In this talk, the concluding one in the series, we examine whether there is truly a higher purpose to life.
Academics have studied the subject of purpose in life and one team concluded:
‘People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression. But where do we find ‘meaning and purpose’? The answers vary for each of us but they all involve being connected to something bigger than ourselves’.
The ancient yoga teaching state that self-realization and God-realization are the purpose of human existence. The following are the Vedic texts which I quoted in this exploration of the highest purpose of human life.
“One who has taken his birth as a human being should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people. It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words. By his work, thoughts and words, an intelligent man must perform actions which will be beneficial for all living entities in this life and the next.” – Caitanya Caritamrita Ādi-lila 9.41-43
The goal of yogic practice is to reawaken my forgotten eternal relationship with my dearest friend, the Supreme Soul.
“The one Supreme Lord lives hidden inside all created things. He pervades all matter and sits within the hearts of all living beings. As the indwelling Supreme Soul (Paramātmā), He supervises their material activities. Thus, while having no material qualities Himself, He is the unique witness and giver of consciousness.” – Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.11
“Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer, who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supreme Soul (Paramātmā).” – Bhagavad-gita 31.23
“Two companion birds sit together in the shelter of the same pippala tree. One of them is relishing the taste of the tree’s berries, while the other refrains from eating and instead watches over His friend.
“Although the two birds are in the same tree, the enjoying bird is full of anxiety and morose; but if somehow he turns to his friend, the Lord, and knows His glories, at once he is freed from all anxiety.” – Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad, and Ṛk-saṁhitā 2.3.17
The awakening of a divine and transcendental love for the Supreme is the highest purpose of the soul itself.
“Religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation are known as the four goals of life, but before love of Godhead, the fifth and highest goal, these appear as insignificant as straw in the street.” – Caitanya Caritamrita Adi-lila 7.84
“Pure love for the Supreme Soul is eternally established in the hearts of the living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, this love naturally awakens.” – Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 22.107