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What is the purpose of your life? || Acharya Prashant, at Christ University (2022)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
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Questioner 1(Q1): Sir, what do you think is the purpose of one’s life? Is it inside us or is it present in the outside world for us to find out? Is it our individual growth as a human or is it something other than our being, and is something bigger than ourselves? Also if you could please share if you have found your purpose.

Acharya Prashant (AP): See, what you call as life is experienced moment to moment. Even the memories of the past and the imaginations of the future, you experience them in this moment. So, essentially, life is nothing but your experience as it is right now. So when you talk of the purpose of life, it has to be related to your lived experience, how you are experiencing life as it is for you currently.

Ask yourself, as you are living, what is it that troubles you? That which troubles you, go deeply into it. Finding a solution to the core of your troubles can be the only purpose of life. What else?

Let’s say you are sitting on a chair that’s very uncomfortable to sit on. There are needles jutting out and you are sitting on them. Or it’s just too small for you, let’s say, or one of its leg is cracked and shaking. And I tell you, the purpose of life is universal brotherhood. How does that help you?

What is your problem? Your problem is the chair you are sitting on. It is hurting you, at least your body, and therefore it is disturbing your mental peace as well. So you have to go into how your life is and the troubles of your life. If you can look clearly and honestly at them, the troubles of your life will tell you the purpose of your life. Otherwise, sitting on a chair that hurts and preaching of universal brotherhood makes no sense, no sense at all.

Those who have known, have taught us that the purpose of life is to gain freedom from everything that keeps you small. Do you want to stay small? You want to be big in every terms. In fact, all human desires are in some way are the desires to challenge one’s limits. We are born limited and as we grow up, we face several kinds of limits. You look into any desire you have, in some way it would be challenging some limit you encounter.

So that’s the purpose of life: to grow big, to challenge your limits, to overcome everything that keeps you in bondages. Freedom is your essential nature and therefore that alone can be the purpose of life. But before you talk of freedom, you must know where your bondages are. Therefore I talked of the chair.

Now, by that, I do not mean to turn the whole thing very casual. I do not mean to say that the purpose of life is to buy a comfortable chair for yourself. I said, when you encounter troubles, hurts, problems, suffering, you have to go into the core of that suffering. The core of the suffering is the core of your enemy. That enemy has to be fought against and overcome. That’s the purpose of life.

Why, what is it that keeps nagging me incessantly? What is it that troubles me so much in this form or that form? Obviously, you will get up from the chair and walk out and the chair would cease to be a problem, but then some other problem will arise. There is always something or the other to trouble. Going deeply into the problem means that you want to know the central problem that gives rise to the various problems. What is the central problem? Figure that out.

That central problem is a central weakness, the central limitation. If you can figure out your central problem, you know the purpose of your life. If you do not know your central problem, then figuring out the central problem is the purpose of life. Full stop!

Do not in any case remain embroiled with superficial problems, because the superficial problems are deceptions. The superficial problems exist so that you can never see the mother problem. We keep fighting the small problems and the big huge problem remains hidden; stop fighting the little ones, they are pawns. Fight the mother operator, see where that queen is and target her. Firstly, figure it out; secondly, overcome her. That’s the purpose of life!

Questioner 2(Q2): Namaskaram Sir. My question is, when we have a goal and plan for it and achieve it, we achieve success. But even after getting the success, it seems that we have failed in our life. Why does that happen?

AP: See, that’s the reason why goals must be very carefully thought of before you invest yourself in your goals. Else, this is the result rather the punishment. You will spend a lot of time, let’s say 2 years chasing something and when you obtain it, you will find you are still disappointed. So, first of all, you invested 2 years and now you will have to again invest a lot of time just remaining in the disappointment. And you will have to start from scratch, look at something else.

Don’t just randomly turn something into your goal or target. Your target has to be something that is closely related to your internal condition.

If your goals are being dictated by somebody else and then even if you attain those goals, how can you call that attainment your success?

I used to ask, “If a master dispatches a servant to the market to bring some salt or sugar and the servant successfully brings salt and sugar to the master. Would the servant call himself successful?” The task has been done successfully, but what has the servant received?

If at all there has been a success, it belongs to the master, not to the servant. Don’t be a servant; don’t perform others’ tasks. Don’t invest your energy in something that others want you to do. Otherwise, your failure is your failure and your success is not your success. That’s a bad place to be in—where there is failure either side of the result: you fail you fail, you succeed even then you fail.

On the contrary, there is another kind of effort, action and challenge possible where you know what you really want to do. You have thought it over, you have looked into your own mind, you have talked to as many people as possible to get diverse opinions. Peacefully, you have taken stock in your aloneness of where you stand and what you need without being afraid. And then, you pick up the right challenge for yourself. When you do that, then even if you fail, you have still succeeded because you took up a worthy challenge. So pick up something like that where even failure is a success.

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