My early philosophical development
My father, Shri Maganlal Joshi, exercised a great intellectual and ethical influence on me in my boyhood and shaped my intellectual and ethical fervour, which has continued to inspire me up to the present day.
In his early youth, he had come under the influence of Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati, as a result of which he had rebelled against the religious views which were held by my grandfather. He became a great critic of idol worship and ritualism of the religious practices of Hinduism. On the other hand, he made his own studies of the Veda, and being convinced of Maharshi Dayananda Sarawasti's method of interpretation, he came to hold the view that the Veda is a book of God-knowledge, world-knowledge and self-knowledge. He made a deep study of the Indian caste system and other social traditions and came to advocate intercaste marriage, widow remarriage, and removal of untouchability. On account of his progressive ideas, he was ex-communicated, but he bore bravely the consequences of the social boycott. His bravery filled me with a deep sense of admiration for him.
In my boyhood, I came to learn from him the meanings of a number of Vedic hymns, and what I learned from him at that time and subsequently, encouraged me to study the Veda as deeply as possible. His courage to think independently and his insistence to act rightly, irrespective of consequences, inspired me to walk in his footsteps. The one virtue he insisted upon was that of truthfulness, and my entire awakened life came to be devoted to search for the Truth.
My father had begun his life as a teacher, but had later on switched to the profession of law. As a lawyer, he became very prominent and he was reputed for his intellectual sharpness and moral uprightness.*
* My father became, in due course, a prominent political leader of Gujarat. He played a major role in fighting against monarchy that was prevalent in more than a hundred small kingdoms in Kathiawad, and on account of his friendship with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, he was instrumental in getting all these kingdoms merged in one unit to be called Saurashtra as one of the States of Union of India in 1948. He was Speaker of Saurashtra Assembly for a number of years from 1948-56, and later he was a member of the Rajya Sabha. In his later years, he translated Sama Veda into Gujarati, which stands as one of the best contributions that he made to the growing Vedic literature of our times.
I; attended many of the lectures that he used to deliver on religion and social reform as also on Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati's "Satyartha Prakash"; these lectures stimulated me greatly, and I began to think, although at a rudimentary level, on problems of Reason and Revelation, history of religions, orthodoxy and protestantism, and virtues of clarity and complexity of thought. I also came to read "Satyartha Prakash" at the age of eleven, and became greatly convinced of the need to study the Veda in
In the meantime, my studies in the school fostered in me great interest in the study of languages, particularly Gujarati, which is my mother tongue, and Sanskrit. In my lonely hours, I used to translate a number of imaginary dialogues into Sanskrit. I felt so fascinated by the beauty of Sanskrit that I read the entire text of Medhavrata's "Dayananda Digvijayam" with the help of its Hindi translation. I also felt greatly interested in poetry and even learned the rudiments of prosody with the help of my father. I also composed a few poems in Gujarati. If, however, in my later years, I never became even a budding poet, it was only because of our faulty system of education., which hardly pays attention to those interests and capacities which lie hidden in students but are considered irrelevant. I had also great interest in music and used to sing so well as to be invited to sing at the public meetings of Arya Samaj. If, in later years, I could not develop my interest in music, it was once again because of the fault of our educational system. I was greatly interested in writing short stories, but I found no encouragement for this habit either from my father or my school.
As a boy, I was lonely, although we were five brothers and we were extremely fond of each other. We had also a large circle of friends, and my interaction with these friends had contributed to my interest in painting, and various other hobbies like typewriting. But none of these hobbies was truly encouraged, and constant pressure from home and from the school to study the prescribed subjects was so oppressive that right from the age of twelve, I became a critic of the educational system.
It was at this time that I happened to read about the Gurukula system of education, since my father had thought at that stage of sending me to Gurukula Kangri, and although this project never materialised, I began to cherish the ideals of relationship between the teacher and the pupil that was supposed to be the hallmark of the Gurukula system. I always used to wonder why teachers could not talk to students with true psychological understanding, with true sympathy, and with eagerness to answer the questions of the students.
At the same time, one of my elder brothers (who later on became an eminent lawyer and judge) had just begun to read Rabindranath Tagore. He introduced to me the ideals of Shantiniketan. He also introduced me to some of Tagore's books like The Post Office, Gitanjali and Sadhana. I also read a number of stories written by Tagore (which were available in Gujarati translation) and felt greatly fascinated by Tagore's love for children and his advocacy for children's freedom. I was also led to the study of the life of Tagore and felt such a great intimacy with his childhood's experiences that I began to write at the age of fifteen a short film script (in Hindi) on the life of Tagore which, of course, remained incomplete!
