My mother has recently written this:
Part of being alive and in touch with the world around and within us lies in searching for our answers and in asking our questions. But in life, we keep ourselves so much occupied with the mundane jobs of life that we hardly get time to solve our questions. In life, when we see suffering, sickness and death around us, many questions arise in our mind. Many times, even in the midst of gaiety, our mind starts asking these questions, ‘What is the purpose of my life? Why am I here? What do I want in my life? We have seen that even after getting all the material things in life, at times, we feel a vacuum in our heart. It is because we are not clear about the purpose of our life. Having a purpose in life is one of the fundamental factors of happiness. Without it, our life will be less focused and less efficient. Purpose of life is a set of guidelines that influences our behaviour, our decisions of life and our values in life. It gives direction and adds a meaning in our life.
Prophets and poets had foretold that every human being is the individualised embodiment of Divine. Being that the whole purpose of life is to realize that divinity here. We have to remember that there is a Divine Spark in all of us. As Swami Vivekanand had said, ’See only God in every man, woman and child.’ As such, the purpose of life is to serve others irrespective of their caste, creed, gender or nationality. While doing so, we should not expect anything in return.
All our scriptures have given guide lines about the purpose of man’s life .According to Vedas, the purpose of life is to fulfil the Divine mission of God and Prakriti by resorting to the welfare activities for the entire mankind. For fulfilling this divine mission, the noble philosophy of Idd Nan Mamam is advised which means nothing for the self, all for society. Further, Vedas say that man should see that there is no pollution in water, Air, oceans, rivers and plants.
Bible says, human soul tells us that the purpose of life is to assist God in maintenance of social, moral, and physical order so that mankind becomes divine bureaucracy of God to ensure implementation and maintenance of his wondrous design, this world. According to Islam, whatever leads to the welfare of society is morally good and whatever is injurious to society is morally bad. Islam also lays emphasis on service on service to society.
Gita gives great importance on doing one’s duty without attachment. As Lord Krishna advises Arjun, ’Go on efficiently doing your duty without attachment. Having an eye on the maintenance of World Order you should take to action. Who acts offering all actions to God and shaking off attachment remains untouched by sin as the lotus leaf by water.’
These guidelines are there but we can set our own purpose of life for us. Over all we can say that the purpose of our life should be to serve humanity and perform all our allotted duties honestly even in the face of difficulties. It can be careful guidance to our children with a view to their best and harmonious development without expecting anything in return from them, looking after the sick and elderly in their need. All these and many other duties of day to day life can give us satisfaction if they are done as a service to others. “Even the least work done for others awakens the power within and gradually instils into the heart the strength of a lion,’ said Swami Vivekanand.
There is much more that we can do in order to serve society. We can become more aware of our responsibility towards society and can participate in all the welfare activities for the community. We can set an example for others by following a righteous and ethical conduct in our life. We can raise our voice against malpractices being followed in the society and try to bring a change there. We can lead a need based life. By leading a need based life, we can save our Mother Earth from its material exploitation and can save our Planet from pollution of various types. We can perform every action selflessly as an offering to God without expecting any reward for our actions. We can follow the principles of spirituality and can connect to our inner self within us. When we connect to our inner self, we get motivated to lead a pure purposeful and meaningful life. Life flows more easily and we can find satisfaction and happiness in our daily life. We can uphold the values of honesty, compassion, generosity, humility, integrity, service and spirituality on a daily basis.
In short, we can say, the more our goals are in line with the intensity of our spiritual development, the more rich and satisfying our lives become. By setting a purpose of life for us and leading a life according to those principles can make our lives meaningful and sublime.