Sri Aurobindo's - 'The Life Divine' - The Human Aspiration - Chapter I (2000, Super School Auroville) - Session iii (11 July 2000)

The first chapter includes everything. So, if you study it very well you have a good foundation. Do not worry if it goes slowly and please stop me if you think that I am going fast. I am prepared to do this chapter with you a hundred times if necessary. But we must do it very well.

We were talking yesterday about the dialectical argument. The dialectical argument is placed in a setting in which one set of phenomena seems to contradict another set of phenomena, demanding a necessary blending of the two. This method of argument dates back to ancient times. Plato used this argument in a very large way, and in modern times Hegel gave it a very definitive form. I don't know if you have heard the name of Hegel, but let me tell you about Hegel.

He was a German philosopher. His dates are 1770 to 1831. He examined the nature of thought. How do people think was his basic question. What is the movement of Reason? He found a special connection between Reason and Reality. Between reality which is supposed to be there and Reason which is supposed to be here, he found a correlation. And therefore he found the key to reality in reason. If you want to know what is there, you examine Here, inside, in your process of reasoning, you will find out what is There. It is as if it were a key. And he found that just as reason develops inside your thinking process so does reality move in the outside world. His famous sentence was: "Reason is real and real is rational". This sentence can be criticised in many ways depending upon what we mean by reason. If you go to Hegel himself, without imagining what he meant, this word reason can be regarded as super-reason. It is not exactly reason as we understand normally, in our normal process of thinking, but it is reason as a creative—not only a thinking instrument—but a creative instrument. Normally we mean by reason a thinking instrument, an instrument of discrimination which distinguishes one from the other. But in Hegel, the word reason since it is creative is creative by distinguishing. Real according to him is concrete. Reason in its creative process brings out differentiations and manifests them. This is the process of becoming. Therefore becoming is a process of abstraction. Real is concrete, the reason distinguishes the contents of the Real and brings out these distinctions, and as they come out they become abstractions.

And then there are steps. Each step is more remote than the next. The first step is nearer to the concrete; the next step is farther from the concrete. Until we come lower and lower down to all that we see. The more concrete we are the nearer we are to the Real. The farther we are from the Real the more abstract we are. So according to him we move from concrete to abstract and then, we ascend from abstract to concrete. So the more we think, and think really, the more we reach the Real. That is why he taught that if you exercise the reason fully you can grasp the Real. You become more and more concrete, you become one with the Real. And we are constantly approaching the real, so that we become more and more concrete. Now in the process he discovered what we call the process of dialectic, the process by which the concrete becomes more and more abstract and the process by which the abstract becomes more and more concrete.

This process, according to him, has a design. He felt that every human being endowed with reason moves in a particular fashion. Unfortunately, reason cannot approach the real without going through steps. It will be ideal if you straight away are able to become identified with the Real and become concrete, but that is not the power of the reason. He does not speak of any other power that can be; this is the limitation of Hegel. He thinks reason is the only power we have and it can go from abstractions to concrete gradually, its goal is to become completely one, with the Real, but only Real can be concrete. You and I who are instruments of reason can approximate as much as possible, but only the real can be what it is. The real is the concrete experience according to him, the total experience, everything is included in it. So his advice to mankind is to rise from one's lower limited visions and reach up to the top. You cannot of course reach the top but may approximate it as far as possible. This is where Hegel's idea of reason stops short of the supermind. The supermind becomes one, itself concrete with the Supreme, with the Absolute, with the Real. But you can see, although we fall short of the highest, he has conceived the process by which you can become less and less abstract, more and more concrete. This description of reason, although not the supreme description, is already a preparation for the supreme description of what we call super-reason or supermind.

According to Hegel, reason in the beginning, perceives only one set of phenomena. When you strain it further, there comes before it another set of phenomena. When you go farther you are able to see the two sets together in some kind of combination, some kind of synthesis and you begin to perceive another set of phenomena, and then again beyond that another set is seen which is a combination of the previous two, and the previous two already combines the previous synthesis that you had already achieved. So there is a progressive synthesis in which you move forward and upward.

