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Socrates and Plato - Track 1402

If particulars will be part of the universal then universal will be sum of all the particulars put together that is the universal but that is not the case. Universal is not the sum of all the particulars put together. If you have an orange the whole of the orange, what is the whole of the orange? It is sum of the parts all the parts of the orange put together is the whole of the orange but if whole of the orange is more than sum of its parts then it means that there is something which is universal which does not consist of the parts. You will see that this word universal and particulars are very difficult words, we speak of them very normally in general there is a vague idea in us but when we analyse you can see how tricky is the idea. Is universal constituted of particulars; it looks but according to Plato particulars are not parts of universal. Particulars are not manifestations of the universals.

Now let us make a third round of incubation, we had the first round of incubation, second round of incubation now we come to the third round of incubation the same ideas we repeat in different ways. You know in India we have a word called manana, manana means reflection but then there is a further movement is called nididhyasana, nididhyasana is reflecting again and again and again and again and still again and yet again and further again that is called nididhyasana. You go on reflecting and reflecting and reflecting and reflecting. Now this is the substance I give you for further reflection, further incubation. If the particular does not constitute the universal is the first question, first statement. If particulars do not constitute the universals, if particulars are not manifestations of the universals in what way can they be called copies, if they have no relationship at all then what is a copy then how is it exactly like the universal this is our third meditation on the same subject. You know there are many saints who have written meditations – first meditation, second meditation, third meditation, fourth, fifth, fiftieth like that. This is a subject on which you can have many meditations so this is the third meditation I am giving you. You have: If universals are not constituted of the particulars, I am only repeating now. If universals are not constituted of the particulars and if particulars are not the manifestations of the universals in what way can they be called copies of the universals? According to Plato particulars are copies of the universals but not manifestations of the universals nor are the particulars parts of universals. This is exactly the statement of Plato. Particulars are copies of the universal but not the manifestation of the universal and they do not constitute the parts of the universals these three statements put together is the theory of Plato therefore the question is what is the meaning of a copy? Copy is neither the manifestation nor a part of the original, what is it then? His answer is they are copies, his answer they are copies. By copy he means neither the manifestation nor that which constitutes a part of the original that is the meaning of a copy. Now you can continue this incubation again and again but I give one more proposition and this was the proposition made by his own disciple that was his own disciple. Aristotle differed from his master he did not agree with Plato and there is a famous sentence of him when he disagrees with his master he said: Plato is dear but Truth is dearer, Plato is dear but Truth is dearer. You know this statement gives you a tremendous freedom from human influence. You may love somebody very dearly but in your search of the truth you should not allow the human influence to cloud you we should feel liberated. You should be able to see Truth in itself as it is not as you like it not as somebody else likes it or a third person likes it you look at truth in its own face. You may not succeed that’s another matter by coming out of one influence you may undergo another influence that also is possible. You can say: I don’t want this influence but then you are influenced by somebody else. To face the Truth as it is, is a very difficult process because normally we have this influence, that influence that influence, we come out of this influence and go into another influence, we come out of that influence and go into third influence. So you should say to everyone: You are dear but Truth is dearer. To every influence you should say: you are dear but Truth is dearer and apply this principle until you really feel that we have come straight, come face to face with the Truth as it is, as it is. Now whether Aristotle succeeded in doing so is a different question but he tried to come out of the influence of Plato and he argued. Universals he said are always in particulars, universals he said are always in particulars, what does it mean? It’s a new incubation now. Universals he said are always in particulars, according to him universals cannot subsist but in particulars. Now when we come to Aristotle we shall discuss this whole theory once again. At present our incubation will stop here. By stopping here it means that we are free not to follow Plato because already his own disciple disagreed with him. There is something in this whole statement of Plato which doesn’t seem to click absolutely accurately there is something in it which is not complete, which is not adequate. But when something is not adequate we must be able to state what it is although it is not adequate you must be able to state accurately what it says. So once again we state the whole theory.

Particulars are copies of universals. Particulars are not manifestations of universals and thirdly universals are not made of particulars, Universals he said are always in particulars. These three statements we should be able to state clearly. When you read philosophy there is one word which you must remember – exposition; exposition is expounding accurately expounding what is contended, what is contended. Exposition is to state accurately, is to report accurately what is said. Somebody writes to you a letter, it’s a long letter in which he says many things then you ask me what has he written in the letter? If I say: nothing, rubbish, this is not exposition, this is what is called comment, it’s a comment on what is written. Oh! It’s nothing, its rubbish, you are not expounding. Expounding is to say accurately what is said in the letter. When you say its rubbish it’s a comment on it you are not expounding. Oh! Don’t bother it is nothing, – it’s a comment, Oh! It’s beautiful, wonderful, what he has written is wonderful; it’s not exposition, it’s a comment. A philosopher is one who is able to describe. If Plato says something you should be able to expound accurately what he has said, comment comes afterwards. You always make a distinction between exposition and comment, those who are not trained in philosophy will find they mix up the two things, exposition and comment they mix up the two things together, it’s a mark that he not got philosophical training. If I take your interview after one year and if I find that you are mixing up exposition and comment I’ll find you’ve not been trained properly. So next time after one year when you meet me be very careful when I say something. I say what does Plato say? First you should be able to say accurately what Plato has said. you should be able to say these three statements quite clearly, whether right wrong that will be a different matter even his disciple differed from him, even his disciple may have been wrong in differing from him that is also quite possible. So whether Plato was right, whether Aristotle was right is a different question that’s a comment. You should be able to make exactly what Plato has said and try to understand exactly what he says. You can expound properly only when you have tried your utmost to understand what he says that is why I am giving you this training. If anybody says what is Plato’s theory of universals, you may write anything but if you don’t write these three statements accurately, it means you have not expounded Plato. According to Plato – Particulars are copies of universals. Particulars are not manifestations of universals; universals are not constituted of the particulars. These three statements if you make that is the exposition of Platonic Philosophy of the Universal. Now in order to make his exposition complete you must add two more sentences which we have not read today but we read yesterday. Universals are permanent and they are self–existent. Now the word self–existent is a very important word in philosophy. Self–existent is that which exists in itself and it is the cause of itself, it is the cause of itself. In Latin it is called sui generis it is caused by itself, sui means itself, generis means caused by, cause by itself not produced from something else. So universals according to Plato are not caused by something else in other words they are ultimate. The words cause of itself, self–existent and ultimate have the same meaning. Finally universals are not perceived but they are conceived, universals are not perceived but conceived. Finally that which is perceived is not knowledge only that which is conceived is knowledge therefore universals are the objects of knowledge and the faculty by which you can conceive universals is called reason. Reason is the faculty by which universals are conceived.

Now tomorrow I’ll ask you to expound Plato to me so far, there is much to be expounded but this much. What you have learnt of Plato so far is this much, these statements if you can make to me accurately I’ll say you have done a good exposition, I am not asking your comments as yet, comments later on, first expound. Thank You.


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