Acharya Prashant: What is the ultimate purpose of life? || (2017)


Question: As the years go by many of us remain confused about the ‘Goals of Life.’ I would like to be guided about the ‘Ultimate purpose of Life.’

~ Colonel S. D. Joshi

Acharya Prashant: But we have had purposes throughout our Life. Is there ever a purposeless moment in one’s Life. One is always driven by purpose.

You are going to the market to buy a vegetable, you have a purpose. You are going to your office, you have a purpose. Even if you embracing a stranger, you still have a purpose. Even if you are smiling at a kid, you still have a purpose.

Rare is the one who can even kiss purposelessly. 

We are very purposed human beings. 

You know what purpose is, benefit. What will I get from this? Do you ever do anything without a purpose? So Life has always been ‘purpose driven.’ You are asking, what is the ‘Ultimate purpose of Life?’ That question can be asked only if firstly the futility of all other purposes is seen.

Life has been a series of purposes. Parallel purposes, contradictory purposes, conflicting purposes, but purposes nevertheless. One doesn’t take a step purposelessly, that is the curse of our Life. The question ‘why?’ is always present.

If You tell someone, you are going to someplace what is the first thing that you are asked? Why? And what does ‘why?’ mean?

Listener: Benefit.

AP: And what does purpose mean?

L: Benefit.

AP: Benefit! What will you get by going there? We have always been ‘purposeful.’ Now, firstly do you see that all these purposes meant nothing. Only then you are qualified to ask about the ‘Ultimate purpose.’ If little purposes are still present and prevailing, why are you asking about the ultimate purpose? You already have purposes. Why are you asking about something that you already have?

If you have a slot, a vacancy called purpose and it is already full why are you inquiring? Can you further full ‘The full’? That which is full cannot be further filled.

So before talking of ultimate purpose let’s inquire into what is the quality of our prevailing current purposes. What is the mind always busy with? Why does a mind want a purpose? Why is there such an urge to benefit? What do I lack that I want to always keep adding to myself?

Purpose means addition, accumulation, improvement, betterment. Why do I always seek my betterment? Who told me in the first place that I am not good enough?

Purpose means target. purpose means I don’t have something currently and I must pursue the target to get that thing. Who established it in our minds that we are insufficient and inadequate? That is the first question to ask. Otherwise, you will be overloaded with purposes. You will have purpose upon the purpose and then one more Ultimate Spiritual Purpose. You will collapse under the load of purpose.

The Ultimate purpose is only for those who first see the futility of all these little purposes. Maybe seeing the futility of these purposes is itself the ultimate purpose. Who knows? Maybe.

Let’s begin from where we are. We are occupied, people. Our mind is an overcrowded place. Let’s begin from there and ask ourselves. Do all these things, and bits, and people, thoughts and ideas, really need to be here? But instead of asking that we are asking for another new idea, the idea of the Ultimate Purpose.

Oh! the room is already too full. Don’t add to the crowd.

~ Acharya Prashant Ji speaking at the ShabdYoga Session at Advait BodhSthal Ashram, Greater Noida on 10th September 2017

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant: What is the ultimate purpose of life? The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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