What is the Objective of Life?
If you ask this question to different people, you will get different answers. Some might say – to earn a lot of money or to get a lot of fame, or to have a happy family. The most common answer in today’s time I suppose is to earn a lot of money. So let’s evaluate that a little.
Why do people want money? People think that money will buy them lots of happiness as lots of money brings lots of material possessions. But can material possession bring happiness? To a certain extent yes, a big car, luxurious home, smart mobile phone, all this definitely gives you some pleasure. It helps you showoff among family and friends and makes you realize that you have things that probably others don’t have. In today’s world I would say money forms people’s Status Symbol.
But are we really satisfied with loads of money and materialistic things? Probably no, because man by birth is a greedy animal. Whatever we have, we want to have bigger and better. You have a small Nissan and you dream of buying a BMW, you have a classic Nokia and you want to buy an iPhone, you have a desktop and you dream of buying a laptop. Sometimes it is not bad to have desires, after all desires only motivate you to work harder in order to fulfill them. But have you ever thought that these materialistic possessions are mostly the cause of your fear and anxiety because you constantly worry what you will do if you lose any of them.
I read a story of Buddha a while ago. One day Gautam Buddha was sitting by the road with his monks when a farmer passed by, looking worried. He asked Gautam Buddha, “have you see a herd of cows pass by?”. Gautam Buddha said, “No”. “oh God! What will I do now, I have lost my cows and due to no rains even the crops have been ruined”, replied the distressed farmer and walked away in search of his cows. Gautam Buddha then turned and spoke to his monks, “Are you not fortunate that you don’t have cows”.
We all have a craving or attachment for something or the other. This craving, whether it is for materialistic things or for friends of family can become your source of sorrow instead of bringing happiness to you. Happiness is only temporary when you have those things around you. But you spend your entire life in constant fear of losing them and when it actually happens you become unhappy and sad.
The inherent nature of life is sadness. We all want to be happy, but the fact that happiness if based on possessions and attachments does not last and in effect it makes life unsatisfying and sorrowful. So I ask again, what is the true objective of life? It is to find eternal happiness that lasts forever, but life by nature is full of sorrows. It is not only limited to physical and mental suffering but also frustrations of not getting the things the way we want. As we get old, we want to be young again. If we are poor, we want to be rich. If we are separated by our friends and family, we are saddened. No matter what we have in life, we always crave for the something more. Even if we get what we wanted, we will still be unsatisfied and crave for more.
What is the root cause of this sadness? It is Greed, Anger and a Misleading mind. We are attached to things and people and when we are separated from them we have regrets. We cling to those things and think that they will last forever and we find it very tough to accept when they are gone. We get angry to things we don’t like. Anger harms the one getting angry than the one on whom anger is directed. The more the other person gets angry, we get angrier. Anger doesn’t solve any problem and ends up increasing them. Also, our minds are misleading, they do not see things as they really are. We fail to realize that nothing is forever. If we are sitting in a comfortable chair right now, it does not mean that the chair would be comfortable if we keep sitting on it for the whole day. We need to accept the concept of change.
Overcoming Greed, Anger and Misleading mind is important to achieve happiness. Accept that life is subject to change and that no state is forever. Make your mind to see things as they are and not suffer from delusions. The key for happiness lies in only few things, Right Efforts, Right Mind, Right Concentration and Right Understanding. I hope we all can be happy one day. God bless!