(The principal of a large school in Bombay gave us a list of frequently asked questions by 13 year old children in her school and asked us whether we can prepare answers in the light of a spiritual perspective. When we looked at the question we found that they are not mere “kid-stuff.” Most of them are either fundamental and existential questions related to world and God or psychological problems faced by most of us. This series is an attempt to answer these questions from the children’s perspective in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We don’t know how far we have succeeded in communicating to the children. Nevertheless, we hope these answer may be of some help to teachers and parents who have to deal with children. There are around thirty questions with answers given in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We will post these questions at regular intervals.)
Why Was I born?
How to find answers to such questions which cannot be thought-out from the facts of life? There is a way and try this one. Keep the mind silent and focus your attention in the heart. Ask the question from the deepest point you can reach in y our heart and listen silently for an answer. You may get an answer something like this: you are born because you have a purpose to fulfill.
But what do we mean by “purpose.” There are two aspects to it: first is an Aim to achieve and the other is a Work to be done. First is an Aim or a Goal, something you want to be or become in the future. For example, after reading an inspiring biography of a great yogi like Buddha or a hero like Alexandar or a scientists like Einstein if you feel, “I want to be like Buddha or Alexandar or Einstein in the future,” then you have an Aim. All wise men have said that life has an aim, world has an aim, everyone and everything has an aim. Everything moves towards a goal. Rivers flow towards the sea. The seed grows to become a tree.
The other aspect of purpose is a Work to be done for the world. This is something unique for each individual. The higher aims of life are more or less common but the work to be done is something unique for each one of us. Have you ever opened up a watch and looked at the mechanism, how each part are intricately connected with other? Each part has a unique function which is different form other parts. Each part has its unique contribution for the functioning of the watch as a whole. This is only a rough allegory and example to make you understand a little concretely what do we mean by a work to do. Don’t stretch it too far and come to the conclusion we, human beings, or the world is a machine like a clock. Neither we nor the world is a machine. We are not machines, we are living conscious beings. World is also not a machine but a living movement, harmony and rhythm, much more like a music than a machine! A musical orchestra is perhaps a better example than a clock; it is a less concrete and a little more abstract example, but closer to truth. In an orchestra each musician makes a unique contribution, which when add together creates a great musical experience, which is more than the sum of its parts. In a similar way, each one of us has to perform a unique note in the world-music orchestrated by God. In fact it is not right to say, “Perform a unique note.” Each of us is a unique note in the world-music of God and ultimately we have to become that note. Work is a means to achieve this aim. Everyone has a unique work or mission to do for the progress of the world towards an aim conceived by God, the World-maker. By doing this work we become consciously a part of the world-music, the Great Divine Harmony that governs the world.
This brings us to the question what is precisely this aim or purpose or to be more specific my aim or purpose and how to find it? This is a question of your life’s mission and you should not remain satisfied with a quick mental answer in a few words. You have to discover it by deep study and contemplation, by thinking, by feeling, by questioning your teachers and mentors by the experiences of life. The biographies, teachings and thoughts of great saints, sages and seers who have discovered this aim and purpose, like Gauthama Buddha, Guru Nanak, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Vivekananda, are of great help in this task.
When you embark on this journey of discovery, you will find there are many stages, levels and angles of knowing, understanding, and seeing these aims and purposes of life. In this article I can only give a few illustrative indications. At a certain stage of enquiry you will realize knowing oneself and what I am made of is one of the fundamental aims of life and the foundation of all other discoveries. As you grow in this self-knowledge you will find that you have so many faculties, powers, qualifies and capacities within yourself like for example faculties of knowledge, faculties of feeling, faculties of action, power of understanding, love, compassion, courage, endurance, energy and many others. To become fully conscious of all theses powers within us and realize their highest potential is perhaps one of the aims of life. In otherwords we are born to realize our highest potential as human beings. However in our life’s work or mission, we may be called upon to manifest predominantly a specific line or aspect of the human potential like for example love, knowledge or power. For some of us it may be the works of Love, which help the world to progress in love, beauty and joy. For others it may be the works of Knowledge which bring the light of truth, clarity and consciousness to human mind or it may be works of Power like leadership or that of a hero or warrior battling against forces of evil and darkness and gaining victory for the forces of light and truth.
And finally, there will come a stage or a point in this quest when you become more and more conscious of the divine source of all your being, life, consciousness, actions, powers and potentialities. At this stage you will know that at present you are not living in this divine source of your being, but has strayed form it and living in the narrow peripheries of your being very much diminished and limited in your potentialities. And to get back to this divine source of our being and live in it is perhaps the highest aim of life and the ultimate purpose for which we are born.
But practically what do I get from discovering this divine source of my being? This supreme source of our being is also the source of highest happiness, peace, fulfillment, love, knowledge, power and perfection. In other words, we can realize our highest potential only when we live and act from the divine source of our being, the God within us.