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Socrates and Plato - Track 1102

These three sentences, these three phrases that I have used gives you a description of Plato’s personality, three phrases I have used. First is he has a large and wide and rich mind; second high artistic genius commanding creative expression, he is supposed to have written the best possible prose in the history of the world. Even now unsurpassed as far as the beauty of the beauty of the prose is concerned so that is his creative ability, his power of his expression like an artist. An artist may paint but also artist can write, mere painting is not art, mere writing is not an art. Painting becomes an art if ….., writing becomes an art if …. We have to put a blank you have to fill up. When painting becomes an art? Painting can only be a copy not a painting, writing can be a clerical writing of an essay, you just copy out it’s not an art. Painting is an art when you create a form; all painting is nothing but painting of forms, different kinds of forms, shapes, sizes, proportion. So all painting is an art if a right form, a form is created which expresses the meaning that you want to express then it becomes an art. An artist has a meaning in his mind which he wants to express. How does he express? By drawing a figure or a form but that form should be exactly expressive of the meaning that he wants to express. You have seen for example a beautiful painting of the Buddha. I don’t know if you have seen it in the visitor’s centre where this painting is portrayed. It’s a painting of the Buddha; the painting consists of three figures. There is a figure of Buddha, the form of Buddha then there is a form of Yashodhara the wife of Buddha, a second form and there is a figure of the son, young son and the figure of Yashodhara these three figures are in the painting. You could have put these figures in any way you like and the good artist is one who has something to convey to you, is there a message to be given through the painting? You are not an artist unless you have a meaning to convey. Now the artist who has done this great painting, one of the greatest paintings of the world the painter wants to show first the greatness of the Buddha, surpassing greatness of the Buddha. He wants to show that Buddha is the supreme personality. Now what kind of form will you give to express supreme personality? You know there are some artists who want to show that Christ is supreme now how do they express it? by not showing the face at all they draw the figure of Christ but they don’t paint the face at all because according to them the moment you make a figure, you limit it that which is supreme is limited so they say let’s not paint the face of Christ that’s one way of showing the supremacy. Now here this painter has a different approach he says I want to show the supremacy of the Buddha, how does he show? If you see the painting he decided the proportion between Buddha and Yashodhara. As compared to Yashodhara, Buddha’s size surpasses so high that in the painting you have a huge figure of Buddha and a very small, proportionately smaller figure of Yashodhara. This is how he puts justice – the right thing in the right place that which is so great, the size of Buddha is so high and the size of Yashodhara is so low, not merely that there is a gesture of Yashodhara and a gesture of Buddha. Buddha stands like Himalayas unmoved, immobile, calm, absolutely unruffled but the gesture of Yashodhara is that of supplication, submission, a tremendous sense of modesty and humility that’s the gesture of Yashodhara to show I am nothing before this great, huge, massive personality and this is further strengthened by the third figure of the son, even a smaller figure in which the mother makes a gesture to show the greatness of the Buddha. There is a gesture is simply so beautifully done that you feel that Yashodhara is explaining the supreme greatness of the Buddha and how just as she submits and she is so humble similarly he should be so humble in presence of the Buddha. Now this meaning is conveyed merely by the three figures that is the mark of a creative artist. The meaning is conveyed by forms, by placing them in a particular manner and by gestures of a certain kind that is the mark of an artist. Now similarly if you are a writer then how do you write an artistic expression for that we should read Plato, one day we should read Plato and read his prose writing and see how beautifully he writes and communicates his ideas, supreme ideas expressed supremely. So that when you read the greatest mark of writing is that when you read you must experience, you go beyond concept and begin to experience that is the mastery of an art of writing. So this is a second quality of Plato not only his mind is large and wide and rich but he has high artistic genius commanding creative expression and third an intense dynamic nature expressing itself in concentrated efforts at the realisation of a sublime and ideal order of existence on the earth. You may have great ideas and you remain quiet, you may have great ideas and you are dynamised to see that these ideas are realised on the earth. You may be only watching the world that is one way of being but you watch the world and change the world that is another way of being, a greater way of being. Merely to watch the world is quite easy, you can see television all the time but to change the world order you find something is wrong, you take out the wrong and plant something new which is beautiful that is a greater being; Plato was like that. He saw the world to be in a very bad condition then he realised what is the ideal order and he tried his best to see that that ideal order is established, even if he failed so what? To make an effort, to make an attempt that is the greatness that is what Plato did. So these three expressions you must remember in your mind to describe Plato. A large and wide and a rich mind that’s the first description of Plato. The second is the high artistic genius commanding creative expression, second aspect of him; a mind and creativity and thirdly dynamic ability, dynamic effort to realise on the earth a sublime dream, sublime ideal the combination of these three elements makes Plato’s personality.