Just at that time, a friend of mine loaned to me one big volume containing the life of Sri Ramakrishna and the life of Swami Vivekananda. This book inspired me so greatly that I read Swami Vivekananda's Rajayoga and began to practise pranayama during my lonely hours. I was greatly impressed by Swami Vivekananda's statement that Yoga is a science par excellence, and decided to make experiments to verify the veracity of supraphysical experiences. I was also greatly impressed by Swami Vivekananda's question "Have you seen God?" and Sri Ramakrishna's answer "Yes, but I only see Him more vividly than I see you." I, too, felt that I must constantly ask that question and not believe in God until I had a real proof of His existence both intellectually and spiritually.
By this time, I was reading for my matriculation examination, and although I was fairly occupied with various subjects of the curriculum, my intellect came to be greatly disturbed by an elderly friend who told me that my intellectual thinking needed to be tested by applying two criteria: (i) How far is your thought original? (ii) How far do your intellectual writings demonstrate the quality of novelty?
I was so impressed by these two criteria that I began to examine all the ideas that were floating in my mind at different stages of vagueness and articulation. This introspective exercise was quite painful, since I could find neither originality nor novelty in my thought-processes. This led me to ask as to how one could think originally, and not finding any answer, I began to analyse thought process itself. But not knowing the nature of thought, and not knowing what books I should read on that subject, I felt greatly arrested. In fact, I experienced incapacity to think and a deep urge to think clearly and widely, − and yet I could not think at all. I was gripped by an unexpressed crisis.
It was at that stage that I passed my matriculation examination and left Jamnagar (Gujarat) and joined Wilson College at Bombay. Mentally, I was greatly depressed and felt no charm in Bombay. Many of my professors were Irish or Scottish and their English was completely incomprehensible to me. This deepened my depression but impelled me to learn English as effectively as possible.
I also began to think more and more deeply about the purpose of life and about the ethical principles which should guide the conduct of life. Being lonely, I began to look for books, which I could understand and from which I could derive guidance. In my search, I came to read a number of books written by Mahatma Gandhi in Gujarati. I also came to read the Holy Bible and some books on the life of the Buddha. All of them influenced me greatly. Under the growing influence of Mahatma Gandhi, I also came to read a big volume containing the writings of Raj Chandra, whom Mahatma Gandhi looked upon as his spiritual Guru. Within a course of one year, I read almost everything that Mahatma Gandhi had written in Gujarati on varieties of subjects. I was so influenced by these writings that I became an advocate of the use of Khadi and of the practice of living entirely on fruits. I learned the craft of spinning and began to devote daily one hour to that craft. I gave up my normal diet and began to live only on fruits. I did better than Gandhi by giving up milk altogether!*
* I was obliged to give up this dietary experiment after a period of nine months under a tremendous pressure of my father.
The five principles on which Mahatma Gandhi insisted, namely, truth, non-violence, celibacy, non-stealing and non-covetousness, − became my guiding principles of conduct. My study of the Bible made me understand Tolstoy and Ruskin and their connection with Gandhi's ideal of Sarvodaya, which was developed from Ruskin's book "Unto This Last". Gandhian theory of economics began to attract me a great deal, and I read a competent book on this subject written by Nar Hari Parikh in Gujarati entitled: Manav Arthashastra.
Under Gandhi's influence,. I became convinced that the entire system of education should be radically changed. In arriving at this conclusion, I was also greatly helped by the writings of Kishore Lal Mashruwala. I also arrived at the conviction that the entire economic system of India and the world needs to be completely changed, and that it should be neither capitalistic nor socialistic nor communistic but should be based upon minimum wants and minimum use of machinery. Similarly, I began to understand better and better why the entire society should be radically changed, − not by any violent revolution but by a peaceful individual and social change. This led me to deeper levels of thought relating to principles of social reconstruction.
