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Life Divine Chapters 1-7 SKF - Track 107

Now having stated this contrast, this thesis and antithesis are presented both are in antithetical relationship, one side and the other. Now the argument – “To the ordinary material intellect which takes its present organisation of consciousness for the limit of its possibilities, the direct contradiction of the unrealised ideals with the realised fact is a final argument against their validity”. That is to say these ideals are bound to be denied, to be valid. Why? Because we take our normal stand on our material organisation of consciousness and we think it is the final. We take our present mentality to be the final mentality as if it is the final and we argue that because the actual is in direct contradiction with the ideal, therefore ideal is false, this is real, what I see is real that is a dream and never to be realised because how can it be? This is all that is going to be and this is a permanent thing here. Material intellect takes its present organisation of consciousness as the final limit, rightly or wrongly but materialistic intellect which is in us, we are all materialists basically. Because whether we like it or not our intellect is material, is bound by the material physical body. That material intellect whenever it sees an ideal, it is bound to dismiss it saying O my Lord! It’s a dream and it can never be true, invalid; and it is a final argument. Even the great spiritual people when they are on the verge of physical mortality they find physical mortality to be the real fact and all the search for immortality amritatvam it seems to be a dream, in imagination one has gone into it because the real fact is only this. So, to the material intellect that which is actual and now seems to be the ultimate, nothing more than this and then death is a real fact, immortality is an imagination, dream. Therefore that dream is invalid. Philosophically therefore this is the argument, that this thesis and antithesis ends in a conclusion that what is actual is real, what is ideal is unreal and therefore it cannot be valid. This is the conclusion; it’s a part of dialectical reasoning.

Now this dialectical reasoning, Sri Aurobindo goes farther and he says that this conclusion can be further invalidated. “But if we take a more deliberate view of the world’s workings, that direct opposition appears rather as part of Nature’s profoundest method and the seal of her completest sanction.” Now this statement is a very important statement, it’s a turn in the argument, philosophical argument. If we take, he doesn’t say we must take. Philosophy is not an inevitable preoccupation of man. You may become philosopher, you may not. But if you want to be a philosopher, if you want a philosophical argument then this is the philosophical argument. “... if we take a more deliberate view”, what’s the meaning of a deliberate view?

A deliberate view of nature is that nature is not arbitrary, nothing is arbitrary. There is a meaning in it, everything has a meaning in the world that’s the rationality. Rationality is reasonableness, to see reasonableness everywhere. There is no cloud and yet it’s raining, it’s not possible. If it rains without a cloud, it’s not reasonable, there must be a cloud before rain takes place, it’s not arbitrary. If some child says: why is it raining, I say because there is a cloud, my child, I say it’s not arbitrarily happening, I take a deliberate view. Nothing in the world happens just arbitrarily. So if there is a contrast between this actual fact and that ideal and if you take a deliberate view of it, why is it, why is there this contrast at all? This is the question: why is there a contrast? Then you are led to inquire into the method of nature’s working. This is a new argument in a philosophical world. In the philosophical thought it is a new argument. If you take a more deliberate view of the Nature’s methods of working, Nature’s method is philosophical, is rational movements, there is a method in it. Even if there is madness in it, there is a method in the madness. This method of Nature is a very interesting method. It’s very method, is the method of contrast, very method of Nature’s working is to state, which only conceals very resolutely something that is very difficult to reveal, but it is precisely that which is going to be revealed that’s the method of Nature. If you examine the whole history of mankind, complete, not only of mankind but the whole history of evolution, this is the method. If you examine the very method of Nature’s working – jahan inkar hai vahi ikraar hai, where there is a complete negation, there is the real agreement. The Nature starts with a negation, the very method of Nature is negation as it moves on, and on, you can knock, and knock and knock, the exact opposite will reveal itself out. This argument is what I call the quintessential metaphysical argument. If there is one metaphysical argument, it is to look into the deliberate, metaphysical argument is an argument to look deliberately into the deliberate methods of Nature. And then if you knock with that argument then you will find that that ideal which is now denied by the actuality is the only thing that is going to be established. That is to metaphysical reasoning which wants to look into the very nature of the movements of Nature, the one inevitable thing is that that which is being denied is the very thing which is going to be affirmed.

In the next paragraph Sri Aurobindo enunciates this method of Nature. He establishes his method of Nature. If you are tired we will stop here. If you are not tired I will finish this third paragraph, depends upon the fatigue.

What is that method of Nature? Now Sri Aurobindo describes the very method of Nature and he starts by saying “…. all problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony”. This is the nature of all the problems, not only this contrast between actualised fact and all that but all problems. You know when I see an object, I see a garland here, my very perceptual apparatus is atomic. The rays of light which are coming from there, which are being grasped by my eyes are all atomic. But my perception is harmonic, it’s a very surprising fact. This is what modern psychology called Gestalt psychology has brought out very clearly. It is a German psychological school, which says that human apparatus tends towards gestalt. Even in the perceptual consciousness because of gestalt, I don’t see atomic perceptions. I see convergence even when the things are disparate, I see convergence. In fact the greatest artists are those who leave the two ends open, leaving the viewer to converge. This is called the great art of expression. The greatest artists don’t tell you the conclusion. They leave the propositions but in such a manner that the viewer is obliged to converge and to derive the meaning out of it. So whether it is in the field of mere perception, or in the very movement of artistic perception, in every movement of life, particularly whenever I see a problem and the contrast is always a problem, one is opposed to the other, is a problem. Sri Aurobindo says: be sure – this is the argument – whenever there is a problem there is a law which you should see in Nature. No problem is created unless there is a secret harmony somewhere.  Somewhere there is a concealed harmony and there is a constant emergent drive towards that harmony, …. all problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony.

Now I will read out the whole paragraph at one stroke. “They arise from the perception of an unsolved discord and the instinct of an undiscovered agreement or unity. To rest content with an unsolved discord is possible for the practical and more animal part of man, but impossible for his fully awakened mind, and usually even his practical parts only escape from the general necessity either by shutting out the problem or by accepting a rough, utilitarian and unillumined compromise. For essentially, all Nature seeks a harmony, life and matter in their own sphere as much as mind in the arrangement of its perceptions. The greater the apparent disorder of the materials offered or the apparent disparateness, even to irreconcilable opposition, of the elements that have to be utilised, the stronger is the spur, and it drives towards a more subtle and puissant order than can normally be the result of a less difficult endeavour. 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 organised mind–supporting animal body. The accordance of conscious mind and conscious will with a form and a life in themselves not overtly self–conscious and capable at best of a mechanical or subconscious will is another problem of opposites in which she has produced astonishing results and aims always at higher marvels; for there her ultimate miracle would be an animal consciousness no longer seeking but possessed of Truth and Light, with the practical omnipotence which would result from the possession of a direct and perfected knowledge. Not only, then, is the upward impulse of man towards the accordance of yet higher opposites rational in itself, but it is the only logical completion of a rule and an effort that seem to be a fundamental method of Nature and the very sense of her universal strivings.” I shall not read further. We shall leave it for tomorrow. It’s a very important paragraph, very important argument and the rest of the whole book rests upon this argument, so we shall leave it here, if you have time, you think about it, if you don’t have time don’t worry about it, we shall do it tomorrow.