What is the Purpose of Human Life? | Human Body and Spirituality

Human Body-A Rare Opportunity

No living entity can exist without doing work. The objective of work is the very basis of our life. Without work, of some sort, life becomes a burden. There can be two objectives of performing work. The objectives are

(1) To get freedom from problems or sorrows.

(2) To attain happiness.

However the reality of everyday life is that we continue to be unhappy although we perform work to attain happiness in an attempt to free ourselves from sorrow. Even when we are smiling, the sorrows of our hearts continue to trouble us all the time. Yet, we do not stop performing work. The activities of the world go on unabatedly, although the sorrow continues, in the hope that someday, unhappiness shall come to an end. Unfortunately that day shall never come since we are looking for happiness at the wrong place and are applying the wrong means. The fact of the matter is that no living entity can exist without performing work even for a moment. Even if one is sleeping, work goes on in the form of dreams. The breathing happens involuntarily. This means that activities shall be done by the body or the mind; either voluntarily or involuntarily. The summary of Vedic understanding is that man is only striving for the attainment of Ananda, spiritual happiness. That means that if spiritual happiness is attained, one will be relieved of sorrows automatically. When there is knowledge, automatically one shall be relieved of ignorance. One experiences “false” happiness or a shadow of the true spiritual happiness when one is in deep sleep, in the dreamless state, the Sushupti (सुषुप्ति) state. This state is only realized after one wakes up, but is not cognizable in the sleeping dreamless state. It is the memory of the state that is realized on waking. However in this state happiness is not attained, although all worries had been forgotten. This was because the mind was in abeyance in the dreamless sleep state. This is the same experience when one is unconscious. The end of sorrows does not automatically imply that one shall receive happiness, however the converse is true. The happiness of the world can never be considered as true happiness; it is happiness born out of matter, a semblance of happiness born out of our ignorance. That is the reason why, on attaining worldly happiness, sorrow continues to stay. Hence the most important task for man, is to get rid of ignorance which is the primary motivation for man to look for happiness in the material world. It should therefore be understood that the root of all suffering is ignorance alone.

The Vedas warn man that unless ignorance is removed, having attained the rare human body, no other body in creation is capable of attaining knowledge, following the removal of ignorance. So this rare opportunity of removing the beginningless ignorance should not be wasted. If this opportunity is wasted, the living entity shall continue to re-incarnate in 8.4 million species with no respite from sorrow. Even the celestial beings or Devatas hanker for the human body because only human body has the capacity to perform activities and work for attainment of happiness. All other bodies are meant only to suffer or enjoy the fruits of their work which they would have performed in an earlier human birth. The celestials’ bodies are meant for enjoyment, yet they cannot attain spiritual happiness. The lower beings like ghosts, goblins, insects, worms, birds etc undergo sorrow and suffering, with no scope for either enjoyment or happiness. The human beings undergo both enjoyment and sorrows but they are given an additional capability of performing motivated work by which they can strive for spiritual happiness or redemption. Once the opportunity of the human birth is lost, many millions of Kalpas (कल्प) pass on, but one is not guaranteed of the next time, when one shall receive the human body. One Kalpa is a period of 4.32 billion years, which also represents 12 hours that constitute the day of Lord Brahma.  Scriptures such as the Ramcharita Manas and the Srimad Bhagavatham exhort this truth that “A person is a slayer of his own soul, who, having attained the rarest of the rare human body, does not strive through spiritual practice and guidance to end ignorance.”