A basic question — whether there is a meaning and purpose to our existence — arises in, and perhaps bothers, the mind of every individual, whether the doubt is articulated or not, as he gets through his everyday life. Scholars and philosophers, since long, have mulled deeply over questions regarding our existence.
Is there an all-encompassing Over-mind or Absolute Spirit, in which all concepts are unified? The Upanishads say ‘neti, neti’ — not this, not this — is that something beyond our intellectual grasp; is it only what lies in the stillness beyond the working of the mind, the Sat-chit-ananda, or Existenceconsciousness-bliss, of Vedantic thought? Swami Sivananda pointed out that real yoga is to discipline the vikshepa, or tossing of the mind, which will enable one to experience the stillness beyond through meditation.
This existence could be maya, or illusion, as Sankara’s Advaita and Nagarjuna’s Shunyavada would have us believe; a vivarata, an unreal appearance only. Or, could there be a meaning to this phenomenal world? There are no universal answers, but each time the question is asked, it throws up a different answer, unique to each individual.
It is this enquiry, ‘Athato Brahmn Jignasa’ — now, therefore, the enquiry into Brahmn — from the first sutra of the Brahmn sutras that is essential to be asked, for the search to start for a deeper and enduring value. The philosophic quest is a call to that enquiry, and the answers may be as varied as nature itself.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.