In our daily lives, we are repeatedly encouraged to live life to the fullest. Life presents us with a rich variety of experiences through all our senses, and most people believe that this is the purpose of life: to fulfill the process of reaching the highest goals in life that we were born programmed to achieve by experiencing all the opportunities that life presents us and living one’s full potential.
The message comes in multiple ways from the media through the wise minds in vogue. We are constantly told to “don’t give up,” “stay motivated to achieve your full potential,” “experience every life’s moment,” “stay strong to achieve your goals,” “discipline yourself to give your best version,” and so on. But even those who strictly follow the wise minds face sorrows and difficulties along the way. They become disillusioned, and life appears meaningless; motivation decreases, then increases, then decreases again as they go through good and bad times. The wise minds keep telling us to “stay strong,” “fight life,” “move on,” and so on. People keep going until they build up the belief that only those who go through great pains and efforts in life achieve great success and their true life’s purpose.
All of our senses appear to confirm what the wise minds have said. Fluctuating feelings of joy and pain succeed one after another. Then the wise minds remind us “rise above joy and pain,” “stay focused on your objectives,” “life is short,” and so on. And all the other minds keep going down the same path as it is presented as the only way to really meet our life’s purposes.
When our minds take over our lives, we move through the impulses of our egos (personalities) like waves rising over the ocean trying to reach their highest individualities. Like these waves, we also try to reach our highest heights while forgetting that we are waves of the same ocean. Instead, we believe each wave is separated from the others, and thus, each of us has a different source and purpose of being. We conclude our life’s experiences are different and lead to unalike outcomes from one to the other. Thus, connection with the source gets lost and we lose track of the direction to drive our lives toward. If we don’t know from where we come, we cannot see where we go either. No clue about the origin means being clueless about the destination too. This illusion blurs the reality that the origin and destination are the same.
It is only by setting our mind aside that we can begin to see that the source of all creation, or the Creator, is being experienced through its creation in all of its living and non-living forms. And as the waves of the ocean, all humans are one consciousness that shares the possibility of witnessing this by being both the creator and his creation.
Ultimately, it is the Creator being realized through His own creation. And that is not the purpose of life, neither. It just happens as a result of the Creator’s creativity. For example, the rising Sun, the flowering of a rose, the dance of a peacock, and other natural phenomena allow us to see and understand this.
What is the Source or Creator?
He is the resplendent light of the highest truth. He is joy, purity, knowingness, oneness, love and completeness. He is All that is. He is what we think of as God.
On the contrary, evil arises and takes control by reducing us to our minds in separateness in its darkness, when the absence of His light prevents it from being perceived. We need the light of awareness to overcome darkness in order to achieve a state of oneness with the creator. But He is neither the light or the darkness. He is the love, realization or power that transforms darkness into Light.
Nirvana Shatakam by Adi Shankara describes Him beautifully:
न पुण्यं न पापं न सौख्यं न दुःखं
न मन्त्रो न तीर्थं न वेदा न यज्ञाः ।
अहं भोजनं नैव भोज्यं न भोक्ता
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् ॥४॥
Na Punnyam Na Paapam Na Saukhyam Na Duhkham
Na Mantro Na Tiirtham Na Vedaa Na Yajnyaah |
Aham Bhojanam Naiva Bhojyam Na Bhoktaa
Cid-Aananda-Ruupah Shivo[a-A] ham Shivo[a-A] ham ||
Meaning in English:
Neither am I bound by Merits nor Sins,
neither by Worldly Joys nor by Sorrows,
Neither am I bound by Sacred Hymns nor by Sacred Places,
neither by Sacred Scriptures nor by Sacrifices,
I am Neither Enjoyment (Experience),
nor an object to be Enjoyed (Experienced), nor the Enjoyer (Experiencer),
I am the Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness; I am Shiva, I am Shiva,
The Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness.
The Avadhuta (Dattatreya) Gita also describes Him.
न मानसं कर्म शुभाशुभं मे
न कायिकं कर्म शुभाशुभं मे ।
न वाचिकं कर्म शुभाशुभं म
Meaning in English:
I have no birth, no death, and no duties;
I’ve never done anything, either good or bad.
I’m purely Brahman, beyond all qualities;
How could either bondage or liberation exist for me?
What is the Purpose of Life?
I believe that life is a purposeless existence. It is all about the Creator being visible or made aware through different living and non-living forms. Thus, the questions and answers would be: Who is making it aware? The Creator Himself. Who is experiencing? No one, as there is nothing to experience here as the Creator and the Creation are One and the Same. The humans are the only consciousnesses who have the privilege to witness this divine unfolding by being aware of both the creator and His creation.
Why do we, as humans, feel there is a purpose to life?
Being human itself is an illusion of separation from the Creator. A human perceives himself as either a body, mind, senses or a soul. If you align to your body consciousness, your purpose becomes survival through food, clothing, shelter and support. If you align to your mind consciousness, it becomes survival through learning, growth and competition. If you align to your senses your purpose becomes experiencing joy and pleasures and overcoming their fluctuations. And, if you align to your soul your purpose becomes realizing your highest potential through the role play you are assigned. But then you are none of these as the soul is a projection of God onto a form. Reaching this point of realization may not be the trend propagated by the wise minds; but if source and purpose (destination) are one and the same, then realization of this awareness, which brings us into alignment with the universal oneness, is what our ultimate purpose is. Through sadhana, bhakti and following the laid path of Yog, the soul sheds off the covering of this Maya or illusion to realize its oneness with the higher Self, which is devoid of all attributes (nirguna Brahman), and in this state, life just unfolds as a purposeless existence.