Friday, 25 November 2016

The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo


1.Title:  The Life Divine
2.  Author:  Sri Aurobindo
3.Publisher:  Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department
4. First Published:  1939-40
5.ISBN :  81-7058-188-5
6.Copyright:  @Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1970.
7.Pages:  1070
8.Price:  Rs140 only.
I must confess at the outset that it is a difficult book. A  friend had gifted it  in 1994 when I was posted in Moradabad  as District Magistrate. I tried to read it on several  different occasions , but  I had to give up after reading the first  few pages. It was too abstract and difficult .It was only in  July ,2016 that I  took it up as a challenge  .I could slowly read it over a period of about three months and completed its reading in October , 2016.I  can say with all humility that I  have understood it only partly , but whatever I could understand , was worth all the time I spent.
             The Buddha , as he stood on the threshold of Nirvana , of the Non-Being , his soul turned back  and took the vow  never to make  the irrevocable crossing  so long as  there was a single being  upon earth  undelivered from  the knot of the suffering , from the bondage of the ego.The real goal of life  is not Nirvana for an individual.
           God is Sat , Chit Anand .In other words , God is Existence,Consciousness-Force , Bliss.The Divine descends  through the creative medium of Supermind . On the other hand ,  human beings ascend from Matter , Life , Soul(Psyche), and mind and Supermind towards the Divine.This is the Reality and the Universe. This is explained by Book One.
        Book Two is about the Spiritual Evolution .Ego is separative and divisive. Vidya , the highest knowledge is the knowledge of One. Avidya is the knowledge of  the divided Many. Actually Vidya alone is Knowledge . Avidya is Ignorance. Knowledge in its totality , is  abiding self-knowledge  and world knowledge. Self-knowledge  leads to the most direct road to Nirvana.(Knowledge of God).
            Reality is Truth, Good , beauty.(Satyam , Shivam ,Sundaram).Whatever knowledge of self there would be , would be perfectly embodied in the will of the self , the will perfectly embodied  in the action of the self. This will result in  self-formulation and delight of self-expression .The complete self awareness  is what is meant by spiritual knowledge.
              A Divine life must be  first and foremost  an inner life. Those who turn the eye inward  see and know the Spirit  and develop into spiritual being. Inward turning  is the first step towards a true  universality .Often our universalization  on the surface  is a poor and limping endeavour. We think we are universal  in our altruism  but we do not see that it is a veil  for the imposition of our  individual self ,  our need for ego enlargement  upon others whom we  take up into our extended orbit. We have to have an inner sense  of the reality of oneness  to have a realization of spiritual unity. Such a life can govern the action of a divine life. An inner life awakened to a full consciousness  and to a full power of consciousness  will bear its inevitable fruit  in all who have it , self knowledge ,  the joy of a satisfied being , the happiness of a fulfilled nature. Then we have conscious communication of mind with mind , heart with heart, a unity of being , a spiritual conscious community.
             “The individual  does not owe his ultimate allegiance  to the State  .His allegiance must be to the Truth ,the Self , the Spirit , the Divine which is in him and in all .Not to subordinate  but to find and express  that truth of being in himself  and help the community  and humanity in its seeking  for its own truth  and fullness of being must be his real object of existence.”
              As a person moves towards  spiritual freedom ,  he moves also towards  spiritual oneness. He becomes preoccupied with  the good of all beings. A perfected community  also can exist only  by the perfection of  its individuals .For the awakened individual , the realization of his truth  of being  and his inner liberation  and perfection  must be his  primary seeking.
            Education and  intellectual training by itself  cannot change a man  because it leaves human ego unchanged .Man’s true way out is to  discover his soul  and its self force  and replace by it  both the mechanisation of mind , the ignorance and disorder  of life  nature. What evolutionary Nature presses for , is an awakening  to the knowledge of  self , the discovery of self , the manifestation of the self  and spirit within us  and the  realisation of its self knowledge , its self power. A life of (Gnostic) awakened  beings  carrying the evolution  to a higher  supramental  status  might fitly be characterised  a Divine Life. This is the soul true  supermanhood and the one real possibility  of a step forward  in evolutionary Nature.
                 I find  an identity of views between Sri Aurobindo and CG Jung.Both emphasize self knowledge.Self knowledge automatically leads  one towards  being a super mind and work  for  spiritual unity and good of community .Altruism at surface , without inner awakening and self knowledge , is  merely a display of ego .
             If you  muster the courage to read this  difficult  book , it will change your life.

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