How I identify myself determines what I see my as my purpose in life and, therefore, how I measure success. If I identify myself as the temporary body that I am now residing in, success is determined by how much enjoyment my body can experience and how much recognition I can gain. However, with an understanding of the yogic view of my eternal existence, my goals undergo a dramatic change. Learn more Part II of this enlightening yoga wisdom talk by Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda. Part I is here.
Discover Your Life’s Purpose – Part 2
Jagad Guru: So we’re going to be continuing our discussion on progress and the goal of life. In our last program we were talking about how a materialistic person spends his whole life struggling for the goal of material wealth, and name and fame, but that ultimately all this gets lost at the time of death. So how a person identifies himself will determine how or what he sees as the goal of life. And what a person sees as the goal of life, of course, is what he strives for, and that in turn is the ruler, or the gauge by which he determines whether or not he’s making progress.
So progress means going towards the goal, so a person who identifies himself wrongly, wrongly identifies himself as matter, as being material in essence, this person will spend his whole life trying to obtain material sense gratification, the objects of material sense gratification, money, things, people who he sees as things, and name, material name and fame. He identifies himself as his body, so his goals are all connected with his body. He wants to give his body sense gratification, sense enjoyment, he wants to give his body comforts, he wants to give his body, a reputation. He wants to give his name and his body fame.
Like some people, one of the main things that they have in life, one of the main goals they have in life is to make it so that everybody remembers their name. They want to leave their mark on the world so they put their name on the wall in the subway. Other people put their name on the posters and they also get plastered up in the subways. Such and such for president, such and such for governor, such and such for mayor. They also want to have their name, they want to be the guys, they want to be known. They want to be respected. They want to leave something of themselves like this behind so they’ll always be remembered. They want to have one of those kind of statue things that the birds make doo doo all over, they want to have one of those things of their body. That’s a fact. You see. You’re a big man, you’re a big person when somebody makes a statue out of you, so that later on all the birds can come and sit on your head and do what they do, that’s the goal. (Laughter) Isn’t that a fact?
And your name. You want your name in the Who’s Who? Oh my name is there. Professor such and such you know, along with about 50 million other names. Somebody could probably make a lot of money just by doing that one thing, publishing a book of people’s names and what they do and how good they are. That’s what Who’s Who is. Who buys the Who’s Who? Those who want to either be in Who’s Who, those who are in the Who’s Who, or those who want to know who are in the Who’s Who, to also be cool, or up there or whatever. I think I’ll print a book. I’ll print a book with your name in it and what you do, and how great you are. Just have a book of all these people, or start a prize business. You notice, if you start, if you want to see a classic that just shows what society is all about. If somebody starts some kind of a prize trip and they offer these two things, a certain degree of fame, it’ll increase a person’s reputation and money, a big monetary prize. If you offer a hundred thousand dollars for the first place, plus then they’ll be in the media as having won that prize because the media will cover whatever is of value, whatever is real and that is whatever has to do with a lot of money.
So if you have a prize, if you start a prize trip for example, lets say you’re going to start a prize, we’re going to give a prize for the best reporter of the year, and we offer, you know $2.50 as the top prize, okay, then the newspapers aren’t going to cover it, so you don’t get the fame aspect. But if you offer a prize for the best reporter of the year and you offer a hundred thousand dollars for first prize, and fifty thousand for the second and twenty five for third and ten thousand for fourth, you’ll find the newspapers covering that story. Then, you see, you get the fame too. Then it always gets… then gradually it becomes one of the things like the Nobel Prize, you get the fame and the money. You get the fame because of the money, because if there wasn’t money there wouldn’t be fame there because nobody would cover the story. And of course in that way too, you end up having your name known. Like the Nobel Prize. Now what’s that? It’s Nobel, Nobel got a way to make his name known. He’s so great, he not only gets a Nobel Prize, he gets to give other people Nobel Prizes. He’s so great that all the great people get his name, they get to have his name on their wall. Now that’s a scam otherwise what is his value? Who cares about Mr. Nobel? The only thing he’s done good, the only, his name to fame is the inventor of dynamite, big deal. So much for the Nobel Peace Prize. Nobel.
So anyway, this is just just a thing to show us how materialistic civilization, how they see the goal. What is of value? What has value? What doesn’t have value? So this has value: money and fame. So we’re discussing how at death both money and fame they’re gone, they’re temporary, they’re as temporary as the body, they’re of no value. You’ve got to leave it behind, you can’t enjoy your material senses if you have to leave your body behind.
