Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12 - Track 601

I think we are now prepared for a real session. Let me restate what we are trying to do. We are in search of the knowledge of existence and our first experience of existence is the motion or movement that is taking place around us, around our individuality or around our egoism. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo says that if you want to experience movement then withdraw yourself from egoistic preoccupations. Infact that is very first sentence of the chapter that when you withdraw yourself from egoistic preoccupation then we realize the huge movement of the vast universe, which cannot be described. So you might say we begin with one experience of our egoistic circle of movement, when you withdraw from it you get an antithesis, a vast movement in which everything that we experience is only a petty swarm, less than even particle of dust. Our entire insignificance would be experienced, when you enlarge yourself so fully.

Sri Aurobindo says that even when you go to that extreme of experiencing your utter insignificance, do not become overwhelmed by that either. There is a greater synthesis in which while experiencing the overwhelming presence of the universal, you also recognize the significance of whatever you are. You should not be overwhelmed by the illusion of the hugeness; you should be free from the illusions of quantity and quality and realize the samam Brahma in the bigness and in smallness, the same Brahman, the same Reality is spread out. Once you have this balanced view of things, you have a second step of the argument. The second step of the argument is that just as we are the subordinates to the huge movement of universal even so movement itself is subordinate to something that is stable. So, our first experience was our own existence, experience of existence of ourselves then the existence of the movement. In the third stage, we realize that there is an existence which is superior to the entire movement – both of yourself and of the whole universe and that which is superior to this movement, its basic character is of stability. So, you might say that real existence is the stable; in Sanskrit it is called sthanu, the stability. We are actually stuck at this point.

Sri Aurobindo says that both reason and higher experience show to us that there is a stability, which is superior to the movement and which is the source of the movement. Our question is how the reason perceives this stable and secondly how does our experience give us the witness of this stable; this is our basic question. As in geometry you have a process of proving in which you have first a statement of what is to be proved and then there is an to argument to prove. Similarly, we must know what is it that we are trying to prove? We are trying to prove that the movement is subordinate to stability. We want to prove by two methods by the method of reasoning and by the method of experience. When by both the methods, we can prove it then we shall have a complete satisfaction. We shall have a complete assurance that there is an existence, which is stable and which is the cause of all that is there in the world and if you mean God, the stable, which is the cause of the movement. If this is our definition of God then we shall have said that we have now proved the existence of God.

All that you have been doing so far is only a preface or some kind of preliminary steps in the direction to prove this. I shall restate some of the things which I have said earlier and then moved forward so that the entire process becomes very clear. You remember that we have said that there is in the history of thought a long effort to prove the existence of God and I had given one formulation of the proof of the existence of God. I shall repeat it for the sake of reaffirmation. In all matters of reasoning we need to repeat the same arguments again and again because there are so many ….. in the rational arguments that even though they are grasped at one time, after some time what we have grasped gets lost. It’s a psychological difficulty of grasping any ….that is why you should pardon me, if there are repetitions of this kind because it is only a kind of a reaffirmation to our own process of reasoning, so that what is to be grasped is really grasped.  

I told you the formulation of this argument which is called the ontological argument, which was formulated by Anselm. His argument was ‘God is that than whom nothing greater can be conceived’. Mind you, it doesn’t say that God exists, it simply says there is a conception of God. What is that conception? He is someone than whom nothing greater can be conceived. None is greater that is all, this is the definition of God. He said, ‘I want to prove God, who is conceived in this concept, if you have any arguments against this conception then you can say that well I don’t accept this definition of God. then its matter. If you start by saying that God is one by definition than whom nothing greater can be conceived, if you start with this statement then either you first of all reject my definition and say, ‘no, this is not God’; then give another definition of God, if you can. Do you have any conception of God, which does not fit in with this description? Normally, the answer is this is quite all right; this is the definition because God is the greatest, the highest, the absolute. This is all that is said in this definition ‘God is that then whom nothing greater can be conceived’ he doesn’t say, ‘God exists’, this is only a definition, a conception.