The whole of Existence, the whole Universe, is purposeless. Of course, it would be very shocking to hear this. At a very young age, we are taught and socially conditioned to believe that life has some purpose. We are always made to run towards some goal, towards some purpose.
‘What is life without purpose?’ you may ask. We feel that any activity, let alone one’s entire life, has to have a purpose, a definition, and an end point. Only then does it become meaningful. That purpose is what drives us, motivates us.
The more you run towards the goal, the more you miss Life itself! A person who is continuously bothered about goals will never be able to enjoy and enrich his life. He lives in the future and ignores the present. When we are complete in the present moment, the here and now, we do not need a goal to guide us.
You will say I am confusing you. ‘All our life we have been brought up to believe that we are here for a purpose. As children we are expected to do well at school, and later at college. Once we grow up, we are supposed to get married and bring up our children. In each phase of our life, we have specific templates that society has set up for us. How can we let them down? How can we believe that all these expectations are wrong, and that there is no purpose to life?’
The more you run towards a goal, the more you are considered a successful person. The greater the speed, the more you are respected. From birth, again and again, you are taught that life has a purpose and a goal. Life without purpose seems meaningless to us. Understand that this is only what you have been brought up to believe. This is not the truth of Existence. Life does not need a defined goal to make living worthwhile, meaningful and happy. The absence of purpose makes our life meaningful. The absence of goals in life makes living worthwhile.
The Universe, Nature has no purpose. It just is. It exists. A river runs downhill towards the ocean because it is its nature to run downhill. It is not because it has a purpose, to meet the ocean. Our life too, has no purpose. We were not born for a purpose. We were born to live, to enjoy life and to be happy. Instead, we set ourselves up for unhappiness; we set goals for ourselves, and almost always these goals are based on fantasies and not on realities. In the process, we stop enjoying life. The more you run towards the goal, the more you miss Life itself! A person who is continuously bothered about goals will never be able to enjoy and enrich his life. He lives in the future and ignores the present. When we are complete in the present moment, the here and now, we do not need a goal to guide us.
Just the space of completion in the present moment will help us decide what needs to be done at each point in time. When the present moment is taken care of with completion, the future gets resolved on its own. As long as the path is right, whatever destination we reach will be right. We do not need to define the destination; the right path defines its own destination.
However, we constantly worry about the future, relating it with the past. We continuously postpone our happiness without enjoying the present. For example, when you are studying you think, ‘When I get a job, I will be happy.’ When you have your job you think, ‘After marriage my life will be happy.’ After marriage, you think, ‘When I have kids and my own house, I will be happy.’ After achieving that you think, ‘When the kids grow up and all my responsibilities are over, I will be happy.’ By the time your responsibilities are over, when you want to relax, your being is so conditioned to running that you can’t relax! With this default cognition, we are constantly running to stay in the same spot. Happiness is where we are, not where we think we should be. We do not understand what it is to relax.
When I tell people to relax during meditation, they say, ‘Swamiji, please give us detailed guidelines on how to relax!’ We feel we need to lose our happiness before we can start searching for it. The tension of running after something out of compulsion has become a part of our being. Resting is no longer relaxation. When we run behind goals, all that seems to matter is the achievement of that goal. Any sacrifice seems to be worth it, including those we claim we love and care for.
The more you run, the more titles you receive. You are called a ‘multi- dimensional personality.’ This is just another name for schizophrenics. Only a person who has deeply experienced himself, who is complete in himself, who rests in himself, who experiences inaction in action can be a multidimensional personality. Only such a person understands himself and his many personalities, and is comfortable and complete with all of them. Only a Kṛṣṇa, a complete being can be a multidimensional personality. Only a man who completely rests in himself, who knows how to relax within himself, can be a multidimensional personality.
A person who runs to satisfy society, who is compelled to run by society, can never experience peace. Society doesn’t want you as you are. It wants you as it thinks you should be. If you are a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant, if you are useful to society in some way, then you are rewarded; otherwise you are made to feel inadequate and incomplete. You are respected just for your title, not for what you are. The more titles you have, the more respect you get.
Life is purposeless. Look into your life. Whatever you think of as the goal of your life, even if it were fulfilled, do you think you will be able to rest and feel complete? You will only look for the next goal. There is no resting point. There is no time to appreciate or celebrate what you have achieved. You are driven from one goal to another, from one desire to another. There is always a feeling of discontentment, a deep incompletion. You run not because your being wants to, but because society drives you to.
With Completion starts Life. Otherwise you are running out of compulsion. Either you run life in compulsion or in completion. With compulsion, not only don’t you have any Life, you also constantly reduce the level of your life.
A person came to me and said, ‘Earlier I used to smoke and drink. My wife used to fight with me all the time, always blaming me. She would connect everything to my smoking and drinking. If the kids did not study well, she would say, ‘You are a drunkard. You don’t care for your kids. That is why they are not studying well.’ So finally, somehow, I gave up smoking and drinking.’
I asked, ‘Oh! Is she happy now?’
He said, ‘No! Now she is unhappy that she is not able to complain about anything anymore!’
When you are inauthentic, you can have something or someone to blame, you can always put the responsibility on them and feel comfortable. When you can’t put the responsibility on someone else, you suffer. It is easy to escape the reality by putting the responsibility on someone else. Here, Arjuna is doing the same thing by asking Kṛṣṇa this question in the third chapter called Karma Yogaḥ.
Coming to terms with reality is Completion. Reality should not make you powerless. Arjuna is being inauthentic by shifting responsibility away from him, not facing his own reality. Kṛṣṇa initiates him into the science of authentic action to powerfully take responsibility for his highest reality and be a complete, blissful being.