Monday, September 19, 2005

The Life Divine

By Sri Aurobindo
Editorial Reviews
  • Book Description: The Life Divine explores for the Modern mind the great streams of Indian metaphysical thought, reconciling the truths behind each and from this synthesis extends in terms of consciousness the concept of evolution. The unfolding of Earth's and man's spiritual destiny is illuminated, pointing the way to a Divine Life on Earth.

  • About the Author: Educated from the childhood in England Ari Aurobindo was fluent in several languages and avoided appearing for his Indian Civil Service Test and joined the mainstream Independence Movement. In the year 1910 he decided to retire from active politics and withdrew to Pondichery for exclusive concentration his spiritual practice.In 1914, after four years of intense Yoga he launched a monthly philosophic review, Arya, in which most of his major works were serialised. These works embodied much of the inner knowledge that had come to him in his practice of Yoga. Having gathered all the essential truths of past spiritual experiences, he worked for a more complete method of Yoga that would transform human nature and divinise life. To this purpose he devoted the rest of his life.Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.
Spotlight Reviews
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Albert Einstein of human and cosmic consciousness
March 8, 2003, Reviewer: "alliatus" (Toronto Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
Sri Aurobindo, a contemporary of Sage Gandhi, helped to compliment Gandhi’s works and message to India and the World. Whilst Sri Gandhi preached non-violence and world peace, Sri Aurobindo also left his philosophy to serve humanity evolution. If Martin Buber were alive, I would recommend him to read it in addition to his own “I and Thou”.
I am indeed humbled by my rating. I can only say it is meant for sharing with patrons how dearly I treasure it, the rating is not meant to rate the sage Sri Aurobindo and his “Life Divine” --- for example, how does an elementary student rate Einstein’s works? Starting from the very first page, I wonder how the written meta-materials could have originated from a homo sapiens mind. It seems to me, the wordings in written physical form is a limited tool employed, but was the best available for Sri Aurobindo at that time. The work, originally a compilation of numerous contiguous articles, comprises 3 Parts: Book 1 Part I: Omnipresent reality and the universe, Book 2 Part I: The infinite consciousness and the ignorance Book 2 Part II: Knowledge and the spiritual revolution.Occasionally he quotes, he mentions Names, it is not an extension of any sacred texts, be it Hinduism or others; it is not a set of spiritual practice based on mystical symbolism e.g. Kabbalah. They are simply words emancipating from the Author, like crystal clear waters flowing naturally in a steady moving stream, with calmness, serenity and vitality, glistening with cosmic light of jnana.
Last six chapters are the essence of the book, if you are intimidated by the volume size and really want to get something out of it with limited time constraint. Reading a 1100+ pages fiction is already no easy matter. And more than 1100+ pages of philosophy writing requests your persistency, and requires your thinking and assimilation in each page. It is not an exaggeration if it takes you a lifetime to read. After you finish the book to its last page, you start over if you may want to recall the chapters all over.
Customer Reviews
A masterpiece meant for everyone
October 6, 2005, Reviewer: savitriera - See all my reviews
It is a difficult read, no doubt, but this is one book which each and every educated person must read; doesn't matter if it takes a lifetime. If one reads three pages a day, it'll take one year to finish the book; that is the kind of patience the book demands, but it's worth it and extremely rewarding. Logistics overcome, comes the barrier of prejudice; several of them: India, Hindu, Ashram, Philosophy, Spirituality, New-Age etc. But what is needed is an absolutely open mind and the book becomes a pure Life's User Manual.
The book itself is a Univeresity that breathes universality. During the course of reading, one gets attuned to many related areas and ideas by way of allusions and comparisions. It also solves progressively one's long-held doubts and discords. Besides, in whichever profession one is, it helps to improve on the practical aspects. Further, the poetic beauty of the text enhances the sheer pleasure of reading even while the insights gained expands one's sense of mundane existence. Two other booklets, "The Mother" and "The Mind of Light" or "The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth" are essential supplements, lest one's understanding of the author is prone to be lopsided.

