By Acharya Mithilesh Nandini Sharan
A philosophical principle states that ‘manifestations’ are for the benefit of others, and not themselves. A bed is for someone to sleep on, a book is for others to read, and a house is for someone to live in. Since this body is also a manifestation, there must be a special beneficiary, apart from the body itself. This understanding allows us to distinguish between the body and its owner, and the difference between living life and the purpose of life.
Worldwide, the tendency to elude contemporary sorrow and the restlessness to attain desired happiness has led to ignorance of the naturalness of life. It is painfully astonishing to learn that the prime concern of humanity today is to address the question, ‘How should life be?’ whereas the basic question remains, ‘Why life?’
We forget what would challenge life once our material needs are met. Also, even if we consider material success as our ultimate goal, what about the value of life for those whom such success has eluded? We have to fix our priority in this conflict of ‘why’ and ‘how’. ‘Why’ points to the purpose, while ‘how’ indicates the means. Purpose is the core thought, while the means is only a small part of it. An accomplishment which makes life meaningful under any condition, or which signifies the existence of life, is important and must be carefully understood. If a limited measure is taken as the standard – for example, the body – its significance shall cease after a point. We must, therefore, understand significance beyond the limit.
The Indian thought process has considered the body as a boat, a means to commute between two shores. The boat does not go out of the river; instead, only passengers move out. It is important to get into a boat to cross the river, but it is more important to vacate the boat at the opposite bank. We are expected to vacate our body when we reach our destination. In the vast expanse of Atma, our body is like a boat in the sea of life, full of water called destiny. Birth is an event which drops us into the sea of life by placing us in the boat – our body. The Bhagwad Gita, Upanishads, and other scriptures have all clarified this.
If we do not expand our vision beyond this life and do not appreciate and attain the core purpose of life during this lifetime itself, then this whole journey would be jeopardised. It is like boarding a stationary train which has all facilities and comforts to travel with, and then disembarking after a prolonged period at the same place where we boarded. The purpose is only served when the train carries us to our destination. Comforts are good only as long as they do not interfere with the journey of life.
Life is a journey of Atma, to transcend body consciousness; not for piecemeal happiness, but to attain infinite bliss, Ananda; a journey to dismantle our imaginary theorems and become free; a freedom attained much prior to death. The game of life is all about this. The journey of life may continue for one or more lifetimes until the Infinite is attained. A life module like this renders life blessed over its own existence.
The writer is based in Panchmukhi Mahadev, Ayodhya
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.