Now if you see therefore the very first chapter is entitled Human Aspiration, it raises basic this question what is a human being and what is he all the time aspiring to do? What is he doing in answer to the question what am I here for, all human aspiration arises out of this questioning, why am I here? All human aspiration, what should I be doing? What I am doing, is it all enough or is there something more that I ought to be doing and whatever answer I give to myself, is that answer really true in the light of all the knowledge of what is really true. In the light of all the knowledge that is available with regard to the cosmos, – Matter, Life and Mind and Spirit, if so what is that answer? So this book starts with the basic philosophical question. What is that human being is aspiring to do in the world and whether his aspiration is justified or not and whether there is a possibility of fulfilment of that aspiration?
Now let us come to this very first chapter in the light of all that I have said so far. This is the sum and substance of the whole thing. It is difficult because as I told you all the three questions are intertwined, the ethical question, the cosmological question and the metaphysical question, all the three are intertwined and all the three methods are employed simultaneously that’s why the whole thing is like a huge orchestra. The whole book is actually comparable to an orchestra where hundreds of musicians are playing together, that’s why it is a difficult book. You have to find out which argument is laid or put forward from what point of view and with what intention, and how is it dealt with from what point of view? So that is why the reading becomes very complex.
So the first chapter is of that kind. I will give you the summary of the whole argument. Sri Aurobindo says that if you examine the history of the world then one thing comes out very prominently that the human race has been pursuing one great goal, the goal of the knowledge and realisation of God, Light, Freedom, Immortality. Knowledge can be only intellectual but light is more than intellectual, it’s not only heart but more than mind and heart combined together can give, he adds Bliss also.
So first of all, the very first paragraph is a compact sentence. So let us concentrate on the very first paragraph in which he only says this that the whole human history brings out one prominent fact that human being has been aspiring right from the beginning when he became awakened not when he was not awakened. When he became awakened right from that time to the present day, if you see the entire history it is situated at a point when he began to develop ethics and religion.
So if you examine the history of the world then you find right from the time when he became awakened and continuously up to the present day there has been one constant theme, the aspiration to realise God, to attain to the perfect knowledge, to have unmixed bliss, to have entire freedom from all kinds of fetters and chains and to arrive at Immortality. Now it is true that there have been a period in the history of the world that this aspiration has been not evident, where people have even rejected God, rejected Light, rejected the idea of Immortality, rejected the idea of unmixed Bliss, these are the periods of scepticism. So Sri Aurobindo is aware of it but he says that in spite of passing through sceptic periods of time mankind returns again and again to the basic theme, therefore even if you take into account sceptical periods and when you look at them as an entire period then you can say simply that this sceptical period was only a period of testing, whether this aspiration was right or wrong? And having tested it, it again comes back to aspire for God, Light, Freedom and Immortality. This is the one statement; there is an undercurrent in the statement where he says that this aspiration is also the highest which human thought can envisage. That is to say this aspiration is not only wish of the heart, it is also something which is logically highest which can be justified, which can be found to be valid. These are the two statements which Sri Aurobindo makes in the first paragraph. One that throughout the history of the world since man became awakened to the present day, he is aspiring this and even though there have been sceptical periods they have been over passed and man comes back to this. Therefore Sri Aurobindo says the original formula of wisdom also promises to be its last. The word 'is' is very important, it doesn’t say − is the last, it promises to be the last because the whole book is actually to be still to be read before we can say is the last. When you start the argument he says it is true that in the beginning, if you read the earliest records of wisdom, you will find this aspiration formulated very vividly and since it has been continuously coming back again and again even after the periods of scepticism, it means there is a promise in this. This is one line of thought. Second is that these four or five ideals God, Light, Freedom, Bliss and Immortality are also the highest which his intellect can envisage, his reasoning can envisage.
So both from the point of view of the history and also from the logical point of view, the intellectual perception these formula comes out very vividly as the most important formula of human history. What is all human history doing after all? All over the world whatever may be the vicissitudes of the human life throughout the history of the world, one single theme which comes out prominently is that man has continuously aspired for God, Light, Freedom, and Immortality and this is also which his highest thought can envisage and can be convinced about, this is the first paragraph. This is now the whole chapter, now is the conclusion that now the third one that you derive. So before deriving this conclusion, he now goes through a chain of arguments, what is the first chain in the argument? He says that these are the ideals; these ideals are contradicted by our ordinary experience.