Does our human life have a purpose or significance? Some hold that it is simply to enjoy, “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”. Others believe it is a testing ground for us to learn and grow, develop principles of ethics and morality, to either earn a heavenly reward when we die, or be cast down into eternal suffering. Still others believe that it is more or less of an illusion, to be overcome through the process of inner development, at which time, the soul unifies with the Eternal and is forever at peace. Still others believe that it may be a way-station along the way toward other, higher worlds and realms of experience. Some believe it is a field of action and we should just follow our natural inclinations, take what we desire, and strive to win “the battle of life”. There are many other theories that take on the flavor of one or another of these approaches, with their own unique modifications.
Sri Aurobindo has shown that there is a clear evolution of consciousness, and that the mental development we currently treat as our highest capacity is an intermediate level which will inevitably lead to further evolutionary steps. At the same time, he holds that the entire universal creation is One and a manifestation of the Eternal. Liberation, considered the goal by many seekers, is the starting point for the transformation of life on earth with the advent of the next phases of the evolutionary sequence.
In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo writes: “If it is the sole intention of Nature in the evolution of the spiritual man to awaken him to the supreme Reality and release him from herself, or from the Ignorance in which she as the Power of the Eternal has masked herself, by a departure into a higher status of being elsewhere, if this step in the evolution is a close and an exit, then in the essence her work has been already accomplished and there is nothing more to be done. The ways of have been built, the capacity to follow them has been developed, the goal or last height of the creation is manifest; all that is left is for each soul to reach individually the right stage and turn of its development, enter into the spiritual ways and pass by its own chosen path out of this inferior existence. But we have supposed that there is a farther intention, — not only a revelation of the Spirit, but a radical and integral transformation of Nature. There is a will in her to effectuate a true manifestation of the embodied life of the Spirit, to complete what she has begun by a passage from the Ignorance to the Knowledge, to throw off her mask and to reveal herself as the luminous Consciousness-Force carrying in her the eternal Existence and its universal Delight of being. It then becomes obvious that there is something not yet accomplished, there becomes clear to view the much that has still to be done, … there is a height still to be reached, a wideness still to be covered by the eye of vision, the wing of the will, the self-affirmation of the Spirit in the material universe. What the evolutionary Power has done is to make a few individuals aware of their souls, conscious of their selves, aware of the eternal being that they are, to put them into communion with the Divinity or the reality which is concealed by her appearances: a certain change of nature prepares, accompanies or follows upon this illumination, but it is not the complete and radical change which establishes a secure and settled new principle, a new creation, a permanent new order of being in the field of terrestrial Nature. The spiritual man has evolved, but not the supramental being who shall thenceforward be the leader of that Nature.”