Swami Prakashanand Saraswati
Krishna Bhakti

The Divine Souls: Swami Prakashanand Saraswati on the Purpose of Human Life

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, a revered spiritual teacher, delivered an insightful discourse on the purpose of human life. Below is the transcription of his profound speech:

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati

The Divine Souls, the topic for today is the purpose of human life. Sometimes people think, what is the purpose of this life? What is the purpose of this creation? So, this creation of the world, I will leave this part for the moment. I’ll talk on this topic some other day. I’m taking the purpose of human life. You see, all human beings, literally all living beings… feel pain.

All living beings, either they are birds or animals or plants or trees, feel pain and want to get rid of this painful situation. So, obviously speaking, the purpose of human life is to be happy. Our purpose, or any life’s purpose, is to be happy. That is all. But, how to receive that happiness? That is a problem. How to receive it in a human form? We have a developed mind. Other species also have minds, but theirs are very little developed. They have only feelings and instincts, but we have feelings, instincts, imagination, determination—everything.

Our minds are developed, so we understand and also misunderstand. There are two sides to everything, like day and night, understanding and misunderstanding. Both things happen in the same faculty, in the same mind. Either there is understanding or misunderstanding, but some kind of understanding is there, which you think you understand. So, that thing is given to human beings, not to animals, birds, or plants. Animals run their life through instincts. Instincts in all situations mean they have fear, anger, rage, and a little greed, but their minds are not so much developed.

They only know how to live, you can say, how to survive, how to escape from enemies, and what their food is. They know these two things the most—survival. We know more than that. They also have their own language, but their language is inborn. They never go to any school, just instinctive language, and they all know it. They all communicate. All of those beings communicate according to their own instinct. We don’t have things like that. We go to school to learn; we have a language. So, you see, human beings’ minds are much more developed than other beings.

In that development, we have one thing: the understanding of subtle situations. But one drawback is that the mind itself understands and determines the judgment of understanding—whether it is right or wrong. And the mind itself has a vanity of its own that doesn’t want to accept its failure in its understanding. So, it’s kind of a self-feeding bag of its own opinions. For that reason, whatever information we collect, we try to decide and judge whether it is right or wrong.

We are the judges, the observers, and the perceivers, and we retain the knowledge. For that reason, whether a thing is right or not is a different story, but whatever you think is right or wrong, it is your judgment that might be wrong. For instance, you met a friend on a flight to some town. He was sitting next to you. You talked, became friends—oh, a very good friend. “Where are you going? Philadelphia. “Where are you going- Philadelphia?” Yes.”What do you do? “I have a job.” “What do you do?” “I have a business.” You got acquainted. So, when you got acquainted and talked, you thought he was a very nice person, and he thought you were very innocent.

He thought that you could be manipulated, and you thought that he could be useful in the future. This all happens, especially in business. But when you came to Philadelphia and met him quite a few times, your judgment changed. Let’s take this small brief instance. From the time he (first) sat next to you, the beginning: disgusted—oh, he’s smoking, I don’t smoke. Oh, he’s so fat, I’m better. You started talking, you became friends. Then you came to Philadelphia, and after a few meetings, you again departed—no friendship. So, no friendship, friendship, and no friendship.

In all these three situations, who decided that he is no good? You decided. He is good? You decided. No, he is not good. You decided. So, who decided? Your own mind. You are the judge of the situations, and situations are always obscure. Situations mean you can see the visual things, you don’t see the hidden things. You see, oh, this person is very healthy. He might have cancer, who knows? Looks healthy. But this person is very weak, he might be practicing yoga.

He looks weak physically, but he is strong. Who knows? So, physical observation cannot probe inside the body. So, how could you probe inside the mind of some person? It is not possible. So, when physical observation is incomplete and mental observation is not possible, it is absolutely not possible unless you are a very good psychic, and even then, to a limitation. In this way, all situations are not fully revealed to you. Whatever part is revealed, only that part you observe and judge. For that reason, your judgment is always in doubt.

It is doubtful whether it is right or wrong. In this way, when we decide the aim of our life, the same rule applies. What is the aim of our life? People have made different ideologies. Many say, oh, let’s serve human beings, some just (say) feed yourself and be happy, all as God. So, you are God. Instead of becoming a devotee of God, become God. Like some new-age people in America. I met quite a few. There are walking gods on the street, and to your amazement, I met a few who really believe it. I met some girls who believe it—astonishing. However, there are many kinds of aims people say are the aim of your life. What is the actual aim of your life? Your own self determines your own self.

