The Life Divine—Chapters 1-7 (New Delhi, at Shubhra Ketu Foundation) - Q&A: 24 April 2008

I saw that there is a book by you on materialism itself. I saw it there.

It's a compilation from Sri Aurobindo.

Sir, I do not know whether Marxism is also a modern version of materialism.

It is materialism, it is called dialectical materialism. But materialism today stands as a great obstruction to the future world. That is why materialism has to be expounded properly. Its demerits have to be brought up quite clearly. Its contribution also has to be recognized, and then it has to be surpassed. Although materialism has done a great service, materialism opposes all search into immaterial, supraphysical, and it's a big denial of the truths, supraphysical is a great truth. Physical also is the truth, but supraphysical is also a very great truth and since materialism denies refutes objects to the supraphysical, therefore, it is very important that its limitations are exposed, and if that is not done there, there will be a great harm to India particularly.

You see, India has one great difficulty on account of a long period of slavery. The brain of India has become very greatly weakened. The Indian young people cannot think at length, whenever there is, with exceptions, but it is true that young people of India are not habituated to think at length. The moment you take them into the intricacies of thinking there is a refusal and therefore materialism has an easier field. It proves its case very easily. Therefore, those who are not inclined to think at length, materialism is likely to arrest them, and then you can't move forward, and that is a big danger. That is why materialism has got to be exposed. As Sri Aurobindo says, materialism is a rustic error.

What is that rustic error? The word that Sri Aurobindo uses is very significant, which is almost like Sri Krishna telling Arjuna: you are a coward. Such a great hero he was and Sri Krishna tells him you are a coward. So, similarly to a materialist, Sri Aurobindo says that you are a rustic, vulgar, uninstructed villager is a rebuke and Sri Aurobindo has not hesitated to rebuke that you pretend to be highly philosophical.

Dialectical Materialism is being presented today to young people as a great philosophical system. You see the historical interpretation that Marx has given appeals to many young people. They feel that the entire history of mankind has been explained by Marx so scientifically, so meticulously that it goes without saying it is true. This is the magical power of his Das Kapital. Fortunately, not many people in India have read it, so the influence of Marxism has not been so widespread, but you can see in Bengal the level of education was higher because of the beginnings of British empire in Calcutta, Calcutta was the capital of India, so there rose up a great intellectual tradition, and this intellectual tradition has taken hold of developed intellectuals of Bengal and despite Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, giants. Despite that, we find that marxism has taken roots in Bengal, so those students who read marxism feel greatly convinced. In JNU, for example, which is also a group of intellectuals, and there also you find marxism very strongly established, and this is a very big danger, because in a sense it is one-sided history and because our people have not been trained to see things from many points of view, their point of view is likely to succeed, and now you can see with China. Nepal also coming to the ring and the influence of Nepal on Bengal, which is not very far off from Nepal, Bengal and then right up to Kerala, Kerala also a highly educated part of India. So because of that reason, Marxism thrives and one of the greatest needs of the country is to study materialism thoroughly and to expose it thoroughly.

But that can be done only if intellectual young people are capable of a long train of argumentation. Our young people are not capable of it; they cannot think at length for one year constantly on one reflection. In Taittiriya Upanishad we are told that Varuna taught Bhrigu and the first lesson he gave was that all is matter,, then he said prana is brahman, then mana is brahmana and then vijnanam. Now, that is because Bhrigu had time and capacity to go from one after the other and cover all the aspects. Now that patience, our young people don't have. Besides, our young people are in a great bother, under great pressure of time. We all come from a backward intellectual background, all of us, and we have to master the onslaught of the modern waves of knowledge which are coming from outside. Pedagogically we have not studied what exactly is the problem of young people of India. Our young people of India are rising up from the roots of India. Our schools don't teach them.

What are the roots? They teach the western education in a very perfunctory manner. We are neither here nor there. Even then, some of the best of our young people do quite well and are able at a certain stage to receive from the west the tide of knowledge which is coming from there, but the capacity to harmonise and to integrate all these big waves of thought is very difficult, and by the time they have time to think, they have a great pressure of earning. So whatever time they can devote to thinking about what they ought to, is devoted to earning and given the normal vital desires of man, the material requirements of family life, one is easily 60 years old by the time that one is able to even reflect. It is true. I mean, if you see how life takes you over. It is only at the age of 60-65 that you begin to consider what is my country? What is the truth of my country? and then one has no capacity, because there is no knowledge of Sanskrit, so our Indian roots are completely alien to us.

