When I think about life – human life in particular – I see much to attract, fascinate, illuminate, inspire, enjoy, relish, savour and sustain – food, drinks, sex, books, literature – including poetry, prose et al. There are innumerable pursuits that a human being can devote their entire lives to, learning, understanding, exploring, researching and teaching. Similarly, love is such a many-splendoured thing, encompassing within it , the love of a family, including that of a parent for their children, that of children for their parents, the love that friends have for each other, including those of comrades in arms, whether in a battlefield, or hospital or workplace, and so on and so forth.
So, it is no surprise that as human beings, we choose to manifest ourselves in this human form. Yes, manifest. I use this word consciously, for, it is my belief that all of us – whether human, or animal,or single celled amoebae, are all here because of our choice.
The concept of free will is the right of any sentient being, all other things being constant. We are all immortal souls in Sat Chit Ananda (the eternal existence, consciousness and bliss) state, sharing these qualities with the Paramatma, the Divine or super soul.
In fact, the Vedanta philosophy goes one step forward to assert that the individual soul is non-different from the Paramatma.
While free will might be the right of any sentient being, the moment we manifest ourselves as mortal beings, then we are subject to the laws of Maya (nature), and therefore, forces that might impinge upon the free will.
We chose to manifest ourselves as names and forms in this mortal world, giving up our Sat Chit Ananda state, to experience the many-splendoured love and all the other beautiful things of mortal life.
That is when we lose our consciousness of our original states and are trapped by Maya, which is the covering veil that clouds our Sat Chit Ananda state from us and leads us to believe that we are Amitabh or John or Donald or Siobhan or Shahana.
So, what is the downside of this mortal existence ? Every positive, beautiful, gentle thing on earth has an expiry date, and an opposite and negative reaction. Every love that a human being feels, can and will be countered by a hatred, either from the self-same object of one’s love, or another.
Every gentleness can and will, at some point of time, be neutralised by a harshness that can sometimes beggar belief. Every day of good health that we enjoy and savour, will have to contend with the days of ill-health and disease.
This beautiful mortal world, with all its attractions can quickly turn to a nightmare. And it will, for each and every one of us, at some point or another. This earth is not a forever happy place, a heaven of sorts that so many refer to.
If you think that power, or wealth or technology or will can transform this mortal world into a perfect world, then you are deluded. This mortal world is nothing but our karma bhumi, the stage for us to play out our karma.
Is there a way out ? Yes, by conquering desire and desiring to be free and break the bonds of Maya and return to our original state of Sat Chit Ananda.