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!!

  1. As a branch of my family tree (from the first person to me) if I produce offspring and a leaf if I do not.
  2. Son to my father and mother – their expectations are different
  3. Grand Son to my grand parents
  4. Grand Father to my Grand Children
  5. Son-In-Law to my in-laws
  6. Father-in-Law to my Daughters-in-Law
  7. Younger brother to my elder sister and elder brother to my younger sisters– again – their expectations are different!!
  8. Younger brother to my elder brother and elder to my younger brother – again – their expectations are different!!
  9. Brother-in-Law to my sisters’ husbands
  10. Brother-in-Law to my wife’s brothers
  11. Brother-in-Law to my brothers’ wives
  12. Brother-in-Law to my wife’s sisters
  13. Co-Son-in-Law to my co-sons-in-law
  14. Nephew to my uncles and aunts
  15. Uncle to my nephews and nieces
  16. Father to my Sons
  17. Follower of my religion
  18. A student to my teachers
  19. Teacher to my students (I conducted a number of training programs and taught part time)
  20. Junior to my seniors and senior to my junior students
  21. Subordinate to my superiors
  22. Superior to my subordinates
  23. A peer to my colleagues
  24. Employee to the organization where I worked
  25. Employer to my employees
  26. Customer to some
  27. Vendor to some
  28. Tax Payer to various governments
  29. Citizen wherever I am
  30. Neighbor to my neighbors
  31. Friend to my friends
  32. Acquaintance to my acquaintances
  33. Enemy to my enemies
  34. God / Devil to favor-seekers (depends on whether I fulfill their expectations)
  35. Pest to those to whom I look up for favors
  36. Sucker to fund-raisers
  37. Pedestrian to a driver
  38. Driver to a pedestrian
  39. Spectator while watching a movie, a sport or a performance
  40. Performer while performing for public viewing
  41. Role Model to some – at least my children and grand children (Hopefully!!)
  42. 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)

  1. Utilize all the strengths and grow to my full potential (but not to suppress others)
  2. Suffer for my weaknesses (but not to whine)
  3. Consume resources based on need but replenish them (but not to hoard)
  4. Enjoy life (but not at the cost of others)
  5. 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!

Sundara Kaanda of Vaalmiki Raamayana

Baala Kaanda of Srimad Raamayana of Maha Rushi Vaalmiki