Why Are We Here? – 5
Continued from Previous Page
In Chapter I we discussed that we are not a Creator or the Designer of this ‘our life”. Then we discussed that we need to go to someone who can provide us with authentic answer, who can also provide the road map, who can coach us, encourage us and guide us to make the progress on the journey. We found out that we can get all these from the Guru.
Now, in this Chapter we will try to understand what is, the single most important objective or purpose of life. We know it is more than just trying to survive in life by getting education, becoming successful in life, having a family, raising children etc. Even the animals impart proper education, skills for survival to their off springs, so that they can lead normal life, and do not die of hunger. They do their best to impart their off springs with know-how for survival in their lives. But humans are higher on the evolutionary ladder so the purpose of life will also be on a higher scale. Now let us see, what Guru Ji is telling us succinctly, what the express purpose of life is. Guru Ji says:
“Yaa jug mehi eaekehi ko aaeiaa.”
— (SGGS, Pg. No. 251)
Meaning: (Being) has come to this world, for only one purpose; that is union with God.
Let us ask Guru Ji if this is purpose of life then why we are not cognizant of it. If this is the purpose, then it should be crystal clear. In fact, it should not just crystal clear, but its education should be given in childhood by the parents. This should be the education in the schools, universities, and all self-improvement courses. This should also be the focus of the society and the media as well. But we do not even hear the murmur. Let us again ask Guru Ji as to why is there such a huge disconnect? We are given education about numerous other subjects, languages, history, science and many other fields but not this purpose. We become experts, and specialists of different field, we are even given education on grooming, beauty, etiquettes. In fact, we now have surgeries to enhance our appearances, to nip and tuck bulges, reconstruct parts of body to make them more appealing. A full-fledged industry has blossomed to make us look better, feel better, think better, work better etc.; but this thing nobody talks about. Is it not important enough? What is the reason for such a gulf in our understanding and assigning its deserved significance? Guru Ji clarifies in the next line by saying:
“Janamat mohiou mohanee maaeiaa.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 251)
Meaning: Right upon taking birth, one gets enticed by the deceptive illusion (of maya).
Guru Ji calls maya, illusion because it appears so real to us, which can be touched, felt, experienced, acquired and enjoyed too. So, all humans are swept by its undercurrents and forget why we are here. Let us look at the picture painted by Guru Ji of those who are swayed by the allure of maya:
“Aavan aaeae shrisatt meh bin boojhae pas dhor.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 251)
Meaning: They have come to this world for namesake only, because without realization they are animals and beasts.
Guru Ji has laid it out in simple words that either you work on the purpose or else life is just a time span where we are carrying loads of responsibilities on our heads. In other words, if we are not working on the purpose of life then we are just spinning our wheels and not getting anywhere. Not getting anywhere in itself may not be that bad if the status quo could be maintained. But Guru Ji says that this life is that you know of today is going to end, and that the end is approaching closer every moment, and there is no guarantee that one will get this opportunity again. In simple words we may take birth again, and it may not be in human form. Even if we are lucky to get human life but the environment may not be conducive to work on the purpose. What if we are born in a war-ravaged country or in a place where extreme starvation or some epidemics are taking place? What if some form of genocide or ethnic cleansing is going on? Under such trying circumstances our full effort will be directed at self-preservation, trying to survive, finding food, shelter or protection. During such life-threatening situations there is no time or frame of mind to work on to be concerned with purpose of life, now it has a single objective, that of survival. In such harrowing times, all of the energy, effort will be directed at making it through the day, and all other thoughts are kept in abeyance.
In fact, to keep this objective on the forefront, Guru Ji has made affirmations of this purpose of life part of our daily morning and evening recitals as part of prayers.
This is in the first pauree of Japji Sahib, which is part of daily morning recital; where Guru Ji poses a question by asking:
“Kiv sacheaaraa ho-ee-ai, kiv koorrai tuttai paal.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 1)
Meaning: So how can one become Truthful? And how can the veil of illusion be torn away or removed?
In this line Guru Ji has used the word “Truthful”, which means that He the Creator alone is Truth or Timeless and rest of creation is “False” as it is time bound, with a limited time span. Here Guru Ji is putting it in this way to let us realize that life is an opportunity to break the falsehood or Maya and merge with Timeless Creator.
