What is the Meaning of Life?-1

Does God exist? Are we just carbon molecules and our emotions just neurotransmitters? How are we supposed to live? If there is no purpose or meaning of life, why go through the austerities of tapas or meditation? Why negate sensual pleasures?

Before I offer my view, let me share with you a short story. Buddha, the ever graceful, had just finished a discourse when a seeker approached him.

“Is it true that there is no soul?” he said.

“Yes, it is true that there is no soul,” Buddha murmured softly.

His disciples were happy to hear the answer. The Sage knew everything, they thought.

The next day, another visitor posed a similar question.

“I’ve heard that there exists in everyone an eternal element called soul. Is it true?”

“Yes, my dear, it is true that there exists in everyone an eternal element called soul. Some also call it consciousness.”

“But, soul is different from consciousness,” he argued.

“Indeed,” said Buddha.

His disciples looked at him and each other in complete disbelief. The reply today was the exact opposite of what they’d heard just the day before. Even though confused as ever, they dared not question the master.

Yet another couple of days later, a devotee from afar came to pay homage.

“I believe it is not certain if soul really exists,” he said.

“You are right. It is not certain if soul really exists,” Buddha replied.

The man left contented but the monks felt extremely otherwise. They urged Ananda, one of Buddha’s chief disciples, to question the sage.

“Why, O Venerable One,” said Ananda, “did you give three different answers to the same question? It is bothering us.”

“My spiritual sons,” said Buddha, “they were not ready for my answers. They were not even looking for an answer. They were merely looking for a confirmation to what they thought they already knew.”

What happens when someone gives us an answer contradictory to our understanding? Most of us reject it or go back to what we know to make sense of the conflicting view. Very few, the rare few, bare themselves to reflect on the new answers to arrive at a deeper insight.

I don’t ever recall saying that we are simply a bunch of molecules or an agency of hormones. I’m not a proponent of negating sensual pleasures. I believe in accepting them, experiencing them and understanding them, so you may remain unaffected by them. The purpose of any austerity or penance is self-purification, so we may be more compassionate, loving and humble.

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!



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