We can't understand what is Upanishads for example to any Indian today, even if you are 65-70 years old, what is Upanishad? Even if you read one or two translations of it, you hardly try to understand what it is and you find it is such a small little thing, and one wonders how this is being praised so much. There is no appreciation as to what is this, and as far as this big Vedic samhita is concerned, he's completely blank. I don't think that many people of India have even seen the face of the book. They don't even know that our ancients have collected the most ancient verses together to make such a big thing, it's only one Veda and if you take four Vedas, when was Vedas composed and how was it preserved so that even today we have at least four great texts. Even if we finish our life cycle, we may not come to know that all these great things have been done in the earth, even those who learn Sanskrit, how many of them have seen the text of the Veda? hardly at all.

So our Indians have a very difficult Problem and our pedagogy is completely uninstructed. It is left to whom? Pedagogy is left to whom? Today, I have not seen any great philosopher of India entering into philosophy of education. I don't know if any other philosopher of India, you have known all philosophers of India. You tell me any one of them who has specialised in the philosophy of education. They might have done a little bit thinking, but philosophy of education as such at least I have been even a chairman of the council of philosophical research. I did not find a single philosopher of India engaged in philosophy of education. Why? Our philosophers have no time to think of education, so those who are ruling educational fields, it is left to the people who don't know philosophy.

They learn a few psychological stories of behaviourism and somebody said: education means change of behaviour. That was his greatest definition. You can say I have educated a child if I have succeeded in changing his behaviour. That is all. In what direction and what is his changing behaviour, nothing to do with thought, emotions, personality. Nothing. It is a changing of behaviour. That is all highest thought! And he is one of the greatest in the educational field, and his limit lies only here. Education is a process by which the behaviour of the child is changed. That is all. I want a child to behave in a particular manner, if I can do it, I’ve educated him. That is all. He should be able to say good morning in the morning, good evening in the evening. I have changed his behaviour. He was very rude, impolite, without manners. I have now educated him and he can now say good morning, good afternoon, good evening. He's a very cultured man now, so he's very well educated.

Our Indian students are in a great difficulty. I feel that there is a great need for philosophers to take up the subject of education in their hands. I tried for six years. One of the greatest things is after my leaving the ICPR is, I had started the program of value-oriented education, philosophy of value-oriented education, for six years I sustained it. When I left it, the first governing board decided that this program should be closed down. That was the first decision that the governing board took. This is the attitude. Why should we be bothered about philosophy of value-oriented education? We are philosophers, philosophers and education, what is the connection? Why should philosophers be engaged in education?

Actually speaking, it is only philosophers who should be dealing with education. Education is the one thing which requires totality of perception, and totality of perception can be given only by philosophers. That is our great tragedy today. How to teach a young student 5, 000 years of Indian history? If you come to the present day, at least 5000 years have passed. There is no other country in the world where you require a modern child to learn 5000 years of history, it's only in India. Now how to teach 5000 years of history to an Indian student. Nobody has thought of this question. You have commissions after commissions, and nobody has raised this question at all - that our culture, they all speak of culture, even article 51A, fundamental duties, it is a fundamental duty of every individual to study Indian culture and our heritage, so they should be able to preserve the Indian heritage.

What is the pedagogy of it? How will you make our child a vehicle of our Indian culture? Even if you ask many people who are very well educated and ask them, please tell me what is Indian culture, so the question of asking educators to preserve Indian culture itself is a big question. What is culture? Even this question what is culture, if you ask a question what is culture, not many philosophers have made a study of this subject. So our poverty is very, very great and painful. If you have a seminar on culture, you bring 25 eminent people, each one will give his own different view of culture, and you can find that they will have started thinking only when they sat around the table.