He found that any human being who uses his reason properly will follow this movement, which he called dialectic movement. You start with one perception and continue to perceive it, try to understand it, more and more, there will arise from itself another set of phenomena which you will discover are exactly the opposite of the first. And then the next one will synthesise the previous two which he calls the thesis and the antithesis and when the two are united he calls it the synthesis. So in the process of thinking, according to him, if you really follow the process, you will come across these stages of development.

There are many psychologists who have considered this argument. Is it really true that you move from thesis to antithesis to synthesis, then that synthesis becomes a thesis which produces antithesis and that again produces synthesis? Does it really happen? Do we really perceive the world in this fashion?

Many people disputed his theory, many people agreed. One of the most famous men who agreed with Hegel, who had a tremendous influence on the history of the world, was Karl Marx. Marx agreed that our thinking process is certainly of this kind.

But whereas according to Hegel the concrete was spiritual, not only real, but spiritual in character, according to Marx the concrete was matter. It is the big difference between the two. That is why Marx's philosophy is called Dialectical Materialism. He accepted Hegel's idea of the movement of thought and also that the movement of the real is dialectical in which one set of phenomena manifests first, and then the next one is the manifestation of a set of phenomena which is the exact opposite of the first. But whereas according to Hegel the first to manifest is the Real and Concrete and Spiritual, according to Marx the first that manifests is the Concrete, the Real but Material. It is exactly the opposite of the theory of Hegel.

You know that Karl Marx made such a tremendous impact on history, that Marxism is one of the major trends of thought today and for some time in the Twentieth Century it ruled a part of humanity with a tremendous power. What is called the Russian Revolution was a result of Marx's thought. It is only now that mankind is drawing away. Marx's dialectical movement was for the modern times centered on the idea of the State. What is the State? State is a collectivity which we call society. Any group of human beings is a society, but there is a difference between a society and a state. No state can exist without society first—that is why I defined state with a society first—so society is a basic group. But that basic group is not equivalent to the State; the State is that part of the society which governs the society, which has the power to govern the society. So unless there is society, there can be no question of governing it. Marx's thought was centered on the idea of the State and he perceived that every society tends to govern itself through an instrument, through a body, through an organisation of governance. So the governing body of a society is the State.

The question is: who becomes the governing body? If there is a society, a number of people are assembled in the society, who and how does that body come to be governed. According to him, in the natural process, those individuals who are powerful, separate themselves as it were from the society in a certain way, and because of a certain power which they have, come forward and sit upon the higher pedestal of the society. They separate from the totality because of the power which they possess and they come up to the higher point of governance. So the state arises out of the movement of the powerful who achieve this by dissociating themselves in one way or the other and coming to the point of governance.

What is the power by which these people are able to come out? According to Marx the people who are governing today, have arisen because of the power of wealth. According to him, a few individuals by virtue of possession of tools—tools which are able to produce wealth—begin to manufacture wealth. They accumulate that wealth, and by the accumulated wealth they come to power. This accumulated wealth is called capital. This word capital is used very often in normal parlance, so if you want to define what is capital, it is accumulated wealth. Because of this accumulation of wealth, there arises in society two classes: those who possess tools, that is those who possess wealth or accumulated wealth, and those who don't have the tools and accumulation of wealth. So now you see if the wealthy are the thesis, those who don't have wealth are antithesis. Those who have wealth produce their antithesis—that is those who don't have wealth.

According to Marx there is a struggle between those who have and those who don't have. This is what is called class struggle—the struggle of classes. He said every society tends to build up this struggle—those who have the wealth, versus those who don't have it. And then they fight with each other. There is a thesis and an antithesis. Now they must arrive at a synthesis. According to him there is an inevitability of arrival at a synthesis. Now, how can this synthesis arise? It is this movement which is particularly seen as a dialectical movement and there is some kind of inevitability because of the laws of thought. Because thought always moves according to Marx as according to Hegel in this dialectical process. And as in thought, so in reality. So what is in thought actually happens in the world?