During this period of austere thinking and conduct of life, I had continued to study Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati and Swami Vivekananda. My practice of pranayama had continued, although with intermittent gaps. But I was still preoccupied with the question regarding the nature of thought and how to think correctly. My mind was still oppressed, but there was some deep feeling that if I continued my efforts, I would arrive at some satisfactory answer. By this time, I just passed my first year examination and came to read one of the textbooks of deductive logic. For the first time, I felt thrilled to learn of the laws of Thought and of the principles, which can be rigorously applied to arrive at valid deductive inferences. During the next few months, I devoted myself wholly to the study of logic and derived a tremendous intellectual satisfaction. At the same time, two other subjects began to attract me, namely, principles of economics and world history. I began to spend long hours in the library to study and understand these two subjects as deeply as possible. By the time I passed my Intermediate examination, I had come to the conclusion that the one subject in which I must specialise had to be philosophy. At that time, I was also interested in mathematics, Sanskrit and physics and economics but since our system of education did not permit such a wide combination of subjects, I was obliged to limit myself only to philosophy and subsidiarily to economics.
I was so fortunate that during the very first few days of my philosophy classes, I got introduced to Socrates and Plato. I was also fortunate in having Prof. S. Ookerjee as my teacher of Western Philosophy, since he was both young and bright, and his communication abilities were effective and inspiring. It was his lectures on Socrates and Plato and my study of Plato's The Republic that clarified to me the real nature of Thought. I came to love both Socrates and Plato and have never ceased to love them. I felt that Socratic doctrine of "virtue is knowledge", if rightly interpreted, is a valid doctrine. I also thought that Plato's theory of "Ideas" contain the most essential metaphysical insights, and although it could not explain the, origin of the universe in its totality, it still provided certain important clues. Subsequently, when I studied Bertrand Russell's criticism of Socrates and Plato, I felt enriched, but I have always felt that his criticisms of Socrates and Plato remain unconvincing.
My further studies in Plato opened up my intellectual gates. A new life began to vibrate in my being. My depression and sense of loneliness disappeared. My subsequent development during the next nine months was quite rapid. In a great rush of enthusiasm, but without impatience, I studied Meditations of Descartes, Ethics of Spinoza and Monadology of Leibnitz. Ontological argument for the existence of God, which I found in the writings of these three great philosophers, gave me immense happiness, although incomplete satisfaction. The Cartesian doubt sharpened my method of philosophical inquiry and showed me the conditions of arriving at intellectual incorrigible conclusions. The geometrical method of Spinoza enabled me to arrive at that certainty in philosophical conclusions, which is available in mathematics, although later on I had to conclude that the mathematical method cannot fully meet the requirements of philosophical thought. As far as Leibnitz is concerned, I was greatly refreshed by his enunciation of the law of sufficient reason which, instantly, liberated me from the rigid hold of the Aristotelian logic. His idea that the present world is the best of all the possible worlds, based on the concept of compossibility and the preestablished harmony, gave me a great impetus to conceive the possibility of a synthesis of the idealistic thought with the Christian theology. In any case, I felt greatly encouraged by Leibnitz to enter into the realm of integral philosophy.
When I turned to empiricists like Locke, Berkeley and Hume, I did not have sufficient time to read any of their original writings, but I read several expositions of these philosophers. It is rightly said that Hume was more Lockian than Locke and more Berkeleyian than Berkeley, and I could see very clearly how the empirical arguments cannot but end in Humean scepticism. I was so gripped by Hume's argument against substance, self and causality that I could easily appreciate why even a great philosopher like Kant was awakened from his dogmatic slumber by Hume and why he was led to formulate in his Critique of Pure Reason and again in Critique of Practical Reason a new edifice of epistemology that attempted to reconcile rationalism and empiricism and also a stable foundation for moral conduct and his concepts of God, freedom and immortality.
I spent days and nights in reflecting on Kant's epistemology and ethics, and although I thought that he had made permanent contributions in both these fields, it was not surprising that he had been surpassed by some of his successors. During the course of those studies, I cultivated as much impartiality as I was capable of, and when I wrote my essay on Leibnitz, I felt a great satisfaction that comes from some kind of the first intellectual triumph.
In my rapid movement of thought, I felt that I was getting more and more inclined towards idealism and idealistic rationalism. I read Bradley's Appearance and Reality and found that this work was a kind of culmination of idealistic philosophy. Bradley's arguments were self contained and the conclusions that he arrived at seemed incorrigible. His argument that thought necessitates positing of "other-than-thought" and that to attain that Other, thought must commit suicide, seemed to my mind irrefutable. His argument that the universe must somehow be contained in the Absolute also seemed to me to be irrefutable, although it could be questioned on the ground that refuses to acknowledge rationality (understood idealistically) and also the alternative would be some kind of Nihilism or some kind of theory of Chance, which can explain nothing and which would reject ultimately the idea of explanation itself. The only weakness that I found in Bradley's philosophy was that it does not convince us how the self-contradictions of the universe lose their self-contradictions when assimilated in the Absolute. Another difficulty that I found in Bradley was in regard to his "vulgar notion of responsibility", which he has so competently expounded in his Ethical Studies. I felt that in the human experience of responsibility, there is a great wealth of genuine freedom and of individuality, − and this wealth needs a better explanation than what Bradley found for it in his writings.
