I shall revise Socrates little later because it is good to allow a certain impression to remain, a little buried again to come back, it’s a process of learning. How do we learn? You have read a good deal of Socrates now and some impressions have been created in the mind. One of the principles of learning is first to allow a certain impression to be created in the outer mind. This can be done by reading, by talking, like hearing, shruti particularly, by hearing then these impressions go deep down in the deeper layer and then there is a response from the inner consciousness. This response takes a form of understanding, impression merely does not create understanding, it’s an impression but it triggers off that process when it goes down and meet the inner consciousness then understanding is generated. Now there is this word understanding: to stand under, understanding means to stand under, I am under this roof. When I look up then something comes in my view, it is a difficult process because I have to strain my head upward and then I begin to watch from here; all our understanding is this kind of a strain. We are as it were below and we rise upward and we look upward and then we have a gaze and now you will see in this gaze it is very difficult to get the totality. Whenever you gaze upward, it’s very difficult to get the totality as a result of that you don’t fully understand. Every understanding is an imperfect understanding as long as it is understanding. The word understanding implies placing an object within a context, what is the east of it, what is the west of it, what is north of it, what is the south of it? When you place an object in a context, some kind of a surrounding as it were and then the object is placed in the context of the totality then you see that you now grasp it, you understood and whenever you rise upward this difficult process gives you only a partial vision of the whole, you can’t put everything in the context. You will realise that certain things even now when I read Sri Aurobindo I feel certain sentences – Oh! For the first time I am understood, although I am reading Sri Aurobindo for the last fifty years and quite seriously but even then many things when I read again I feel – Oh! Now I understand that is because the totality that one needs is not present and every time when you rise a little a greater understanding arises. So when you don’t understand something one should not be dissatisfied. Let the impression go on inside the consciousness, you strain yourself upward and the more you put in the context the globality begins to rise, you understand better that is why yoga recommends that you should rise from understanding to over standing; don’t limit yourself only to understanding there should be a process of over standing that means instead of seeing the roof from here I climb up and see the roof from above. When you go up and then you look down then things are seized better. So when you for example Socrates I spoke a good deal for the last two months isn’t it ‒ a good deal, it will create few impressions in the mind. For example if I want to read out your minds as to how much you have grasped? I would say that following sentences can be made.
Socrates was one of the greatest philosophers of the past. He is called the father of philosophy, very great man.
Secondly he had some kind of spiritual experiences. He used to hear a voice, a voice which would prevent him from doing something if it was wrong but never voice was heard when he was doing which was right, it never interfered, very peculiar kind of experience he had got. So he called this a kind of a demon, a kind of sensor, somebody who criticises right, wrong, right-wrong something of this kind particularly when it was wrong it was very powerful and it would prevent him from doing something.
Then he had a great sense of fearlessness born out of a process of thinking, reasoning and knowing and he gave a great value to this process of reasoning, thinking and knowing.
Then as he says he had the habit of examining life. He says the most important activity in life is to examine life, what is life, what is the meaning of life, what is the significance of life, why should I be living, what is the purpose of life this question according to him is the most important question.
He was also a good soldier because he was being sent from time to time to battles. He was a good warrior, in the battle field he did not care whether he was going to die or not. Every soldier when he goes to the battle carries his death in his hand as it were. He goes in the battle with death in his hands; he knows that he might die in the battle whether it is worth. Actually speaking every one of us is walking with death in our hands, everyone, whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not anytime anything can happen in our life. Therefore his conviction was not to think about death, to think as to what you should do, what is your work. So that was his most important occupation in life. Even though he was a good warrior, even though he was a good thinker, his main question was to do the right thing and therefore the search of the right thing was the most important thing, what is right? Right is what he called virtue and he discovered that virtue is knowledge and we had discussed this question at length where virtue was identified with knowledge, question was knowledge of what? So he said that when you have unity of knowledge, totality of knowledge then only it is knowledge. So he comes to the conclusion which the yogis of India had come ‒ knowledge is over standing, when you stand above and you see the totality only that over standing is according to him knowledge. So long as you are only climbing it is only attempt at knowing, it’s only partial knowledge, glimpses of knowledge. When you rise up and see from above then you have the true knowledge.
