What is the purpose of our life?

gurudev (2)

Every human being is constantly seeking something or the other. The purpose of human life becomes evident when we examine what we want. Even though every desire seems to be different from every other, when we examine each of them, we find that there is only one desire behind all desires; it is the desire to be free. Every living being wants freedom. Nobody wants to be dependent, nobody wants bondage or helplessness, and nobody wants to be compelled or controlled by someone else. This is the common desire behind all desires. There is no living being that wants to be controlled. There is no living being that wants to be dependent either. “Dependence is unhappiness; being free and in control of oneself is happiness” [Manu Smrti, 4-1].

The sense of dependence or being bound, limited, and under the control of someone else and thus helpless is a cause for unhappiness. There is a lot of helplessness in our lives; there are many things that we want to do, but cannot, as well as many things that we do not want to see happen, but cannot prevent. We are, therefore, always attempting to become free from helplessness, from bondage. However, the manner in which we are trying to become free may not be right.

The purpose of human life is to become free; behind every desire lies the desire to be free. When we feel bound in some way, say in not having enough money, we go after money. If we feel that we do not have enough power, we go after more power. We chase after Whatever it is that we feel we lack, because it makes us feel bound. The fact is that everybody is pursuing freedom alone and nothing else. Unfortunately, we neither understand this freedom nor know where to look for it. In our pursuit of freedom, therefore, we often end up inviting bondage.

Everything that appears to grant us freedom comes at a price. Every solution only brings some other problems along with it. There is no such thing as absolute freedom or pure gain, because there is some loss involved in every gain. More often than not, the price we pay is greater than our gain. The freedom that we seek must be known to be within ourselves, rather than in some an external source. When we realize this, our search for freedom becomes more directed.

While we imagine that the world makes us helpless, it is our own impulses and likes and dislikes that impel us and make us feel helpless. When this is understood, the process of seeking freedom becomes, instead, a process of seeking to become free from such inner impulses. Living a life of karma-yoga and jnanna-yoga alone is the means to this end. The first level of freedom is gained by giving up likes and dislikes. The ultimate degree of freedom is gained from giving up the very ego, our sense of individuality, which is a product of ignorance.

So the purpose of life is to gain true freedom,‘ which lies in the recognition that our sense of being limited or bound is a mere notion, because we are of the very nature of freedom and happiness; in truth, we are always free and always happy.

Swami Viditatmananda

Excerpts from Satsang with Swami Viditatmananda, Vol 1

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God ईश्वर Ishvara – Brahman ब्रह्मन् has to be there otherwise I would not have been searching for Him!

gurudev (2)

We are all seeking the limitless happiness – happiness that is not limited by time, place or a condition.

I cannot be seeking something that is unreal or non-existent. We should understand this fundamental thing, I cannot search a thing which is not there. Nobody ever seeks a non-existent thing. Everybody seeks and strives for existent thing.

But why not say that may be we have been searching something non-existent? This is not possible because we can never conceive of a non-existent thing. Every natural desire that I have, must have a solution. Observe life. Hunger is natural phenomenon. So food is provided to quench it. And breathing also is a natural requirement for which air has been provided. There is always a means available to satisfy every natural desire. This is the nature of creation. A cultivated desire for certain type of food or drink may not have an answer, but a natural desire, with which I am born, must have an answer.

Is the desire of seeking limitless happiness brought about by my own volition? Is it a desire specially cultivated by me or is it a desire with which I am born? Everybody is born with this desire. It is a natural desire. It is not that at some point in time I decided to desire the limitless. I am born with this desire. And since the desire to seek the limitless happiness  is natural, there must be an answer for it.

Attainment of limitless happiness – Brahman ब्रह्मन् – is a natural desire and there must be a way to satisfy it. God – ईश्वर Ishvara –  is another name for Brahman and therefore what I am searching in life is – Ishvara ईश्वर – God. He has to be there otherwise I would not have been searching for Him.

Therefore when the question is asked. “Is God there or not?” the answer is, “If I am there, God has to be there”. I am there which means my search for God is there, and since my search is there, the object of my search, viz. a Brahman or God or Father in the Heaven must be there.

Swami Viditatmanand

Excerpts from Vedanta in Present-Day Life

What is the use of knowledge of mind?

swamiji

Man wants truth, wants to experience truth for himself, to grasp it, to realize it, to feel it within his heart of hearts; then alone, declare the Vedas, will all doubts vanish, all darkness be scattered, and all crookedness be made straight.

The science of Raja Yoga proposes to put before humanity a practical and scientifically worked out method of reaching this truth.

In acquiring knowledge we make use of generalization, and generalization is based upon observation. We first observe facts, and then we generalize, and then we draw our conclusions or principles. The knowledge of the mind, of the internal nature of man, of though, can never be had until we have the power of first observing the facts that are going on within.

The science of Raya Yoga, proposes to give men such a means of observing the internal states, and the instrument is the mind itself. The power of attention of mind, when properly guided, and directed towards the internal world, will analyze the mind, and illumine facts for us.

What is the use of such knowledge? In the first place, knowledge itself is the highest reward of knowledge, and, in the second place, there is also utility in it. It will take away our misery. When, by analyzing his own mind, man comes face to face, as it were, with something which is never destroyed, something which is, by its own nature, eternally pure and perfect, he will no more be miserable, no more unhappy. All misery comes from fear, from unsatisfied desire. Man will find that he never dies, and then he will have no more fear of death. When he knows that he is perfect, he will have no more vain desires, and both these causes being absent, there will be no more misery there will be perfect bliss, even while in this body.

Swami Vivekananda

Excerpts from Raja Yoga, Introduction