Having reached Bradley, I felt that I had come to one definite station in philosophy. But I was still looking for some better and higher system of philosophy. This search was reinforced by the studies that I had undertaken at that time in regard to the history of religions. This study had raised in my mind several important questions. Some of these questions were:
(a) How can we reconcile the Western theory of development of religions with the actual development of Indian religions?
(b) How can the idealistic concept of the Absolute, which seemed to be intellectually incorrigible, be reconciled with the religious experience of Personal God?
(c) What is the nature of bondage and liberation of the soul? Who is ignorant? Who is bound? Who gets liberated? And who profits from liberation? It cannot be the Absolute, since it can never be bound and is ever in a state of perfection. It cannot be the universe, since the universe is continuously in a flux; it must then be the individual, and thus the individual must have its own unique reality.How can this unique reality of the individual be reconciled with the Absolute or with the Upanishadic Brahman or with the theistic concept of Ishwara?
(d) What is the nature of immortality?
(e) What distinction can we make between morality, religion, philosophy, and spirituality that is attained by Yoga?
In studying these questions, I was greatly helped by my Irish teacher, Prof. Patterson, who was a devout Christian and who was a very inspiring teacher. He gave us the same kind of training that students of Oxford and Cambridge receive from their tutors. He assigned a number of exercises for us to write on, and he used to correct them with painstaking labour. His detailed remarks on our essays provided to us invaluable guidance and illuminating inspiration. Under his influence, I came to appreciate Christianity so sympathetically that my own understanding of the history of Indian religions became extremely objective. I came to look upon all universal religions as worthy of respect, although I could not reconcile myself with exclusivism of any of them. I felt the need to develop something in which the various contributions of each religion could be synthesised and in which the only denial would be that of denial itself. In this context, I began to make a fresh study of Yoga and of spiritual experience. It was at this stage that I happened to study Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, and I came to conclude that the affirmations of spiritual experience are so great and universal that they cannot be brushed aside easily. At this stage, I made a study of materialistic philosophy, particularly of Marxism, and also started the study of Bertrand Russell.
My study of Marxism led me to a serious study of the Western political thought starting from Plato. Both moral philosophy and political economy came to be intertwined with this study. I was greatly struck by the detailed examination of the concept of justice that is to be found in Plato's The Republic. The theory- of Social Contact as discussed by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau made little impression on me, but I was greatly impressed by Mill's Essay on Liberty. The idealist theory of the State as found in Hegel and its justification of the supremacy of the State led me to rethink the entire basis of idealism, and I came to the conclusion that idealism as advocated in the West was in need of a vast enlargement so as to make room for individual freedom and for the truths of spiritual experiences. I found fascism abhorrent, and although I felt greatly drawn towards socialism, I could not feel reconciled with the way in which socialism came to be practised under the premises of fascist and Marxist principles. After the study of Marxism, I arrived at the conclusion that while material needs of :he human being are of primary importance, they cannot be given the rank of the chief needs. In regard to the ontology of materialism, which is implicit in Marxism, I felt that that ontology is too narrow to explain creative and spiritual powers of human personality.
Nonetheless, I was keen to study materialism in the form in which it was advocated by Bertrand Russell. Three books of Bertrand Russell made great impression on my mind, − namely, Analysis of Mind, Mysticism and Logic, and History of Western Philosophy, Analysis of Mind gave me the insight into the behaviouristic account of mental phenomena and what was very refreshing was Russell's intellectual honesty which made him admit that the phenomenon of recognition cannot be explained on unmixed materialistic basis. This book also gave me a sound understanding of neutral monism, which showed me the possibility of explaining both material and mental phenomena under the hypothesis of spiritual monism. Mysticism and Logic provided me with a clearer understanding of the difficulties that the physical mind encounters in its understanding of spiritual experience. I also discovered that Russell uses the word "Logic" in a special sense, which is distinct from the sense in which the word is used by those who follow Plato and Aristotle. I also realised how Russell's views on logic were, to some extent, derived from Leibnitz. This led me to the study of Russell's book on Philosophy of Leibnitz. But I felt that although he is reputed to be one of the greatest authorities on Leibnitz, he was unable to appreciate some of the important elements in Leibnitz which are connected with his theory of Freedom and Grace. At the same time, when I read Russell's A Free Man's Worship, I felt how much was Russell close to those sentiments and attitudes which are associated with the mystic sense of equanimity.