According to Marx we shall move in society to a point where those who do not have will rise. Those who do not have it are called by Marx proletariat. A time will come when the proletariat who are opposed to the rich will rise. The rich are called bourgeoisie (Those people who belong to bourgeoisie are all gentilhomme, bourgeois gentilhomme, they may be illiterate, they may not even know that they know prose and yet they have got riches and they command the society.) There is a battle between bourgeoisie and proletariat. And as a result of it the proletariat reverses the situation. The proletariat at a given stage of class struggle comes up on the top. And the bourgeoisie comes down. It is a movement of antithesis from the other side. It is not yet a synthesis; it is only a movement from thesis to antithesis. Now, this antithesis becomes its own antithesis, its position is reversed, and when the proletariat becomes the master, the governors, then according to Marx a favorable situation arises for synthesis. What is the synthesis? There will be no masters in the society. This is the synthesis. All become equal, no class struggles. Therefore his famous aim is: withering of the State. The State withers away; there will be no state at all. This is his basic idea.

And when in 1917 (or even before in 1905) the Russian Revolution broke out and Lenin emerged as a great leader of this revolution, this was the ideal. It was the proletariat revolting against the capitalists, against the bourgeoisie, throwing down the bourgeoisie, including the Tsar who was at that time ruling Russia. All were thrown out and the proletariat became the masters. Lenin represented the proletariat and became the ruler. It was the rule in the name of the proletariat. And the idea was, that soon a time would come when equality would be achieved everywhere, class struggle would cease. There would be synthesis. There would be no class struggle, all would be equal and the State would wither away. Now this was the vision put forward when the Russian Revolution broke out. It is that vision which inspired many many people all over the world. That was the real appeal to common people who wanted to see that they are not trampled under the feet of the capitalists. And they were waiting for that bright day when the State would wither away.

But in 1990 it was found that this was not happening and this will not happen. You have heard the name of Gorbachev. He was at that time the President of Soviet Union and he, as it were, pulled back. It became clear that the State instead of withering away had become even stronger. The heavy hand of the State became so strong that the freedom of individuals was strangulated thoroughly, and when individual freedom is strangulated the motive to work becomes extremely feeble, and if you don't have motive to work who will produce? And when there is not enough production, then people begin to rise in revolt. And that is what happened in the Soviet Union: the entire state, which had become very powerful, began to be dismantled. Even in the Soviet Union, the whole Union broke down.

So the idea of thesis, antithesis entering into a synthesis did not work out. Of course, there are many thinkers who believe that the present stage is only a stage, the dream is not to be given up, a time will come again when the state will wither away. But what are the conditions under which the state can wither away really, that is a very big question mark in the history of mankind today. This is one of the reasons why the theory of the dialectical movement has been questioned.

Dialectical movement as described by Hegel and by Marx in such neat terms—thesis, antithesis, synthesis—does not seem to work out thoroughly well. And yet it is to be admitted, there is something like a dialectical movement. It may not be as neat as described by Hegel and Marx but there is something in the world, in the movement of the world, there is such a movement that would answer to the dialectical movement. What is its truth? What is that truth which answers to this idea of dialectical, even though the dialectical idea may not have been fully manifested—even if you find that it does not follow that rhythm all the time—there is something in the world which answers to it.

It is when you read this paragraph—this was the introduction to the second paragraph—when you read the second paragraph of the first chapter of The Life Divine, that you begin to hear what the real truth is behind the dialectical movement. Somehow the world itself as it has manifested seems to have taken a decision to move in a particular rhythm. You know in India we have a concept of the world as a dance of Shiva. Every dance has a rhythm, so if you know that rhythm you can predict as to what will be the next step of the dance. In India it was found that this world follows the rhythm of the dance of Shiva. That rhythm could have been different also, it is not that this is the only rhythm possible. According to the Indian concept Shiva is not so limited that he must dance only in one way and there are no other ways of dancing. While starting this particular dance of which we are a part, this dance has taken a special kind of rhythm, out of many kinds of rhythms. That rhythm is that Shiva himself, the Supreme Himself—the Real, the Concrete, in the terms of Hegel -, decided that his very first rhythm would be to manifest his exact opposite. This is the decision taken by Shiva, in this particular dance movement; the first step of manifestation of the dance will be his exact opposite. If it is a thesis the next step will be the antithesis. Because of this decision, in the whole world movement you find an answer to the idea of dialectic. If this decision was not taken by Shiva there would be no dialectic at all. It could have been another method of dancing. But in this particular dance a decision has been taken that the very first movement will be exactly the opposite.

