Integrality of Life

Knowledge gathers by observation and experience. It becomes practically useful knowledge when a process of a thing is known, e.g. climbing a tree, drawing water from a well, speaking the first few words, art of writing, etc. At this stage, we see our practically useful knowledge is in proportion to our experience as the topography of a locality. A time comes when this partial knowledge becomes perfect knowledge or complete knowledge when the field of observation can be organised into a subject or a branch of science. At this time, the field reveals the laws governing it, not before.

  • Random knowledge, however great the volume, will not allow itself to be reduced to laws.

  • For the laws of a field to be extracted as the essence of the field, the observation must be complete or exhaustive.

  • When a field exists in more than one plane, the laws cannot be perfectly known until the observation is exhausted in all the planes of existence.

  • Life exists in the mental, vital, physical fields and their respective subtle planes. The spiritual plane cannot be fully excluded if one desires mastery, but as far as physical work is concerned, the direct involvement of the spiritual plane may be excluded, if it is represented by the work values that are spiritual.

  • Shakespeare in his works brought out this truth forcefully. In all literature, this aspect can be seen, even in tales for children. There are basic aspects of life which no level of fiction can overlook. Its refinement in terms of events and character and especially as Life Response depends upon the greatness of the writer.

Shakespearean critics have invariably dismissed as errors of a great mind ALL points of his works that reveal his greatness. Where the mastermind travels beyond the finite functioning of the human mind, the human mind is generous enough to label it as an error. The Laws of Life Response cannot be seen unless and until life is seen functioning at those points. The greatness of life and its integrality lies in the fact that those great touches are there in ALL acts, small or great, however crudely they reveal themselves. The crudeness is in our perception, not in their revelation. From this point of view, a few conclusions are drawn.

  1. General observation of life, however wide, can only give a random knowledge of Life Response. It can be interesting, cannot be final, cannot conclusively reveal the laws and confirm them.

  2. An observation of life, an analysis of events in all planes of its existence is a sine qua non for one who endeavours to lay his hands on these laws.

  3. The clue, the key, lies in those SUBTLE points where energy spills over from one field to another, often appearing to be an unconnected vagary, occasionally contradicting the laws. To see such points of contradiction as confirmation is the index for complete understanding.

  4. A further point, maybe the most important one, is to render this knowledge useful for evoking life response or to make Life Respond as we intend. Should we do so, he who does it gains mastery over life.

As Sri Aurobindo has detailed in The Life Divine the theory of creation and its process, all these laws are pronounced there abundantly. Over thirty years they have been ‘documented’ after a fashion enough to confirm the understanding. As this is a minor version of the Master’s philosophy, it may not evoke a great response from His disciples. For the layman, it has a two-fold advantage of mastering one’s own life and being introduced to His philosophy. A painstaking analysis of events of life, coupled with a study of historical events and events in literature that reveal these laws will be of great interest to the general reader. Obviously there is no use for detailing the laws which may offer a good theoretical knowledge which may not go beyond the first reading.