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At the Feet of The Mother

The Limitations of Reason, p. 252

Opening remarks
Though Reason is presently the highest mental faculty available to man, it has several limitations. It is this that are being revealed here.

Inconclusive play
An inconclusive play is Reason’s toil.

The power of Reason cannot lead us to any definitive conclusion with an absolute certitude of truth.

Tool of ideas
Each strong idea can use her as its tool;
Accepting every brief she pleads her case.

Reason is often merely a tool used to justify an idea that the mind already holds.

Open to every thought
Open to every thought, she cannot know.

Or it may start in an apparently unbiased way accepting every possibility, even the most contradictory and thereby end up in a maze of confusion.

The eternal Advocate
The eternal Advocate seated as judge
Armours in logic’s invulnerable mail
A thousand combatants for Truth’s veiled throne
And sets on a high horse-back of argument
To tilt for ever with a wordy lance
In a mock tournament where none can win.

Sri Aurobindo compares Reason with a lawyer who is arguing his case before the throne of Truth which is veiled to the mind. It posits one ‘truth’ against ‘another’ and hopes to win its case through a brilliant play of words. But in the end the truth remains unknown. It congratulates itself on winning a debate but knows not that it has lost an opportunity to widen its own vision and understanding of Truth.

Wide and empty
Assaying thought’s values with her rigid tests
Balanced she sits on wide and empty air,
Aloof and pure in her impartial poise.

Reason tries to assay the value of each thought testing and retesting it until in trying to balance each one she ends up in a wide and empty air that seemingly appears impartial, abstract and aloof. It fails to understand that Truth is not a rigid mechanical formula as something finite would be but a wide and plastic and infinite.

Time cancels all her verdicts
Absolute her judgments seem but none is sure;
Time cancels all her verdicts in appeal.

Though her judgments arrived at by a neutral impartial seem absolute yet they prove to be faulty as Time flows by. Her previous conclusions are cancelled by a new verdict as fresh data flows in.

Glittering robe
Although like sunbeams to our glow-worm mind
Her knowledge feigns to fall from a clear heaven,
Its rays are a lantern’s lustres in the Night;
She throws a glittering robe on Ignorance.

Although her light seems like sun to our blinded ignorance, its rays are more like a glow worm or a lantern light that throws a luminous robe on ignorance rather than removing it by the full blaze of Light.

Lost is her ancient sovereign claim
But now is lost her ancient sovereign claim
To rule mind’s high realm in her absolute right,
Bind thought with logic’s forged infallible chain
Or see truth nude in a bright abstract haze.

But now we are passing from the rational to an intuitive supra-rational Age whereby the role of Reason would be increasingly subordinated. Man will shake off the chains that limit and bind his self-discovery and of all these chains logic is the worst since it prevents us to have a direct vision of Truth. Reason tries to bind Truth in a rigid fixed formulas or else looks upon it through a bright haze of abstraction.

Erring sight
A master and slave of stark phenomenon,
She travels on the roads of erring sight
Or looks upon a set mechanical world
Constructed for her by her instruments.

It seeks to master phenomenon and by this very fact she is unable to look beyond the phenomenon. Its search and discovery remain tied to phenomenon and appearances of life thereby making it a slave of what it probes and limiting its discoveries to the surfaces.

Cart of proven fact
A bullock yoked in the cart of proven fact,
She drags huge knowledge-bales through Matter’s dust
To reach utility’s immense bazaar.

A slow labourer tied to its what little it has known of the surfaces of life, it carries these heaped ‘facts’ to sell them as ‘knowledge’ for the little utilities of life.

Closing Remarks
Reason is a useful tool to organise life and its discoveries have been helpful to make human living comfortable even though it has also enslaved us to these comforts. However it fails when it makes claims to discovery of Truth. That is beyond the purview of Reason and for that we must await the emergence of another faculty called Intuition.

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It is not the personality, the character that is of the first importance in rebirth — it is the psychic being who stands behind the evolution of the nature and evolves with it.