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  • Writer's pictureShrikant Soman

Meaning of Life 9 - Challenging the Notion of a Fixed and Objective Reality 


Meaning of Life 9 - Challenging the Notion of a Fixed and Objective Reality 

Based on Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo

Part One - Chapter 25 - 9

(continued from Part One - Chapter 25 - 8)

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Key Takeaways

1. Divergent Perspectives on Reality: Different interpretations of consciousness range from elevating it as the ultimate reality to denying existence entirely, advocating for Non-Existence or nescient Zero as the sole reality.

2. Transient Nature of Constructs: Constructs fashioned by consciousness are viewed as transient and ephemeral formations, lacking enduring substance and existing only as fleeting apparitions that create the illusion of coherence and temporal continuity.

3. Illusory Nature of Existence: Reality is perceived as a delicate tapestry woven from the threads of consciousness, challenging the notion of a fixed and objective reality and revealing the ephemeral nature of all phenomena.

4. Challenging Preconceived Notions: Embracing this perspective prompts a deeper inquiry into the nature of consciousness, challenging preconceived notions of existence and truth and emphasizing the inherent fluidity and impermanence woven into reality.

5. Attainment of Nirvana: The negation of both the conscious Soul and primal material principle heralds the attainment of absolute Nirvana—a state of ultimate liberation from mundane existence and a glimpse into the ineffable realms of absolute truth.

6. Transcending Surface Consciousness: While insightful, this perspective is limited to the surface level of consciousness and falls short of providing a comprehensive explanation of existence, failing to account for the deeper dimensions of self-knowledge and world-knowledge.

7. Integrated Understanding of Reality: Reality transcends the dichotomy between subjectivity and objectivity, unveiling the interconnectedness between consciousness and existence, inviting a more profound awareness that acknowledges the inherent unity between the self and the world.

8. Subjective Construction of Universe: If reality is attributed solely to the constructing Mind or Consciousness, the universe possesses a semblance of existence but is inherently subjective and structural in nature, upheld and sustained by the fabric of Consciousness itself.

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Synopsis

The passage explores divergent perspectives on reality, ranging from elevating consciousness as the ultimate reality to denying existence entirely. Constructs fashioned by consciousness are seen as transient, lacking enduring substance and existing as fleeting apparitions. Reality is perceived as an illusion, challenging fixed notions and revealing the ephemeral nature of phenomena. Embracing this perspective prompts a deeper inquiry into consciousness, challenging preconceived notions and emphasizing the fluidity of reality.

If reality is attributed solely to the constructing Mind or Consciousness, the universe possesses a semblance of existence but is inherently subjective and structural in nature.

The attainment of Nirvana signifies liberation from mundane existence. However, this perspective is limited and fails to account for deeper dimensions of understanding. Reality transcends subjectivity and objectivity, revealing interconnectedness and inviting a more profound awareness. If reality is attributed solely to consciousness, the universe possesses subjective existence upheld by consciousness itself.

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…… continued from previous note

This particular lens through which reality is perceived often yields divergent conclusions, sparking debates that range from the elevation of creative Consciousness as the ultimate Reality to the complete denial of existence, advocating instead for Non-Existence or a state of nescient Zero as the sole Reality. 


In one interpretation of this perspective, the constructs fashioned by consciousness are stripped of any intrinsic reality. Instead, they are seen as transient and ephemeral formations, mere illusions crafted by the ceaseless flux of consciousness. Even consciousness itself is relegated to a transient phenomenon—a fleeting stream of perceptions that, when strung together, create the illusion of coherence and temporal continuity, thus giving rise to the perception of linear time. Yet, in reality, these objects lack any enduring substance or foundational stability, existing only as fleeting apparitions that masquerade as tangible reality.

The constructs fashioned by consciousness are stripped of any intrinsic reality... existing only as fleeting apparitions that masquerade as tangible reality. 

Within this framework, the very fabric of existence appears as a delicate tapestry woven from the threads of consciousness, each momentary thought or perception contributing to the transient illusion of solidity and continuity. However, upon closer examination, this illusion unravels, revealing the ephemeral nature of all phenomena and challenging the very notion of a fixed and objective reality.


By embracing this perspective, we confront the unsettling proposition that the reality we perceive may be nothing more than a collective illusion—a grand fabrication of the mind. This realization prompts us to delve deeper into the nature of consciousness itself, questioning its role in the construction of our perceived reality and challenging our preconceived notions of existence and truth.

Reality itself is perceived as a transient and fleeting phenomenon—a continuously shifting mosaic of subjective perceptions and momentary experiences.

Within this paradigm, the very concept of a stable, objective reality is thrust into uncertainty, as reality itself is perceived as a transient and fleeting phenomenon—a continuously shifting mosaic of subjective perceptions and momentary experiences. This perspective not only challenges conventional understandings of existence but also emphasizes the inherent fluidity and impermanence woven into the very fabric of reality.


From this viewpoint, reality is envisioned as an eternal void—an abyss devoid of any self-conscious awareness or the dynamic flux characteristic of existence. Knowledge, within this context, symbolizes a return to this state of absence, a departure from the illusory veneer of the constructed universe. It suggests a twofold and complete annihilation: the dissolution of the Purusha—the conscious Soul—and the cessation or extinguishment of Prakriti—the primal material principle or nature.

The negation of both the conscious Soul and primal material principle heralds the attainment of absolute Nirvana—a state of ultimate liberation.

Together, the conscious Soul and Nature encompass the entirety of existence, and the negation of both heralds the attainment of absolute Nirvana—a state of ultimate liberation. In this state of transcendence, all distinctions between subject and object, observer and observed, dissolve into the boundless expanse of non-being. It signifies a profound release from the shackles of mundane existence, offering a glimpse into the ineffable realms of absolute truth and liberation.


Within this framework, reality is perceived as either existing within the realm of Inconscience, where the ceaseless flux of existence and the construction of phenomena take place, or transcending into the domain of Superconscience, beyond any notion of self or individual existence. However, it's crucial to acknowledge that this perspective on the universe is limited to the surface level of our consciousness—the entirety of consciousness as perceived by our surface mind. From this vantage point, everything indeed appears as a flux, a continuous creation of impermanent consciousness.

Reality unfolds as a dynamic interplay of consciousness and being, revealing the profound interconnectedness that lies at the heart of all existence.

While this perspective offers valuable insights into the workings of the mind, it falls short of providing a comprehensive explanation of existence. It fails to account for the deeper dimensions of self-knowledge and world-knowledge—a profound understanding achieved through identity, where consciousness and being seamlessly merge. In such a state, the subjective and objective realms are not merely transient appearances but are recognized as inherently real and intimately connected to consciousness and being. They become intrinsic aspects of its identity, authentic expressions of its existence.


In this expanded understanding, reality transcends the dichotomy between subjectivity and objectivity, unveiling the interconnectedness between consciousness and the fabric of existence. It invites us to transcend the limitations of our surface mind and embrace a more profound awareness—one that acknowledges the inherent unity between the self and the world. Within this integrated perspective, reality unfolds as a dynamic interplay of consciousness and being, revealing the profound interconnectedness that lies at the heart of all existence.


On the flip side, if we attribute reality solely to the constructing Mind or Consciousness, then the universe with its myriad material beings and objects might indeed possess a semblance of existence. However, this existence is inherently subjective and structural in nature—a creation stemming directly from the depths of Consciousness itself. Within this paradigm, the constructed universe is not autonomous but rather upheld and sustained by the very fabric of Consciousness, destined to dissolve back into it upon its eventual disappearance.

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