It is not as if they have got a sustained thinking on culture. It is a pitiable condition in our country. There are only three or four people who I have come into contact who have thought on this subject quite well, but even there, when you ask them to expound it, you find it so difficult because they go into labyrinths of words which are not themselves clear to even to themselves, but they are using those words, so sometimes Sanskrit words are used, sometimes English words are used, sometimes Latin words are used, and so it's such a conglomeration, you can't make out what they really mean.

That is why there is a very important message that Sri Aurobindo has given to young people of India. It is only one paragraph and he says the young people should avoid three things. One is materialistic communism, not communism, but materialistic communism. Secondly, they should eliminate competitive individualistic capitalism. And thirdly, they should avoid old religious formula and they should aim at the prosperity of all and realisation of god in their life and transformation of life by spiritual realisation. Now this is a message here which was given for young people. This message of god realisations, not merely worship or anything or not old religious formulas, but god realisation. It is a radical point of view. I don't think any Indian leader has capacity to announce this kind of a program for young people.

Our call is to young India. It is the young who must be the builders of the new world,—not those who accept the competitive individualism, the capitalism or the materialistic communism of the West as India’s future ideal, nor those who are enslaved to old religious formulas and cannot believe in the acceptance and transformation of life by the spirit, but all who are free in mind and heart to accept a completer truth and labour for a greater ideal. They must be men who will dedicate themselves not to the past or the present but to the future. They will need to consecrate their lives to an exceeding of their lower self, to the realisation of God in themselves and in all human beings and to a whole-minded and indefatigable labour for the nation and for humanity. This ideal can be as yet only a little seed and the life that embodies it a small nucleus, but it is our fixed hope that the seed will grow into a great tree and the nucleus be the heart of an ever extending formation. It is with a confident trust in the spirit that inspires us that we take our place among the standard-bearers of the new humanity that is struggling to be born amidst the chaos of a world in dissolution and of the future India, the greater India of the rebirth that is to rejuvenate the mighty outworn body of the ancient Mother.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays in Philosophy and Yoga: Ourselves

If you see today's political field, you will find capitalistic pursuit in the name of globalisation and whether one believes in or not one is plunged into it. You go into the marketplace of earning whether you believe in capitalism or not. That is the only field available to all of us, nothing else is available. Secondly, there is a growing speed of materialistic communism, those who are idealistic go into the line of materialistic communism. And thirdly, those who oppose it, they oppose all this in the name of an old religious formula. Nobody speaks of god, realisation, nobody speaks of the prosperity of all, an establishment of a true brotherhood in the world, which is the greatest need of our times, and yet this is the message to be given to young people, and that is why one of the first things to be done is to expound materialism quite well.

We must know that we understand capital materialism quite well. Many people do not know that when you criticise materialism, you know it or not, so we must first of all assure them that we know materialism quite well, what it means, then we must also understand the value of it. And thirdly, what is the limitation of it? What is the falsity of it? So it is only when we can expound quite well and in detail, and fortunately, Sri Aurobindo has done in the Life Divine a detailed statement of materialism, not only in this chapter but throughout the whole book. Materialistic point of view has been expounded several times in many aspects. Sri Aurobindo has explained the meaning of science, how science has become materialistic or how materialism takes recourse to science and materialism takes advantage of the rise of science in the name of scientific progression materialistic philosophy also is being advocated at the same time as if science and materialism are interchangeable, which they are not.

Today, our young people believe that materialism means science, science means materialism, scientific progress is material progress. The nuances and the differences between the two are there, science is only an impartial quest of knowledge, nothing more nothing less and that it has nothing to do basically with materialism. It is only because, in the history of science, physics came to be developed as a science more easily and more vastly, and because of that reason, the science of matter came to be developed, but science of matter itself need not be materialistic. As I said yesterday Newton when he studied the laws of matter, he said that the starting point of the motion of matter is God, so he was a great scientist, but he believes that God is a necessary mover of the world. The science is not necessarily tied up with materialism.

Now this when you speak of materialism, the modern young student says that is about science. When you speak of science, he thinks it's about materialism. Our young students do not know the exact difference between materialism on one hand and science on the other, that science is basically a quest of knowledge. Materialism again as a philosophy and materialism as an aim of life, even these two are not distinguished. There are materialists, for example, who do not advocate materialistic aim of life. They believe that, even though matter is the only reality, the aim of life should be to cultivate higher faculties of the mind. So there are many who are materialists philosophically, but in their aim of life they are not materialistic.