You can, in other words, collect all kinds of money to have all kinds of goodies, but if you don’t have your body to enjoy those goodies, then what is the value? You just leave it behind and all your relatives fight over it like a bunch of scavengers. So you leave behind 2 million dollars or ten million dollars, or a hundred thousand dollars worth of goodies. You’ve collected all that so that you can enjoy it and you’re trying to enjoy it, and then you have to leave your body, and then all your so-called relatives and friends start gathering, you know, like the crows, like the vultures around the dead carcass of their beloved friend and relative.
They’re so stupid they don’t pick up on it. They’re so dumb they don’t realize, they don’t learn from it. That guy had to leave it all behind. They don’t understand, they’re going to also have to leave it all behind, even if they get it.
Sometimes these people go through all these court cases, and hassling. You know, there’s always movies and soap operas, and there’s always books written about it and everything. It’s a reality. When the parents die or the grandparents die, all the kids and all the relatives are out there scamming, scrambling to get the goodies not knowing, they’re so stupid, they’re so short sighted they can’t learn from it.
What they should really be learning is, “Well he had to leave it all behind, and we’re scrambling after it, similarly, even if I spend my whole life trying to get it in the courts, hassling with all the other relatives, even if I spend my whole life trying to get all this stuff, that was left behind by “Dad”, I’m going to have to leave it all behind too.” That’s intelligence, that’s learning from the past.
So a materialist sees a certain goal and it’s based upon how he identifies himself. So a person who identifies the material body as the self, sees economic development for sense gratification and the name and fame on his body, he sees this as the goal. This is the goal of life. Okay, is this understandable? It’s a simple thing. And it’s all temporary, all his goals are very temporary because he sees himself as temporary. So when someone asks him, “What is the goal of life, or what are you going to do in life, or what is your purpose in life?”, he always considers or thinks in terms of this temporary one life. This temporary existence in this world. He doesn’t understand his true identity is eternal. He thinks of it as this one life.
If a person understood that his identity is, “aham brahmasmi, I am the eternal spirit soul, and I’m only temporarily in this body. I am eternal, I am not matter, I’m spirit.” If he understood this, if he understood, “I am eternal, the eternal spirit soul only temporarily in this material world, and I have a life, I have a long life, an extremely long life, an eternal life, I exist forever, I will never cease existing, and this existence here, is just one passing part, this is just one chapter in a very long, long life, eternal life.” Then he’ll have a completely different outlook on what is the goal, or what is the purpose of his eternal life and that purpose then gets applied to this temporary situation.
He doesn’t conclude, he doesn’t make a conclusion concerning his life based upon the ignorance that he is the body or that he is temporary. He makes his conclusion on what is the goal of life, his conclusion on what the goal of life is, is based upon his understanding of his eternal spiritual identity as the eternal part and parcel of God, the eternal spark of God, the eternal servant of God. Then for this reason his goal is completely different. His purpose in this world is completely different from the materialist, completely different. So how a person identifies himself, how a person sees himself, sees his essence, determines what he sees as his goal. What is the goal of his life and what is progress.
Just let me give you an example: if I know that I will live, we’ll use an analogy here, okay. Like most people they think that they’re going to live what, seventy, eighty years, right, maybe ninety, a hundred or something, whatever. I mean, of course we all think we’re going to live forever in this world, but, you know, according to the general superficial thing, we all sort of think that way. We’re going to live about seventy, eighty years or something like that, okay? So, we — materialists now, we’re talking, we’re playing materialist here. So a materialist thinks like this, “Well I’ve got 70 or 80 years, I’ve got 70 or 80 years and I’ll go to, let’s see I’ll go to college for the first 50 (laughter). I’ll go to college for eight and then I’ll do this for six, you know, and then I’ll do this, and they, you know they go on and on and on, they and add you know, till then, you know I’ll do this and I’ll do that, and retirement. They have all these things planned, yeah?
So what if a person in this consciousness, or in this situation is told that, “You should make your goal based only on one year’s existence.” In other words, you’re only going to live for one year. So you should make your whole goal in life based upon and your whole activities, everything based upon this, that you’re going only to live for one year. Then what’s he going to do? He’s going to say, “Oh, no, you’re wrong. I’m going to have a longer range view.” Right?
Do you understand what I’m trying to say? It’s like he knows he’s going to live for seventy years, but somebody tells him, “Oh it’s only one year you get. It’s only one year, so your goals and everything have to based on one year,” right? But because he knows, “Oh, no, I’m going to live about 70 years, then he has longer range plans, he has a longer range goal he doesn’t just make his goal for that one year, okay? This is intelligence.
