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purpose of life

From: K.P. Sridharan (kpsrid_at_dsu.deltast.edu)
Date: Tue Nov 07 1995 - 11:55:34 PST

I have heard that the purpose of life is to serve the Lord Krishna, 
Vishnu, Narayana.. based on the tradition one belongs to.  But what 
intrigues me is that why would an all merciful Lord would create a bunch 
of beings only to serve Him?  (I could almost hear somebody saying  Why not? 
Don't we create machines to serve us) That aside, What is the Vedic or Sastric
view of the purpose of creation?  The Gaudiya Vaishnavites explain it on these
lines...

 God is a repository of all qualities. One such quality is 
independence.  When parts of of the Supreme being wanted to be independent and 
"enjoy" the Lord in His infite mercy created the material world for them 
to enjoy and realize the folly of material enjoyment.  The created beings are
supposed to realize the folly return to Godhead by serving him to get rid 
of the material contamination they are in.  This process is made 
difficult by the play of Maya which makes the beings forget their true 
identity and hence the purpose of life.  I may not be stating the 
Guadiya point of view correctly and possibly some one can correct me in this.

	I am specifically interested in knowing the Sri Vaishnava point 
of view and I suspect that this quetion of serving the Lord does not 
arise at all from the point of view of the  Advaita philosophy which does 
not admit duality.


K.P.Sridharan