More often than not, spiritual seekers, religions and philosophies, have tried to solve the problem of matter, the physical body and its limitations, by denying any ultimate reality, meaning or purpose to matter. They essentially cut the knot of the problem posed by our being conscious beings in a physical body subject to death, desire and incapacities of various sorts by finding their salvation or ultimate goal in the denial of the body and material existence, treating it as an illusion or some kind of test that we have to go through, but eventually overcome. Salvation is found in heaven, in nirvana, in absolute stillness and the dropping of the physical frame, in samadhi.
This is in essence the “refusal of the ascetic” which we have discussed earlier. But can we simply disregard the material world within which we are born, out of which life, and eventually mind evolves, and which is the foundation and basis for our entire existence? The ultimate purpose of existence cannot be found if we unilaterally choose to disregard an essential and highly visible part of that manifestation. And one way or the other, at some point, in some way, we need to confront the issue of the body and the material world.
The ancient Vedic and Upanishadic seers actually did not deny the reality of matter but addressed it. The Taittiriya Upanishad in particular put great weight on the recognition that Matter is the Brahman. They recognized that the universal existence is ONE, and that Matter therefore is real and a manifestation of that underlying Unity and Oneness of Sat-Chit-Ananda, Existence–Consciousness–Bliss.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 24, Matter