Self-realization is the highest purpose of life

Pandit Anil Joshi
Pandit Anil Joshi

Master, what shall I do to be sure of my eternal life?” a disciple asks Jesus. “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, replied Jesus and relates a story the upshot of which is that everybody in the world is our “neighbor” and we should not do a thing which we would not do to ourselves. This is a basic tenet of Karma Yoga and a way to salvation or eternal life.

Indian philosophical thought centers around this goal of life – Self realization – (Moksha, Mukti or Nirvan) and our Saints, Gyanis or Avatars have reiterated time and again that this could be achieved thru the paths of Karma Yoga, Gyan Yoga or Bhakti yoga.

God – Brahma – the creator in His own subtle way has provided power or a grand opportunity to humans to get self realization or eternal life. Human beings are His best creation. He has given them the gift of super brain-consciousness, which is most precious in the world. He also created beautiful nature with numerous species to maintain the balance of eco-system. All religions do however, emphasize that human life is evolved after a great discerning assessment by God.

In Uttar Kanda, Lord Ram himself says that it is hard even for gods to be born as human beings to enjoy the glory and grandeur of the creations of the God.

Bade bhagya, manush tan pawa Sur durlabh saddh granth nagawa (42 Doha)
Along with beautiful life, as, human beings, we also have responsibilities to protect nature and other living creatures. We have our duties towards family, community, society. At the same time, our religions preach us to speak truth, not to steal, love others, be nice and helpful to others around us, and become a good person with such good qualities. Instead of being thankful to the creator, we forget him and his expectations.

As an individual, we should think about uplifting ourselves with simple values such as being humble and compassionate to others, be satisfied with what God has given us in this life, and perform our duties honestly. Moreover, we should try to realize the goals of life such as Who am I? What for am I here? And what am I doing?

These three questions when thought over seriously, open up the doors to spiritual self-discovery. We often become so immersed in our material life that we begin to identify ourselves with our possessions, our jobs, and roles in relationships. We should look beyond this worldly life and materialism. We need to know first, who am I?

In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, “Mamai vansho jivloke jivbhuta sanatana” (Ch. 15, V. 7) which means, “all the living entities in this world are my eternal, fragmental parts and I am the Supreme Controller who sits in the heart of all the living beings. These living beings themselves are riding inside a machine as soul, made up of material elements.”

Ishwara sarva bhutanam hrideshe Arjuna tishtati
Brahmayan sarva bhutani yantra rudhani mayaya (Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 18, V. 61)
Krishna also says, you are not just body or mind. You are an eternal life force, a part of the super soul of the Creator. You are an undying soul or the spirit or the atma in a human body. You are a human being; you are not just a Hindu, or a Christian or a Muslim. There is no difference among human beings, all are equal. According to Mahopanisad, this whole world is a ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (one big joint family) and we are all brothers and sisters. Everyone is the part of His creation, and member of His big family it does not matter which part of the earth they are living in or whatever religion they profess.

Ayam bandhurayam neti ganana laghucetasam|
udaracaritanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam || (Chapter VI, verse 70-73)
The above verse states that the whole world has to live together like a family. Swami Vivekananda, a great Indian philosopher also emphasized on building a “world without borders.” As we all know, the core preaching of all religions is the same but we may follow different ways to achieve the goals of life. We all need to work together to maintain peace and harmony in the world by realizing the primary purposes of the life.

Every one of us needs to ask this question, what for am I here? We are here for some purpose and perform certain actions and use our power, knowledge, science, technology, money, and labor for a good cause and sharing it with others for their welfare and benefit. We have to assess our actions with respect to valuing all the human beings in the same way, protecting women, children, elderly, and poor people as expected by our social setting. It is necessary to anchor primary purposes as our true identity.

A true identity of oneself will be discovered when you ask the question, what am I doing. Whatever you are doing ask yourself whether you are performing your actions in a proper way, and with full honesty. Cross-examine yourself by asking, when God has given you a beautiful life, family, society, nature and the world, whether you are enjoying being a part of them and serving them in your own way for their enhancement for our next generation.

We are responsible for our actions in life whether they are good or bad. Self-realization of the goals of life is essential to prepare for next life. The stages of life help us to realize our goals in a proper way.
There are four stages: 1) Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciation). When we learn values in the first stage and uphold and practice them in the second stage then in later stages, we can do and preach good things. If we do not realize our true goals and actions on time, we will be at loss. So, we should check whether our actions are beneficial to others.

This enlightenment or self-realization is considered to be the highest purpose of life, although very few can achieve it in a single lifetime. But this insight will certainly place us on the right track to move towards Moksha or liberation from re-birth.

Pandit Anil Joshi

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