The purpose of human life
Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda
VÉP, 3rd December 2004
The purpose of human life is to gain and realise Gyana, knowledge of the Self.
Recently I read an article. There was a very nice sentence in Sanskrit language, translated into Hindi. It was a Rishivakya. Rishis were the great sages of India. Rishivakya and Guruvakya are the same. Rishis told about their knowledge of Creation. Brahma has created different creatures with different qualities. We know that on this planet the Creator has created 8.4 million different creatures, and all are created out of five elements. Among these, one is the human being. And the Rishis say that nothing has been created without a purpose. Everything, including the planet itself, and the life on this planet, including vegetation, life in the water, in the air, on the earth, everything has its meaning or purpose. That purpose should be fulfilled.
If you miss and cannot fulfil your purpose in this life, you have failed and will have to repeat it again and again. Numerous creatures on this planet have the purpose just to be there and go through their destiny. They do not have any choice. Humans also have to go through their destiny. But humans have got some choice – a choice to make Karma. First the destiny is created, then life is given. Other creatures cannot choose or change anything. They just have to go through it. Humans have intellect and Viveka, so humans can decide to do something or not to do it. Therefore the purpose, the sense of human life, is greater. Eating, sleeping and creating children – animals are also very active in. If humans do nothing else than this, then there is little difference between animals and humans. Humans have more obligations, a greater purpose in life.
The main purpose of human life is Gyana, to gain knowledge. Knowledge means Atma Gyana, self-realisation. If you die without this you have failed your purpose. It means you fail the human life. In order to achieve that knowledge humans should lead a very Sattvic life. A life without consuming meat, eggs, alcohol and drugs. A Sattvic life is very, very important, because the nourishment, the food that you take or any kind of drugs, affect your intellect, your Buddhi. And it will turn it to a different direction so that you lose your positive, spiritual thoughts and feelings. The worldly pleasures seem more joyful to you. A simple and disciplined spiritual life seems boring to you. A fly sitting on a sandalwood paste gets a head-ache and does not feel good. But on the excrements she feels well and at home. On the other hand, when you lock a honey bee into an open toilet in the country side, she will try to escape as quickly as she can and fly out into the garden to the flowers and blossom trees. And it takes her a few hours of Pranayama to get rid of the negative qualities!
Therefore, a negative person cannot endure Satsang. Either they go away or fall asleep. This is a sign of negative Karma and bad destiny. Mala, Vikshepa and Avarana, these three are covering your consciousness. What treatment can help? The treatment is Satsang. When the doctor gives an injection of medicine, the first time you don’t like it, but when the injection has a positive effect, then you will even suggest to others to take it as well.
Rishivakya, the saint said : “Human life is given to collect and realise knowledge.”
The human spirit, human soul, human consciousness, human mind, human intellect, human qualities and human abilities are indescribable. God has given you a divine life, a godly life. You have incarnated as divinity and are behaving like very low creatures.
The great saint Achalramji Maharaj said in a Bhajan: “Everyone likes sweets. The best sweet is that sweet , which makes you immortal when you eat it. Eat that sweet which makes you immortal or that gives you the knowledge of immortality. That is a real sweet.”
When you put lemon into milk, the milk is spoiled. Similarly there are certain things that spoil your appetite towards the desires. However many desires you have, by that much are you bound.
He says further: “You will never be satisfied completely by all worldly enjoyments. It does not matter what you do, the next day you are longing again for something.” Is there anything that you can take and through this you will not have any longing any more? – Yes, there is something! When you get a slap on your cheek. That’s called a karmic slap. But this you will get, if you want it or not.
There is nothing in the world that will fulfil your desires forever. On the contrary, day by day, the thirst is growing in your mind. It is like an incurable disease. Having a human body, and you still have desires? You would give up the nectar and drink poison? What a pity. What will be the result of this? There will be a result. Every action will have a reaction, and every reaction will cause an action. Everything has a result. Every step will be counted. Either you make a step forward, backwards or sideways. What a pity, having a human body and still having desires. Declining the nectar and drinking the poison. What will happen after this life? Such trouble you can't imagine.
Vairagya is the lemon that will detach your mind from all desires. Without Vairagya it is not possible. Vairagya means that from this planet till Brahmaloka, all kinds of enjoyments are tasteless for you. And this is irreversible. When milk is spoiled through the lemon you cannot reverse this process. But you can make something out of it – you can make good Panir (curd cheese) for instance.
