What is the Purpose of Life?
We all have been in the state of mind where we thought to ourselves “What is the purpose of my life”. Once you channelize your thoughts, our minds tend to work towards it, and hence now in the age of the internet, we immediately start browsing and watching related videos, and before we know, cookies on the web ensure that this content keeps popping up in every single page that we visit. I have been in that situation and probably had come to the acceptance that this very question is a very overrated one, and one should just lead a life like any living being on earth and hence no one has any purpose in life. But this would contradict the very main reason why homo sapiens (human beings) evolved intellectually while our other monkey cousins did not. The power of thinking is because of this, our species has evolved into the kind of beings we are today. It is because of this thinking, that I am today able to write, and any one of our 7 billion folks can read this. So, I started having a slightly different take on the very same thought, if it has occurred to me, it has also occurred in the past and will continue to occur in future generations.
Every philosopher in every culture across time and space has thought on this and explained what would be the purpose of life? The closest explanation which I came across is from Ikigai (Japanese), Iki meaning life, and Gai meaning reason. Ikigai meant reason to live, and it explains what needs to be done to live a life. But, more so in recent years, this concept is very selfish driven, things to do to keep one satisfied and contented rather than to find out the real purpose of life.
Since my birth was into a Hindu family, I have lifelong followed Hinduism and have been following its rituals, prayers, and its way of life. It is for sure one of the incredibly old religions. As a kid I always wondered and questioned the why’s in every single ritual followed, a physical explanation was given which sure was enough for an 8-year-old, but never taught in a spiritual manner, why? Let us worry about the reason at a later stage. Every ritual, procedure, and mantras have a spiritual meaning attached to it. The time has come to such that, people have forgotten to focus on the spirituality aspect of it.
Visiting temples was a weekly or sometimes multiple times a week affair, I often observed a tree exists in pretty much every temple, we also, saw that those trees are worshiped. Underneath a tree is where the majority of the gurus sit and meditate. Lord Buddha achieved his nirvana under a bodhi tree. I have visited such temples numerous times and have even done the rituals of circling around the tree and praying for a good life but since no one explained what the real spiritual meaning is, I had to figure it out myself as I matured in life. It kind of started making sense finally.
The real reason for having a tree near the temple is to sit under it or circle it and practice spirituality and wonder how we can ourselves be like the tree itself.
Here is my take on 5 parts of the tree which will answer the purpose of life.
The trunk is the backbone of the tree, all the branches, roots, fruits, and flowers emerge out of it. One needs to be like the trunk of the tree, our goal and reason of life should be to support all the life forms and not expect anything in return. Be as selfless support as a trunk of a tree or think about what the trunk of your life is. Either be support for yourself or for others as many people as possible.
These are the important foundation of the tree which holds to the ground and provide nutrients and water from the soil, the roots go as deep to keep the tree alive. Be like roots of the tree which go unnoticed but still so essential for survival, roots also have regenerative capabilities. Even if the upper part of the tree is cut, roots ensure the tree grows back, be like roots, support yourself and even if you are cut off or beaten down, rise again and never lose hope. Extend to other people in life, try to reach and be root to others in life.
Leaves are an important part of the tree that provide food for the tree through photosynthesis and most importantly provide oxygen for other animals to survive. Be like a leaf that provides oxygen for others. Oxygen here is a metaphor, one must understand and self-contemplate to know what value you can give to others, could be any qualitative value like love, knowledge, wisdom, advice, etc.
4. Fruits & Flowers
These are most certainly the byproduct of the tree, but several living organisms are dependent on survival from these. Be like these fruits & Flowers for other living beings who are directly or indirectly dependent on you. Identify what are fruits you can give to people. These are quantitative in value could be money, clothes, food, shelter, etc.
These form the defensive mechanisms for some of the plants if not for trees. They really defend and protect the tree or scare away the organisms/animals which try to attack. There are a lot of bad influences or negative thoughts or sometimes even negative people, be like thorns and resist and shun away all the negative influences.
Overall, if you see a tree only provides us with all the items it has to offer. It never asks or even expects anything in return. We all need to focus our energies and only provide for others in life. The more you try to follow these in life, the closer you will reach towards finding the purpose in life. The more you must give to others, the lesser one will be bothered about the purpose of life. Give away and do not expect anything, in turn, if you have met this, you have met the purpose of your life.