The objective reality, including our life and cognate experiences,, is not the actually the ‘true’ reality, variable and mutable as it is. Beyond and above this is the ‘Absolute Reality’ which is constant and not changeable. This Absolute Reality is untouched by our thoughts and deeds. It is also unaffected by the fruits of karma, the eternal Hindu law of causation, signifying that all our actions, good or bad, have matching consequences. We can’t get away from such inexorable Karmic comeuppances howsoever may we strive.
Our sensual perceptions and responses are always predicated upon one or the other suitable stimuli existing in our ecosystem. Ontologically, the entire life on earth is conditional upon the satisfaction of multiple factors. Life on this planet would have been impossible but for the presence of some very essential conditions including gravity, distance from sun and moon or the desired balance amongst different celestial bodies vis-a-vis our earth.
The incidents and events that occur in course of one’s life are reliant on something that is external to us. Be it our birth, upbringing, eating, dating, mating, trading, enjoyment, emotional outpourings or a happening in social life are all dependent upon things, actors or stimuli subsisting outside us. Pleasure is related to existence of pain, kindness is related to cruelty as darkness means absence of light. All human experiences similarly emanate from their complementing comparisons with the opposites. It is within such realm of relative dichotomy that all our quotidian experiences transpire and nothing here is absolutely permanent and unchangeable.
The absolute reality, however, is actually noumenal, beyond the realm of time and space. As long as we are bound in time and space, we are engrossed in the phenomenal world, reacting to the calls of our fickle and temporal senses. Emancipated from time and space, if we can move from phenomenal to the noumenal, we could actually experience the ‘Absolute Reality’ whose perception is not conditional upon any dyadic comparison. Such a reality is without any beginning or end and is variously called, including an omnipotent God or the omniscient Supreme Being.
It is for the realisation of this anonymous and infinite ‘Absolute’ that people try to lead a righteous life, undertake all the hardships, make all the sacrifices, rituals and penances. As all our desires spring from our attachments to the splendour of infinite reality, their fulfilment depends upon the knowledge of the same ‘Absolute Reality’. Nothing else could satisfy our cerebral and spiritual desires.
Happiness is not same as pleasure. Transient as they are, sensual pleasures make us unhappy once they cease. The unhappiness comes less because of the cessation of the pleasures than because of our incapacity to understand the true nature of the same. Chasing phantoms of material pleasures, we don’t pause to ask a few questions including ‘who are we’, ‘what are we’, ‘why have we come to this world’, ‘where are we going’ and ‘what are we trying to accomplish through our innumerable thoughts and deeds’.
It is the knowledge of the eternal truth and Absolute Reality which can actually fulfil our desire for eternal happiness in search whereof we keep running hither and thither like the proverbial musk deer, without realising that the same lies right within our own ‘Self’. The true happiness and blessedness come to those who bask in the glory of absolute harmony, tranquillity and serenity of mind. So long as we are troubled by our attachments to the myriad ephemeral attractions of the material world, we can never experience the bliss of eternal happiness.
Once we learn to calm our minds through meditative practices in the true knowledge of His glory, we can recognize the divinity behind our own Self thereby freeing ourselves from all desires. It is then that we attain everlasting contentment of our enlightened desires. As an inalienable spark of the Absolute Reality, we often materialise as an individual soul, actor, thinker or doer whose true nature is indistinguishable from the absolute reality. Suffering no sense of emptiness, such souls are believed to go to the abode of wisdom and love after their death. Retaining their individuality and consciousness, they inhabit a perpetually blissful state.
We generally take a soul’s mutable manifestation through a physical body, its attendant relations, actions and reactions as the only true reality which is false. The physical body itself has no meaning and is animated by the ‘soul’, as our true Self and an extension of the Supreme Reality. The multiple changes our physical bodies undergo during its life, the numerous experiences including its duties, joys, sorrows and sufferings never affect the ‘soul’ which is eternal and undying.
Biologically, all the particles, atoms and molecules of our body are changed and renewed every seventh year, but the ‘soul’ is not subject to any such change. From childhood to teenage to adolescence to youth to old age to death, our body undergoes many changes thereby signifying its mythical character. Notwithstanding our knowledge of the same, we spend more time attending to the ephemeral physical body than the eternal ‘soul’, something which has been and shall be there with us through eternity. Our real ‘Self’ is as eternal and constant as the universe and its laws. Our ‘soul’, being beyond the reach of the powers which cause change, growth, decay and death, is imperishable. As the study of science tells us, an atom is indestructible. By destroying the physical body, we only destroy its form but the constituent particles of the matter forming the physical body can’t be destroyed and exist through eternity.
So, nothing ever gets destroyed and lost in the eternal process of creation and destruction. The freed particles join the eternal pool of basic elements of nature and help in the formation of newer forms, both animate and inanimate. If objective atoms and particles of a material object are indestructible, how can the subjective creative consciousness inside the matter be ever destroyed. It is here that we know the limitations of science. Dealing only with the realm of sense perceptions, science can’t explain the mystery of the ‘Self’ which is the creative genius behind all objective reality and can only be understood philosophically.
The real knowledge as the timeless Supreme Consciousness behind the external forces impacting all the living and nonliving objects in the universe can never be destroyed. It is not a piece of matter, but is the basis and source of all knowledge. As all the knowledge in the world has no meaning until we know the same, similarly, to know the changeable and unchangeable world beyond our sense perceptions, we must delve deep within. We would then discover ourselves as part of the all-knowing ‘Super Consciousness.’
We need to understand that ours is not the only realm with life or consciousness. There are spiritual realms where we exist without a physical body. They may be imperceptible through physical senses, but could be very well perceived via spiritual senses which need rigorous spiritual practices to be developed. There have been several proofs and objective research to prove the existence of ‘soul’ or ‘consciousness’. The seekers and explorers have found many ways to communicate with the same.
If we can realize our divinity as an extension of the Supreme Consciousness, we can be liberated from our worldly sorrows and sufferings. Our sufferings spring from ignorance of the eternal truth behind Creation. However, knowledge of the same could bring us eternal happiness. Salvation, as we know it, does not mean life in heaven after death. Salvation can be attained in this earthly life through attainment of true knowledge and realisation of the ‘Absolute Reality’ which is eternal and constant.