The greatest achievement of Mankind
September 26, 2005, Reviewer: N.H. (CYPRUS) - See all my reviews
This book is the greatest achievement of Mankind! It is the greatest philosophical book ever written and in the best English Language ever written too.It is the Ultimate culmination of a 3,000 year Indian Philosophic Thought. Sri Aurobindo examines deeper than anybody ever did the Human Condition and treats with the utmost profundity, clarity, linguistic beauty, logical acuity, originality and imagination all the major questions of Life:
Why is there something rather than nothing, what is the meaning of life, why are we here, where did we come from, what is our relationship to the ultimate ground of Being, what is the function of ignorance, suffering, pain, what is the Nature of the Ultimate Being. He surpasses Shankara, incorporating in his philosophy the Tantric idea of the meaningfulness and purposefulness of the Becoming, as well as all central elements of Buddhist Philosophy. In relating all these to modern man (Western and Eastern) and connecting everything together through the most plastic, expressive, exquisite language ever written, he achieves the Ultimate Synthesis of all philosophical and spiritual thought of Mankind.
Although one needs to become accustomed to his unique language and expression , as well as to spend initially some time in understanding the way he uses certain terms (some of his own creation, so that the Unexpressible could at least be hinted at), this initial investment of time will more than reward the serious reader in the end. Some, with whom I agree, suggest that one start reading the book from the chapter "The evolution of the spiritual man"(Book 2,chapter 24) and, after moving on to read the next two chapters too, to go back and start reading it from the beginning.These last chapters give an overview of his philosophy and are written in more easy language. "THE LIFE DIVINE" is itself one of the most pure EMBODIMENTS of the DIVINE.
August 9, 2005, Reviewer: Samesh Braroo (foster city, ca United States) - See all my reviews
If you've taken Sri Ramakrishna's lens to your person and located the wick of your darkness, then this book is your ignition to illustrate your candle and catch the sun by its collar. Before my third day on this book, I had identified the snipers that had been frustrating my quiet for years, and by the weekend, I had already begun to expose their bluntness and useless sincerity. Then on, it was a serial self-directed mechanical process of renouncing my unnecessary perceptions and opinions, that my cavities had caved in to, and exhuming my interred scope, that had been given to me lost by the petty day-to-day facades. To call this book a book is to bind it with scope. It's the perching that opens the door to give your journey in this world a gait of 'Ananda'(tranquility). This book is a burner for both the religionists and the materialists. No matter which end of the deception you contest for, Sri Aurobindo will reclaim you, restate you and achieve you. This is my its view. And here it is once again :
Neither is temple the god's retail chamber, Nor the tavern his met church, He's in the half-steps that break from their precedent, To increment the spirit of the matters ahead, And unless your address is widespread, The divine will not be caught found !
Sri Aurobindo's Spiritual Guide to the Universe
July 8, 2004, Reviewer: Roy Posner (Lafayette, CA United States) - See all my reviews
It has been said that no one can explain the process by which the Divine became the universe. It is explained here. It is said that no one can explain the meaning of life, including the myriad of details that explains its organization. It is explained here with great clarity, using the most beautiful of prose. It is said that no one can explain the purpose and future evolution of life on earth. It is also explained in exquisite detail. In sum, this is the most profound spiritual work of the last hundred years. If you have the patience, you can discover the answers to most of the major questions of life within the bounds of this book.
This work is a synthesis of western evolutionary teachings and the most profound spiritual teachings of the East. And yet it is beyond even a synthesis of the two. It is a revelation of truth and insight never before expressed in all the annals of spiritual literature. There is no work like it on earth. The expression does not feel like something that is spiritual, as we've come to know that concept. Instead it feels "FUTURE spiritual." That's so because he EXPERIENCED that supra-spiritual future in the present of his extraordinary life.
A book for all times
January 29, 1999, Reviewer: A reader
When I read The Divine Life over 15 years ago it turned my faith around very profoundly,- it gave me Faith. I was a teenager and I thought I was an atheist! I am reading it again today and find the same eternal breath of inspiration in it which I found then. If we need a new Resurrection from the Godhead Shri Aurobindo and his message in The Life Divine are the highest representation for Modern Times.