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Purpose of Life

A correspondent writes with some pathos of the futility of his chequered life. He quotes Sri Aurobindo's lines in Savitri:

This world was not built with random bricks of chance A blind God is not our destiny's architect. A conscious Power has drawn the plan of our life. There is a meaning in each curve and line.

And he wonders what meaning this conscious Power can make out of his life-long twisted lines and curves. What is the purpose of his life, he asks with feeling. This is a question which many ask but not all have the patience to follow the answer in all its implication.

The main purpose of life is, indeed, to develop one's potential. Every one carries in himself a certain potential and life is given to him so that he may utilise it to bring out these possibilities into the open and actualise them. In other words, to grow in consciousness, to grow from mechanical existence to a self-directed life, from ignorance to knowledge, form weaknesses to strength.

I spoke of the hidden potential in each one. Man is called upon to pay attention to this aspect of his existence, become aware of his potential at each level of his being and take steps to draw it out systematically. So done his life promises to become whole instead of remaining always a fragmented amalgam. Let us take, first, his mind. There are mental faculties that are instinct in each human being which need to be awakened, trained and put to proper use. They are, for instance, memory, observation, coordination, harmonization, concentration, contemplation. Only a few of these are sufficiently active in most persons. One must take pains to cultivate them and increase their activity in one's daily life. That way the mind begins to function in an all-round manner and adds to the effectivity of oneself. There is more scope to gather and organise knowledge, increase one's control over movements within oneself and without. One gets ready for the next step in the evolution of the mind which is to quieten and silence the mind so that it may receive the knowledge that pours from still higher altitudes of consciousness.

So too there is the potential in the emotional being. Normally only a small part of the emotional energies are in evidence and men lead a partial, on e-sided existence. One takes it that what is preponderant in this nature of himself is his whole character and there is no attempt at all to tap the other dormant emotional capacities. One who is serious of making a success of oneself has got to awaken the emotional faculties in their fullness and allow them to play their proper roles in his blossoming life. It will not do to say that one's heart is dry or that one's sentimental nature cannot be controlled. Each emotion has to be given its due expression and integrated with the deepest being.

The potential of the vital, the life-being, is large. Most of us are content with a pittance of this reserve and eke out our livelihood on it. By proper discipline of mind and will it is possible to stimulate and dynamize the powers of this part of oneself and enrich the quality, enlarge the range of one's life.

And then there is the potential of the physical body. It is only of late that all the world over attention is being paid to neglected possibilities of the body. The inherent capacities of the body to endure, to resist, to sustain itself, to make remarkable recoveries, to function as a rocklike fortress in this sea of invading forces, are to be drawn upon.

All these potentials are intended to be developed and harnessed to the greatest potential of all, the soul-potential. The soul at the core of our existence is a concentration of divine consciousness and what is thus held in seedform, insists upon freedom to sprout, grow and manifest. This is the central purpose of life: to become aware of the divine potential at its core, draw it out and around it to organise the developing potential of the instrumental nature e.g. body, life, mind. In other words to grow integrally in consciousness and manifest the innate divinity of the soul, is the meaning of life.

If my correspondent finds the lines and curves of his life out of shape, it only means he has not taken care enough to find out the source of disharmony in himself and work to bring the various movements of life into the right focus. He needs to do much home work and make a sustained effort to give meaning to his life instead of bemoaning his lot and waiting for a higher power to do the job for him.

This is the crux of the problem. As both Sri Aurobindo and Mother point out, repeatedly, most of us are an idle lot. Under the cover of devotional surrender, we want God to do everything for us. But God would appreciate at least a minimum enabling effort on our part. in the measure in which we apply ourselves in this direction, the real meaning of life becomes evident.

10.12.1985 M.P.Pandit

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