At some point, most people ask themselves the question about why they are alive, what the meaning of life is, and what is their true role in the world meant to be. Many different answers or solutions have been tried since the beginning of humanity, some of which lead the individual into immersion in the life of the world, some of which lead to the development of various codes of conduct and action, and some which lead away from the world into a unity with the silent, infinite Presence that they experience when they begin to seek in that direction. In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo introduces the human aspiration as an eternal seeking for “God, light, freedom, immortality.” Regardless of any suppression or temporary denials, these concepts re-emerge and exert their influence on the pursuit for meaning in life. We continually struggle with the role of the individual in relation to the machinery of Nature, which at times seems to be a machinery without active control or management, leading some to deny the existence or involvement of God.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “By knowing the eternal unity of these three powers of the eternal manifestation, God, Nature and the individual self, and their intimate necessity to each other, we come to understand existence itself and all that in the appearances of the world now puzzles our ignorance.”
He points out that this knowledge does not magically change the action of Nature or the intention of the Divine Will; rather it puts these things into context while defining the role of the individual conscious awareness with which we each identify.
“When we get back to our true being, the ego falls away from us; its place is taken by our supreme and integral self, the true individuality. As this supreme self it makes itself one with all beings and sees all world and Nature in its own infinity. What we mean by this is simply that our sense of separate existence disappears into a consciousness of illimitable, undivided, infinite being in which we no longer feel bound to the name and form and the particular mental and physical determinations of our present birth and becoming and are no longer separate from anything or anyone in the universe. This was what the ancient thinkers called the Non-birth or the destruction of birth or Nirvana. At the same time we continue to live and act through our individual birth and becoming, but with a different knowledge and quite another kind of experience; the world also continues, but we see it in our own being and not as something external to it and other than ourselves. To be able to live permanently in this new consciousness of our real, our integral being is to attain liberation and enjoy immortality.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 18, The Soul and Its Liberation, pg. 420