Read part-1 here
Our planet earth is part of an infinitely large complex cosmic system. The observable universe is infinite towards every direction. Similarly life's path could go infinitely towards any direction. Hence it is very important to know our purpose of life and aim to set the direction of journey right. It is also important to have an aim for our Sadhana, as meditation without guidance of Guru and aim may allow the mind to drift infinitely deeper amiss. The purpose of life and the aim in our spiritual path will help us stay focus and move towards the correct direction. All purpose can be classified into four Purushartas:
i. Kaama- fulfilling sensory pleasure
ii. Aartha-survival, security and stability
iii. Dharma- Duty and righteousness
iv. Moksha- self realization and liberation.
Everybody has their own aim of life and will fall into these four categories. We slowly evolve our aims in life accordingly based on our past Karma. The ultimate aim of almost all spiritual path is to attain Moksha. However different schools of thoughts have prescribed different ways towards Moksha.
According to the teachings of our Guru, Paramahamsa Vishwananda under the ancient lineage of Sri Sampradaya we follow the pathway of Bhakti which translate into Bhakti Marga. Marga means path and Bhakti means Love and Devotion towards God. It is through Bhakti and complete surrender that we may attain Moksha, which is interpreted to attaining the Lotus feet of God and to eternally serve Him.
When we try to learn our purpose of life, it is only logical to ask the question the other way around. What is the purpose behind the entire existence? God is the source of the entire existence with no external compulsion. He is full, he is complete. So why did he create us? I recently was watching an interesting Bhakti Marga Academy Lecture on Shristhi (Creation) by Swami Revatikanta, a direct disciple of Paramahamsa Vishwananda. In this video Swami Revatikanta tackles this question beautifully. He quoted an interesting verse from Rig Veda;
Who really knows, and who can answer,
How creation came, when or where
Even gods came after creation's day,
Who really knows, who can truly say
When and how did the creation start?
Did he do it? Or did he not?
Only he, up there knows, maybe;
or perhaps, not even he.
Rig Veda 10.129.1-7
Rig Veda is the most ancient text among all Vedas in Sanathana Dharma. Each verse makes us think and is meant to be contemplated on. To infer the reason behind this existence is like attempting to read God's mind during the moment of creation. Hence the verses above humbles us as our limited mind can't understand the unlimited God and his existence. For that we need to transcend the mind. However, throughout history countless Acharyas, Gurus have explained this question of purpose with the expansion of Divine Leela ideology. As we focus on our Guru's teachings, Paramahamsa Viswananda has clearly explained that the purpose behind this creation is to experience the relationship of Prem; to experince the Relationship of Unconditional Divine Love.This is the main primary reason given by many Acharya including our Acharya, Paramahamsa Vishwananda.
As God is the only existence, he is only One, He became many to experience the loving relationship with His creation, Himself. All Atma (soul/spiritual substance) and material substances (matter) in this existence is part of God. Both God and his Creation are interconnected and intertwined. So is the interconnection between the purpose of creation and the purpose of life of every individual. The purpose of life is the purpose behind creation itself; is to experience the Relationship of Love. God's Purpose is to experience love with his creation, part of Himself. Where else our purpose is to experience the loving relationship with God, whom we are part of.
Even though I was brought up with teachings of Bhakti during childhood, when I went to University, I started questioning God and the ways of religion. Praying and chanting mantras no longer became my priority. I believed that studying and hard work alone will help me graduate, not prayer. During discussions with my friends, we questioned the ritualistic ceremonies. We questioned why food was being offered into fire instead of being distributed to the poor. Our young enthusiastic mind raised questions on hunger, climate change, racism, inequality, lack of educational privileges for the needy, suffering including war and terrorism which are mostly religiously motivated. We frequently brain-stormed for solutions and agreed that purpose of life is to help solve the problems of our community and planet earth. At that point of time, Aartha and Dharma was our purpose of Life.
I remember very clearly that it was end of 2009 when we were eagerly watching a movie called '2012' regarding end of the world, a prophesy from the Mayan Calendar. The movie was directed in such a way that the catastrophe initially started whipping out the famous statue of Jesus Christ at the summit of Mount Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro of Brazil followed by other religious places. I was curious if the film director was trying to dismiss God and religion as an internal message.
It was during this time I decided to study all major religion of the world to understand what is God. I started meditating everyday with some basic knowledge learned during childhood. During my meditation and contemplation, I understood that I am just a small particle, part of this bigger cosmos. I understood that God is the factor behind the whole existence but is beyond the light spectrum picked up by the cons and rods of our retina nor be understood with our limited mind. God is closest to us within our hearts and permeates through all living beings and non-living matter. I suddenly had the urge to Love the entire Cosmos as if loving myself. I concluded, that Love is the answer to all problems on earth. If God ever helps, it is only through the love expressed by another. As I start meeting more people who meditate, I realized that anyone who meditates with a sincere seeking, would naturally come to these same conclusions.
This is when I prayed for a Guru for further guidance, to seek for enlightenment, for God realization, to be in union with God. The truth is it was my Guru who found me. After meeting my Guru, Paramahamsa Vishwananda, I came to understand that even the wish to merge with God could awaken desire and attachment creating more ego. Hence the purest and humblest reason behind the request for God Realization is to only ask to Experience the Loving Relationship with God and to Serve Him better. If someone loves another, it is only natural we serve them even better with our best effort. The true meaning of Loving relationship with God is not only loving the formless almighty in our meditation or the deity in the temple. It is also about loving God that exists in everything including human, animals, plants and even the oceans, in the air we breath, rocks,Ice and Mountains. However it starts with loving ourselves as God is closest to us within us. We also need to learn to love the God present in the immediate people around us; our family members at home, our spiritual family in our temples, ashram and Om Chanting circles including our colleagues in our office and even strangers in a traffic jam.
THE GRANT STUDY is part of the Study of Adult Development at Harvard' Medical School has a surprising finding, that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships is the biggest influence on our health and life span. Even if we remove the word God from our purpose, our entire life is still about the loving relationships with our parents, spouse, children and family. If we have a loving relationship with our family members and neighbors, our homes and neighborhood will be filled with joy. If all countries of the world have a loving relationship with each other, there won't be wars anymore. When whole of humankind is taught of the importance of the Loving relationship with Mother Earth and Nature, mankind will find alternate solutions for fossil energy, animal slaughtering and plastic usage to reverse global warming and climate change. They key word here is Loving Relationship and all efforts and service will come naturally to sustain it.
It may sound very simple when one says that their purpose of life is the loving relationship with God and to serve him eternally, however there is so much deepness into it's meaning. Everything else will be fulfilled on this pursuit of Love relationship, with God who is this entire cosmos and beyond.