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Question: What is the purpose of human life?
Acharya Prashant: See, we ask this question assuming that there is a purpose.
We ask this question assuming just as everything about us is purposeful so life must also be purposeful. Is there any validity to that assumption?
Purpose means a finality, it means an end. But if we begin right from where we are, then we always feel a purpose, don’t we?
Because we feel a purpose, so we want to know what is the right purpose. Correct?
That is our situation.
None of us is ever without a purpose, we may be confused about the purpose — and that is another matter — but a purpose or bag of purpose is always present. The challenge then is not knowing about whether there must be purpose, the challenge we face is determining the right purpose from many that we imagine.
What about freedom from this confusion?
What about not having to choose at all?
Maybe, that is the purpose of the life. Maybe, all our purposes, this entire bag is an unnecessary load, hence, maybe the purpose of the life is to come to purposelessness.
Of course, that is not something that we can absorb here from the speaker. We all carry purpose, maybe, it is far more important to see the limitations of those purposes. The very recurring cycle, the infinite loop those purposes are. Does any purpose ever end fully? Or does it simply makes way for another purpose? Have you ever had a goal which was the final one? Have you ever had a purpose the fulfilment of which will bring all the purposes to an end?
Have you ever had a destination beyond which you would not need to travel?
Now that invalidates the very definition of purpose.
Purpose by itself means something which when attained would give us a sense of completion, fulfillment. You would say that the purpose has been fulfilled. But where is the fulfillment? In fact, the more you go on conquering purposes, the more purposeful you feel; because more your confidence grows that purposes can give you something.
You feel that you have not achieved that something yet, and your next conclusion is purposeness is not giving me something, so let’s try hard enough; it is not as if the very premise, the very assumption is flawed, it is just that I am lacking in effort so let me put in little more efforts; let me set the next goal even further.
As they say, let me raise the bar two notches higher.
When will we come to see, that it won’t help.
If life has a purpose, this is the only purpose: To see that all our purposes are just illusions. But this seeing cannot be an imposed seeing, this seeing is clarity and when the eyes are clouded, hazy then clarity requires some work; that is the purpose of life, to have clarity, but with clarity you would be left with no purpose. As long as you are confused, muddled, you can have a million purposes. With clarity, there is hardly any purpose.
Clarity is the purpose of life.
~ Acharya Prashant speaking at a Shabdyog session at Maharishi Ramana Kendra, Delhi on 24th July 2016.
Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant: The purpose of life is to come to purposelessness. The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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