Vedantic Wednesday: Finding purpose of life – is it the question right?

Every once in a while all of us face this question: “What is the purpose of life?” But the speed with which we hear the question is the same speed at which we forget it. We get back to our daily operational hustle and bustle of life. We are always busy and the remaining time we are exhausted trying to be busy. There doesn’t seem to be an end to this tiring cycle.

When I was listening to a session on ‘branding’ recently I was startled that while people were asking many tips and tricks to build a brand, no one asked the fundamental question – “what should my company / product be remembered for?” Without that question we will end up creating brands anyway. In fact brands will get created anyway if we don’t create them – isn’t it? Does this question then apply to life as well?

The bigger question that Vedanta asks us is “Why should you be remembered?” And I think it is important to think on this very deeply before we appreciate the peace and happiness that can instantaneously descend on us once we reflect on this question. The quest to find meaning is life then almost immediately gets replaced by trying to find why I have an existence? What role can I play in fulfilling this great opportunity handed down to me? How can I make a contribution with whatever skills and knowledge I have to the ecosystem? How much can I give of what I have been given? These then lead us into action. Then it looks like the most important activity of life is figure what is our real nature and how we can put that to use – irrespective of how much it benefits somebody.

Vedanta exposes us to many ways in which we can find this out for ourselves. It looks like tests and other people are not going to tell us this. It is a very personal exercise and experience. We have to go through these ourselves and discover who we really are. This is also the reason why throughout the ‘Vedic’ knowledge base we have self realized people from all walks of life. Is there are clear and loud lesson for us here?

Is it then time for us to change the question? If we don’t change the question we may actually end up finding right answers to the wrong question and wondering why we feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled even after all the achievement!



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