Russell's History of Western Philosophy has always remained with me as a permanent companion since 1949 when I first began to read it. It is through that book that I got a full perspective of ancient philosophy, Catholic philosophy and modern philosophy. His expositions of various philosophers, even when not very accurate, have been so clearly stated that one feels unfailing admiration for him. This book also gave me valuable insights into how philosophy is influenced by political and social circumstances and vice versa. Finally, that book gave me a brief but extremely illuminating account of the philosophy of logical analysis with which Russell was himself directly connected. It was the chapter dealing with that topic which obliged me to study in detail the ontological argument for the existence of God. I studied once again this argument as formulated by Anselm, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, and Kant. To this study I also added Russell's theory of existence and his view that existence can only be asserted of descriptions. This theory was so novel and so difficult to understand that I had to read Russell's exposition of this theory again and again several times. I also studied Russell's theory of knowledge by accuaintance and knowledge by description. But in spite of all this study, I could not feel that the ontological argument was really refuted.
As a matter of fact, my concern with God and with spiritual experiences was deeply growing in my heart. Unfortunately, nothing that I had read so far had really given me that intellectual foundation on which belief in the existence of God could be irrefutably established. Nor had I found any system of philosophy either in the Western or in the Indian tradition which had given full consideration to the data of spiritual experiences, occult experiences and those experiences which have been regarded as unique in various religious traditions. None of the systems of philosophies, which I had studied was able to relate the individual with the totality of universe and with the transcendental Reality without abridging the wealth and richness of the individual. The questions "What is the place of man in the universe?" and "What is the destiny of the individual?" were to my mind not answered satisfactorily by any philosopher. To find answers to these questions, I read again and again the philosophy of Plato and the philosophy of the Upanishads, which at that time seemed to me the most promising as far as my questions were concerned. I had read Bhagavadgita several times, and although it speaks of Jiva, the individual being, of swabhava, and swadharma, − of one's own nature and one's law of development, I could not find any clear and comprehensive logical and metaphysical foundation for these ideas.
My understanding of the Bhagavadgita was also greatly complicated because of the conflicting interpretations that have been given of this great book by different Acharyas. The latest book which had just come out at that time on the Bhagavadgita was that of Radhakrishnan. I read that book again and again, but I did not find in it any clarifying light.
This prompted me to study more closely various systems of Indian philosophy, but the more I read them, the more one question grew in my mind with utmost sharpness. All systems of Indian philosophy (except that of Charvaka) speak of ignorance as something from which one has to find liberation. It seemed to me that none of them had answered the question in regard to the origin of ignorance. The theory that ignorance just happens to be there did not satisfy me, even though the prescription given for the remedy of overcoming ignorance was not so entirely unsatisfactory. The theory that ignorance is inexplicable or anirvachaniya seemed to me to be totally unacceptable, particularly, when this theory was propounded as a part of a larger theory which based itself upon the Upanishadic declaration of "That knowing which everything can be known". The theory that ignorance is a mere sport of the Supreme impelled me to suggest that the Supreme should have found some better sport than inflicting upon us this terrible instrument of bondage and suffering.
The doctrine that the soul is originally of the nature of consciousness and yet somehow falls into a trap constructed by Prakriti or by some other unconscious principle seemed to me to be psychologically impossible, unless one were to suppose that the soul gets entangled by its own consent and for specific purpose which is worth pursuing and which can be pursued only under the condition of ignorance. But none of the known positions conceded this. I discussed these questions with a number of teachers and colleagues. I was no more lonely at that stage and I had by then a large circle of friends and teachers with whom I had good relations. Unfortunately, none could give any satisfactory answer. I, therefore, concluded that not only Western philosophy but even Indian philosophy had failed to answer the most important question that we as individuals have, namely, what we really are, what is the cause of our present limitations and sufferings and what we are really supposed to do in this world.
For me, individually, this question was of supreme importance. My father, being a lawyer, wanted me to become a lawyer. But I had no inclination in that direction. My father had also suggested to me to turn to politics.
Unfortunately, because of my father's eminent role in the political field, I had watched politicians very closely, and I could not think of casting myself into an image of a politician. I had, therefore, decided that I would devote my life only to that work which could be determined in the light of what the Ultimate Reality is and what that Ultimate Reality would like me to do. Or else, I argued within myself, if there is no such Ultimate Reality and if there is no such thing as that Reality's intentions for what each individual should do in the world as a part of any particular scheme, then I should decisively know this and turn to do something, which our ordinary views of social utility would prescribe.
