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Re: purpose of life

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani)
Date: Tue Nov 07 1995 - 13:19:54 PST

K.P Sridharan writes:
* But what 
* intrigues me is that why would an all merciful Lord would create a bunch 
* of beings only to serve Him?  

This is a good question, but the premise on which it is based is 
a mistaken one.  First of all, contrary to what Eswar has written, we
have not been *created* by the Lord.  We are ever existent, just 
as he is.  There was no creation of the individual, nor can there
be any destruction.  So there is no question of God creating us 
to simply serve him.  It is realizing our inherent nature that
dictates what our purpose in life is.  What is this nature, and
what is this purpose?

Certainly at the one level Krish is correct.  For most creatures,
procreation is the highest purushaartha.  Darwin's theory attests
to this.  However, I suspect that most people on this list believe 
that there must be a higher good to be attained.

Suresvara, one of the chief disciples of Sankaracharya, writes
that all creatures naturally seek to avoid pain and increase their 
own happiness.  These are the incontrovertible facts of existence. 
Unfortunately, most worldly happiness is fleeting, because we try to 
seek it from subsidiary things instead of going to the source of all 
happiness itself. The Upanishads teach us that the source and essence 
of all happiness is Brahman, i.e., God.  Nothing in and of itself 
causes happiness or sadness apart from Brahman; He, on the other 
hand, is the very embodiment of Bliss.

Since by nature we all desire happiness, why look any further than
Brahman? This is what our sampradaaya teaches.  Serving the Lord
fits in as we realize our essential nature as seshas of Brahman, 
mere instruments in his hands.  The service (bhavagat-kainkarya)
results from a feeling of overwhelming love and a recognition of
God's presence in all things everywhere, including the individual's
very self.  Our acharyas have said that we regain our lost knowledge
and bliss, potentially infinite but forgotten due to ignorance from 
time immemorial.

This issue can be summarized as, ``Do we love and serve the Lord
because he asks us to, or because we want something in return?'' 
NO -- we do it because it is our inherent nature to do so. Recognition
of this nature leads to the highest bliss.

Mani