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Levels of Reading

By Karmayogi

Reading a serious philosophical BOOK certainly has different levels of appreciation. The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo's magnum opus, is NOT a book for reading in any sense of the word. Now that He has written it as a book, of course, it is to be read. He addresses the book to the European intellect. At that level, the book is logical, reasonable, and intelligible. Many Westerners are able to read it with appreciation, if not with commensurate comprehension. The mental energy the pages demand is exhausted in the first few pages, then sleep overtakes. For those who persevere, all the intellectual arguments are there, especially if one is as painstaking as a translator to arrange the arguments. It is a feat for us.

He who has successfully completed this course would see behind each intellectual argument an insight opens, where logic mysteriously opens into an experience. Whether it is an intellectual mental experience or an experience in Silence, it is a gateway into the higher reaches of the Book. Having mastered the Book intellectually, if one is patient enough to avail of each spiritual experience that each argument offers, certainly he can congratulate himself on the achievement. The partial mental world of ours will give way to a fuller world, a world that informs us of its fullness. At the next stage, one is ushered into a spiritual atmosphere that is more than that of Silence, perhaps a world of creative Silence. Persisting there, one enters into the cosmic consciousness, a realisation given to those who chant OMwith the right spiritual attitude, not mechanically.

At this stage, the reader will have completely crossed the first inversion of life where he realises obstacles are opportunities and partially crossed the second inversion of Pain is Ananda. The final stage of appreciation of the Book is when the reading reveals the Golden Purusha Sri Aurobindo is, in His supramental Form. Then he has glimpses of the MARVEL He speaks of - the world of Delight Mother spoke of. From another line of thought, intellectuality is a bar, Faith and Devotion are keys. To such people all the arguments come fully through life analogies and the vision of His Supramental Form reveals even in the beginning, if they are endowed with subtle vision. One argument of His yields to concentration and consecration a flash of all these splendours at once. It is a rare spiritual realisation to hold all the arguments of the Book simultaneously in the head, if not in the Soul.

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