But real intelligence is when a person knows that, I’m not going to live for one year. I’m not going to live for 70 years, so I’m not going to make my goal based on either one year or 70 years. I’m not going to make it based on either. I am eternal. And because I am eternal my goal then is based upon this.
My goal, my purpose, the meaning of my existence, everything is based upon this reality of my eternal existence, the reality of my existence as an eternal spark of God, as an eternal servant of God, as an eternal friend of God. Do you understand this? It’s not very difficult to understand.
If I identify myself as the eternal spirit soul, if I know who I really am, “aham brahmasmi, I am an eternal spirit soul, only temporarily in this material body. And this material name, and this material body, and all the material possessions and so on are simply passing.” It’s just, it’s like one, less that one second in the lifetime of the eternal living being. It’s less than one second in his life. It’s less than one second in my eternal life that I’m going to be having this name and this body.
So, it’s ridiculous for me to put my whole aim in life to make this body happy to have sense gratification and to try to make this body famous or well known, or with a good reputation, or whatever. This is, it’s ridiculous. Just like it would be ridiculous for a person who knows he’s going to live 70 years to make his whole goal in life and everything based upon the foolish notion that he’s only going to live for one day, or one year.
So what is the real goal of life? We’ve talked about how the materialist, because he falsely identifies himself as the material body he identifies, or he believes that material sense enjoyment and the making of his material name, famous, that this will bring happiness, this will satisfy him, that this then becomes his goal, and then he considers progress his moving towards that. But we see that even the most progressed of people are simply suffering, they’re not happy.
We can understand that the materialist, the foolish person who falsely identifies his body as himself, that they’re not happy, otherwise why are there so many rich people committing suicide and drug addicts, alcoholics? I mean, you know, we don’t even need to get into that very much right now. We’ll do that in the future, analyzing that, but we all know this.
So false identification with the material body leads to this idea of false progress. Rushing towards the wrong goal full speed in reverse. Or rather it’s more like spinning your wheels. It’s irrelevant to reality. They’ve made the goal of their human form of life simply material sense gratification and name and fame like an animal. But a person who understands, “aham brahmasmi, I am the eternal spark of God, I am His servant.” A person who understands his true spiritual identity as spiritual, “I am not matter,” then they see the goal in life as being perfection of their relationship with God, the Supreme Soul.
They see that the goal of life, the goal of this life, this human form of life which is so precious. The goal of this human form of life is to achieve perfection in self realization, perfection in their relationship with God. That is the wisdom and concept of progress combined. Progress, the idea of progress and the ignorance of materialism combined lead to so much misery, but when the concept of progress is connected to the wisdom of knowing my true identity as spirit, not matter, then the goal is correct. And it leads to actual spiritual happiness, actual happiness, actual satisfaction.
So one’s goal in this life should not be simply the accumulation of material wealth, name and fame, nor should it be to try to keep the body healthy forever because that also is a ridiculous goal, it’s one that’s bound to fail. Rather the goal of life, this life, the goal of this human form of life is to come to know God perfectly, to know God perfectly, to love God perfectly and to serve Him, to be pleasing to Him.
An intelligent person will understand their spiritual identity and they will recognize that the true purpose of life, the real meaning of their existence is in connection with their relationship with God, otherwise there’s no meaning to their existence. Unless they can know God, there is no meaning to their existence, unless they can be loving God, there is no meaning to their life. Unless they are pleasing to God, there is no meaning to their existence.
We were mentioning that one reason why people like to, have their name, they like to be respected, or they like to be known in the community or whatever is because they want to be loved. They want to be known because they want to be loved, and they feel that if I succeed in life, if I become a success, they feel that then people will like me. Then I will have friends, then I will be accepted. People will respect me. What they’re really searching for is a friend, what they’re really searching for is someone to love them, so they try to buy people’s love by being successful, so-called successful, but this so-called love of people, or their respect is based upon this temporary illusory success, gains. It’s of no value and it’s so conditional. People love you because you’re known, people like you because you’re a well-known person or a famous person or whatever. This isn’t love, they don’t really like you anyway. They’re just trying in their own way to also achieve the same thing as you’re achieving so that they can be loved by others or respected by others.
So we should not chase after illusory goals We must make progress, we must make individual progress in life and individual progress means that we progress towards God, we progress towards the perfection of our relationship with Him. That we perfect our love for Him. This is what must be our goal of life and our eternal function in life, our eternal goal of life is to render service to Him, to be linked up with Him in loving service.
Thank you very much.