So if reality is superconscient then the next step will be inconscient. And this is what has happened in this world. Now, that being the fact, our human mind follows the same kind of rhythm. Because the human mind is nothing but the movement of the dance of Shiva. If you conceive a huge dance of Shiva then all our minds are actually rhythms of the mind of Shiva. Our minds also move in the same way. That is why our human reason follows the dialectical movement. And what happens? Our thinking is of such a nature, it dwells upon one set of facts. That is we might say the decision of the movement of the dance, that your mind will set itself upon one set of facts. It is very difficult for the human mind to see everything in a global manner. Whenever it starts thinking, it starts thinking by concentrating upon one set of facts and it dwells upon it tremendously, first. It is with difficulty that you draw out of it and make it aware of another set. And when it sees the other set it moves just to the opposite. That is why our human mind has a dialectical movement. We are not able to see all the facts at once; if we could then dialectical movement will not be necessary. Philosophy takes birth in this movement of mind. If our mind were not of this kind, philosophy would not arise at all. We would see everything at once and there would be no need of argument, no need of dialectical, nothing at all. We would see all the things at once. Our human mind is capable at a given time to see only one set of facts and yet it stirs. In its very stirring there is something by which it opens little by little to another set of facts. And when you see another set of facts you become so blinded by these facts that you begin to reject the first ones. You will find many human beings holding one view today and surprisingly after a few years when you see them they speak exactly the opposite of what they are speaking today. Watch many people, I don't say this about everybody, but many human beings begin to advocate one view today and after some time they begin to advocate the exact opposite view.

In our Ashram School — this is a parenthesis — we started an experiment in which we said all education must take place in a condition of silence. Be absolutely silent, because it is the silent mind which can receive the knowledge, a fact which is true. So, in our experiments we decided there would be no lectures, because lectures are opposite to silence. Everybody should be absolutely silent — they could read, they could contemplate, meditate — but no lectures. Or if the teacher wanted to communicate something he wrote it down and gave that written note to the student and the student read it quietly. If the students had a question to ask they were advised — speak whisperingly. No noise, just whispers. All this was very fine, it was a good experiment — I am only telling you how the human mind works. After a few years of experimenting, not a few years, let us say one or two years, there was a feeling that this was not working very well. And then some other experiments were made and after three, four years those who were advocating complete silence, I myself heard them advocating: “Il faut parler, il faut parler, il faut parler.” Just the opposite — antithesis. Talking was now advocated, and talk and talk and talk is needed if students have to be stimulated; they have to be made enthusiastic. And how do you do this? You talk to the students again and again and again. It would be a new outburst of curiosity and knowledge will spread. This was antithesis. And those who were advocating furiously the first gospel of silence began equally furiously now the gospel of “parler”. Speaking, you must talk. And then came the synthesis afterwards. I think what is called the free progress system is actually a combination of silence and talking. That is why I am allowed to talk to you, otherwise I would be out. So the idea is that you talk, but talk in such a way that silence is not disturbed or is rather encouraged, which is a very difficult synthesis. And there should be rhythms of silence and talking, rhythm of personal reflection and acting — it is a synthesis. It is only an example to show how our system of education evolved dialectically from one extreme to the other and then to a synthesis.

This is because the world, as a whole, follows this rhythm. Superconscience, the very first step, produced inconscience. Because of that movement, when inconscience begins to develop it also manifests sets of phenomena little by little — this is what we call evolution. Evolution is nothing but a gradual unfolding of the inconscience. Little by little, out of sleep, when you awake your eyes are not fully open. Little by little they open up and gradually we begin to stir and then we become slightly awake and then more awake and then fully awake. This is what is called the process of evolution. It is because of this process of evolution that there is an answer to the theory of the dialectical movement. And that is why in philosophy it has become one of the major movements of thought and in argumentation this movement is followed, not always but very often. It is one of the good ways of awakening the human mind, so that the human mind moves from one set of facts and goes to the other and gradually opens up and then synthesizes and arrives at a conclusion which is really real.

