Life's Glorious Objective

From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Have you ever understood the significance and the glory of human life? Have you ever realized what a precious gift and divine inheritance this human birth is? Do you not feel that life is meant for the fulfilment of a most sublime purpose? Truly, it is meant for the attainment of a lofty goal – divine perfection and perennial peace and happiness.

You all know quite well that life is not merely the process of breathing, eating, digesting, thinking, feeling, knowing, willing and so on. Life is not meant entirely for all these, only to die at the end without achieving anything really worthwhile.

You truly live your life well when you strive to attain balance of mind and the highest spiritual realization as well as serving a great cause for the welfare of humanity. Toast, butter and jam, fashionable clothing, a bungalow and a motor car, attending cocktail parties – all these do not really constitute life. These are not the end-all of the life of man who was supposed to have been made in the image of God.

Egoism, worldly desire and sensuality all spring from deep delusion. Can material comforts alone give you real happiness? Can creature comforts alone elevate the soul? Can gross physical welfare alone confer upon you solace, courage, peace and joy?

In the dizzy whirlpool of fleeting sensual pleasures and ceaselessly seething desires, do not forget the real goal of life. There is no greater blunder than to mistake the unreal for the real, the transitory for the permanent, and to forget the most important duty in life – Self-realization. What greater folly, what greater tragedy is there than when a person is satisfied by just functioning on the instinctive, emotionally unsettled and pseudo-intellectual level?

You were helpless when you were a baby. You are helpless when disease overtakes you and when you are seriously ill. You are helpless when powerful calamities like floods, earthquakes and cyclones strike you down. You are helpless and miserable when you become old and senile. Why then are you so proud and egotistical?

Rise above your delusions and attain the highest good through discrimination and dispassion, self-analysis and enquiry into your real spiritual nature. Only then will you transcend your body and mind and attain God. Only then will you be free and happy.

The way to peace and enlightenment is purity and goodness. Adhere to truth and swerve not from the basic principles of goodness. Cultivate the noble qualities of the heart with diligence and care. Be sincere. Without sincerity everything is tinsel. Actively practise all the positive qualities in earnest.

Live your life truthfully with courage, conviction and common sense. Shooting a tiger from the back of an elephant or bombing a city are not acts of real heroism and courage. Controlling the mind and senses, and overcoming anger, passion and egoism by attaining self-mastery constitute real heroism.

Assert your real divine nature to yourself. Do not identify with this perishable body. Do not cultivate the habit of clinging to the glittering names and forms. Do not think too much of your intelligence. Be not obsessed with the feeling: “I am an Englishman, I am an American, I am an Indian; I am black, I am white; I am superior; I am inferior; I know everything, he knows nothing; I have done this, I have done that; I am a Christian, I am a Hindu, I am a Mohammedan, I am a Jain, I am a Parsi.”

All such obsessions are the worst type of ignorance. Hear the great truths proclaimed by the sages of real wisdom. Your real nature is the ever free and ever blissful immortal spirit. Where then are your body-mind-bound ego, the little intellect, the little learning, the skin deep beauty?

Life is meant for the practice of yoga. Yoga is life divine. Purify your heart through selfless service and generosity. Feel God’s presence everywhere. See Him alone in all beings and things. Give up all distinctions and differences born of prejudice. Feel that you are one with all. Love all. Cooperate with all in a spirit of brotherhood and kindle the light of compassion in your heart. Be not exclusive and selfish. Cast aside all doubts, fears and misgivings. Do not hesitate.

Life is short. Time is fleeting. You have to be practical. Have absolute faith and trust in God. Never forget your true purpose in life. Realize your hidden real nature. Do not stop till the goal is reached. Do not stop till you attain the wisdom of the Self, and till it becomes a practical expression in every moment of your life.

Overcome the negative qualities and return to your sweet original home, the abode of eternal peace and bliss. Through diligent struggle with the lower nature, the lower self, and a life of practical goodness which is yoga, attain spiritual perfection in this very life. To whatever nation, race, class of society you belong, your great duty and the most important work is attainment of the highest spiritual perfection.