What is the ultimate purpose of human life?
The purpose of human life is to uplift oneself, one’s consciousness. Many people choose to live the material way of life and progress materially by multiplying their wealth, property, fame, etc. On the other hand, some human beings have realized the futility of material pursuits and seek spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is the true and the highest goal of human life. Through many past lifetimes, after changing millions of bodies across the millions of species, we have attained this invaluable human form. Spiritual knowledge directs us to the supreme goal of human life which is serving Bhagawan.
Bhagawan is the Supreme Lord who is the cause of all causes. He is the source of all living beings and therefore is the Supreme controller. The ones who consciously spend time in the pursuit of Bhagawan are the ones who have understood the purpose of human birth. In contrast, people who are bereft of spiritual service and knowledge degrade to the lower planes of existence. They are thrown back into the subhuman species to satisfy their lower instincts. Though we know that Bhagawan is the ultimate Truth and the only reality, we ignore Him. We know that only through His support can suffering be put to an end. Yet, due to ignorance, we take charge of our lives, though we lack the capacity to do so. We engage in pointless activities and keep neglecting the need for spirituality. We treat it as a supplementary activity rather than regarding it as the sole purpose of our life. Due to ignorance, people consider otherworldly activities as their top priorities. This propels them to procrastinate on spiritual activities. Due to this unwise approach, we keep delaying liberation. We continue cycling through many lifetimes and waste our precious time. Hence, it is necessary to understand and implement spiritual knowledge into our lives. We need to stop hearing our mind-chatter and find answers to questions that really impact our lives.
Once we find our roots of existence and understand the philosophy of life, we accelerate our journey towards Bhagawan. The only goal of human life is to know the Supreme Being, Bhagawan. But before we know Bhagawan we must possess the firm conviction that the purpose of Human Life is to attain Him. Worldly activities should no longer interest us if at all we want to attain the highest goal.
Who is Bhagawan?
In the Vedas, Bhagawan or Paramatma is addressed as the source of creation. Further, He is addressed as Ananda (आनंद). Ananda is a Sanskrit word that means Bliss. The supreme Lord is Bliss personified and therefore is non-different from it. The Vedas say that the world emanates from the Supreme Lord. The entire universe is a part and parcel of Him. The maintenance of this universe is also governed by Him. The supreme entity is addressed as Paramatma, Bhagawan, and Ananda who is the creator, maintainer, and destroyer of the universe. At the time of destruction (or प्रलय ) the entire creation merges with Bhagawan.
Purpose of Avatars
When the inconceivable Lord, manifests his Divine form, he is said to incarnate or take an Avataar (अवतार). The all-merciful Lord for the sake of the living entities incarnates on earth and displays his power and pastimes so that we’re able to engage our minds on Him. If He did not do so, the mind would continue to wander in fruitless pursuits. Bhagawan incarnates so that we can apply our mind in His contemplation. It is said that even to gain knowledge about Bhagawan, He is the means. He is the goal as well as the means to reach that goal. The path and the destination are non-different. As Goswami Tulsi Das says: सोइ जानइ जेहि देहु जनाई, which means that only when Bhagawan desires to reveal Himself to someone can one know about Him. So, if you are reading about Him or trying to gain knowledge about His divine form, abode, and pastimes, know for certain that it is due to His grace alone.
Maharishi Valmiki says that due to the prayer of the Devata, the Lord Himself incarnated in the form of a human being, amidst the human population as Raghunandan Shri Ram.
Glories of Shri Rama
Lord Rama is the epitome of Righteousness (or Dharma, धर्म). He is the perfect role model for human Beings. Throughout His divine lifetime on Earth, He lived the teachings of the Vedas. If you want to see Vedas into action, you should contemplate Shri Rama’s pastimes. Abiding by the rules of Dharma, as described in the Vedas, seems impossible. But, Shri Rama has implemented the teachings of the Vedas and has set an ideal example of how man should try to live life. By hearing the divine pastimes of Shri Rama, one becomes aware of Dharma. One becomes inspired and follows the guidelines laid down by Shri Ramachandra. But, when it comes to accepting Shri Rama as one’s role model, we find many different opinions. Many people form their personal opinions that do not fall in line with the scriptures. Now the question arises as to which line of thought is appropriate for us? We should realize that only the teachings of the Vedas are devoid of any discrepancies. Man-made concepts are a result of illusion (or Maya, माया). Man-made theories stand outright rejected as time passes. What held relevance in the past, stands utterly irrelevant these days. But, Vedic teachings are relevant at all times, irrespective of time, place, and circumstances.
Some people hallucinate that Shri Rama is mere fiction that He never existed at all. Some people believe that Shri Rama was an ordinary human being. The next set of people reject the belief that Shri Rama was an ordinary human being. They believe that he was some supernatural entity, with divine powers. Yet, these people do not subscribe to reality. Very few people accept the truth that Shri Rama is indeed the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There remains no room for doubt in this. People who know this ultimate reality, reject all other conceptions about the Lord. The true devotees of Shri Ram, know that He is Param Purush (The Supreme Entity). All other conceptions are not close to reality. Lord Rama, is neither a mortal nor a supernatural entity. He is Param-atma or the Super soul which resides within both, mortals and supernatural beings. Therefore, He cannot be described as anything other than the Supreme Being, Bhagawan.
Glories of Shri Rama Katha
Ram Katha (राम कथा) is the story of Shri Rama’s life. It is a compilation of His divine pastimes. Unlike other storybooks and novels, Shri ram Katha is infinite. We can read many novels in a lifetime as there is a beginning and an end to the story. But, even if we spend millions of lifetimes reading Ram Katha, the pastimes will never come to an end. They will be fresh every time you read it with devotion. The pastimes of the Lord are infinite as Shri Rama has incarnated on earth innumerable times.
When we look deeper at the creation process we realize that the universe has existed before us and will continue to exist even after we die. Differentiating between past, present and future arises due to the existence of time. We look at everything as finite, due to our short-lifespan. Our life is finite, but the existence of the universe is infinite. The universe has been subjected to the process of creation, maintenance, and destruction since time immemorial. If one universe is destroyed, another universe is created. Therefore, Bhagawan is also known by the name Kaal or time. He is called so because He is non-different from time. He is ever-present. He has neither beginning nor end just like a circle. A circle has no definite start or end. Similarly, Bhagawan has existed and He continues to exist and manifest His pastimes on earth.
Because, mortals take birth, live, and then die they have a finite period of existence. The Lord showers His immeasurable grace on us by incarnating on earth. He incarnates infinitely so that we can gain sufficient knowledge about Him and attain His devotional service. The Lord incarnates innumerable times so that we are liberated from this cycle of birth and death and attain the everlasting joy of devotional service.