Is Liberation Also an Illusion?

The theory of Maya posits a sole, absolute, unchanging, eternal, transcendent Reality and then an illusory universe covering it up with action of names, and forms and transitory phenomena. And it then posits that the solution to this situation is to realize that the world is an illusion and to give up seeking results in the world, and identify with that transcendent Reality through non-attachment and separation.

In and of itself, this theory sets up a type of duality and does not ever explain how the duality occurs when there is only ONE unchanging all-encompassing Reality. There is no need to explain, but just to transcend the universal manifestation.

Sri Aurobindo raises the question however of whether the attempt to transcend the “illusory universe” is itself simply another part of the “illusion”: “All attachment to world-existence is an illusion, but the call for liberation is also a circumstance of the illusion; it is something that was created by Maya which by its liberation is extinguished in Maya. But this nullification cannot be compelled to stop short in its devastating advance at the boundary fixed for it by a spiritual Illusionism. For if all other experiences of the individual consciousness in the universe are illusions, then what guarantee is there that its spiritual experiences are not illusions, including even its absorbed self-experience of the supreme Self which is conceded to us as utterly real? For if the cosmos is untrue, our experience of the cosmic consciousness, of the universal Self, of Brahman as all these beings or as the self of all these beings, the One in all, all in the One has no secure foundation, since it reposes in one of its terms on an illusion, on a construction of Maya.”

Thus, there is no real “way out” in setting up Maya as opposed to Brahman, and creating an illusion from which we must escape. The riddle, the mystery and the meaning remain hidden in this approach.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 6, Reality and the Cosmic Illusion, pp. 466-467


One thought on “Is Liberation Also an Illusion?

  1. To fight or flight from the illusion, is to make it real in our minds. There is only one reality in the One, nothing else exists. How can we formulate an escape form something that does not exist to something that we already have.

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