T he question of what is the real purpose of our Life would have arisen in the minds of some of us. Similarly why there seems so much suffering and cruelty in this world would be a follow-up question. At the same time, a vast majority would not even have the time or opportunity to ask these questions. Instead, it would be taken for granted and we would try and manage our Life as best as we can with its share of happiness and unhappiness and its ups and downs. For the Mental Man (i.e. Mind Controlled Person), it seems essential to find the answer to these questions.
There is no ready-made answer to these and the answers also need to be experienced rather than mentally understood. However, until that stage is reached, understanding the Upanishads and other similar experienced / expressed Truths may be the only option to mentally try and understand. Again, this also has one more value in that – once understood, if we try and experience the same then, it seems an easier way to approach the Truth. This is the path of knowledge (as the Ancients termed it) and while the other paths of devotion / surrender and selfless work have to be practised and lead to the same goal, the mind led man will be more satisfied if he conquers this question.
With whatever limited knowledge and even lesser experience I have garnered, let me try and outline how I have been able to rationalize the seeming complex chaos which Life seems to be. The basis of this article (split in three parts) is Sri Aurobindo’s translation of the Taitreeya Upanishad and his writings on the Life Divine. When the words as translated by him are understood, the writings and expressions of other great souls seem easier to not only understand but also the truth of their essence gets clarified in the background of this explanation and makes it easier to comprehend - hence am keeping that as the starting point.
The basic issue to be understood is ‘Who Am I’? For this, it seems essential to comprehend how the world has been structured. The Upanishad says initially there was nothing other than One Whole (either all galaxies together or nothing – i.e. Absolute Space). That One (or It) willed the Many and all became separated (seems very similar to scientific theories – Big Bang etc.). It then created or evolved out of Itself various aspects of Life – Air, Fire, Water, Food, Man, etc.
Therefore, on the one side that One is the Absolute, Faceless, Formless and Infinite and, on the other, that One then becomes the smallest of form or the mightiest of Life – i.e. everything is Him. (Now it will be clear why Ancient man worshipped every item of Nature as God, it was not barbaric ignorance but deep knowledge!)
An easier way to understand this is that it is He who becomes the energy giving Life to every element in this world. Thus, there is none other than that One. From the blade of grass to the largest creature, everything is Him. Logically, pursuing this then this Earth is created by Him, of Himself, for Himself (or His enjoyment in His different forms), on Him and in Him (as He is also the space which envelops the whole galaxies).
If understood this way, then it becomes clear that each of us is essentially that Inner One who gives us the energy / sanction / permission to experience different aspects of Life.
Still this does not answer why create this world of such relative contrasts? The truthful answer is we cannot find the answer through our mind. How can something which is Infinite in Itself be understood first of all, leave alone understand Its purpose? However, since the Mind clamours for an answer, the only somewhat logical answer seems to be – ‘As a play’ (Lila). The Mind would immediately refute this and seek a ‘purpose’. The next article will further clarify this with an example and more detailed explanation.
(To be continued)
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(The writer is the Joint Managing Director of TVS & Sons Ltd., and MD, TVS Logistics)