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.
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.