects in the world… Let us take French Revolution. You know French Revolution? Every human being of modern times should learn of French Revolution. You cannot understand what is happening today without understanding what happened in French Revolution. Such is the importance of French Revolution. What we are doing today is causally connected with French Revolution. One of the greatest events in world history is the French Revolution. Once you know the French Revolution you can answer my question.

You take any event, take up anything that you know and then we shall try to analyse the four causes. Let us say Auroville. Auroville is an event, no? It is a consequence. Now, what is the efficient cause of Auroville? The Mother. She pushed the idea of Auroville, she has given the shape. She is the efficient cause of Auroville. What is the formal cause of Auroville? The Charter of Auroville is the formal cause of Auroville. Then, what is the material cause? The place, the soil, the children of Auroville, the parents of Auroville, administration of Auroville, we are all the materials causes. We are the matter of Auroville. And what is the final cause of Auroville? Human unity is the final cause of Auroville. Now you have almost mastered, almost, Aristotle would be very happy to know that in the Twentieth Century, in one corner of the earth, there are some enthusiastic children who have mastered his theory of causation.

I have also told you about the Indian theory of causation. I gave you two Sanskrit words. I should repeat them: asatkaryavada and satkaryavada. Karya means effect, the event. Sat means that which exists. Vada means theory. A theory of the effect which presents that which exists. Satkaryavada is a theory which says that effect already existed before it came out. The effect already existed in the form of the cause. Asatkaryavada says that effect did not exist in the cause. So there are two theories in India. According to one theory for every effect there must be a cause. Both the theories agree on this: effect presupposes a cause. There must be a cause from which effect derives. But according to one theory effect already existed in the cause, according to another theory effect did not exist in the cause. According to satkaryavada the tree already existed in the seed but according to asatkaryavada tree did not exist in the seed. And there are arguments for both. Both are very interesting arguments which we shall study later.

Sri Aurobindo argues in favour of Satkaryavada: "For there seems to be no reason why Life should evolve out of material elements or Mind out of living form, unless we accept the Vedantic solution that Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness."

There is no reason why Life should come out of Matter? It must be only because Life is already in Matter. There is no reason why Mind should come out of Life, unless Mind is already in Life. Not only that but also more than that: Life is nothing but Matter and Matter is nothing but Life. Identical actually. Matter is a veiled form of Life and Life is a veiled form of Mind. It is like a seed in the tree. The seed is nothing but the veiled tree. The tree is already in the seed but it is veiled, you cannot see it. Similarly, Life is already in Matter – not only already in Matter, but Matter itself is veiled Life and Mind is not only already in Life but Life itself is a veiled Mind.

Now we have revised all the four paragraphs that we have covered so far. I shall summarize in two sentences. I said first that Sri Aurobindo's argument has been the study of human history, past, presents and future. And his argument is that if you look at the past there is only one breath: God, Light, Freedom, Immortality. If you see the present you find that there is today satiation but not satisfaction and there is already a preparation in humanity for returning to the primeval longing of God, Light, Freedom, Immortality. This is the first argument of this chapter. It summarizes the whole human history leaping beyond the present and showing the future. The second aspect of the first four paragraphs is various forms of philosophical arguments: epistemological argument, dialectical argument, historical argument, quintessential metaphysical argument and causal argument.

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