Our young people do not know all these distinctions, and that is ruining our Indian culture tremendously. Our Indian culture is not materialistic fundamentally, it has not rejected matter but it's not materialistic. So, in the name of the progression of science, they look upon Indian culture as something as outdated, thinking that it is not scientific, without realising that the fathers of science were greatly cultivated by Indian culture. The greatest scientists, the greatest astronomers of the world, were Indians. When the westerners were quite poor in this science of astronomy, this astronomical science was greatly developed in India, the Vedic samhitas have got a lot of astronomical data.

So I see two three difficulties in executing what you are saying: everybody agrees as far as the target that you are placing before us. Perhaps there is a unanimity about them, excepting some Marxism, but there are two three difficulties. Number one is that somehow or the other all religions, and especially Indian religions also are no exception, end in mysticism, in something supralogical, in something supranormal, supraphysical. Now, this type of idea, to my mind, can remain restricted. We select an issue for the general common man in a democracy, the majority is important. How to make it popular is one difficulty that I see. Even Sri Aurobindo, for example, he was in Pondicherry for for 40 years, one cannot say that he could popularise his yoga, even he couldn't do it. This is one difficulty as a teacher. I feel that when I am in the class, I am not supposed to be teaching some who are selected, but the common students, so how to reach them? This is one difficult thing. Secondly, when you say that materialism and science are not one, it is true, but there is a similarity also the means of knowledge, instruments of knowledge that both of them propagate to my mind, are the same in the sense that neither the scientist nor the materialist believe that knowledge comes from revelation, as the religious people believe. Vedas are revealed, Quran is revealed, etc. etc. So in that sense that appeals to the younger generation the way what a scientist has seen, he can demonstrate it to anybody and therefore there is no doubt about its truth, but suppose some mystics have achieved something, they cannot demonstrate it or teach me how to do it, because science can be taught to everybody. Spiritualism cannot be taught in that sense and if it can be taught, the Upanishads are the proof for that that it was not given to everybody. Nachiketa, for example, was refused this and he was given many allurements so that he could deviate from the main question. Now, with this kind of approach towards spiritualism in a democracy, it can't become the main stream of education. To my mind, how to bring this thing into the mainstream of education, this appears to me just looking difficult that some mystics have achieved something or known something. Now it is a matter of faith that I have to believe this that they achieved, because I can't see those things, and nor can the mystics mystics claim that they can teach me how to do them, and they can show me to do it. That appears to me today they heard in making the spiritual or cultural things a part of the main stream of education. Of all that science can become very easy like that, and what materialists or marxists have in common with scientists is that look they also do not believe in revealed literature, we also believe that nothing is revealed, everything can be known by pratyaksha or by anuman, by argumentation. Therefore, marxism claims to be scientific in that sense. How to overcome these difficulties?

One difficulty which is central is that spirituality is not yet physically demonstrated. Attempts should be made to work towards that end. Sri Aurobindo did not leave Pondicherry and did not try to popularise. It was because his aim was to arrive at that point because there is no greater means than to arrive at the physical demonstration. The aim that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother followed was to lead spiritual realisation to such a point that, as Mother said, even the most blind is obliged to recognize it. It was the goal. It is true that this goal is still not reached, but if they persisted in doing it, this goal is a very difficult goal.

It is easy to show the effects of light physically, because light is physical in character, so scientific results can be shown quite easily, but to show physical results of spiritual reality, since the distance between spirit and matter is very great, to arrive at a physical demonstration of the spiritually realisation is bound to take time, but that is the most central work. Even if it takes time, people should be ready to spend time doing it and Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are engaged in that task. That’s the first thing, not that it has ceased to be even now they are engaged in this task.

For those who acknowledge supraphysical for them we have a vast literature now available in the form of Sri Aurobindo's book called Record of Yoga, and another book called Mother's Agenda. 13 volumes in which supraphysical truths have been described as nowhere before. This is a new literature which has been produced.

