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At the Feet of The Mother

The Discoveries of Science, pp. 252-253

Opening Remarks
Reason has been useful to Science in unearthing some of the material processes that operate in creation. However it hardly goes beyond it knowing not that the universe does not end up with our material world.

Aided sense
Apprentice she has grown to her old drudge;
An aided sense is her seeking’s arbiter.

Reason depends heavily on the senses that are themselves conditioned to perceive ‘reality’ in a certain habitual way. The very first data of observation is thus falsified.

Assayer’s stone
This now she uses as the assayer’s stone.

Yet it through this faulty data and its faulty analysis that Reason tries to test and prove its theories.

The husk and the kernel
As if she knew not facts are husks of truth,
The husks she keeps, the kernel throws aside.

While Scientific reason keeps analysing the surfaces giving them the utmost importance, the real truths work deep within which remain unseen. Besides not all things can be measured or probed by the senses. These things though of utmost importance, belong to the subjective domain and hence are often thrown aside as unnecessary to knowledge and exploration of Truth.

Wisdom fades
An ancient wisdom fades into the past,
The ages’ faith becomes an idle tale,
God passes out of the awakened thought,
An old discarded dream needed no more:
Only she seeks mechanic Nature’s keys.

Thus progressing in a limited field and through limited means it ends up declaring all things as untrue that do not come in the ambit, scope or means of its study. Faith and spiritual Wisdom gathered over the Ages is discarded as a hallucination and dream whose time is over. According to this new gospel of Science all that is needed for man’s life to be happy is to study and discover the mechanical laws and forces that govern our material existence.

The process of all things done
Interpreting stone-laws inevitable
She digs into Matter’s hard concealing soil,
To unearth the processes of all things done.

It digs into gross matter to discover the how of things. It turns these discoveries into hard and fixed laws even though they are mere habitual patterns. It concerns with the processes and terms them as cause while the real causes elude its understanding.

Loaded huge machine
A loaded huge self-worked machine appears
To her eye’s eager and admiring stare,
An intricate and meaningless enginery
Of ordered fateful and unfailing Chance:
Ingenious and meticulous and minute,
Its brute unconscious accurate device
Unrolls an unerring march, maps a sure road;
It plans without thinking, acts without a will,
A million purposes serves with purpose none
And builds a rational world without a mind.

With a touch of brilliant and subtle humour Sri Aurobindo points out the paradox of Reason and Science. By discovering laws that govern this huge machine called the universe that works ceaselessly with its countless processes, it implies a rational order or a conscious power that arranges things and organises creation and its million processes that work together it perfection. Yet the same Science and Reason declares that all these processes work without a purpose driven by some unconscious, mechanical, unthinking Force. Yet this unconscious mechanical energy gives birth to consciousness and thought.

Self-action without a cause
It has no mover, no maker, no idea:
Its vast self-action toils without a cause;
A lifeless Energy irresistibly driven,
Death’s head on the body of Necessity,
Engenders life and fathers consciousness,
Then wonders why all was and whence it came.

Instead of accepting its own limits Reason hypothesis the limits of creation and the Creator. It ‘believes’ that there is no conscious Intelligence behind this world that nevertheless works with such precision and organised to perfection. It believes that the world is driven by necessity without any other cause or idea behind it. Yet this mechanical necessity and unconscious energy gives birth to life and consciousness. Thus limiting itself by its means and its field it wonders why and whence it all came and declares creation as a meaningless, purposeless accident and a series of random events.

Closing Remarks
Step by step in a most logical way Sri Aurobindo reveals us the paradox of Science and the limitation of Reason to give us a true understanding of ‘Reality’.

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