“What is the real goal, the final purpose, of life? Why has God created us?”
Man is blinded by his ignorance and his concern with the externalization of the materialistic world. He is caught, enthralled and bound by his karma. The ultimate realizations available to him, are beyond his understanding and are obscure to him, even intellectually.
Man’s ultimate quest, the final evolutionary frontier, is within man himself. This Truth has been explained by the Vedic rishis, as the Self within man, attainable through devotion, purification and control of the mind. We are born in this universe to explore the nature of our soul, God and the world. This universe gives us broad perspective of our own. Hindus of most lineages usually are in agreement with this, though in such matters, myriad differences of perspective are naturally born.
In a very real sense, we are like a spaceman, totally dependent on our body, mind, emotions and personal identity to persist in life, just as he depends on his space suit and its supply of oxygen to enable him to exist in space. If we Take away our body, remove our emotions and erase our identity, what are we left with? Do we cease to exist? What are we, really?
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Rishis assure us that we are immortal souls on a journey of spiritual evolution. According to them, we will be reborn with many bodies, many lives, many different identities through the repetitive cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Each advent into a new birth is like an astronaut’s voyage into the great unknown.
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The soul’s underlying joy throughout this adventure is to commune with and realize God, and to learn about His true nature, in this classroom of experience created by Him, known as the world, or maya.
The three realities of existence, God, soul and the world, constitute the fundamentals of a Hindu theology, known as tattva-trayi in Sanskrit. Tattva-Trayi describes a view in which Divinity, self and cosmos are a profound, integrated unity. Each and every soul born in this world, is on the same journey, spanning many lifetimes through his cycles of birth, death and rebirth. The answers to life’s ultimate questions have been given time and time again, but still must be asked and answered by each soul in its own time, every time it is born:
“Where did I come from?”
“Where am I going?”
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Who am I? And Where did I come from?
Rishis proclaim that we are not our body, mind or emotions. We are divine souls on a wondrous journey. We came from God, live in God and are evolving into oneness with God. We are, in reality, the Truth we seek. We are immortal souls living and growing in the great school of earthly experience in which we have lived many lives. Vedic rishis have given us courage by uttering the simple truth, “God is the Life of our life.” But there is one thing that God cannot do, He cannot separate Himself from us. This is because God is our life. God is the life in birds, fishes, animals, human beings, nature and everything surrounding us. He is the Life of the entire Universe.
Becoming aware of this Life energy, in everything that lives, is becoming aware of God’s loving presence within us. We are the undying consciousness and energy flowing through the entire universe. Deep inside we are perfect, at this very moment, and have to discover and live up to this perfection to be whole and complete. Our energy and God’s energy are the same, born out of void or nothingness. We are all beautiful children of God. Each day we should try to see the life energy in trees, birds, animals, people and everything surrounding us. When we do, we are seeing God in action.
The Vedas affirm, “He who knows God as the Life of life, Eye of the eye, Ear of the ear, Mind of the mind — he indeed comprehends fully the Cause of all causes”
Where Am I Going ? What Is My Path?
We are all going towards God, Experience is the path that we traverse to reach our goal, to reach God.
Through experience we mature, out of fear into fearlessness, out of anger into love, out of conflict into peace, out of darkness into light and into union with God. We have taken birth in a physical body to grow and evolve our divine potentials. Our religion contains the knowledge of how to realize this oneness and not create unwanted experiences along the way.
The peerless path of our life is to live the way of our spiritual forefathers lived, discovering the mystical meaning of ancient scriptures. This peerless path is commitment, study, discipline, practice and the maturing of yoga into wisdom. In the beginning stages, we will suffer, but eventually we will learn. Learning leads us to service, and selfless service is the beginning of spiritual striving. Service leads us to understanding. Understanding helps in meditation without any distractions.
Meditation helps us in surrendering to God. This is the straight and certain path, the San Marga, leading to Self Realization, the inmost purpose of life, and subsequently to moksha, freedom from rebirth.
The Vedas wisely affirm, “By austerity, goodness is obtained”. From goodness, understanding is attained. From understanding, the Self is obtained, and he who obtains the Self is free from the cycle of birth and death.”