Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.acadun.com
19th October 2013
What does Life mean?
The question what does life mean has intrigued many a great thinker and philosophy in general. Man is certain of the meaning of whatever happens in a day that is governed by cause and effect. He knows what it means only after it happens and never before.
At the end of the day man is able to recollect the important events of the day, and considers this to be the meaning of his everyday life. It could mean parts of his daily life, but not the entire day. So, man can never know what his life, anybody’s life or life in general means in its entirety, just as he cannot know what his entire day means.
Man knows what a single event means only after it happens and never before. His entire day or life is, however, not a single event: it is made up of multiple events. But man is unable to recollect every event that happens in a day, and to do so for his entire life would be impossible.
So, neither can man know what his day means nor his life means before their completion, nor can he for he does not know a label that could describe all the events of a single day or life. He can only know what a single day meant in parts; neither can he know what his entire life means or meant. This means man only knows parts of any day of his life as the past and not life that is alive in the present every moment.
Man longs to fulfill his expectations as this means life to him. It would indeed mean life to him if man could know the expectations for his entire life. This he cannot know, as man comes to know his expectations of his life only in parts, just as he comes to know parts of a single day, but not the entire day. Just as man comes to know an event only after it happens, so too does man come to know whether expectations were fulfilled, only after they have been fulfilled. This means man knows what his expectations meant for life that has passed in parts, and not what it means for life that is present and alive every moment. If man were able to live every moment as it happens, and neither judges nor interprets them, he would know the meaning of life that is alive and present. Any judgment or interpretation would then be for the event that has passed and not that which is alive and present.
Sages realised that expectation, judgment and interpretation could not be made on life that is alive and present, and hence proclaimed ages ago that the entire life is illusory. This would imply the meaning of words too as illusory. Man’s mind was not conditioned when sages made their proclamations. People accepted the proclamations out of respect. But now man’s mind is conditioned so that the meanings of his beliefs are the truth. It is, therefore, difficult for man to accept the explanations of the sages’ proclamation, as it contradicts the meaning of his beliefs.
So what does life mean? Life means it is alive, thoughtless and flows in the timeless ‘now’ and nameless ‘here’ without cause or effect.
Author: Dr. Vijai S. Shankar©
Copyright V. S. Shankar 2013
German Translator’s Note: