It generally starts as a random thought, may be on a lazy Sunday afternoon. A thought that crosses each and every one of us at some point of time in our lives. A question that binds everyone and everything in this universe, the question that prompts us to think about “The meaning of life”.
For some it may just be understanding the material nature of human life, for some it could be knowing the extent of the grand cosmos that we humans are part of, for some it could be understanding emotions, behaviors and human relations. In a nutshell the questions revolve around the microcosm (human body), the macrocosm (the universe around) and its interaction.
The great philosophers, sages and scientists have dedicated their time and energies to unlock the small intricacies around how and why the universe operates the way it does. If for the time being, we keep the creator out of the discussion (which has been the biggest subject of argument), the works of the past have been primarily to explain the modus operandi of this beautiful creation.
If we look at the system holistically, the entities that have emerged as key influencers from the works of past are the human mind-human brain (the contemplator) and the matter that exists throughout the wide expanse of the universe (the object of contemplation). While the subject is very elaborate, I would like to bring (again) the point of view from scientific studies and scriptures.
Stephen Hawking quoted below thoughts in his final remarks of the episode on “The Meaning of life” from the series “Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design ”.
The meaning of life is what you chose it to be. Personally, I like to think that it is every one of us that gives meaning to the universe. We are, as cosmologist Carl Sagan once said “The universe contemplating itself”
Meaning can only ever exist within the confines of human mind and in this way the meaning of life is not somewhere out there but right between our ears. In many ways this makes us the lords of the creation.
I would recommend you to watch the episode to understand how he arrived at the above conclusion. The thought process that led to above conclusion is totally different to what scriptures say, but the conclusion is very similar. The essence of Sanatana Dharma (Also known as Hindusim) can be described with help of below Four Principle Mahavakyas from Upanishad’s
prajñānam brahma – (Aitareya Upanishad 3.1.3)
Meaning : Consciousness is Brahman. (Consciousness is Ultimate Reality)
aham brahmāsmi (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10)
Meaning : I am Brahman
Tat Tvam Asi – (Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7)
Meaning : That thou art – (You are Brahman.)
ayam ātmā brahma – (Mandukya Upanishad 2.)
Meaning : This Self is Brahman. (‘This Self’ = Atman, the Soul = You.)
Each one of us has built our own reality. The laws of physics point out that the brain is responsible for the reality we perceive for our emotions and its meaning too. Love and honor, right and wrong are part of the universe we create in our mind.
The radical thinkers of science may not need the guidance of religious texts, the scriptures of the past surely do not need the validation of science. It is just the ego of feebly learned people that draws out an argument of one against another but follows neither.
It is your creation; you are its maker. Give it the love to grow, give it the care to sustain, treat it the way as you treat yourself.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 5.1.1
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते |
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ||
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ||
Oṃ pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidam pūrṇāt pūrṇamudacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
This (the Bramham ) is complete, that (The universe) is complete, from complete has emerged complete, when you take complete out of complete, what is left is also complete.
Disclaimer : The content of this write up has some inspiration from Stephen Hawking’s work. The interpretations quoted here are solely down to Author’s understanding. For details it is recommended to go through the original works of Stephen Hawking. The translations and Sloka’s from Upanishads have been taken from sources indicated.