Illusion or Reality

Sri Aurobindo concludes that there are basically two options regarding the creation of the universe and the status of Maya: “There is, we may suppose, an original consciousness and power creative of illusions and unrealities with mind as its instrument or medium in the human and animal consciousness, so that the differentiated universe we see is unreal, a fiction of Maya, and only some indeterminable and undifferentiated Absolute is real. Or there is, we may equally suppose, an original, a supreme or cosmic Truth-Consciousness creative of a true universe, but with mind acting in that universe as an imperfect consciousness, ignorant, partly knowing, partly not knowing,–a consciousness which is by its ignorance or limitation of knowledge capable of error, mispresentation, mistaken or misdirected development from the known, of uncertain gropings towards the unknown, of partial creations and buildings, a constant half-position between truth and error, knowledge and nescience.”

After thorough examination of the issue from a number of angles, after reviewing all the metaphors, analogies and extrapolations from the nature of mind and its experience, Sri Aurobindo reaches the conclusion that in the end, we are looking at a Reality not an Illusion as the basis of experience. “…it points towards the conclusion that the nature of our consciousness is not of a character that would justify the hypothesis of a Cosmic Illusion as the solution of its problem. A problem exists, but it consists in the mixture of Knowledge with Ignorance in our cognition of self and things, and it is the origin of this imperfection that we have to discover. There is no need of bringing in an original power of Illusion always mysteriously existent in the eternal Reality or else intervening and imposing a world of non-existent forms on a Consciousness or Superconscience that is for ever pure, eternal and absolute.”

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 5, The Cosmic Illusion; Mind, Dream and Hallucination, pp. 437-438

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