Purpose of life – or why am I here on this earth?
Being a Brahmin by birth, it was inevitable that philosophy of life was discussed in my presence many times.
- What is life?
- Why am I here?
- What am I doing?
- What should I be doing?
- I do not know why I am brought into this world – I have no clue even now!!
These questions plagued me many times. Answers–that were given to me–were not satisfactory. I came across philosopher Ramana Maha Rushi’s question–”Find out who you are”–intrigued me. So also was the statement of Osho Rajneesh–”Realize what you are doing before you do it.”
These statements set me off thinking. Over a period of time, I came to think the below enumerated conclusions–right or wrong–these are my conclusions and I don’t expect any one to agree with these– but if some one agrees, it sure gratifies me!!!
I do not have choice over certain aspects of my life – my parents, my siblings, my other relatives, my physical appearance and strength, my mental capabilities, my childhood environment and upbringing, my teachers in school and college, my bosses and subordinates, to name some.
Some roles are thrust on me – I have no choice again here!!
- As a branch of my family tree (from the first person to me) if I produce offspring and a leaf if I do not.
- Son to my father and mother – their expectations are different
- Grand Son to my grand parents
- Grand Father to my Grand Children
- Son-In-Law to my in-laws
- Father-in-Law to my Daughters-in-Law
- Younger brother to my elder sister and elder brother to my younger sisters– again – their expectations are different!!
- Younger brother to my elder brother and elder to my younger brother – again – their expectations are different!!
- Brother-in-Law to my sisters’ husbands
- Brother-in-Law to my wife’s brothers
- Brother-in-Law to my brothers’ wives
- Brother-in-Law to my wife’s sisters
- Co-Son-in-Law to my co-sons-in-law
- Nephew to my uncles and aunts
- Uncle to my nephews and nieces
- Father to my Sons
- Follower of my religion
- A student to my teachers
- Teacher to my students (I conducted a number of training programs and taught part time)
- Junior to my seniors and senior to my junior students
- Subordinate to my superiors
- Superior to my subordinates
- A peer to my colleagues
- Employee to the organization where I worked
- Employer to my employees
- Customer to some
- Vendor to some
- Tax Payer to various governments
- Citizen wherever I am
- Neighbor to my neighbors
- Friend to my friends
- Acquaintance to my acquaintances
- Enemy to my enemies
- God / Devil to favor-seekers (depends on whether I fulfill their expectations)
- Pest to those to whom I look up for favors
- Sucker to fund-raisers
- Pedestrian to a driver
- Driver to a pedestrian
- Spectator while watching a movie, a sport or a performance
- Performer while performing for public viewing
- Role Model to some – at least my children and grand children (Hopefully!!)
- Upholder of my country / language / religion / town / native place / caste etc.
Did I miss any role?
Each of those roles comes with a set of rights and a set of responsibilities. While every one recognizes the rights and insists on enjoying them, it is rare to find willing acceptance of the responsibilities. It is common that we fail in some of our responsibilities at a minimum.
I am expected to execute these roles to the best of my ability. If I do not possess the ability, can I hide behind the excuse that I am not able, so long as I am able to acquire those abilities? I think that I ought to acquire those abilities to perform those roles well.
Is this my role in life – is this why I was brought into this world? I am not sure but suspicious that this is.
I now think that I defined who I am in this life and my targets seem to be clear – perform those roles as they should be performed. Each role has obligations (expectations of others concerned) as also, rights.
My view is that one needs to fulfill his obligations fully, even if, the rights are not fully received. I have seen some (to my good fortune) who do so and I have seen many (to my misfortune) who insist on their rights but escape obligations.
After attaining some insights into these aspects, I am trying to not insist on my rights and insist on fulfilling my obligations.
What else does God expect of me? I think that He expects me –
Defend and protect myself and my dependents (but not offend and subjugate others)
- Utilize all the strengths and grow to my full potential (but not to suppress others)
- Suffer for my weaknesses (but not to whine)
- Consume resources based on need but replenish them (but not to hoard)
- Enjoy life (but not at the cost of others)
- Just as I am created and if he gave me capacity for, procreate (with the proviso that I provide well for the offspring. In the whole creation, it is only human beings that indulge in sex just for the heck of it. All other forms of life engage in it only for procreation)
I think that this is the purpose of my life – that is fulfilling the obligations and expectations thrust on me by God.
Looking at my past, I must admit that I could have done better.
Now these questions are still not answered –
- Where from did I come?
- Where would I go from here?
- How is my performance so far?
I will have to keep looking for answers.
New translations of the Ramayana by Dr. Murali Chemuturi!