Secondly, in this literature there is a very important phenomenon which has been described by the Mother that Sri Aurobindo, after leaving his physical body, he is living now in his subtle physical abode and Mother said, I meet him every night. In 1950 Sri Aurobindo left, from 1959 to 1970 she was in physical body and she has given her reports of conversation that she had with Sri Aurobindo. Now this documentation, which is available, is at least available to those who understand supraphysical realities, who acknowledge supraphysical experiences and, according to whatever report she has given, Mother has said that Sri Aurobindo is working towards the fabrication of a supramental body, that this supramental body is in formation. The kind of proof that you are asking for can be proved only if a supramental body is fabricated. You can show a physical body which can be seen, Mother used to say “can you touch it?” because there have been claims of supraphysical bodies being created in the past in some of the accounts, there are accounts of some yogis who have been able to create supraphysical bodies. But they cannot be touched, they cannot be seen except temporarily by somebody like Mother was seeing the supraphysical body of Sri Aurobindo, which cannot be seen by us as yet. But Mother was able not only to meet him but to converse with him and to have together planning of the future action and full action of the Mother was taking place at that plane. And the aim of it is to fabricate a supramental body which can be touched, which can be physically demonstrated and which would have supramental knowledge in it.

At one time it seemed in the experiment that this manifestation or fabrication of the supramental body would take place soon. Mother had spoken of 300 years. Now there is nobody to assure as to how long it will stay, but at least Mother's assurance that it will take 300 years still is valid because Mother has said it will take about 300 years to manufacture that kind of body. Now you might say that when that will happen, propagation of what I am saying will be much easier or even propagation will not be necessary, because people will have automatic proof of it. The task will be accomplished. So anyway let us say that within 300 years, this work will have been greatly accomplished, so one need not worry too much about it, but apart from that, is it true that in India at one time, the message of god realisation was widespread in India?

Sir, I suppose, as far as my conjecture was even in ancient India, it was limited to selective few. It doesn't appear that spiritual teaching was a common question, with everybody talking about it in the villages.

Now that is a reading of Indian culture and history. If you find a son of Jabali desirous of having a teacher, if it was only a select few who were doing it, this story would be wrong. It must have been sufficiently widespread so that the son of Jabali would look for it. Janashruthi's story is well known who was a vaishya, Ajatashatru was a kshatriya and Nachiketas was a brahmin. Therefore you might say that this ideal of god realisation was sufficiently widespread, I don’t say vastly, but it was not for a select few. It was a kind of an ideal which was laid down in the very social structure to such an extent, it can be said that Indian cultural system was constructed consciously, whoever constructed, it was constructed consciously in which the ideas of purushartha were strongly imprinted in that culture, and the very meaning of purushartha was that, ultimately, although each one has a purusharthas of his own level, the ultimate purusha is god realisation. This idea was in the very social structure, and it can be said that in India alone, this kind of structure was created, sustained and developed. Therefore, whatever effort was made by whoever made that effort, that idea sa vidya ya vimuktaye, it was sufficiently distributed at least in the education system.

Well, you may be correct, but I have some apprehensions. For example, Manu says that all brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas have to observe brahmacharya during student life and different code of conduct has also been prescribed in manusmriti, but as far as memory goes, I don't remember if anybody else then a brahmin has been a shrotriya in Indian history, that is to say learnt Vedas. That was the main theme of a brahmacharya person, learnt Vedas just as the brahmins do today, even today it is restricted to brahmins as far as traditional learning of Vedas go. Either we accept that this is a later development that it remained confined to the brahmins.

It is a later development because in teaching of Vedas if you read Taittiriya Upanishad it doesn’t say that it is meant for brahmins. It is a pedagogy of education given by whoever has composed Taittiriya Upanishad and there the teaching is quite clear, swadhyaya and one must not pramadvityam, one should not neglect it at all. It is for everybody, all the students who came. It was a convocation for all students. It was not as if education was limited only to brahmins, even kshatriyas, used to study. They were sent to the gurukulas. So Jabali also and even if Jabali's son was admitted as a brahmin because only brahman's son could tell the truth. Even if that interpretation is laid out, it is a sudra’s child there to study and he could go and ask the mother. Therefore it must have been prevalent enough, even among sudras to look for such education.