This is the movement of the second line in the second paragraph of The Life Divine. You will see in the very first sentence of this paragraph Sri Aurobindo says “These persistent ideals” — that is the ideals of God, Light, Freedom, Immortality — “are at once contradicted and affirmed”. This is the dialectical movement. “Are at once contradicted and affirmed”. Contradicted by ordinary experience, because in ordinary experience we only get matter — you don’t see God, Light, Freedom, Immortality at all. You only see matter. When you open your eyes from sleep you cannot even bear the light, you want to close your eyes immediately. Similarly, your first movement is to be confined to the ordinary experience. And in that ordinary experience if somebody speaks to you of God, Light, Freedom, Immortality you will simply shake it off. “Oh! Nothing of that kind, I see nothing yet. Where is God, Light, Freedom, Immortality? All is dark, all is matter!”

When you move forward, further, then you begin to have another experience. As Sri Aurobindo says: “It is affirmed…” these ideals are affirmed by deeper and higher experiences. First there is a negation and then there is an affirmation. Now this affirmation takes a lot of time, it is a gradual movement and Sri Aurobindo uses the words “in its organized entirety”, these words are very important “organized entirety”. Even if you want to affirm these ideals of God, Light, Freedom, Immortality, since it is a long way from inconscience to That, even if you have glimpses in the beginning, these experiences don’t come in their fullness, in their organized manner. You can come to this organized totality of higher experiences only by two methods — either by revolutionary individual effort or the evolutionary that is the gradual movement of general progression of mankind. This is what we had done last time. I only repeated it just to reaffirm what we had done.

We go now to the next step in the argument, the opposition between ordinary experience and totality of experience. Sri Aurobindo formulates these in their stark opposition to each other, as a thesis and an antithesis. This formulation is one of the most powerful and most potent formulations in philosophy. The stark opposition between the two poles of experience—on one side you experience one thing, on the other side you experience something else—and Sri Aurobindo speaks of the synthesis of these two poles. We shall go very slowly; little by little we shall see each one of the opposites that Sri Aurobindo describes here.

"To know, possess and be the Divine being in an animal and egoistic consciousness." These are the two polarities. We are at present in an animal and egoistic consciousness. That is our ordinary experience. The other pole of experience is to know, possess and be the Divine being—that is the formula of God. Then, "To convert our twilight or obscure physical mentality into the plenary supramental illumination." On one side at present we have got an obscure physical consciousness, at the most it is twilit—twilight means some light either in the evening or in the early morning. Either darkness is about to come or darkness is about to go. Our consciousness is at present a twilight consciousness we might say. Mostly it is an obscure physical consciousness in which we live. If we count how many hours we spend in our active work—it is eight hours so sixteen hours of the day are either in sleep or preparation to awaken and to start work. Mostly we live in a twilight consciousness. To convert our twilit obscure physical mentality, this is true of our ordinary experience—now you come to the higher experience—into plenary supramental experience. Plenary means that which does not diminish at all, everlasting, there is no alteration between sleep and awaking. We say Light is a part of the formula, Light, God, Freedom, Immortality. When we speak of Light, we don't speak of the aspiration to have some light, it is not an aspiration to have a temporary light; our aspiration is to have no diminution of light at all. So, this is the aspiration, to convert our twilight or obscure physical mentality into the plenary supramental illumination.

