By Jerry Alatalo
ndian philosopher Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) wrote the remarkable book “The Life Divine” decades ago, yet the spiritual classic remains relevant today in 2016. In the most basic description of the massive over-1,000 page work, Sri Aurobindo makes a thorough, exhaustive effort to articulate how spiritual/consciousness aspects of existence being underestimated or avoided has resulted in ignorance regarding true knowledge – widespread ignorance and its corresponding widespread negative consequences for humanity – and that only the full awareness and appreciation of consciousness or spiritual aspects of existence can end ignorance, thereby allowing for positive world evolutionary movements based on total, not partial, knowledge.
The meeting, after 1,000 years where the large religious denominations had been separated, between head of the Roman Catholic church Pope Francis and the Russian Orthodox church Patriarch Kirill could be perceived as a good and welcomed sign that the spiritual/consciousness natures of reality are gaining long-awaited, long-needed prominence in 2016, that perhaps human ignorance will be overcome, especially, when people around the Earth are talking openly about a possible 3rd world war.
In Sri Aurobindo’s book, he asserts that humanity hasn’t embraced true total knowledge, at one point using the term “true truth”, and that if mankind became aware of its full-knowledge potentialities life on Earth would undergo profound, great and positive transformation.
After reading some paragraphs from “The Life Divine”, there is a link where one can obtain a free download of the entire book in PDF, EPUB and Kindle formats. Please record the link URL so that it’s available for sharing with friends, family and others who would be interested in such an in-depth, ever-relevant, always-timely philosophical classic.
An interview focusing on Sri Aurobindo’s life and work follows a selected section of the book, providing further insights into one of the world’s most important and serious philosophers, one its most profound writers on spiritual evolution, in recent history.
The following excerpt gives one an idea of Sri Aurobindo’s writing style and the kind of content found throughout “The Life Divine”, and comes from Book 2, Chapter XV: Reality and the Integral Knowledge:
An integral knowledge then must be a knowledge of the truth of all sides of existence both separately and in the relation of each to all and the relation of all to the truth of the Spirit. Our present state is an Ignorance and a many-sided seeking; it seeks for the truth of all things but,—as is evident from the insistence and the variety of the human mind’s speculations as to the fundamental Truth which explains all others, the Reality at the basis of all things,—the fundamental truth of things, their basic reality must be found in some at once fundamental and universal Real; it is that which, once discovered, must embrace and explain all,—for “That being known all will be known”: the fundamental Real must necessarily be and contain the truth of all existence, the truth of the individual, the truth of the universe, the truth of all that is beyond the universe.
The Mind, in seeking for such a Reality and testing each thing from Matter upwards to see if that might not be It, has not proceeded on a wrong intuition. All that is necessary is to carry the inquiry to its end and test the highest and ultimate levels of experience.
But since it is from the Ignorance that we proceed to the Knowledge, we have had first to discover the secret nature and full extent of the Ignorance. If we look at this Ignorance in which ordinarily we live by the very circumstance of our separative existence in a material, in a spatial and temporal universe, we see that on its obscurer side it reduces itself, from whatever direction we look at or approach it, into the fact of a many-sided self-ignorance.
We are ignorant of the Absolute which is the source of all being and becoming; we take partial facts of being, temporal relations of the becoming for the whole truth of existence,—that is the first, the original ignorance.
We are ignorant of the spaceless, timeless, immobile and immutable Self; we take the constant mobility and mutation of the cosmic becoming in Time and Space for the whole truth of existence, —that is the second, the cosmic ignorance.
We are ignorant of our universal self, the cosmic existence, the cosmic consciousness, our infinite unity with all being and becoming; we take our limited egoistic mentality, vitality, corporeality for our true self and regard everything other than that as not-self,—that is the third, the egoistic ignorance.
We are ignorant of our eternal becoming in Time; we take this little life in a small span of Time, in a petty field of Space, for our beginning, our middle and our end,—that is the fourth, the temporal ignorance.
Even within this brief temporal becoming we are ignorant of our large and complex being, of that in us which is superconscient, subconscient, intraconscient, circumconscient to our surface becoming; we take that surface becoming with its small selection of overtly mentalised experiences for our whole existence,—that is the fifth, the psychological ignorance.
We are ignorant of the true constitution of our becoming; we take the mind or life or body or any two of these or all three for our true principle or the whole account of what we are, losing sight of that which constitutes them and determines by its occult presence and is meant to determine sovereignly by its emergence their operations,—that is the sixth, the constitutional ignorance.
As a result of all these ignorances, we miss the true knowledge, government and enjoyment of our life in the world; we are ignorant in our thought, will, sensations, actions, return wrong or imperfect responses at every point to the questionings of the world, wander in a maze of errors and desires, strivings and failures, pain and pleasure, sin and stumbling, follow a crooked road, grope blindly for a changing goal,—that is the seventh, the practical ignorance.
Our conception of the Ignorance will necessarily determine our conception of the Knowledge and determine, therefore, since our life is the Ignorance at once denying and seeking after the Knowledge, the goal of human effort and the aim of the cosmic endeavour.
Integral knowledge will then mean the cancelling of the sevenfold Ignorance by the discovery of what it misses and ignores, a sevenfold self-revelation within our consciousness:— it will mean the knowledge of the Absolute as the origin of all things; the knowledge of the Self, the Spirit, the Being and of the cosmos as the Self’s becoming, the becoming of the Being, a manifestation of the Spirit; the knowledge of the world as one with us in the consciousness of our true self, thus cancelling our division from it by the separative idea and life of ego; the knowledge of our psychic entity and its immortal persistence in Time beyond death and earth-existence; the knowledge of our greater and inner existence behind the surface; the knowledge of our mind, life and body in its true relation to the self within and the superconscient spiritual and supramental being above them; the knowledge, finally, of the true harmony and true use of our thought, will and action and a change of all our nature into a conscious expression of the truth of the Spirit, the Self, the Divinity, the integral spiritual Reality.
But this is not an intellectual knowledge which can be learned and completed in our present mould of consciousness; it must be an experience, a becoming, a change of consciousness, a change of being. This brings in the evolutionary character of the Becoming and the fact that our mental ignorance is only a stage in our evolution.
The integral knowledge, then, can only come by an evolution of our being and our nature, and that would seem to signify a slow process in Time such as has accompanied the other evolutionary transformations. But as against that inference there is the fact that the evolution has now become conscious and its method and steps need not be altogether of the same character as when it was subconscious in its process. The integral knowledge, since it must result from a change of consciousness, can be gained by a process in which our will and endeavour have a part, in which they can discover and apply their own steps and method: its growth in us can proceed by a conscious self-transformation.
It is necessary then to see what is likely to be the principle of this new process of evolution and what are the movements of the integral knowledge that must necessarily emerge in it,—or, in other words, what is the nature of the consciousness that must be the base of the life divine and how that life may be expected to be formed or to form itself, to materialise or, as one might say, to “realise”.
(Thank you to New Thinking Allowed at YouTube)