In any case, my own contention is that our Indian history itself requires to be studied in a greater depth. In fact, this has not been done. We do not know as yet Indian history, and particularly the interpretations which have been put up on Ramayana and Mahabharata by some of the modern communist interpreters, has destroyed our own understanding of Ramayana Mahabharata. In fact, these are the two greatest ancient literary works available to India. What more there could have been we do not know because, as Sri Aurobindo points out, that what is left as evidence with us is only a fraction of what is available in manuscripts and what is available in manuscripts is a fraction of what has been lost. So what actually is our heritage? We do not know, but that is not germane to our argument.

My argument was that, at one time, god realisation was put forward as an ideal of education, whether for brahmins or only a privileged class. It was a recognized aim in India.

In India only or all over the world? Because religion was the predominating thing in earlier periods before science came, Bible was being taught for example, a Bible cannot be talked about without god realisation being the aim of it.

No, there is a problem. Propagation of belief in god is different from propagation of realisation of god, all religions aimed at propagation of belief. What was very unique in India was something that leads to liberation, not only belief in god, but an experience of liberation sa vidya ya vimuktaye. This ideal was put forward quite strongly in Indian culture. Even today, Kothari commission had to take cognizance of it and reiterated whether one believed in it or not, but Kothari commission report had to state that in India sa vidya ya vimuktaye has been celebrated as our aim and we reiterate it, how to do it they do not know and they don't care for it, but the imprint of this idea is so great that, even after so many thousands of years of trying to erase it, in 1964 this ideal was again reiterated in the education commission of India. If you read Radhakrishna's 1949 report, even there, he has reiterated those ideals. Radhakrishna himself was a writer on Indian philosophy and he cannot be said to be ignorant of this whole thing.

So, in any case, what I was trying to say was that there was a method by which this idea was propagated, without the physical proof of spiritual reality. That is my main point that there was an idea that the idea of proof which science has propagated needs to be presented to our students in a more enlightened manner.

Sir, could you imagine that just a Sri Aurobindo is trying to make physical proof available, one day the scientist may also help in the same direction?

According to Sri Aurobindo they will. That is what his vision is. They will.

And in the development of a supramental man also they can help in their own way?

Yes, absolutely. That’s why Sri Aurobindo says the generalisation of yoga is the intention of nature. Whether we like it or not, nature is going to make it because it's a part of nature's own evolution.

Sir, could you suggest to me some book where these ideals, which are universally accepted more or less, could be introduced in the mainstream of education? In what way, what could be the way? Have you written or somebody else, given the method of executing this? In some book or some article, because as a teacher, I am interested in that. Suppose I take a class, of course I am a teacher of Sanskrit, I can do it more easily than anybody else, but I am not worried about Sanskrit students, also, suppose I have to teach physics or mathematics that the text do not deal with this for which some extra effort has to be made, how to make it in the sense that even a non-believer student may not object? This is my first point. If he starts objecting to it, the class will be spoiling some students saying yes that this should be done. Others saying no, we don't like it. Some way, because the main scheme of education today is not philosophy oriented, not Sanskrit oriented, it is technique, technical education oriented, engineering college, even these religious institutions, Tirupathi, etc. They are more inclined to open medical colleges rather than Veda pathashala. They think that that is the better. So is there some article where practical methods have been suggested how to introduce it? The ideal is agreed as rather Radhakrishna says and even today, all thinking people are with him. But, as a teacher, I find it not clear to me how to do it with the present syllabus and the present race for material things etc. All they are there. How to do it? Have you written somewhere?

Bhagawat Gita is being taught for management.

To my mind actually god realisation is the point, not management. So we are using text for a different purpose, than they were originally made for.

Very true.

No, the task that you are asking for is not available, and it is something that needs to be developed. It is not as if from tomorrow, you can apply it because during the last 60 years there was a chance of developing so that today it would have been available, but India has neglected this and educational policy has taken a turn which is opposed to all this. That is why the need for philosophers of India, Sanskritists of India, first of all, to be convinced and take up the task of seeing how it can be done, because even that task is not even contemplated by the people to whom you speak. They said you give us ready-made things, we shall apply it, but they don't say we shall now work on it because to work quality is a very difficult task: how to change the curriculum of today, for example, unless you change the curriculum, you can't even teach what you want to teach.

