WHY AM I HERE- THE PURPOSE OF LIFE
What Is The Meaning Of Life
It is surprising that a normal person does not even give a thought to the question about ‘The purpose of his life on this earth’, and even less so to the philosophical question about ‘why I am here’. When confronted with the simple question as to what are his expectations from life, the usual reply is – to become a big successful man, to be rich, to have a loving family, to be very happy, and live happily ever after. This could be the happy ending of a fairy tale, but life’s realities are quite different. There are ups and downs in life, leading to periods of happiness and sorrows.
Surely God had not meant our lives to be unhappy and miserable. So, as right thinking individuals, we are forced to think, ‘What is God’s purpose for me on this earth?’
Everyone has an aim in life according to his needs and circumstances. First requirement for the individual is to earn his daily bread. Thus a good steady job becomes his aim in life. Thereafter, he has to acquire a roof over his head, then start a family and then shift his priority to other requirements and comforts. All these requirements keep shifting his immediate aim in life. All along he wishes to manage his life so as to become happy and have peace of mind. In all these, only worldly aims and material aims are visible. It would be rare to find a person whose aim is to serve humanity and spend time in the service of God.
If confined to this level of essential acquisition of goods and services for a livelihood it would not be too harmful. But driven by ego, ambition and greed, people amass wealth and goods which are much more than their needs. They claim that they are going to create empires for their children, and earn big names in the society. This thinking never lets the desires, attachments and lust for money and power diminish. Such individuals are never at peace. They keep hankering for more and more.
Our enlightened mentor (‘Satguru’) says that such persons have their own worldly agenda. But from the spiritual point of view, they are leading an aimless life, without realising its true purpose. They do not realize that their happiness will be short lived, and will surely get lost in this world of dualities; money will not last forever; high posts will be lost; egos will clash and breakup relationships; health will deteriorate, and death will take them away in a miserable and unsatisfied state. Their unfulfilled desires (‘Vasanas’) would not have been fulfilled, bringing them back to the miseries of the cycle of birth and death again and again. They will surely get tired of this unhappy situation and wonder: what on earth am I here for; what is God’s purpose for my life. Surely there would be higher and more valuable purpose for this human life.
Turn To ‘Satguru’ To Seek Higher Purpose
Everyone, high or low, old or young, rich or poor, gets a jolt in life where things do not go according to their plans. Then they become more unhappy in trying to set things right. A lucky few pause and think, and they discover that their destiny could not have been to become miserable, but to gain everlasting happiness. Then they turn spontaneously towards God, visiting places of worship, praying, studying scriptures, seeking the company of saints, and holy men. Their search finally brings them to the realised mentor – ‘Satguru’.
This can be considered as their new birth. Under the guidance of the ‘Satguru’ they gain spiritual knowledge, and learn spiritual practices such as meditation, and ‘bhakti’. They analyse the ‘Satguru’s’ teachings and gradually get over their internal inhibitions and resistance. They get endowed with the golden qualities of dispassion and detachment.
‘Satguru’ explains to us the true purpose of life is to get liberated from the painful cycle of life and death. He gives us a twofold action plan for our liberation:-
- To repay our ‘Karmic Debts’ (accumulated fruits of our actions).
- To realize God.
‘Satguru’ ignites a passion in our hearts towards fulfillment of this higher aim, through a purpose driven life.
Purpose of life will become clear once we look at Nature’s Universal theory of cause and effect, ie, ‘as you shall sow, so shall you reap’. Our ‘Karmic debts’ (accumulated fruits of our past actions) are based on this theory. We are here, on this earth, to repay our ‘Karmic debts’, and we will keep coming again and again into the cycle of birth and death till such time these debts are cleared.
Clearing ‘Karmic Debts- Accumulated effect of past actions can be cleared by suffering them. However, in the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ Lord Krishna has given us a code of conduct for our actions, which will clear our account of the effects of past actions. He says-
- Perform actions and deeds without eyes on the fruits of those actions.
- Perform actions selflessly.
- Perform actions for the good of others, and for the larger good of humanity.
- Do not be attached to the actions or the fruits thereof.
- Think of God (or Nature – ‘prakarti’) as the doer of all actions, and the receiver of their fruits.
In this manner the old accumulated account of our actions will keep diminishing, and new ones will not be added, because our current actions will have the quality of devotion (‘yagya or yajna’). This also leads to cleaning our subconscious mind, paving the way for God realization, and experiencing God within.
Next Birth- Where will we be born, and what will we be in our next lives and what actions will we be performing will depend on our destinies. Each ones fate will depend on the strong unfulfilled desires (‘Vasanas’) that remain accumulated in the sub conscious mind at the time of death. Often in the new life, situations will come which are just the opposite of the previous life. Eg, if we were oppressed by someone, we would want to retaliate and dominate that person, but could not do so in that life. Without our conscious effort, our ‘Vasnas’ will manifest and become a reality in this life, and we start living an acrimonious life, in resentment of that person. This would be settlement of our earlier ‘Karmic debts’. This resentment will lead to new actions being accumulated.
Breaking Free- The way to eliminate further accumulation of fruits of present actions, ‘Satguru’ says, is to live a life of love and not resentment. All actions should be performed as per the code given by Lord Krishna, and spelt out in the preceding paragraph above.
Having realized that the main purpose of our lives is to experience God, we must pursue that goal passionately and relentlessly, with all our heart and talent. Once we decide to go after this lofty spiritual goal, ‘Satguru’ holds us on the straight and narrow path for a purpose driven life for God realization. We as humans have limited faculties, and wander away from our real purpose. Therefore, ‘Satguru’s’ constant benevolence, His company and His guidance are very necessary.
Guru says that on the spiritual path, as a seeker of God we must start by developing a deep Love (‘perm’) for God. Anything that we pursue passionately will surely come within our reach. Ask yourself, “Do I have a Burning Desire (‘janoon’) to be one with God.
Once we embark on this path, our focus will shift from the world around us to God, who will then occupy the centre stage in our life. Nothing material will change, but We certainly will.
With the spiritual practices of meditation, prayers, and devotion (‘Bhakti’), we gradually realize that there is a feeling of detachment from the world around us, attractions disappear, and other attachments just drop off. As the ‘Satguru’ says: on this path you do not have to give up this world, you just have to give up your attachment to it.
As we progress, the intellect gets closely focused on God. All our thoughts and deeds are for God. There is constant remembrance through devotion and recitation of the Lord’s name (‘Naam Jap’). Our attention turns inwards and the mind is silenced and it naturally leads to happiness and inner peace.
In the absence of all distortions of the mind (‘vikar’), we reach a state of equipoise, with love towards all and resentments towards none. This unconditional Divine Love flowing all around, is the experience of God, which we feel first within us and then we feel it towards all around us.
Life Hereafter- Having reached this exalted state, the devotee would realize that he is in a state of bliss. There is nothing else to be done, nowhere else to go, nothing else to be achieved, that he is fulfilled and has achieved the purpose of his life. Having come thus far, how should the devotee spend the rest of his days of his life? ‘Satguru’ guides him to adopt three ‘S’-
- ‘Sewa’ (Service)- Lead a life in the Service of God and all the fellow beings.
- ‘Simran’ (Recitation of the Lord’s Name)- Remember God all the time by reciting His name continuously. Even while going about your routine duties, do not forget the Lord.
- ‘Satsang’ (Seek the company of the ‘Satguru’)- In the company of the ‘Satguru” we are focused on our purpose, and reinforce our resolve never to forget God.