"To build peace and a self existent bliss where there is only a stress of transitory satisfactions besieged by physical pain and emotional suffering." This is the third term of our aspiration for God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, Immortality. These are the five terms of our formula. This is the third term. To achieve what kind of Bliss? To build peace and a self-existence bliss. A bliss which does not depend upon any external object—self-existent—a bliss which flows automatically from our being, it doesn't depend upon any external stimulation. Neither sensory nor intellectual nor anything that comes from outside it is self-existent. We should bubble with delight from within ourselves, that kind of delight. "To build peace and a self-existence bliss—this is our goal—where there is only a stress of transitory satisfactions." It is a beautiful expression! What is our present state? Our present state is a state of satisfaction, but this satisfaction has always a stress in it, it is never a stress-less satisfaction. Even when you say: "Oh I am content now", there is some stress in it. Sri Aurobindo uses the word "stress", stress of transitory satisfaction. There are three things: our satisfactions are only for a time. Even the richest man, when he sits back in his armchair after doing a day's work and feels absolutely satisfied, might get suddenly the news that his son has fallen sick and all his satisfaction is wiped out. It is only a transitory satisfaction that we normally have. And even this transitory satisfaction, Sri Aurobindo now qualifies by a beautiful expression is "besieged by physical pain and emotional suffering". Even when you may be content you may not be able to eat sweets because you have diabetes. When everything is available to you, unfortunately physical pain is knocking at your door. So even that satisfaction you cannot enjoy. There is physical pain and emotional suffering. You will find that all the time in human life, even in the best conditions of your bliss, suddenly you find somebody becomes angry with you, somebody is dissatisfied, somebody revolts, somebody sulks and you do not feel satisfied at all and you begin to move out of yourself to satisfy something or the other.

In the Ramayana, imagine the mood of king Dashrath when he announced that Rama would be crowned the next morning. What tremendous happiness spread over the whole town. But in a small corner of the big palace one of the queens began to stir in an opposite manner and soon made a demand—this stark demand—that Rama should be exiled. And when the father who was so happy, his happiness had no bounds, was asked he sank completely into torpor. Our satisfactions are "besieged by physical pain and emotional suffering."

"To establish an infinite freedom in a world which presents itself as a group of mechanical necessities." Our life is a life of necessities, we are obliged to eat, it is a necessity, no? The minimum necessity is that we are obliged to sleep. We cannot be free from sleep, even if you want to keep awake forever and ever and ever, you cannot, we are necessitated to sleep, we are necessitated to eat, we are necessitated to physical movement, necessitated to breathe. Our whole life is nothing but—if you don't agree with the theory of necessities you can say it is nine-tenth of your life that is a necessity—maybe one-tenth is where we have some freedom of movement. I can decide whether I shall move my arm this way or I shall not move my arm. This kind of freedom I certainly have but otherwise our life is full of necessities. And yet human beings aspire for freedom. And what kind of freedom? Sri Aurobindo says: "to establish an infinite freedom". The complete freedom of Shiva's dance. He could decide whether he would dance in one way or the other or other or other, choosing from infinite ways of dancing. Or he will dance all the dances at the same time, even for that he has the freedom. He can at the same time dance in a million ways—such a freedom. And it is that freedom which is available at the other pole of our existence. "To establish an infinite freedom in a world which presents itself as a group of mechanical necessities."

Now, the last term. We have covered God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, and then the last term is Immortality. "To discover and realize the immortal life in a body subjected to death and constant mutation." Our life is subject to death or at least to change all the time. To find immortal life and that too in a body. This is a sharp contrast between the state of immortality and the state of mortality.

The one set of facts, set against another set of facts exactly the opposite of each other. Thesis and antithesis. It is to bring about that light in these conditions. To live that Divine life in a life which is animal; to establish that light in a state of darkness or half awakeness, a twilight consciousness; to establish that bliss where there is only a partial satisfaction besieged by physical pain and emotional suffering. It is this Sri Aurobindo says "This is offered to us as the manifestation of God in matter and the goal of Nature in a terrestrial evolution." Evolution—that is an important word.

All these opposites have come about because of inconscience. Because of the inconscience there is a gradual movement and that gradual movement is what we call evolution. And if we want to see this evolution moving forward towards what is the goal, then this is what Sri Aurobindo says, "This is offered to us as the manifestation of God in matter and the goal of nature in a terrestrial evolution." This is the definition of the Divine life, which is the title of the whole book. The formula of the Divine life is: To know, possess and be the Divine being, … to convert into a plenary supramental illumination; … to build peace and a self-existence bliss; … to establish an infinite freedom; and to realize the immortal life. These are the words to define the Divine life: the Life Divine.

