The Cosmic Illusion, Maya

As the Vital Mind forces the Physical Mind to look at anew its fixed and limited understanding and assumptions, and then, as the vital mind meets some of its own limitations and failures, the reality and solidity of all things comes into question.

Sri Aurobindo describes the psychological state as follows: “At a certain point of this constant unrest and travail even the physical mind loses its conviction of objective certitude and enters into an agnosticism which questions all its own standards of life and knowledge, doubts whether all this is real or else whether all, even if real, is not futile; the vital mind, baffled by life and frustrated or else dissatisfied with all its satisfactions, overtaken by a deep disgust and disappointment, finds that all is vanity and vexation of spirit and is ready to reject life and existence as an unreality, all that it hunted after as an illusion, Maya; the thinking mind, unbuilding all its affirmations, discovers that all are mere mental constructions and there is no reality in them or else that the only reality is something beyond this existence, something that has not been made or constructed, something Absolute and Eternal,–all that is relative, all that is of time is a dream, a hallucination of the mind or a vast delirium, an immense cosmic Illusion, a delusive figure of apparent existence.”

The impact of this psychological experience on the human being is so overwhelming that it puts the entire manifestation into doubt and it all seems to be quite literally illusory, meaningless and misleading. The only apparent solution is to escape and enter into the vast, unmoving, All-Existent.

The formulations of this experience have been set forth in India by primarily Buddha and Shankara, in their various ways. The concepts arrange themselves around 3 great principles, “the chain of Karma, escape from the wheel of rebirth, Maya.”

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 5, The Cosmic Illusion; Mind, Dream and Hallucination, pp. 415-416


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