In itself and by itself the vital being’s aversion, the life-mind’s recoil from life cannot be taken as valid or conclusive. Its strongest motive is a sense of disappointment and an acceptance of frustration which has no greater claim to conclusiveness than the idealist’s opposite motive of invariable hope and his faith and will to realise. Nevertheless there is a certain validity in the mental support of this sense of frustration, in the perception at which the thinking mind arrives that there is an illusion behind all human effort and terrestrial endeavour, the illusion of his political and social gospels, the illusion of his ethical efforts at perfection, the illusion of philanthropy and service, the illusion of works, the illusion of fame, power, success, the illusion of all achievement.
We have seen that the vital mind gets baffled by life and frustrated with all its satisfactions. It is overtaken by a deep disgust and disappointment. It comes to the conclusion that all is worthless trouble. Therefore, it is ready to reject life and existence as an unreality, an illusion, Maya.
Sri Aurobindo says, this vital being’s aversion towards life cannot be taken as valid or conclusive. Its sense of aversion is strongly motivated by a sense of disappointment and an acceptance of frustration. On the other hand, an idealist hopes that all will be well with a firm faith and will to realise the same. Both, the claims of the vital mind’s aversion towards life and the idealist’s optimism are lacking in conclusiveness.
However, we have to consider the mental support of this frustration as there is a certain validity. Also, there is some validity in the thinking mind’s perception of an illusion behind all human and worldly pursuits. His political and social gospels do not bring a lasting remedy. His ethical efforts at perfection really do not bring real perfection. Philanthropy and service do not achieve the intended results. His works do not serve a noble end. There is no reality behind his fame, power, success, achievement; all are transitory. Therefore, he finds all these illusory.
Human social and political endeavour turns always in a circle and leads nowhere; man’s life and nature remain always the same, always imperfect, and neither laws nor institutions nor education nor philosophy nor morality nor religious teachings have succeeded in producing the perfect man, still less a perfect humanity,—straighten the tail of the dog as you will, it has been said, it always resumes its natural curve of crookedness. Altruism, philanthropy and service, Christian love or Buddhist compassion have not made the world a whit happier, they only give infinitesimal bits of momentary relief here and there, throw drops on the fire of the world’s suffering.
Humanity has addressed the problems of life with social and political methods. Their effort always turns in a circle and leads nowhere. Man’s life and nature do not change, remain always imperfect. Man has devised laws, established institutions, formulated education, advocated philosophy, prescribed moral conventions, codified religious teachings in order to produce a perfect humanity. But none has succeeded in perfecting the man let alone perfecting humanity as a whole. It is like trying to straighten the dog’s tail which always goes back to its natural curve.
Humanity adopted various means to create a happy world. Altruism (unselfish regard for the welfare of others), philanthropy, service, Christian love (love for others is one of the prime tenets of Christianity), Buddhist compassion (compassion is the dominant theme of Buddhist teachings) – none of these could make the man a bit happier. They gave only momentary relief in infinitesimal bits scattered here and there. They were like drops of water thrown on the fire of the world’s suffering.
All aims are in the end transitory and futile, all achievements unsatisfying or evanescent; all works are so much labour of effort and success and failure which consummate nothing definitive: whatever changes are made in human life are of the form only and these forms pursue each other in a futile circle; for the essence of life, its general character remains the same for ever.
Whatever man has aimed in life finally proved to be transitory and worthless. Whatever be his achievements, at the end, become unsatisfying and quickly fading. Man puts in so much of labour of effort in his works; meets with success and failure; finally, nothing definitive comes out.
Whatever changes are made in human life, they are of the form only. One form follows the other in a futile circle. The essence of life, its general character remains the same forever. Ignorance and suffering continue to haunt human lives.
This view of things may be exaggerated, but it has an undeniable force; it is supported by the experience of man’s centuries and it carries in itself a significance which at one time or another comes upon the mind with an overwhelming air of self-evidence. Not only so, but if it is true that the fundamental laws and values of terrestrial existence are fixed or that it must always turn in repeated cycles, —and this has been for long a very prevalent notion,—then this view of things in the end is hardly escapable.
Though this view seems to be exaggerated, it has an undeniable force. It is supported by the experience of man for centuries. This view carries in itself a significance which comes upon the human mind some time or other with an overwhelming air of self-evidence.
It has been a prevalent notion for long that the fundamental laws and values of terrestrial existence are fixed or that it must always turn in repeated cycles. If it is true then one cannot escape from taking this negative view of life of man in this world.
For imperfection, ignorance, frustration and suffering are a dominant factor of the existing world-order, the elements contrary to them, knowledge, happiness, success, perfection are constantly found to be deceptive or inconclusive: the two opposites are so inextricably mixed that, if this state of things is not a motion towards a greater fulfilment, if this is the permanent character of the world-order, then it is hard to avoid the conclusion that all here is either the creation of an inconscient Energy, which would account for the incapacity of an apparent consciousness to arrive at anything, or intentionally a world of ordeal and failure, the issue being not here but elsewhere, or even a vast and aimless cosmic Illusion.
It is an apparent truth that imperfection, ignorance, frustration and suffering are the dominant factors of the existing world-order. The contrary elements of knowledge, happiness, success, perfection are constantly found to be deceptive and inconclusive.
The negative and positive elements are inextricably mixed in this state of the world. If this state is the permanent character of the world order or if it is not a passing phase towards greater fulfilment then one cannot avoid the conclusion that all here in this world is the creation of an inconscient Energy; because it is inconscient, there is incapacity of an apparent consciousness to arrive at anything. That is why anything pretending to be conscious cannot survive. Or one would conclude that intentionally this world is made a place of ordeal and failure and the reason is to be found elsewhere and not here. It is useless to struggle here. The best thing is to get out and go beyond. Or one would be pushed to think that all here is a vast and aimless cosmic illusion; it is no use to find a meaning in it.