Discovering the Reality and Significance of our Existence

“One becomes as the unexisting, if he knows the Eternal as negation; but if one knows of the Eternal that He is, then men know him for the saint and the one reality.” (Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmananda Valli, Chapter 6, translated by Sri Aurobindo).

Some people believe that our existence is a freak of chance, a compounding of Matter that somehow through a fortuitous freak brought about the development of life. They believe that there is no meaning, no ultimate significance and just as chance created the universe, chance will destroy it. Others believe that an external creator, through exercise of his will or his whim, has created the universe and thus, our significance is bound up in the mind of God, and not something intrinsic to existence and thus eventually discoverable.

Through the long and detailed review that has taken place in The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo has looked at all of the various options and concluded “…if there is a self-existent Reality of which our existence here is a result, then there must be a truth of that Reality which is manifesting, working itself out, evolving here, and that will be the significance of our own being and life. Whatever that Reality may be, it is something that has taken upon itself the aspect of a becoming in Time,–an indivisible becoming, for our present and our future carry in themselves, transformed, made other, the past that created them, and the past and present already contained and now contain in themselves, invisible to us because still unmanifested, unevolved, their own transformation into the still uncreated future. The significance of our existence here determines our destiny: that destiny is something that already exists in us as a necessity and a potentiality, the necessity of our being’s secret and emergent reality, a truth of its potentialities that is being worked out; both, though not yet realised, are even now implied in what has been already manifested. If there is a Being that is becoming, a Reality of existence that is unrolling itself in Time, what that being, that reality secretly is is what we have to become, and so to become is our life’s significance.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”