The totality of knowledge according to him is totality of virtue. To know the whole gives you the capacity to do the right thing in everything. According to him if you are virtuous in this regard and not virtuous in that regard then you are not truly virtuous. A virtuous man is one who in every activity is virtuous, you cannot have true knowledge unless you are courageous, you are not courageous if you don’t know how to fight. Capacity to fight which is also a virtue and the daring to fight both go together as long as you only have a daring to fight and you don’t know how to fight, it means that you are not truly virtuous. If you are truly virtuous you will try to be both ‒ the courage to fight and the method of fighting and merely method of fighting is not enough. You fight for what, you fight for establishing the truth therefore if you don’t know the truth what will you fight for? So the knowledge of truth also is a part of virtue. I may be able to fight, I may know how to wilt the sword but for what? So I must know the truth and if I want to know the truth how many other qualities – I should be patient, my mind should be very quiet. How can I know the truth if my mind is not quiet it is jumping like a monkey’s mind. The truth requires a very patient, steady, arduous, difficult process of grasping, realisation in fact. So these qualities you must develop otherwise you won’t know the truth and even if you know the truth, even if you know how to fight; if you don’t have the compassion. Ultimately you may fight for truth but truth for what purpose for the welfare of the people; you should be inspired by love, what’s the point of fighting if you are not full of love, isn’t it? You may fight like a warrior, like many people fight just because they have a great push and they also know how to fight and they know how to use the arms but if they are not inspired by love they will do many, many wrong things. It is love which will take you to the right place, where you should fight, for what you should fight and with what heart will you fight, you will know where not to fight because that also is a quality. Where you should stop fighting, it is love that generates goodwill. If you want to know what is goodwill, unless you have true love, you can’t have goodwill. So your heart must be bursting with love, your eyes must be the eyes of a friend. Even when you see there is ill will, so what? Your eyes must be full of goodwill of a friend as Sri Aurobindo says: ‘Who is my enemy? The one who takes you to the embrace of the Divine that is the definition of the enemy. The one who takes you to the embrace of the Divine that is your enemy.
So look upon the enemy with these eyes. So you can see that all these qualities make one sun. All the rays of light are as it were combined together in the totality of the sun. So virtue is a totality of all the good qualities unless you have all the qualities very well interconnected and unified you can’t be fully virtuous you may be only partiality of virtuousness. You may be kind and you may be generous therefore you are very charitable but you may give charity to the wrong person. You are kind, charitable, generous and you have so much money with you, you give to somebody and that somebody afterwards may use it for arms and you may kill somebody else. So ultimately you have given alms, you have given actually somebody some kind of a gift for the killing of somebody else therefore merely to be kind is not enough. You must know kind to whom, you must have perception whether it is the right object to whom you should give generosity or not, mere kindness is not virtue. Kindness coupled with discrimination it’s another quality, you must distinguish between this and that. In Sanskrit we have got the word supatra, su means good, patra means object; the object to whom you be kind must be worthy of kindness. You must know that this the right person to whom you should be kind. The child may make a mistake and you pardon it but an adult may make a mistake and he may not be worthy of pardoning. You must know the distinction whether somebody is intentionally mischievous or somebody has unintentionally done something, it will pass your discrimination. You must know who is who? You may give time to somebody because you are very kind and you may spend five hours, ten hours but there may be another person even five minutes if you can give will produce a tremendous effect.
The sun may give light to a piece of clod, piece of clay which does not reflect back but the same sun may give, may throw its light upon a diamond and immediately from a diamond the light is reflected back, isn’t it? So you may have lot of time for your kindness but the question is on whom you will pour your kindness, unless you have discrimination, unless you really know who is in for knowledge then you can give and pour your knowledge but those who are not pursuing knowledge and you go on pouring your knowledge, you are wasting your time. So you must know who is desirous of knowledge and the deeper eyes can see much better, one look and you can see here is the object on whom you can pour your knowledge. So you must know where exactly your time has to be spent.
The Mother has said: Miserliness and generosity ‒ generosity is regarded as a virtue and miserliness is regarded to be a vice not a virtue, to be miserly if somebody is miser you say you should be kind, you should be generous and generosity is very much praised but Mother says both are imperfect; generosity is also imperfect and miserliness is also imperfect. You must know where you should be miserly; you should know where to be generous. When you can combine in you both the capacities to be extremely miserly and extremely generous at the same time then you know that now you are virtuous. The true virtue is one which combines two contrary qualities in a perfect manner. Even little spending more than necessary would not be tolerated by virtuous man at the same time he may pour bounty on somebody else because the object there is the right object, the moment is the right object. You will see how nature is bountiful the nature usually grows and grows. If you see the bananas for example: how many bananas come out from one branch, how many mangoes burst out, even a small little space and a little mango is coming out, nature is bountiful, so generous. Your nature should be like that to be able to give more and more, more and more, plenty without any end that should be your capacity at the same time to be extremely economical right up to the smallest space like a goldsmith. You know goldsmith is an extremely economical in his labour because in a small little piece of gold he has to make a design. So you should be like a goldsmith. So when you combine both the qualities at the same time then you are virtuous. Why we used to say when Mother for example, we saw in the Mother the manifestation of perfection because she had both these qualities combined together extremely generous, extremely forgiving, extremely severe like a sword. If you go to the Mother with all kinds of pretention she would cut asunder absolutely, nobody can deceive her by outer saintliness or outer virtuousness and yet if you go in the right attitude she’ll be so generous, you may have committed a hundred sins in one second she would wash away, it’s nothing and you are purified in one second that is the capacity of the Mother. I don’t say that was because she is still here with us in every respect so perfect that’s why Sri Aurobindo writes four aspects of the Mother, ‒ Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati, all the four together. Mahakali is with a sword, impetuous. Mahalakshmi is bountiful, generous, smiling and Mahasaraswati is perfection in detail, every little thing like a goldsmith, every detail she perfects, nothing is forgotten, nothing is omitted; and Maheshwari is vast in which you can swim without end, there is a luminosity which is endless, all knowledge. So when you combine all the four together then you are really……