Is our life a matter of chance or does it carry some purpose?

by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)

Is our life a matter of chance or does it carry some purpose?

Life may be a coincidence, scientifically, but it is certainly an opportunity from a spiritual point of view to find its real goal: knowledge of the self and universal love for the peace and pleasure of the mind. Time and again this is confirmed by numerous saintly souls. Those saints had a truly satisfying life, not materialistically but in terms of peace and pleasure of mind.

What could be a better proposition than to develop a third eye of wisdom to see life’s reality and enjoy peace of mind and true pleasure? Our real identity, i.e., the soul – an eternal and unchanging reality that exists before, during, and after life – is forgotten by the mind in worldly desires and attachments. Most people consider the physical and temporary body as the product of nature alone and wish for its longevity at any cost.

It is not that we don’t know the path which leads to the above mentioned real goal but due to indulgence in attachments and expectations caused by the egoistic mind we are ignorant till we come across a higher self, i.e., a spiritual master, or feel utter disgust in life. Usually disgust leads a person to intense thinking and this leads finally to self-realization.

The third eye of wisdom is developed when we read a scripture or listen to a wise person, ponder on the views expressed by them, and practice what we feel to be beneficial, i.e., the adoption of righteousness. What comes in the way when we put righteousness in practice? The saints have identified two things – attachment and hatred – that make a man indulge in egoistic pursuits. When a person gradually rises above his own selfishness for the welfare of family, society, nation, and the world, only then is he considered pursuing the real goal of life on this planet.

A child of 3 years tries to outwit his elders with such a confidence as if he is very wise and feels himself master of the world, but his elders laugh over it. Similarly, no man is wise enough when he remains indulged in worldly gains forgetting his own spirit. Like a child one has to grow in wisdom continuously till the final goal of life is achieved.

Though all subjects of studies (nowadays tailored to suit temporal jobs) are necessary for the material growth of mankind, their main objective is limited to sustenance. However, peace and happiness are the natural condition of the mind and together with the right sustenance make life truly satisfying. No doubt the spirit of renunciation and devotion is the basis on which an aspirant of spirituality makes progress towards the supreme goal.

Most people are not interested in spirituality itself but in its byproducts, for the sake of health and wealth, and sometimes for prestige in society. A great misconception of most people is that peace can only be attained through worldly gains. Nobody wants a peace of mind that would make them devoid of worldly pleasures. But, most happy persons, though rare, are found with a bare minimum of belongings, just sufficient for their sustenance, and only as long as their body is capable to look after the welfare of others.

Some people discard the old scriptures straightaway feeling some of the contents are pure imaginations and therefore unbelievable. In the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine a bitter herb is taken with honey. Any seeming superficiality in the scriptures may be considered as honey, and the mind should extract real substance out of these for one’s true welfare. Wise mothers always teach their children through parables and stories of fantasy.

All objects perceived through our senses may be very attractive but in a real sense our attachment to the unlimited enjoyment of these attractions causes disgust. It is only through following spirituality sincerely that one can avoid disgust in life and achieve the real goal.

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