As I expressed before, you see, every being feels pain. Every being and every human being feels double pain because of their understanding. For instance, if you cut the branch of a tree, it feels pain because one arm is cut. If you hit an animal, it feels pain—that physical pain. But if you just slap a person, what happens? He feels pain somewhere because he is being slapped, but he feels more pain in his mind. “This person slapped me, I’ll kill him.” What is this? This is your intelligence. You have a developed mind, so you have developed imagination. So, a human being feels double pain: physical pain and mental pain.

Mental pain is greater than physical pain. If you compare it throughout your life, you have more mental pain than physical pain. You have more pain in your life, physical and mental collectively, than other beings of this universe, normally speaking. So, you don’t want pain, but you have it. You want pleasure; you get it sometimes, but momentarily. One thing is constant—your pain is constant, and moments of happiness come and go at times. You don’t want this thing; you want happiness in your life, very clear. So, your life aims to be perfectly happy – physically and mentally. Perfectly happy is the only aim of human life.

There is no other aim that you can determine and know from your heart because whatever you do, you do it to please yourself. Whatever you do, no matter if it is right or wrong, you do it just to please yourself, to make yourself happy, to make yourself comfortable. To please yourself, you do things in the world. Taking this aspect, if you see one who thinks doing service to the world, and serving others is the best aim of life…why (is that)? Because that person feels happy serving other people and at the same time improving his vanity that he is a great servant.

There is no social servant on this Earth who has no vanity, except perhaps saints. Those who say the aim of your life is just to be happy in this world, (to) enjoy- who knows what happens after that, so enjoy to your heart’s content. All the facilities you have, all that you can collect by hook or by crook—why do those people think like that? Because they are so attached to their physical body. They want all kinds of physical comforts just to please themselves. Those who say, oh, think of God, do meditation, and be happy, think that these worldly entertainments are not enough.

(They think,) “You must have something more, and probably you might get it from achieving some kind of internal power.” When they read yoga books and read the descriptions of saints and things, the first thing that comes to their mind is if they could get that power, they could influence their friends, influence the audience, and feel great. The feeling of being great is very happy. So, they want to be happy on their own terms. Now, come to the people who think of God in the true sense. They believe that psychic powers, worldly entertainments, physical entertainments, whatever they are—all those luxuries and good things of the world, they are temporary.

They give you temporary peace, temporary happiness, not lasting (happiness). That person thinks that he is going to live even after this life, life after life. So, he has to find some eternal company, eternal happiness which is lasting, not transitory; should be everlasting happiness. So, he comes to God and worships Him, and tries to find His love. You see, all of these people are only trying to become happy. From a very selfish person to a sincere, selfless devotee of God, everyone is trying to make himself happy. So, you cannot make any other aim of your life. The only aim of life is to make yourself happy, whether right or wrong, that is secondary.

The purpose only is to make yourself happy, the only aim of your life. But all these worldly things, up to psychic abilities, increase your desires. Desires are never fulfilled, and you always remain unhappy. Even if you are physically happy, your mind remains unhappy, worried, puzzled, disgusted, and painful. If you come to God because He is only love, you receive His love. In this world, as I said, you’ll see most of the pain in your mind because of your wrong judgments. All this world is neither painful nor blissful; it’s just neutral. Just neutral.

You like something, someone dislikes that thing. Someone likes that thing, you dislike that thing. What is all that? No liking, no disliking. Your own liking and disliking. You create things. Most of it is your own creation. But if you come to God, He has no Maya, no material power in His being. Only divine power, only divine love, only divine being. He is only a form of love, a form of happiness. He is eternal, He is omnipresent, and He will remain forever. You cannot find anything or any person in this world who can help you all the time, even for one single lifetime. But if you find a divine companion, He will stay with you forever. Even if you die and are reborn, He is there. You die again and are reborn, He is still there. He will follow you.

You have to just hold Him tight, that’s all. He won’t leave you. You might forget Him; He will not forget you because He has a very big mind. He never forgets any of His devotees, no matter wherever they are. He is present everywhere, so He will never forget you. So, if you just remember Him, start remembering Him in one lifetime, He will hold you. And if you find Him, you can be happy forever. So, the purpose of human life is to become completely happy—physically, mentally, and emotionally. And that happiness can be found only through the love of God.

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