Now, if turn our attention to the daily evening recital of Rehraas or So Dar as it was known during Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s time, we will again find a similar thought in these words:
“Bhaee paraapat maanukh dhaehuree-aa. Gobind milan kee eih taeree bar-ee-aa. Avar kaaj taerai kitai na kaam. Mil saadh sangat bhaj kaeval naam.1.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 12)
Meaning: You have evolved and have acquired this human frame, and now alone is your opportunity to unite with God. All other pursuits are unprofitable (fruitless), so seek the company of Holy and chant only Lord’s Naam.
Thus all the knowledge that we have accumulated has helped us in becoming a person with higher income, who is enjoying higher standards of living, enjoying more comfortable life but it has not resulted in any change in our thinking or refined our rationality. This upgrade alone would not have helped us in our journey of life, but what we acquired has helped us only in making ourselves successful in the eyes of the others.
We can see that the Guru Ji is emphasizing that the express purpose of human life is to have union with God or the Designer of the body. It is upon having this union that one comes out of the cycles of births and deaths. Otherwise after death one comes back in other form which may not be necessarily human form. Guru Ji’s advice is that by getting human life we have been endowed with a unique faculty of rationality, use it to rationalize the issue in this life and come out of it.
Thus the life is a journey and success is coming out of cycles of birth and death. In order to embark on this journey, after understanding that life is a journey, we have to get our vehicle in shape for the journey, get directions to know how to proceed and eventually reach our destination. This is where the role of Guru comes in. He not only provides with directions that enables us to get to our destination but also provides us with support and encouragement when there are disappointments and also applauds us at success. But there will be a doubt in mind all the time. The question that will keep bothering us will be why we should do it? Guru Ji even provides us with answers for our fickle minded. Guru Ji says:
“Chalai janam savaar vakhar sach lai.” —(SGGS, Pg. No. 751)
Meaning: He departs with his life embellished and successful, taking the merchandise of the True Naam.
What happens to those who become successful? Guru Ji says:
“Nanak tay mukh ujalai kaythee chuttee naal.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 8)
Meaning: O Nanak! Their faces glow with the glory of Divine Light, (not only do they get liberated but many more get liberated in their company.
Even the agents of death that come to take the being back from this world are driven away and the being is honored in the court of God.
“Jamakankar maar bidhaarian har dharageh leae shhaddaae.” — (SGGS, Pg. No.1424)
Meaning: The Messenger of Death is beaten and driven away; we are saved in the Court of the Lord.
Those did not work on the purpose of life are dishonored in the Court of Lord.
But those who worked on the Purpose reap benefits in this world as well. Those benefits are:
“Jaraa maraa kashh dhookh n biaapai.” — (SGGS, Pg. No. 824)
Meaning: The pains of old age and death shall not afflict you (in this life).
Now for those who do not believe in the world after death, or in judgment after death, even the benefits in this life is enticing enough to make working on the Purpose worthwhile.
So, we need to find the road map, and prepare for the journey. Guru Ji shapes us for this journey and equips us with the right tools. Just as a carpenter, carver, blacksmith, goldsmith take a raw form and refine it, give it a concrete shape and form thus add value and utility to the product, same way Guru refines the unique human endowment and by adding value equips for the journey.
About the Picture
The thick black and white lines represent duality of the world. They represent the two facets as: Day – Night, Happiness – Sorrow, Brightness – Darkness etc. But this duality is just a camouflage as it is for a limited time, but the Truth is the Power or Force (Ik Onkar or Waheguru) behind the entire creation. Behind the visible world we are here to connect to the essence the Force. This Force is the driver of the engine called human body.
Purpose # 1: Come Here for One Objective
Quote: “Bhaee paraapat maanukh dhaehuree-aa. Gobind milan kee eih taeree bar-ee-aa. Avar kaaj taerai kitai na kaam. Mil saadh sangat bhaj kaeval naam.1.”
Meaning: You have evolved and have acquired this human frame, now alone is your opportunity to unite with God. All other pursuits are unprofitable (fruitless), so seek the company of Holy and chant only Lord’s Naam.
Action: My choices, actions and activities will be in alignment with objective of attaining union with God.
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