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Life Divine Chapters 1-7 SKF - Track 104

As I said philosophy is a search for all facts. And the fundamental urge of collecting all facts lies in aspiration. There is in the human being an irresistible urge, is the aspiration. Human being is nothing but a packet of force, striving and that striving is aspiration. If you can define this aspiration, if you can examine this aspiration, all the physical facts, all the psychological facts will come in full embrace. The best possible manner of embracing all the facts is in the embrace of aspiration. Therefore, if you want a good starting point for philosophical thinking, you should start with the understanding of what is this aspiration? If you do that, you are doing the most essential philosophical activity and this being the greatest philosophical work, it brings you straight into the most philosophical impulse of man, on the basis of which philosophy itself is rooted. The consideration of human aspiration is you might say the most indispensible starting point of philosophical thinking. If you do not discuss this question, philosophy cannot be discussed properly. You cannot have another optional starting point of philosophical thinking that is why I consider this starting point itself to be the quintessential philosophical starting point and you can see that because of this the entire book of philosophy, the whole book is so neatly organised because automatically entire realm of all the facts necessarily come in the sweep. Later on I shall tell you many other starting points of philosophy, I don’t want to burden you just now with so many other alternatives, many other starting points of philosophical writings also. But since human aspiration is itself the fundamental motive force of philosophy itself, this great philosophical work starts with this basic point – Human Aspiration.

Now while studying this book you must underline it’s a philosophical work and therefore it follows philosophical method and I had told you earlier, what is a philosophical method – it is a procession of connecting ideas with ideas, at the starting point and coming to a conclusion. And while connecting ideas with ideas, you enlarge constantly until the totality is embraced. This is the method of philosophical thinking; you start with an idea, try to connect with other ideas and in doing so you constantly enlarge yourself and strive to arrive at totality. Now this method of arriving at totality takes the form of what is called reasoning. Philosophy is basically a methodical process of reasoning in which ideas are connected with other ideas, so as to embrace the totality and the process is itself marked by, what may be called reasoning. What is reasoning, process of reasoning? Process of reasoning has many forms, that each form may be called argument, you might say philosophy is a process of argumentation. And what is the process of argument?

In every argument there are three limbs; one limb is a statement of a fact there is no argument without a fact. The fact which is articulated in the form of an idea, that is one limb of an argument. The second limb of argument is to show the incompleteness of the fact by the presence of another fact. So unless there is an idea connected with an idea, a fact shown to be incomplete because of another fact’s presence, you are led from one to the other, you enlarge. This is second limb of an argument. An effort to relate one fact with the other, and there is a third element; there is a judgement whether that fact is properly related to the other fact or not, this judgement is very important. An argument is an argument if ultimately there is a judgement as to whether one fact is related with the other argument, and this connection between one and the other, has two forms. Form of probability and the form of conclusivity. Whether argument is probable, or whether argument is conclusive?


A philosophical work is best illustrated, when first of all an emphasis laid upon that fact by raising it, all the facts will be ultimately come into the sweep. A philosophical work is best when whatever you state demands a relationship with another fact and demands ultimately all the facts, and when one fact is related with the other with a kind of a linking thread, where the linking is shown clearly, whether it is probable or conclusive. This should be the finesse of an argument, finesse of a philosophical statement.

Now let us see, Sri Aurobindo starts with one fact, the very statement of that fact demands ultimately consideration of all the facts. This very question of human aspiration, if anybody says, tell me what actually a human being aspires? The answer cannot be given unless you take all the facts in your conclusion, it is the one essential fact, unless you see all the physical facts and psychological facts, put them all together very tightly, unless you do it, you won’t be able to answer this question what is human aspiration. It is one fact in the embrace of which all facts can be embraced and have got to be embraced. Massiveness of thought; basically philosophical thought is a massive thought, a thought in which the whole mass of totality can be embraced.

And you will see in this chapter one entire massive, one fact which will emerge in this chapter is a one massive fact, in which all the facts are interrelated hanging up on one important thing – human aspiration. But to begin with there is a statement of one massive movement, one massive movement in which all the movements can be summarised for the human being is the history of human aspiration. You might say that the first paragraph contains two basic arguments. A historical argument and an ontological argument, there are many forms of argument as I said. In the first paragraph you have example of two important arguments, a historical argument and an ontological argument. Historical argument is easier to understand. An argument which is based upon historical facts, historical facts which are stated in such a way that you cannot doubt them, incorrigibly stated. And this paragraph gives you one very important historical argument. A historical argument has always this one important conclusion, the conclusion can never be conclusive. A historical argument can only give you probable conclusions, which are important, probable conclusions are not therefore something of lesser value. But that is the utmost that you can derive from historical argument. So you might say that this paragraph says first of all that if you examine the whole history of mankind, the most important element in the whole history of mankind is the history of human aspiration.

It is the history of the greatest preoccupation, like a burden you know if you are born with a big bucket on your head, what will you feel? Every one of us is born with a bucket on his head, as it were. And everyone is burdened with that bucket. And everyone therefore is struggling with that bucket.  This is what Sri Aurobindo calls the earliest preoccupation. The moment you begin to think, awakened thought, the earliest preoccupation in his awakened thought, the moment you become awakened you find there is a bucket on your head, there is a big preoccupation. Now Sri Aurobindo argues that preoccupation, it seems to be also the ultimate preoccupation. The starting point of mankind’s history, it is such a preoccupation it seems the ultimate preoccupation, ’ it seems, mark the word – it seems, it’s probable, it does not say it must be. A historical argument does not give you conclusive answer, ’ it seems. But even for seeming there is an argument. Why does it seem to be the ultimate preoccupation? So Sri Aurobindo answers that question, you go through the whole history of mankind, there is one aspiration which can tie up all the facts of the history of mankind, one constant preoccupation. Even if you try to banish that aspiration, it comes back again, reasserts itself ’ there is that aspiration of mankind. There are periods of history when it is thrown out, banished, no more – comes back again. That aspiration now Sri Aurobindo defines ’ God, Light, Freedom, Bliss and Immortality.

You might say it is an assertion, but you read the whole history, Sri Aurobindo gives you in brief words, that if you read the whole history of mankind, which is a constant effort of man, even when this aspiration is banished and people have said, ‘no more’, don’t deal with God, don’t deal with life, don’t deal with immortality, impossible, ’ again man comes back to it. Read the history and the most difficult part of the history is the earliest history of man because people think that these great ideas have come only now. But you read the first, the earliest preoccupation you read that which is available to mankind – the Veda.  There is no other text available to mankind than what is given to us in the Veda, it is a historical fact. And if you read the Veda, it is nothing but aspiration for God, Light, Freedom, Immortality. And even today the most important question for mankind is this very question. Of course in recent times it has been banished. Think no more of God, think no more of Immortality. And the recent history of 300 years, 400 years is the history of that banishment, as the result of which where do we stand today? Sri Aurobindo says mankind is satiated with it, whatever it has been searching for the last 2–300 years, it is satiated, but not satisfied, it comes back again today. What was the great aspiration in Swami Vivekananda, one of the most contemporary young man of India and the world, his only question was ’ Have you seen God? He was the product of the modern mind, an ardent student of logic. And he wanted only proof of whatever is to be asserted, his only question is you speak of God, can you see God, can you prove God, that was his aspiration. And look around everywhere, where there is today a real questioning, the resounding chorus among all the aspiring minds today is the search for God. Anyway, this particular search Sri Aurobindo says, he does not say conclusively is bound to be, he says it promises. Logically, historical argument cannot be presented as conclusive.