When it comes to our existence there is an important question in the world of philosophy– Who am I and what is the world? Am I a reality or else everything that is visible is an illusion? Happiness-sadness, life-death and all are real or illusionary? Normally, if we look across, we will find that till the time man is prospered with happiness, everything around him is seen and connoted as a reality. But by the time he is deprived of such pleasures and faces rigors of like, he feels restless and starts doubting about all this. All of a sudden, he starts distrusting about the certainly of all the delectation that he had. In such situations, he feels like he has been cheated on and the world is like chimera for him. Here it seems that life begins on the other side – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion, to find the reality of oneness.
We are our choice – Jean-Paul Sarte
Many philosopher of the world ranging from the experts of the ancient Vedas to the modern psychologists and material scientist, have been trying to solve the above cited mysteries. Western scientists want to figure out such enigmas by analyzing material things, western psychologists and philosophers want to do it through logic and brain, and Indian Philosophers and meta physicists though perception and realization. Now, the question pertains – what is meant by our existence? Is it in terms of human existence or it is relative to the world? All such inquiries lead to varying opinions by the scholars. If we feel that we are inert and not conscious, we will feel it fit to find our existence in analyzing the life in materials only. In the material life, we are composed of some chemicals and hence could not feel something else. But by the time we are conscious, we feel that the life is not just materialistic but transgresses into other facts of life, may be spiritual or metaphysical.
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‘Our existence’, for western philosophers and psychologists, means the existence of human being. There is a reason for this. Western philosophy and psychology both directly depend on and are influenced by Bible and according to Bible, human is a reality, son of god, and the rest of the things are for his consumption. Therefore, western philosophy and psychology both investigate this ‘I’ i.e. the human being. A good example for this is Descartes who in 1637 said, “I think therefore I am.” It directly means that ‘I’ is only meant for human beings. Those who do not think, they do not exist. Now, thinking is the work of our brain and mind. Does it mean that we are meant for our brain only?
Western Philosophy is mainly based on Greek philosophy and Greek philosophy is based on Socrates and his disciple Aristotle. Both of them believed in God. Socrates also believed in the immortality of soul. According to him, “Our body is bound to soul. Soul is immortal,” He discusses the vacuity of the sensory world and prefers the scientific world. But at the same time he also believes that to accomplish science, the experience of senses is an imperative. Therefore, it will be correct to say that both Socrates and Aristotle considered this visible world a reality, but they at the same time parallely believe in the existence of God. But later on, wider and different connotations about God came into picture and the existence of the world came to be considered as an illusion. The first one to have believed in such concept was Bruno. Giardano Bruno believed that except God, nothing exists. But, such belief was not accepted by Tommaso Companella. He said, “Soul cannot be refuted”.
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In India, the motion of our existence has been debated on. In Indian philosophy, Buddha and Shankar are two such philosophers who consider the entire creation a delusion. It is quite interesting to see that though both philosophers had doubted the worldly existence, but they were quite different. One hand, Buddha believes that the world emanated from zero and will be decimated in zero, but Shankar believes that the World emanated from ‘Brahm’ and will be decimated in it. Thus Buddha’s zero can be can be equated with Shankar’s Brahma (The ultimate Soul). Thus, these two branches of Indian philosophy consider the existence of humans as delusion and nothing else.
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In a logical sense, if we look at a normal human being in today’s world, he always strives to secure maximum for him. But whatever he achieves, he tries to manage his life in that achievement only. Thus, whatever we dream of and what we are, are two different things and aspects. Whatever we imagine and dream of, it is an ideal world that we think we should be in, but when we think about what we are, we come to the real world. What we are is different than our imagination. We always try to satisfy ourselves by and from what we have really. That’s how we feel complacence and keep ourselves happy. In today’s world, an average common man who does not have good earning strives to get complacence as it is almost impossible for him to accomplish his imaginary world. Thus, if we leave our dream world unaccomplished, and live in the real world, then our dream world will be a delusion and same applies in vice-versa case.
Another question that needs to be answered is what is the influence of metaphysics and philosophy on our practical life? When we consider our existence a delusion, we fall a pray to indolence and leave our Karma. This halts the progress of society as it progress only due to human effort and performances and nothing else. The holy Vedas ordain us that working and performing our duties, we should wish to live for hundred years. If everything has been a delusion, it would have not have been comforting. Delusion leads to a state of lack of knowledge and it can never lead to happiness or comfort. This is the message of the Vedas and Upanishads. The same can be envisaged in the ideologies of all our ancient Indian philosophy. At any cost, we must not abandon our duty to work. If we abandon working, our existence will be endangered and we will collapse ultimately. Thus, if we get stuck to such delusions, our very worldly or spiritual existence will collapse.