The sweet that makes you immortal is Gyana. The sourness is Vairagya and the nectar is wisdom and knowledge. When you have tasted that knowledge you will not die, you will be immortal. The taste of this tonic is so sweet and so powerful. This tonic makes you strong. What is meant by “strong”? Fearless. Free from fear of death and birth. Above everything.
Human life is given to realise the Self. Realise Gyana. Without knowledge we are like animals. Therefore Adi Shankaracharya said: “Know Thyself.” All relationships, all belongings, nothing will help you. All will remain here. It is called a blind Moha (attachment) to cling on to worldly relationships and things.
But we are sleeping. Therefore Holy Guruji said: Bhai tuma jago re … “O brothers wake up. You are missing your chance.” And what is the result of this? For lives and lives you will suffer.
This is the bitter truth. Day by day, every second that is lost is lost. The past will never come back.
You don’t know the reality. Children are angry when parents don’t allow them everything. But they will realise when they are 50 years old. Then they realise the truth that their parents have told them.
So, first is Gyana. And second is surrender. Surrender to Gurudev, surrender to God. Ask for His help. If you really pray from the heart you will get it. He can make possible the impossible. He can remove what would have happened. Gurudev is Parabrahman. He can make everything for his Bhaktas. But Bhaktas have to surrender completely. Not little, little …
First you offer everything to Gurudev, but when he advises something to you, then you cry, “No, I didn’t mean this!”
Thousands, millions of creatures try to bite each other. Compared with the endless universe this planet is a tiny one. And on this little planet all creatures are eating each other. Life eats life. This is Naraka. This is suffering. Everyone has fear. We have fear of our Father's creatures. Every creature tries to escape from the other creatures.
Bhaktas are full of doubts. Why this, and why not that? There should be no questions.
Bhagata hi vare bega, avo Mahavir… Holy Guruji said to Mahaprabhuji: Mahavir is the greatest hero. The hero of the heroes. Lord, your strength is endless. One day when death will attack us, all our position and powers, physical and mental abilities, all will be finished. Finally we have to surrender. Therefore we call Him the Almighty. The mighty one who is above all. He is the greatest hero. He can rescue us. No negative energy can attack. No magic, no ghost, no blackmailing, no one can attack you, because Mahaprabhuji is there. But he can only be there if you allow him. However, if you have doubts, no devotion, no faith, and only call him when you need him, then he will tell you, “I am not your servant, that you call and he comes.” He will tell you, “Take the hands from the rocks.” He will test your confidence. You know this story. He is the Lord of Lords. Death has no chance. Death is serving him. He is immortal and his body is very powerful. Nothing can harm Him at all.
“O Lord, all these negative, terrible people, they give lots of trouble to me. Lord, shoot your arrow and hunt them.” Who are these? Kama, Krodha, Madha, Moha, Lobha, Ahamkara. Passion, anger, hatred, attachment, jealousy, ego. These are the terrible people, your enemies. Only through Guru Kripa can you get rid of them. But you have to invite Him!
Like Mangilalji said in his Bhajan: Re nibhana he … “Obey, obey and follow the word of your Gurudev.”
Bacana vale lage sa … “How dear are the words of my master to me. Even if he is angry they are very dear to me. Only I know this, it is beyond my expression, I cannot explain to anyone. Indescribable.”
If you think and do like this, then the highway is ready for you. Take off.
Otherwise there is so many Kama, Krodha, Madha, Lobha …
You know Indian streets. You have a speedy car, but there are the camel cars, the trucks, the bicycles … and you cannot come forward. There are so many obstacles.
Therefore call the Almighty Lord to remove all obstacles from your way. Whenever Bhaktas are in great troubles, finally the Lord comes. He has to come. But how many troubles! Think about the Mahabharata, the birth of Krishna in the prison, his mother and father's condition there. The demon Kansa murdered all their children. That is called trouble! Then Krishna has to come when Devaki called him with pure heart. That is prayer! But when we pray we are looking at our watch.
Become one with your body and soul, and when you pray with a full heart, immediately He will be there! Ultimately the Lord has to come and He comes for the sake of his Bhaktas.
The last confidence, last hope for all, is only one: God. Everyone can disappoint you, can trouble you and cause pain to you, but not He.
O Lord, please cut off the chain of troubles of this world. This chain that has bound us tightly. The Jivatma is caught by the chain of troubles. Only God can bring you out of these troubles and rescue you. Pray to the Lord to save you and make your life successful.
IF YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE LIBERATION, ...
- Who am I?
- From where did I come?
- Why did I come?
- Am I fulfiling my life's purpose?
- Where will I go?
Sri Adi Guru Shankaracharya