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On Philosophical Synthesis Author(s): Sri Aurobindo Reviewed work(s): Source: Philosophy East and West, Vol. 12, No.

4 (Jan., 1963), pp. 291-293 Published by: University of Hawai'i Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1396812 . Accessed: 26/11/2012 17:11
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SRI AUROBINDO

On Philosophical Synthesis
SELECTED BY INDRA SEN EUROPEAN METAPHYSICAL THOUGHT-even in those

thinkers who tryto proveor explainthe existence and natureof God or theintellect. of theAbsolute-does notin itsmethod and result go beyond But the intellect the supreme is incapableof knowing Truth;it can only of forTruth, and catching representations rangeaboutseeking fragmentary Mindcannotarrive and trying to piecethemtogether. itself it,notthething it to represent thattries at Truth;it can onlymakesomeconstructed figure or a combination of figures. At the end of Europeanthought, therefore, if it goes or implicit. there mustalwaysbe Agnosticism, declared Intellect, "I cannot to itsownend,has to return and givethisreport: know; sincerely there is,or at leastit seemsto me thatthere maybe or evenmustbe SomeI can onlyspeculate; someultimate butaboutitstruth thing beyond, Reality, it is either unknowable or cannotbe knownby me." Or, if it has received somelight on thewayfrom whatis beyond it,it can saytoo: "Thereis perof it and Mind,forI seem to catchglimpses beyond haps a consciousness in from If that is touch with the it. evento get intimations Beyondor if it and of the can is itself find some theconsciousness Beyond you wayto reach known not can otherwise." this be but it, then Something ofthesupreme Truth intellect alonemust end either through Anyseeking kind in intellectual or mindof this or else some in Agnosticism system of these have and formula. There hundreds constructed been systems formunone can definitive. Each may but be las and there can be hundreds more, with their conhave its value forthemind,and different systems contrary of equal powerand comclusions can havean equal appeal to intelligences has itsutility in training thehuman All thislabourof speculation petence. it theidea of Something to keepbefore and Ultimindand helping beyond Buttheintellectual Reasoncan onlypoint turn. whichitmust matetowards towards it or try to indicate or feelgropingly partialand evenconvaguely intoand knowit.As manifestation it enter of its cannot here; aspects flicting of an in the domain the intellect remain we as only, impartial long pondering
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292

SRI AUROBINDO

overall thathas beenthought and sought a constant after, up of throwing ofall thepossible of thisor thatphilosophical ideas, ideas,andtheformation orconclusion is all that can be done.Thiskindofdisinterested belief, opinion searchafter Truthwould be the onlypossibleattitude forany wide and But anyconclusion so arrived at wouldbe onlyspeculaplastic intelligence. tive;it couldhave no spiritual value; it wouldnotgive thedecisive experienceor thespiritual forwhichthe soul is seeking. certitude If the intellect is our highest and thereis no othermeansof arriving possibleinstrument at supraphysical thena wiseand largeAgnosticism mustbe our ultiTruth, mateattitude. Thingsin the manifestation maybe knownto some degree, buttheSupreme and all thatis beyond theMind mustremain forever unknowable. It is onlyif there is a greater consciousness Mind and thatconbeyond sciousness is accessible to us thatwe can knowand enterintothe ultimate Intellectual as to whether is or there Reality. speculation, logicalreasoning is notsucha greater consciousness cannotcarry us veryfar.What we need is a wayto gettheexperience of it,to reachit,enter intoit,live in it. If we cangetthat, intellectual and fallnecessarily into must speculation reasoning a very and even lose their reason for existence. secondary place Philosophy, of theTruthmayremain, as a meansof intellectual butmainly expression thisgreater and as muchof itscontents as can at all be discovery expressing in mental terms to who still in those live the mentalintelliexpressed .. gence in India,the metaphysical as In the East,especially thinkers have tried, thenature of thehighest in theWest,to determine Truthby the intellect. the supreme But,in the first place, theyhave not given mentalthinking in thediscovery of Truth, rankas an instrument status. butonlya secondary intuition rankhas alwaysbeengivento spiritual and illumination The first an intellectual thatcontradicts and spiritual conclusion thisSuexperience; is held invalid. each itself has armed Secondly, philosophy premeauthority of to the of state so witha practical consciousness, way reaching supreme withThought, theaim is to arrive at a consciousthat evenwhenone begins Eachphilosophical founder mental nessbeyond (as also thosewho thinking. thinker with hisworkor school) has beena metaphysical doubled continued intellectuals were respected for a Yogi. Those who wereonlyphilosophic rank as truth-discoverers. And the never took but their philosophies learning, meansof spiritual died out thatlackeda sufficiently experience powerful werenot dynamic forspiritual of thepast becausethey and becamethings and realisation. discovery thatcameto pass.Thought, In theWestit was justtheopposite intellect,

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SYNTHESIS ON PHILOSOPHICAL

293

means moreand moreas thehighest thelogicalreason cameto be regarded endthe is and the in be-all and eventhehighest end; philosophy, Thought to distruth is that the be all. It is byintellectual and thinking speculation of the tests to has summoned been even spiritual covered; pass experience of theIndianposition. theintellect, ifit is to be heldvalid-just thereverse and admita Even thosewho see thatmentalThoughtmustbe overpassed that it mustbe the from not seem to do "Other," feeling escape supramental that thisother and mental itself, sublimating transmuting through Thought, and madeto taketheplace of thementallimitation Truthmustbe reached it has has ceasedto be dynamic; and ignorance. And againWestern thought It still after a of not realisation. was after dynamic sought theory things, thanspiritual rather theancient butformoraland aesthetic Greeks, amongst and academic;it beintellectual ends.Lateron, it becameyetmorepurely without cameintellectual practical waysand meansfor speculation only any of the Truthby spiritual a the attainment experiment, spiritual discovery, there not this there no transformation. If were would be difference, spiritual reasonforseekers. . . to turnto the East forguidance;forin the purely thinkers as anyeastern intellectual thewestern are as competent field, sage. road that the intellectual the leads It is the spiritual levels, way, beyond theouterbeingto theinmost thepassagefrom Self,whichhas been lostby of the mindof Europe .... the overintellectuality It is notby"thinking out"theentire butbya changeof consciousreality, the ignorance to theKnowledge-the Knowlnessthatone can pass from theexternal whatwe know.To pass from to a diwe become edgebywhich to widenconsciousness inner outof thelimrect andintimate consciousness; it by an innerwill and aspiration itsof theego and the body;to heighten and openingto theLighttill it passesin its ascentbeyond Mind,to bring Divinethrough ofthesupramental and surrender downa descent self-giving ofmind, lifeand body-thisis theintegral transformation with a consequent way to the Truth.*
* Quoted fromSri Aurobindo, The Riddle of this World (3rd ed., Calcutta: literally House, 1946), pp. 23-32, passim. AryaPublishing

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