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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 1101

I have received a question. The question assumes that all that we have been talking about so far is fine.

Question: Let us say that the Divine life on the earth is rationally justified. Fine. That is what we have been trying to do. But now the question is how to go about it? What are the practical means of doing it? Granted that we are convinced rationally that God exists, how to realise Him practically? How to touch Him, how to unite oneself with Him?

I am very happy with the question because it is a logical question that should arise once we arrive at the conclusion of the first chapter of The Life Divine. How to do it? – By doing it! That is the first answer: By doing it. And if you agree we shall take up this question next. I want to read with you the first chapter of The Synthesis of Yoga because that is an answer to the question "How to do it? How to arrive at the union with the Divine?" So this is the program I put forward before you. In fact these two books should be read simultaneously like the two wings of a bird. We fly with the help of these two wings, on the one The Life Divine and on the other The Synthesis of Yoga. This would be our method throughout. Throughout these ten years that you have set apart, we shall fly in this way. We shall sometimes refer to this book and sometimes to that book.

In my personal case this question came to me after finishing the whole of The Life Divine. Because my mind was greatly trained by Bertrand Russell, I was in a state of scepticism. What Sri Aurobindo says here at the end of this chapter was really the state of my mind. I made a great attempt to close the questions which I found to be insoluble. I made a great effort to see that these questions did not arise, by saying that: "We acknowledge these questions exist but since they cannot be answered, let us close the chapter. They cannot be answered. Let us now turn to immediate questions." And one of the immediate questions that was in my mind at that time was the poverty of India. In fact many people in India, if you ask them the question "What is the most important question of India?" They will say poverty of India. And what is the best work we can do? It is to remove the poverty of India. Many young people in India have this program for their life. They love their country very much, they want to do something very important for the country and they want to devote themselves to the removal of poverty.

If I had not read The Life Divine I would now be engaged in that task but without success. Because I now know that you cannot eradicate the poverty of India or of the world for that matter? Because poverty is not only a phenomenon in India, it is an universal phenomenon. Even in America there are people who are very poor. Russians are very poor. In every country there are pockets of poverty.

I refer very often to a very fine sentence of U Thant. It is a Burmese name, he was a Burmese. In 1967, when he made this statement he was the Secretary General of the United Nation Organisation (UNO). That is to say one of the top men of UNO. And he made a very important statement. And when this statement was shown to the Mother she was very pleased with it. She wrote a letter to him in answer to this statement. It is a very important statement.

"That a fraction of the amounts that are going to be spent in 1967 on arms could finance economic, social, national and world programmes to an extent so far unimaginable is a notion within the grasp of the man in the street. Men, if they unite are now capable to foreseeing and, of a certain point, determining the future of human development. This, however, is possible if we stop fearing and harassing one another and if together we accept, welcome and prepare the changes that must inevitably take place. If this means a change in human nature, well, it is high time we worked for it; what must surely change is certain political attitudes and habits man has."

So if the question is only of feeding people, which is of course a very important problem, then the one solution is to stop armaments. You decide that you are not going to use armaments at all. Then all that money is available and you feed the people. No poverty. It is an easy solution. Why is it not such an easy thing to do? It means that poverty is not the basic problem. Poverty can be resolved if something else is done, namely to prevent people from manufacturing armaments. And how do you do it? By what alchemy, what medicine can you prevent people from producing armaments? So he himself says: "If this means a change in human nature, well, it is high time we worked for it" That is why Mother wrote an answer to that letter and said: "Appreciating what you have said. The real problem is not poverty; the real problem is a change of consciousness. If you turn the minds of people away from armaments then a lot of money is already available. The world is producing enough food today to feed the whole population of the world very easily. So the question is: "How to change the consciousness?" This is the problem. And this is the problem Sri Aurobindo answers in The Synthesis of Yoga.

But this question arose in my own life after reading the whole of The Life Divine. You are very fortunate that this question is arising after reading the very first chapter of The Life Divine. So that means, from an evolutionary point of view you are far ahead. Just after reading the first chapter this question comes up. We shall take up this question next time.

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