In his early youth we find him planning for a political career. It was only because he found that the then political conditions would not permit him to be useful to the state that he changed his mind. The death of Socrates put a seal on this change and made him decide finally for the life of a professional philosopher. But even then he did not remain merely an armchair philosopher. He established in Athens an Academy for training and imparting to students a comprehensive education;(just as we are now doing in here establishing an academy for training and imparting a comprehensive education so he did in his time establish an academy.) and in due course this Academy became a great center of learning where students came from many parts of the civilized world. It supplied to the Greek states many scholars, statesmen and individuals of high culture. He laid the foundations of this Academy so deep that it lived for hundreds of years until Justinian disestablished it.

It is like creating a centre of education here and imagine in future for hundreds, hundreds of years if it can continue to live that is called the dynamic power of one man who establishes something powerfully not easy to be disestablished. It remained alive for years, hundreds of years until Justinian, now Justinian is a word I leave it with you, you will do research, you look up the encyclopaedias or reference books and probably tomorrow you can tell me. Write down a short note on Justinian. Who was Justinian, who he was, where he lived, when he lived, what he did, what is he famous for? You answer me this question tomorrow.

He was so deeply concerned with the future of humanity that he speculated on the problem of an ideal order of existence and came to the conclusion which he set forth in his Republic: (the following paragraph is one of the most famous paragraph of the history of thought. you should master this paragraph, read again and again because it is the most important paragraph in human history. This is what he says :)

“Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from these evils – no, nor the human race, as I believe – and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.”

This is one example also of his expression in prose, how beautiful is the prose of Plato. How he describes his great vision. I shall read again since it is very important to do justice to it we should read twice, thrice so that in our reading we may say we have done justice to Plato’s great thought.

 “Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from these evils – no, nor the human race, as I believe – and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.”

Tomorrow when I come here I’ll give you ten minutes to write a summary of this paragraph. I’ll not take time now to explain this paragraph, I’ll see how much you read or understand, write a summary of this paragraph. You’ll have the art of summarising. To write a summary is one of the best ways of understanding so this is one exercise I give you and I’ll give you here in my presence, I’ll see how you summarise this paragraph. if you have questions on this paragraph you ask me now for that purpose I read once again the paragraph so that you follow it step by step. There are three main sentences in this. One is philosophers should be kings or kings should become philosophers these are two sentences. And those who are only kings but not philosophers and those who are philosophers but not kings they should be set aside, so there are three main sentences. Philosophers should become kings or kings should become philosophers and those who are only kings but not philosophers and those who are philosophers but not kings they should be set aside they should not be allowed to interfere; only when this situation is obtained then only the evils of society can be met.

You know if you read Mother’s small write up called ‘Dream’, I don’t know if you have seen? Have you seen? The Dream by the Mother there she has said where money shall not be the sovereign Lord, right? This is one idea which is very important. Second, a place where students do not study for passing examinations and obtaining certificates, – it’s a dream. Mother is in search of students who are not seeking to get examination, they are not afraid of the future and Oh! Unless I have a certificate where shall I stand in the world? No, certificate is not a crutch, you are not lame person, you should be able to stand on your own by the quality of the knowledge that you possess, wisdom that you possess, – it’s the dream. Then thirdly she says it is place where there would be only one authority, the authority of Truth. These are the three important statements that the Mother has made in this dream. Authority not of any human being, not of this person or that person but of Truth, wherever it may be,– a child may be truthful, the truth which is expressed in the child is the sovereign. It may be young person, it may be old person it makes no difference; what is important the Truth, the authority of the Truth. This is the vision that Mother has given is so great but this vision also is great, you must be able to admire it simply because it is not so great as Mother’s vision, we should not underestimate it. It is a very important vision.

In fact Mother also said somewhere that you should have seven or eight individuals of intuitive intelligence, she did not use the word philosophers; she used the word people who have got intuitive intelligence they should be the guides of this society, new worlds that we are building. It is almost like saying that philosophers should be kings but philosophers are only conceptual whereas those who have intuitive intelligence have got experience so it’s a higher degree than of philosophers. So Mother says not only philosophers should be kings but people who have got intuitive intelligence they should be guides and guide only when they embody the Truth not otherwise. Authority is of the Truth not even of these intuitive people. So when a person reaches a very great height one begins to conceive an ideal order of existence. What should be the ideal society, how people should live, by what they should be guided, to whom they should have allegiance, whom they should submit to these are the questions which are asked and answered. So Plato had risen to such a great height that in one sentence he has given his vision: ‘Either philosophers should be kings or kings should be philosophers’ and those who are only philosophers but not kings and those who are kings but not philosophers they should be set aside. When you obtain this condition in a society then the light of the day will be seen, evils of society can be cured. Right, so tomorrow when you come you just write down these three sentences, I’ll be satisfied.

Philosophers should be kings – one sentence or kings should become philosophers, – second sentence and thirdly those who are only philosophers but not kings and those who are kings but not philosophers are to be set aside then the society will be able to remove evils. Alright, this is summary I am telling you in advance so now you remember and tomorrow the first exercise I’ll give you is to give you summary of this paragraph.

Now I’ll read for you once again.

“Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from these evils – no, nor the human race, as I believe – and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.”

Alright, I think we stop here today and we shall start with this paragraph tomorrow morning.


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