One does not know how the Vedic rishis declared in the Rig Veda that the speed of light is the highest physical speed. How did the Vedic rishi Bhardwaj wrote this sentence that you have measured all the physical speeds, partiwani jigransi bhanuna tathantha. You have woven all the physical speeds by bhanuna, by light, that is all physical speeds are measurable in terms of the speed of light. How was this sentence written by Bhardwaj? What physical experiments must he have done? Now today’s Sanskrit scholars have not made an effort to collect together, excepting a few sentences that now are available, but there has not been a concerted effort. Why is it not done? Because hardly anybody bothers about it. This is a task which has to be done and it's not an easy task.

As I told you, philosophers can do best if they take up as their task. I have tried to talk about this task for years with philosophers. I have not found a single philosopher of India interested in this matter. They all want ready-made things for immediate purposes, even if they are sympathetic, that is the end of the matter after showing sympathy, but it's a very difficult task. When Murli Manohar Joshi became the minister of education, we started this task to some extent. We had a conference on spiritual education, that was the end of the story, a concerted effort in this direction has not taken place. I mean, even when you get very favourable circumstances, it doesn't happen. Why?

Because our education is in the hands of NCERT. NCERT consists of people who have hardly any philosophical background. They are only interested in producing textbooks, which will be run next year. There is no forward looking and a vision which has to be implemented. Not many people know that NCERT has no staff to conceive of a curriculum to be developed over the period of 30 years, such a staff doesn't exist. Such a program doesn't exist. The staff of NCERT is required to produce books year after year, so one year is the only limit within which you are to produce a book. And books are ready. So this is the poverty of our country's whole structure. So it's a very big work to be done and the practical way by which it can be done is that even a few individuals have to be convinced that a major blockade of further progression lies in the blockade that Materialism has produced. Even this task if it is to developed, it will be a very effective step forward.

So, since you are a teacher, it is one task that you can do among teachers, the exposition of materialism and limitations of materialism and how supraphysical realities can be demonstrated short of physical demonstration, because in India there is no tradition to accept supraphysical realities without physical demonstration. It has been done, although today people demand physical demonstration, but in India all the time people did not demand physical demonstration, so it is not that unless you do this, nothing can be done. Physical demonstration has to be ultimately to be accomplished, and that will be the most effective means. There is no question about it, but the problem of culture of today is even to produce this climate as Sri Aurobindo says: to demand physical proof of supraphysical reality is itself an irrational demand. This proposition is not sufficiently recognized. If reality is supraphysical and you say show me physically, it’s an irrational demand. Even this statement if it is made to our people and young people, if I can make a physical demonstration of supraphysical, that will be the bonus, but it need not be indispensable condition of belief in it.

So this is a subject which has to be developed quite in detail. What we did in the morning was only a perfunctory beginning, but it's a subject in the whole Life Divine. Sri Aurobindo dealt with this subject in thoroughness. It is so fortunate that such a book is available to India. At least one book is available where materialism is expounded with the utmost precision of modern day, and both pros and cons of materialism have been described and considered, and the solutions have been suggested. That is the importance of that, so at present at least, I would simply say: let us study this at least for our own limited circle. Even in a small circle, if it can be said, after all, a human being can propagate what he knows and how much of what he can gather around a human being cannot do more than that, but god can do all. So he knows that these are the small little things which I am creating and, if god wills, he will make use of this small group even and the one will not worry about it. One can only say that if a certain group or small group is given even that is the grace of god. Today, where are the people who can spend seven days, they come from Rajasthan and stay in Delhi and attend only on this great book, who is prepared in India, who has got the time, who has concern for it. So, even that, according to me, is a part of the divine plan and we have to act and work it out to the utmost, and the first thing is that if there is a small group, it means god wants that as few members of the small group, you yourself should be convinced about it, which is not an easy thing, even a small group to be convinced of the fact that materialism is a rustic error is not easy to to convince people, particularly when science is progressing so fast, and it is identified with Materialism and that to say that Materialism is rustic error is not a very small dose to be given to mankind. Even if a few people can be convinced, I would say God will make use of us because after all, he is the omnipotent power and we need not do that, He will do it, but whatever is within our limits, our powers, we should do.

I think for today we can stop here..


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