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The Life Divine
Truth And Luminous Thoughts

Ananda Reddy, Ph.D.

Let us launch on a journey of self-discovery. Let us not try to study The Life Divine as a book of philosophy, but probe its inner secrets. As says Sri Aurobindo:

    "Probe it and you shall meet a Being still Infinite, nameless, mute, unknowable."

    - Discoveries of Science III

The 'Being' that we find in The Life Divine is obviously that of Sri Aurobindo's, for "each book of Sri Aurobindo contains symbolically, potentially what is there in him," says the Mother.

    Sri Aurobindo's books represent a whole understanding, a whole knowledge and a whole power and so each one of his books is at once a symbol and a representation.

    The Mother.

The predominant personality that comes out in this magnum opus is not his philosophical one, for he was never a philosopher in the common sense of the term, but a great synthesiser of philosophic thought and spiritual experience. We see in it a Himalayan statured Rishi, a seer scanning the world in a single gaze, in a central, unified consciousness wherein all views, all principles, all methods more or less according to their capacity to express and reflect the Truth find their harmonious place in the cosmic plan of the Divine Manifestation. Each major School of thought or spiritual experience that has influenced sufficiently or contributed recognisably to the march of human consciousness finds its true relation and place and function in the Cosmic Harmony that is The Life Divine. An integral awareness and acceptance of all is necessary for the totality of Divine Manifestation, for the wholeness and completeness of human evolution.

The Life Divine, thus stands as a unique synthesis of the quintessential experience of human thought and consciousness. It stands on par with the Gita and the Upanishads as a vision and work of spiritual synthesis.

In India, evolution of spirituality followed a unique pattern of devolution. In this pattern there are three distinct stages. The early Vedic was the first stage: "then religion took its outward formal stand on the natural approach to the physical mind of man to the Godhead in the universe, but the initiates guarded the sacrificial fire of a greater spiritual truth behind the form." (SABCL 14, p. 157) And this greater Truth expressed itself in three basic spiritual experiences: The Supreme Divine is One manifesting itself as the Many; the supreme Being is not only transcendental and universal but also imminent in man as his soul; there are as many paths to realise the Divine as there are aspirants.

The second stage was the Purano-Tantric age when religion took its outward form. Temples were built to the different deities, and different ways were established for 'an inner living of spiritual life in all its profundity." Sri Krishna's sublime truth, 'Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in me alone' released a flood of devotion and the whole country's psyche was irrigated with bhakti-bhava love of and surrender to the Lord. At the same time, the Mother cult become predominant and the aspect of Goddess was given an equal importance an importance that was absent during the Vedic age. Thus by the end of the second stage, Indian spirituality had devolved from the level of Revelation and Intuition - the Vedas and Upanishads, to the level of Illumined Mind - the Shastras and Epics, to the level of Mind the six schools of Indian Philosophy, to the level of the heart and psychic being the Puranas and the Bhakti literature. It is now time for a third stage wherein the transformation of body of man would have to be given the importance, the necessary focus, thus culminating in an integral personality of the human being.

    "This greatest movement of the Indian Spiritual  mind has a double impulse. Its will is to call the community  of men and all men each according to his power to live in the greatest light of all and found their whole life on some fully revealed power and grand uplifting truth of the Spirit." (SABCL 14, p. 157)

Of this third stage of Indian Spiritual evolution, Sri Aurobindo is the Foundation and the Fulfilment. And his book The Life Divine is the quintessence of the Past and the essence of the Future.

We may liken The Life Divine to Kutsa Angirasa's description of Usha, the dawn-goddess:

    "What is her scope when she harmonises with the  dawns that shone out before and those that now must shine? She desires the ancient mornings and fulfils their light;  projecting forward her illumination she enters into communion  with the rest that are to come."


"My work is not to intervene in social matters within the frame of the present humanity but to bring down a  higher Spiritual light and power of a higher character which  will make a radical change in the earth Consciousness".

    Sri Aurobindo


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