The entire question of the book, in fact the whole book has three steps to its basic argument—I use the word argument because it is a philosophical book. It says first, it asserts that there is a human aspiration. This human aspiration wants the Divine Life. All human beings, whether they like it or not, whether they want it or not, whether they are conscious of it or not, every human being is seeking the Divine Life. This is Sri Aurobindo's affirmation. It is the first argument. If you don't agree with it, there is the argument here. The whole book is an argument. If somebody says no, no, no, the human being doesn't seek Divine Life at all, then this book is meant to answer that question. Is it really true that human beings are seeking Divine Life? Sri Aurobindo's answer is that this is the real human aspiration. And he has defined it in clear terms. Very often people who do not read this book quite well say, "Oh Sri Aurobindo does not define terms". It is one of the criticisms made by many people. Because people when they write philosophical books, first of all state words and then define them. People then say that this is called an accurate, polished, exalted philosophical book. My answer is, please be patient. Sri Aurobindo defines every possible term in The Life Divine. Whenever you find a term is not defined it is only your impatience. At the right time every word is defined and with a full definition and a perfect definition. I can tell you this because I have been reading this book for the last fifty years. I can say it is verified by me. And I am telling you also—The Life Divine is the title of the book and Sri Aurobindo defines this term in the very second paragraph of the book. We don't have to wait more, because in the very first paragraph Sri Aurobindo only puts a proposition that human beings have aspired for Divine Life. By the time you finish that sentence immediately Sri Aurobindo defines this term. There is no delay at all. As soon as he finishes the first proposition that human beings are full of aspiration for the Divine Life, Sri Aurobindo defines this Divine Life. This is the first step of the argument: what is Divine Life? So he defines Divine Life. And the statement that all human beings are in search of the Divine Life is the first step of the argument which can be questioned. Sri Aurobindo allows this questioning and the major part of the book is allowing this questioning and answering it. We shall see how he himself questions and how he answers it.

The second argument, the second step of The Life Divine is to tell human beings that this aspiration is fully justified. That is to say, you look at the whole world, you look at all aspects of facts, taking into account the totality—to perceive totality is the basic function of philosophy. You remember in the very beginning we have defined philosophy. Anandamayi will tell us if in her definition the word totality is a part of it. If it is not you have to change the definition.

Philosophy must deal with the totality of facts of all domains. Right. Have you used the word in your definition?

"Philosophy is a quest for knowledge pertaining to all domains, including the quest for perfection both individual and collective, which results in the formulation of an idea/ideas pertaining to the totality which includes all that we see and experience or think of, and beyond that which may, may not exist, in search of the presence or absence of the meaning of all, beyond all and all particulars."

That is right. First all domains, and then totality.

Sri Aurobindo shows the totality of facts. If you consider the totality of facts, then even rationally, even if you use only your reason, because reason is not something to be thrown out entirely, reason has some great glories, and one of the glories of reason is, it always demands from you totality. That is the great glory of reason. It may not be able to grasp all at once but its tendency is first towards totality. Therefore even rationally you go entirely step by step—if you don't see all the facts simultaneously don't worry, Sri Aurobindo will show you domain after domain. The whole book is nothing but showing you the world, domain after domain. That is why this book is a book of knowledge. Open The Life Divine, if you want the totality of knowledge in all its domains. In the one sweep as it were, Sri Aurobindo has given all the domains, in one book. It is a very great specialty of this book. I have never seen a book in the world which deals with totality, with all the domains of existence and gives you verifiable knowledge. Verifiable knowledge, not only beliefs. Therefore the Reason can be completely satisfied.

So this is the second argument. If you consider all the facts, then you will find that this aspiration is justified. Sri Aurobindo says, "Do not fear to aspire for Divine Life." This is the assurance of the whole book. And finally, the thrust of the argument is, that if this is what we should aspire for, how shall we achieve it, how shall we realize it, how shall we fulfill it? What is the process by which you can fulfill it? The last portion of The Life Divine is entirely given to this task—how shall we fulfill, by what means the Divine life can be realized? This book combined with The Synthesis of Yoga gives a complete answer to the third question—how shall we realize the Divine Life on the earth?

We shall deal with the last portion of the second paragraph tomorrow.