"The question of the destiny of our lives is very serious, as it concerns the most important question for man: for what purpose are we placed on earth?
If man takes a correct stance on this issue; if he finds his true destiny; then he will be able to take a correct viewpoint in relation to particular questions that arise in our daily life; in our relationships with our fellow men; in our studies, profession, marriage and the bearing and upbringing of children.
If he does not relate correctly to this basic issue, then he will also fail in life's particular purposes, for what meaning can a particular purpose have if human life as a whole has no meaning?" .................Archimandrite George, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios on Mount Athos.
When studying evolution, the past becomes a very important part of our perception. It is through a series of events in the past and their interconnectedness that we are able to comprehend the evolutionary process. The question that this article addresses is to do with our ultimate future evolution, our destiny. How can we ever grasp the goal towards which we are evolving and how can the past and the present ever give us a clue as to what is in store for us? A linear model would entail, extrapolation,but we know with our present knowledge that linearity was not an attribute of human evolution. Complexity rules this domain. Added to this situation, the human consciousness or the human mind itself, with which we are trying to grasp a future reality, is evolving and hence how can we ever comprehend the nature of the higher mind or its consciousness in the future.
Added to this difficulty, we are so preoccupied with our present day worries as individuals in various roles such as fathers, mothers, bread winners, professionals etc., that we have barely any time for this deep reflection as to what the human destiny is and towards what purpose we are evolving. Organized religious belief systems and teachings have fallen awfully short of expectations in this regard.
When addressing this question, a great thinker and spiritual master comes to my mind, namely; Sri Aurobindo. Sri. Aurobindo’s, whose work “The Life Divine”, deals with the issue We are addressing here. In chapter V of this work , Aurobindo opens with a quote from Isha Upanishad.
“By the Ignorance they cross beyond Death and by the Knowledge enjoy Immortality. . . . By the Non-Birth they cross beyond Death and by the Birth enjoy Immortality.”….Isha Upanishad
Attaining immortality is the purpose of life. This immortality is not at the physical or material level but at the level of the spirit or the soul. The way this can be obtained is only through ‘Brahmavidya’, the supreme knowledge. The ultimate core of all spiritual teachings addresses this through the limitations of language in a specific cultural context. This may not be possible for most of us to comprehend and that is the reason that many lifetimes and planes of existence are needed to transcend to this highest level, our true destiny. In seeking this ultimate purpose from our current level of consciousness, a process of negation predominates. It is like the process of seeking a perfect and very valuable pearl in a huge mountain of artificial or fake jewellery. ‘Net-neti’. ‘Not this, not that’ is the only way that we can weed out all the multiplicity of manifestations at whose core resides the state of non-being a state of ‘satchitananda’ or true bliss or immortality.
This progression is defined by Aurobindo in the following words:
“But as in Thought, so in Life, the true rule of self-realization is a progressive comprehension. Brahman (Supreme consciousness) expresses Itself in many successive forms of consciousness, successive in their relation even if coexistent in being or coeval in Time, and Life in its self-unfolding must also rise to ever-new provinces of its own being.”
I specifically chose a thought, which is expressed in simple language, from Christian thinker as the opening to this article to stress the point that all great spiritual traditions talked of the same message namely the ultimate destiny of the human to become Divine and that is the reason we are placed on this earth.