A philosophical principle states that ‘manifestations’ are for benefit of others, and not themselves. A bed is for someone to sleep on, a book is for others to read, and a house is for someone to live in. Since this body is also a manifestation, there must be a special beneficiary, apart from the body itself. This understanding allows us to distinguish between body and its owner, and difference between living life and the purpose of life.Worldwide, the tendency to elude contemporary sorrow and restlessness to attain desired happiness has led to ignorance of naturalness of life. It is painfully astonishing to learn that the prime concern of humanity today is to address the question, ‘How should life be?’ whereas the basic question remains, ‘Why life?’ We forget what would challenge life once our material needs are met. Also, even if we consider material success as our ultimate goal, what about the value of life for those whom such success has eluded? We have to fix our priority in this conflict of ‘why’ and ‘how’. ‘Why’ points to purpose, while ‘how’ indicates the means.Purpose is the core thought, while the means is only a small part of it. An accomplishment which makes life meaningful under any condition, or which signifies the existence of life, is important and must be carefully understood. If a limited measure is taken as the standard -for example, the body — its significance shall cease after a point. We must, therefore, understand significance beyond the limit.The Indian thought process has considered body as a boat, a means to commute between two shores. The boat does not go out of the river; instead, only passengers move out. It is important to get into a boat to cross the river, but it is more important to vacate the boat at the opposite bank. We are expected to vacate our body when we reach our destination. In the vast expanse of Atma, our body is like a boat in the sea of life, full of water called destiny. Birth is an event which drops us into the sea of life by placing us in the boat – our body. The Bhagwad Gita, Upanishads, and other scriptures have all clarified this. If we do not expand our vision beyond this life and do not appreciate and attain the core purpose of life during this lifetime itself, then this whole journey would be jeopardised. It is like boarding a stationary train which has all facilities and comforts to travel with, and then disembarking after a prolonged period at the same place where we boarded. The purpose is only served when the train carries us to our destination.By: Acharya Mithilesh
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