Impelled by these interconnected ideas, I had even thought of becoming a farmer living a life of utmost simplicity. I was also thinking of the great reforms that should be brought about in the social, economic and political life and also in the educational system. I had, therefore, decided tentatively to devote myself at that stage to the study of social, economic and political problems of the world, and particularly of India. I wanted to take a decision about my work or my profession only after making this study. I had, therefore, just taken up the study of Bertrand Russell's Principles of Social Reconstruction.
It was at that important juncture, that the most important event of my philosophical development took place.A close friend of mine visited my room in the hostel and placed a book on my table. He said, "My uncle has asked me to read this book, but as it is a very difficult philosophical treatise, I have neither the capacity nor the inclination to read it. Could you, therefore, read it and tell me what it contains so that I could report back to my uncle when he asks me about it?"
I took the book in my hand and noticed that the title of the book was The Life Divine. Surmising that the book must be once again a repetition of some mystic doctrine declaring inexplicability of how we are in this world, I told him that I had no inclination to read such books, which leave the most important questions unanswered. He then told me that the author of that book was a greatest yogi, Sri Aurobindo, and that I should not dismiss that great book. He spoke to me of the greatness of the book and the desirability of my reading it. When I resisted saying that I had many other things to read, he told me, "Kireet, please do read this book, − if not for God's sake, at least for my sake." I then consented.
That very evening, I started reading that book, and I cannot describe my utter joy and satisfaction as I went on from page to page with great freshness and increasing enthusiasm. This was a book apart, no book that I had read before was so luminous and so illuminating; no book that I had read before had raised the very questions that were troubling me and expounded them so forcefully and so comprehensibly. There was here no escape from any question, no quibbling, no inexplicability. Here was a book that presented all the essential and relevant data, − spiritual, psychological, moral, social, political, economic, humanistic, scientific, technological and artistic. Here were the arguments of the materialist, the vitalist, and the idealist, − all expounded so lucidly, so clearly, so sharply, and here were clinching answers showing their real merits, their utility in the history of thought, their limitations and their errors. Here was the meeting of the East and the West, − so synthetic, so integral. No trend of thought or no possible trend of thought was omitted or ignored, and none of them was denied its due and right place in a vast all comprehensive scheme of the universe and of Reality. Here was the secret of the Veda and the Upanishad, and here were the missing links that had always left the riddle of the world unresolved. Here was the luminous thought that I was looking for in regard to the Bhagavadgita, and here was a reconciliation of the conflicts of the acharyas that have placed Indian philosophy in a position of serious crisis; here were the data of religions and clues whereby conflicts of religions can be overcome.
Within eight days, I read twice that volume,* spending 22 hours a day. When I completed it, I found that my mind was quiet and was tranquil, profoundly silent, − indeed, I had experienced the peace that transcends understanding. I had now the intellectual conviction that God exists, that the world is an evolutionary manifestation that aims at the plenary manifestation of consciousness and that the individual has an indispensable role to collaborate voluntarily with the upward evolution of Nature so that Nature that is so ignorant today can be transformed into divine nature, into supramental Nature. Sri Aurobindo had explained so clearly and luminously the origin of the Ignorance and how ignorance can be remedied in all its multiple aspects. All my questions were answered, and I had no intellectual doubt left.
I felt as if I was uplifted to the top of a lofty mountain from where I could view the totality of the universe; there arose in my mind a luminous intellectual vision of the supermind, and I saw clearly the meaning of the Overmind and the Mind, − the derivatives of the Supermind, the golden lid of the Ishopanishad, the lifting of which can reveal the supreme light and creative force of the Supreme Reality.
* The Life Divine, Vol. I.
In my external life, I got selected for the I.A.S. in 1955, but resigned from there and joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry in 1956 to practise the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother under the Mother's direct guidance. After twenty years of that golden period, which I spent at the feet of the Mother, I was invited by the Government of India and was appointed Educational Advisor. I continued through that opportunity given to me to serve Mother India in the light of all that I have been receiving inwardly from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Even after completing my term with the Government of India, I have been working in many ways, exploring constantly through research, through internal sadhana and through various activities to grow more and more as a voluntary servant of the Divine Consciousness.
But all this story cannot be told easily and does not directly fall within the limited purpose of this Essay.