Socrates and Plato - Track 502

Now we come to, this we have finished. So we come to The Apology. This paper I told you to read the last two paragraphs which I assume you have done. No exam. ………..

Question: Is knowledge virtue?

Is knowledge virtue? The answer is knowledge expresses itself in virtue. Virtue is knowledge in the sense that virtue depends on knowledge. Now if you reverse it, you reverse it saying knowledge manifests itself in virtue. Whenever you have right consciousness there would be a right action. It’s like this. There is a relationship between knowledge and action, knowledge is always the foundation, action is always is the manifestation. So when you say they are equal it is an equality of a special kind. There is a truth consciousness which is equal to knowledge and right action is equal to virtue. When you say knowledge, knowledge is truth consciousness. Yesterday we had come to this conclusion that knowledge is a state of consciousness in which the universal truth is known, not partial but universal truth is known that is how we had defined yesterday knowledge. Knowledge is a state of consciousness in which the whole of the truth is known not partial but whole of the truth is known and that is truth consciousness. Now truth consciousness is always the foundation. Action is always a manifestation. So whenever you speak of this equation, this equation has its speciality, knowledge is foundation, virtue is the manifestation. So when you want to define it you have to say – virtue depends upon knowledge, knowledge does not depend upon virtue. But knowledge manifests itself as virtue. This is the equation. There is a beautiful sentence of the Mother regarding herself and Sri Aurobindo – without him I exist not, without me he remains unmanifest, this is the equation. Without him I exist not, my own existence has its basis in him but he does not therefore exist because of me, that is very important. He exists in his own right, for my existence I will depend upon him but for manifestation he depends upon me. Without me he remains unmanifest this is an equation, this is a very special kind of equation that is the relationship between the foundation and manifestation. All over the world wherever you see, you will find this duality, the foundation and the manifestation. The foundation does not depend for its existence upon manifestation but manifestation always depends upon the foundation. Is that clear?

Now I read to you one of the greatest dialogues in the history of the world, it is called Apology. If you read this account, you get one of the good foundations of Western philosophy that is why I am reading out to you personally so that I don’t leave it you to read at home. I want to read with you, so that I am sure you‘ve read it or I want to enjoy reading with you. I am sure you will read at home but I want to enjoy reading it with you. Now this dialogue is written by Plato. Plato was a young man when Socrates was tried. When he was accused and brought before the court, already he was his disciple and he was greatly troubled by the trail of Socrates and the judgement which was arrived at, at the end of the trail and then the execution of Socrates, the death of Socrates. And therefore Plato has written three dialogues actually this is one, it is followed by another dialogue called Crito, Apology, Crito and Pheado. In fact all the three dialogues should be read by everybody in our class but I’ll read with you only this one Apology. And the other two, I’ll ask you to read at home when you find time. In Apology, you have the trail of Socrates. The accusation made by the prosecutors then the reply of Socrates, his defence then the verdict given by the judges and his statement after the verdict, this is in Apology.

In Crito, the main character is Crito – one of the disciples of Socrates. There is an account of how when Socrates was in jail before execution his disciples and friends make an arrangement so that Socrates can escape from the jail secretly, secretly he won’t be caught and once he goes to another city there was another government so this government has no rule over it; so Socrates could escape punishment and can remain alive. So when this plot is given to Socrates, Socrates refuses it even though it was possible for him to escape, he refuses in the secret conspiracy and says that I’ll face death but I’ll not do something that is not correct that is the bravery and the greatness of Socrates.

In Pheado, it’s the third dialogue these are the last moments of Socrates where he is surrounded by his disciples in the jail and he talks to them on the importance of next life and what is immortality, very important text of Socrates – what is immortality and he discusses as if it is literally before him. There is no anguish, no anxiety, no attachment of any kind; he discourses as usual with a great force and youthfulness and then when the cup of hemlock (the poison) is brought to him, at the appointed hour he receives the cup, he drinks it very quietly, without any kind of compulsion or any resistance. After drinking it he lies down and gradually the poison begins to work, he begins to say that now my lower parts have become numb and when numbness will invade near my heart that will be the end of my life and gradually the poison spreads in his body and just before his death he calls a disciple and says: that he owes a cock to somebody, at the last moment he remembers that a depth is to be paid and then that disciple says that will be paid that is the last breath of Socrates. It’s a very moving picture of a man who even at the last moment remembers a debt to be paid and makes sure that that will be paid. Then he grows cold and passes away. Let us now read Apology.

There is an introduction; this introduction is written by one of the members of Auroville. You know we have produced this book The Aim of Life with the help of a group of researchers of Auroville, Christine, Andre, Deepti and several others. We used to work on this subject and many other subjects and what we did was that we selected some of the best passages from the world literature and then we wrote introductions, so I shall read that introduction .

A stout man with a flat face, broad nose, thick lips, heavy beard, shabby clothes and an unduly large paunch, which he hoped to reduce by dancing this is how Socrates has been described. Not a very flattering description of the man commonly considered the founder of Western philosophy. Although far from the Greek ideal of beauty, his face shows the honesty, courage and humour which has come to be called "Socratic". Plato speaks of him as "all glorious within".

For the historical facts of Socrates ' life we have to rely on the accounts of two of his pupils: Plato, the philosopher, and Xenophon, the historian and biographer.2 Born in 469 BC in Athens, Socrates first learned the trade of his father, a sculptor. He distinguished himself during the Peloponnesian War by his endurance and courage, married Xantippe, with whom he had three sons, held public office for a short time, and was sentenced to death by drinking hemlock poison in 399 BC.(What was his age when he died? Can you tell me? He was born in 469 BC and he died in – 70 years) Most of his time was spent in the public places of Athens — in the streets, the marketplace and the gymnasium — engaging his fellow citizens in conversation on subjects ranging from reflections on nature to inquiries into politics; but he never set himself up as a teacher. A number of these conversations were recorded by Plato who, after Socrates' death, founded the "Academy", the famous school of Athens which lasted nearly 800 years.

To establish an academy is a very big task, like we are establishing a Super School is also a very big task. Today you may not recognise it but as years pass there will be long traditions and people will flock to this place to study the highest secrets of existence and the practise of these secrets and you’ll be counted as the first students of this great school. So Plato established a big institution called Academy and this Academy produced great number of philosophers. Aristotle one of the great philosophers of the world was a pupil of this Academy. He was student of Plato and Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great.